“How do I win at Daily Fantasy?” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten that question. The truth is, there’s no one answer. As I sit here trying to come up with game-changing advice for DFS success, my first thought was to consult the most successful daily fantasy players in my network. Three names came to mind: Jon “Mcjester” Zellers, Brian Healy and Bobby Clinkert aka “BobbyWow1”.
These three experts represent three different types of DFS success. Zellers is the true pro. Zellers has made gambling probability his livelihood. The 2016 RotoGrinders Tournament Player of the Year was featured in the infamous Daily Fantasy documentary, “The Perfect Lineup”. The man does not lose. Considering his monumental reputation within the DFS community, which was built off years of consistent success, Jon was easily my first call. Next, I spoke with Brian Healy. Healy works as a full-time Project Manager in Philadelphia. Brian doesn’t consider daily fantasy his full-time job, but maybe he should. The 36-year-old family man has figured it out. Healy has taken down four separate GPP (guaranteed prize pool) tournaments so far this MLB season, totaling $400,000 in winnings. Healy represents the working pro. His job comes first, but daily fantasy is a close second. Last but not least, I spoke to the million-dollar winner Bobby Clinkert. By day, Clinkert is a Student Pastor in Chicago for “Community Church”. By night, Pastor Bobby provides daily fantasy content and advice at DFSarmy. In regards to this article, Clinkert will serve as a contrast. Not every DFS/gambling success story involves a shark. Bobby is a regular guy like you or me. He simply capitalized on his skills. I decided to interview each of these uniquely successful players asking one main question, “What would be your one piece of advice for daily fantasy success?” Some of their answers might surprise you.
Let’s start with Zellers. He has been one of the top DFS players for years now, specializing in NBA, MLB and NFL GPP tournaments. When I asked him the age-old question, his answer was clear and concise – “Grasp the data, but ultimately trust yourself — trust your instinct.” He continued to say, “Just be bold” — which is a cliche but whatever.”
Cliche or not, his “be bold” advice hit home with me. Recently I’ve noticed a plethora of players investing in the same chalky optimizer plays. Don’t get me wrong, optimizers are great (especially ours!), but how are you going to take down a GPP tournament investing in the same players as everyone else? Answer: You don’t. McJester continued to say, “To win a major GPP tournament, especially if you have a single bullet in a multi-entry, you often have to do what nobody else will.” Zeller made it a point to mention one last piece of advice before returning to caring for his newborn son and future grinder, Jaxson Zellers. “Be brave though, because the rewards can be life-changing.”
Next, we have Healy of EliteFantasy. He is one of the top MLB DFS players so far this season. With four $100,000 takedowns, Healy is on fire! Before going into his advice for DFS success, I asked him about his hot streak, “When did you know you had the takedown?” (referring to his first $100,000 win) He replied, " I knew I had a shot for a decent night after several of the early high-[rostered] games underperformed, and my low owned late-night stacks started hot.”
Immediately I thought, there seems to be a theme emerging. So I continued to ask him, “What would be your one piece of advice for DFS success?” He responded by saying, “As someone solely focused on GPP tournaments, I’d always advise that you can’t play and build lineups being afraid to lose. Taking chances on low-[rostered] plays with upside vs. playing ‘safe’ high-[rostered] plays.”
Yup, we officially have a theme. Two of the best DFS players in the world have now advised players to avoid chalk and to be bold. So does this mean we shouldn’t be using an optimizer? Good question. No, optimizers and projections are incredibly useful. Using these tools to help you make your own decisions is the key. But, don’t let the tools make the decisions for you! Be confident in your ability to analyze the stats provided by the tools. Trust in yourself and don’t be afraid to lose.
Clinkert, aka BobbyWow1, has experienced a different type of success. The 29-year-old won $1,000,000 off a single GPP lineup approximately one year ago. When I asked Pastor Bobby about some of his key strategies, he responded with, “All of my DFS lineups are built within the parameters of these core values: 1. Tell a story, 2. Stacking/Correlation, 3. Leverage.” Going into descriptive detail about each “core value”, I couldn’t help but think that this guy needs a podcast because this will not do him justice.
First, he discussed what he meant by “Telling a story”. He mentioned first and foremost, “Telling a story with your lineups is paramount to DFS success. Think about the different outcomes of the game. Will the game be high-scoring? Dominated by one or two players? What about a blowout? If each player was a character in the story, how does the setting (potential outcome) affect them?” He continued with, “This first step allows you to better strategize for the next core value which is stacking/correlation.
He started by explaining that, “This is where your pen hits the paper. The primary goal of this step in GPP situations is to maximize your ceiling by combining players who directly or indirectly connect for scoring.”
Finally, he touched on leverage. “If you want to take down a big GPP tournament, you will need to find ownership leverage somewhere. Bigger contests mean [a lot] of competing lineups. More leverage equals more opportunities to uniquely gain an edge on the field.” Before wrapping up, Pastor Bobby made it a point to give credit to all he’s learned from the DFS community.
Bobby bringing up the benefits of being in the DFS community resonated with me. The DFS community supplies unlimited knowledge and support. Being exposed to great minds like Jon Zellers, Brian Healy and Pastor Bobby Clinkert has made me into the DFS Analyst I am today. Would I like to win a million dollars? Sure. Am I content doing what I love for a living, GPP win or not? You betcha!
I hope the advice from these three daily fantasy professionals helps your DFS game, but more importantly, I hope it sparks a continuous thirst for daily fantasy knowledge and analysis, which hopefully brings you something much more valuable than money.
Who am I kidding? Take this advice and make that money!