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DFS PREVIEW: Part 1 – Summer School

The hot, humid days of July sometimes feel like they may go on forever. Summer is in full swing, and most people may think it’s too early to be thinking about 2019 DFS Football. After all, many are just now starting to delve into research for their re-draft leagues.  Some won’t even have football on the brain until the preseason starts. But before you know it, the long summer nights will give way to the cool, crisp mornings of autumn. Football season will have officially arrived. Now is the perfect time for any avid DFS players to get ahead of the curve. You want to create an edge for yourself once Week 1 rolls around this September. Let’s take a look at some things you can do to give yourself that advantage over the field.

Review Your Process

Think about what went right and wrong for you last season. You need to establish whether or not the process you were using was adequate. What changes or improvements do you need to make this year? Be honest and thorough with yourself; pride or stubbornness will not make you a profitable DFS player. Examine the way you managed your bankroll last season. Did you play in the right contests to give yourself the best chance to win? If you are mostly a low stakes player or have limited bankroll, it’s probably not advantageous for you to be playing one or two Millionaire Maker lineups each week. You’d have a better chance at winning a nice payout playing in the $1 Max 20 entry contest, or the 3 Max with $3 buy in.

Did you overvalue or undervalue certain players or teams throughout the season? Sometimes, the hardest thing we can do is take our own personal bias out of our process. If you plan on playing every week, it might be helpful for you to invest in an optimizer. These can be an awesome tool to help organize everything in your head into something tangible on your screen. It will also take that bias out of your decision making. The best players in the business always tout their use of these programs, and I can see why. I used one for the first time last season, and had my most profitable year since I started playing DFS.

Your process is the most important thing to master to have DFS success. Everything you do on a weekly basis is determined by it.

Research, Research, Research

I can’t stress enough how important it is for you be doing your research now, and to not be dragging your feet into Week 1. The best thing you can do for your DFS season in July is to take an overall stock of the league. What players were moved around in free agency, where did talented rookies get drafted, which coaches were fired and hired, and are there players with lingering injury, suspension, or contract situations to monitor? These are all questions you should be studying right now, while training camp is still on the horizon. Don’t overlook moves teams make on the offensive line and the defensive side of the ball. Signing a stud center or losing a star safety can drastically change how a team or player will perform on Sundays.

Absorb this information and determine which players situations have gotten better or worse. Get a feel for how the general public views players. Much of this can be done by tuning into corporate sports media. Read articles from popular content providers such as ESPN and Yahoo. This is where most casual fantasy players are getting their info. Keep track of ADP: how, when, and why it changes. Checking the market on players like this is extremely important; ADP goes a long way to determining player pricing on opening day. You’ll also be able to determine the hype and sleeper levels of the players you like. By doing this, you can better project who will be some of the more popular DFS plays come Week 1. This can give you an edge by fading or pivoting off of chalkier plays onto guys you may like more at lower ownership.

DFS Football is all about taking your shots, embracing the variance, and hedging against the rest of the field. By doing your homework now, you can lay the foundation of a successful season.

Focus On Training Camp Reports

Most teams have rookies reporting this week, and veterans a few days later. After that, it’s two short weeks until the first preseason games start. Camp reports are a vital tool for any fantasy player’s preparation process. Beat reporters tend to cover the same teams for several seasons, and are often the only eyes and ears on the ground at camp. They become familiar with individual players and the coaching staff, and usually can be trusted to identify which guys are improving or regressing. Some people view training camp reports as pure window dressing, taking them with a grain of salt. I strongly disagree with that approach.

At this time of year we aren’t getting any game action or stats, but there are usually scrimmages and joint practices going on with different teams. That helps these reporters gauge player performance and their standing with the coaches. Panning through these local blurbs and reports can help give you an edge on a player that the national media may overlook. Most casual DFS players aren’t getting updates and alerts from individual beat reporters throughout the league, and they will miss out on a lot of valuable info as a result. This can help you find that cheap, valuable player with high upside once Week 1 contests are open for business.

So much can be determined in camp, from positional battles to rookie progression, snap counts, and offensive packages. This knowledge will be a critical part of your process going forward. Twitter is an invaluable tool for your training camp research. Find as many beat reporters and team media personnel as you can, get to following them, and set up alerts for their tweets. You can also find plenty of accounts tailored to fantasy football that publish alerts and information throughout the day. Though sometimes these reporters get stuff wrong, they are the best resource we have for inside information at training camp.

The NFL is ever changing and evolving, and it’s crucial you maintain fluidity with the league.

Extra Credit

This season is shaping up to be one of the more memorable in recent memory. Almost every team has some major question marks, and we most likely won’t have any definitive answers until the season progresses. The league appears to be more wide open than ever before, and most of the off-season moves have massively reshaped the fantasy landscape. The Browns are collecting talent, the Chiefs found their superstar QB, and some old guns are taking their final shots. There has been so much in flux this summer, and I don’t see it slowing down as the season rolls along. You need to get a jump start on the season now, while the rest of the public isn’t paying attention. Fine tuning your process, doing thorough and detailed research, along with keeping an eye on training camps will be crucial to a hot start for your DFS season. The homework and discipline you put it now will help pay dividends as the year rolls on.

Summer school is officially in session.

About Marshall Williams

I am excited to be writing for Fantasy Sharks once again this season. I love all things related to the NFL and daily fantasy sports. Let's all have a profitable year together.