The idea of quitting your day job to become a professional Daily Fantasy Sports player is something we’ve all dreamt about. You get to watch all of your favourite sports and call it work, lounge around your house in your underwear eating cheese puffs (just us?), and make a pile of money at the same time. Almost sounds too good to be true, right? And maybe it is.
We decided to find out what these guys actually get up to on a daily basis. Are they living the dream… or living on the edge?
First off, a little reality check—if you want to turn pro you need a big bankroll behind you. DFS professionals are entering multiple teams into multiple tournaments. As we all know, you’ve got to play big to win big. This means you need to be able to afford the entry fees for the biggest contests. Then again, as we saw in the biggest DFS success stories, it only takes one big win and you’re off!
The culture of DFS also requires regular players to be resilient and able to handle stress. One of the things that makes DFS so exciting is that each day brings brand new prospects. Your fortunes can change within 24 hours. If you’re playing to support yourself, you need to be able to move on from losses and start fresh every day with a positive attitude.
In terms of lifestyle, is it all it’s cracked up to be in our imaginations? Well, not necessarily. Let’s just say, we hope you like spreadsheets…
These guys aren’t just sports fans that had a couple of lucky picks and decided to play full-time. The best DFS pros live and breathe sports statistics. Many come from analytical or poker backgrounds—using their mathematical prowess and ability to predict the behaviour of others to create formidable teams.
We’re talking seasoned mathletes here, many of whom come up with their own algorithms for selecting line-ups. This means lots of calculations and a lifetime subscription to Excel. It also helps if you have your own software company to analyse data and create models for you. Just ask pro player Jonathan Bales.
Working from home and being your own boss doesn’t mean long sleeps and casual work schedules. Daily Fantasy Sports wait for no one. You’ll need to be up bright and early to track any team changes and plan your line-ups. Wave goodbye to Sundays being the day of rest. At the height of the NFL season you can expect to be up at 07:30 on game days. And by ‘up’ we’re talking bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. You have a lot of competition and they’re certainly not pressing the snooze button—there’s too much money up for grabs!
The good news is you really do get to watch and follow A LOT of sports. Pros also have to keep a close eye on any sports related news that could affect the games. For instance, the top DFS-ers know that Thursday is the day the NFL injury reports are released. This is vital data as it gives you an idea of who won’t be playing at the weekend. Thus, you can start to predict who might be picked to replace certain players and how this will affect the team’s strategy.
Some pros go even deeper with their game research. Weather forecasts and the selections backed by TV sports pundits can play a big factor in line-up selection. Windy day? This could affect the quality of passes. Sports pundits all raving about a particular player? It might be savvy to leave this pick on the bench—they’re likely to be an incredibly popular choice with everyone else.
Outside of actual daily fantasy plays, professionals often have their own businesses linked to DFS. Many blog about it, provide consultations for clients, or run fantasy sport websites (some with paid subscribers). It’s these ventures that ensure your income isn’t dependent on daily wins.
As is the case with many people who essentially work for themselves, DFS pros often don’t have the comfort of financial security. They can be betting tens of thousands of dollars a day and may not see a good return for weeks. This is not for the faint-hearted!
That said, some of these guys can rake in millions of dollars over the course of a season—that’s why they turned pro in the first place, after all. You need to be able to stomach the losses in order to revel in the huge victories.
Perks vs. Reality
Let’s be real, even with the copious spreadsheets and financial risks, this is a pretty cool job. For many it is actually like playing out a teenage dream. You follow your own rules, wear what you want and spend a lot of time watching TV. Plus, if you have the right kind of personality, the high stakes and nail-biting games are all part of the fun!
On the downside, this is a job that requires considerable time and commitment. Unless your friends and family are as crazy about DFS as you are, you might not get much human interaction. Following stats, watching games, revising line-ups—you won’t have time for socialising if you take your pro status seriously. It may also be hard for any potential partners to compete with your love of DFS!
Time to Go Pro?
Taking your DFS game from hobby to profession is not a decision to be taken lightly, especially given the current state of the industry. You need to make sure you have the cash and analytical skills to propel you to the top ranks. Once you get there, however, you can live quite the sweet existence. Successful pros are millionaires with the houses and cars to match.
Turning pro is a real full-time commitment, so make sure you’re willing to devote yourself to DFS. It’s not for everyone. Sure, you get to hang out with your pet and eat junk food all day, but we’ll keep that Sunday lie-in, thanks!
For the best tips and tricks of the trade, keep checking in with DailyFantasyUK!