When you log into a daily fantasy sports site, you may think you’re competing against a bunch of other sports fans playing for fun. In reality, there are people on DFS sites waiting to take advantage of the casual player. Introducing the daily fantasy shark.
Who is the daily fantasy shark? They’re a highly skilled and resourceful daily fantasy player, who plays big to win big. The daily fantasy shark is a pro at finding less experienced players (known as ‘fish’) and winning money from them.
These are not the people you want to be up against in a head-to-head contest, or overpowered by in a tournament.
How to Spot and Avoid Daily Fantasy Shark Players
The good news is that there are many ways to spot a daily fantasy shark and avoid losing out to them. Sites even have inbuilt components to make it easier to find sharks — and to make it harder for the sharks to do their thing. In this guide, we’ll cover a few ways in which you can avoid being caught out by the sharks.
Some daily fantasy sites use a player ranking system, in the form of experience badges, to indicate how experienced and skilled a DFS player has become.
A high experience badge doesn’t necessarily mean a player is a shark, but it is a helpful indication of their skill and dedication to playing. These badges are different depending on which site you’re using; we’ve identified a few of the major ones here.
DraftKings players gain experience badges based on:
- Playing 500 contests.
- Playing 1,000 contests.
- A ‘Big Win’: winning $1000 in at least 3 contests, or $2,500 in at least 5 contests.
- Playing 500 contests with a big win, or 1000 contests with a big win.
Head on over to the site’s Experience Badges page to see how you can identify them.
FanDuel players in the U.S. gain experience badges when they:
- Play in more than 500 contests (Experienced) or 1000 contests (Highly Experienced).
- Win above $2,500 over 6 or more contests (Experienced) or $1,000 over 4 or more contests (Highly Experienced).
As for the UK FanDuel site, there isn’t currently an experience badge system in place. We’re hoping that, as this new site develops, they’ll consider giving UK players a similar heads-up to possible daily fantasy sharks in the water.
As we covered in our site review, Fanaments has a great approach to experience badges. Fanaments players gain experience points (XP) when they play in contests, and their badge changes depending on how many points they have gained.
There are five experience badges (each referred to as an Experience Status) players can get: Shrimp (0 XP), Fish (100 XP), Octopus (1,000 XP), Shark (5,000 XP) and Whale (25,000 XP).
This game mechanic also doubles up as a loyalty scheme; the bigger your Experience Status, the more Fanaments Points you gain for every € spent.
Counterpoint: Experience Badge Controversy
Not everyone has taken positively to the introduction of experience badges to DFS sites. Brent Holloway argued on Rotogrinders that the lack of an experience badge may lead to sharks targeting new players:
“Judging by the head-to-head lobbies and tournament entry lists on DraftKings since the implementation of its experienced player badge system, it’s clear that the wide majority of regular DFS players fall under some category of experienced player, and most qualify as highly experienced.
“So when an inexperienced player posts a head-to-head game, the lack of an experienced player badge serves as a target, signifying to other players a better chance at a win.”
Others have argued that labelling a player as experienced just because they have entered a lot of contests unfairly labels them as shark players, even though that is not the case. Rotogrinders user tyrique730 argued:
“They need to remove the participate part and just base it on money won or win [percentage], you shouldn’t be in the same tier as the best players because you play alot [sic] anyone can reach 500 very quickly especially during [Major League Baseball] when it’s everyday and it’s easy to throw 20 $1 games in a month you apparently would go from beginner to [experienced].”
So it seems the experience badges aren’t without their issues. However, this isn’t the only way you can look for sharks among the fish.
Multi Contest Entries
It’s common practice for a daily fantasy shark to boost their chances of winning a big cash prize by entering multiple lineups into the same contest. We’re not talking two or three entries; sharks can use scripting software to enter hundreds of lineups into one contest.
This can crowd out the chances of casual players, who are less likely or able to create and edit huge numbers of lineups for a contest. Sharks tend to use scripting software to generate and change these lineups quickly and effortlessly.
Limiting the Sharks
Some sites have been limiting multi-entries to make this less of a risk for players. Another move DFS sites have made is to ban external scripting tools, instead wanting players to focus on having fun and doing personal research.
You can also see how many entries a contestant has made on some DFS sites. On DraftKings, the M icon next to a username shows they have made multiple lineup entries; hover over this icon to see how many. On PlayON, each of the multiple contest entries will be marked as ‘T1’, ‘T2’ et cetera.
Limiting and clearly marking multiple entries is a way for DFS sites to protect their players; we’re hoping to see this become an integral part of the industry.
Get to Know the DFS Scene
Some players become famous in the DFS community for getting huge contest wins, and even making a living from DFS. It’s not the perfect method, but getting to know who the frequent players and big winners on a site are can help you avoid getting sharked in the future.
This will take time, but consistently scoping out the other contestants is a good habit for building up an awareness for the potential sharks around you.
Beyond the DFS sites themselves, you can also identify the skilled regular players on forums like Rotogrinders. Also, keep an eye on DFS-related news; who has been reported to have a huge win, and who is writing the advice pieces on how they got successful?
Now it’ll be easier to spot and avoid those daily fantasy sharks! To find out moredaily fantasy sites protect their players.