Do you remember a few months back when the DFS version of the Kevin Bacon game started? You know six degrees of separation for your referral dollars. At the time many people were thinking this was putting the cart before the horse and frankly I do not blame them for that at all. I too thought it was a little crazy to be signing up for and looking for referrals to a site that had no live games as the time. Well the horse finally caught up to the cart and Fantasy Draft is getting ready to drop that BETA tag. Some of you have probably been in some of the free tourney’s they offered already. Others probably signed up when to get in early on the referral bonuses ad have not looked at it since. Well, now is the time to send support that email to retrieve your password or login before the weekend. So, you are probably wondering what they got for you, so let’s take the time to break down the offerings, the look, the salary structure and I’ll even throw in a few guys I saw that are pretty cheap at the end.
The press release issued two weeks ago said that Fantasy Draft has started accepting deposits as of 11/21. That means this is now the third full week of games they are offering. Some guys might remember all the free rolls they had been throwing out there to test out the systems. Hopefully you all took advantage and have a little cash in your accounts already. The big deal this weekend is the first offering of three major NFL contests, all of which are woefully short of filling at the moment. The top one is a $250K prize pool at a $25 price point. They need 10,000 entries to break even and currently have 1250 entries. That means it is at 12.5% capacity and they are overlaying an astonishing $218,750 right now. The next is a $100K pool and a $50K pool at the $10 and $5 price points with the same number of entries. They also have some 50/50s and 20 man leagues at various price points in the lobby. There is not a ton of NFL stuff compared to the big two sites, but about as many games as some smaller sites offer with way more money behind it. The last sentence is the key to why Fantasy Draft may stick around for a little while. I know some of you are definitely annoyed with the various marketing schemes they have come up with but the simple fact is that grinders love overlay. It keeps us thriving and coming back and we have to take advantage of that good deal.
For those that have not tried out the site yet, there are a few things you should know before you do. For starters, the roster structure is pretty straightforward. You get 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, one TE, One K, One Defense and a Flex position to use when filling out your rosters. Not a ton of diversity in roster building as the spots are not really set up for having too many spots where roster differentiation can be seen. While it is not easy to get to the same roster here, it also is not so diverse due to the spaces that it will not happen. This usually is not a good thing as we have heard the arguments all through basketball with the new Draft Kings format that the sharp players like more roster flexibility as they feel it gives them an advantage over the casual DFS player.
Another argument we hear that Fantasy Draft kind of fails on is the difference between min and max players. Most sites now a days have less than a 3 times difference between the top priced guys and the bottom. DraftKings has $3K min salary and top guys just under $10K. That means min to max you are looking at about three times difference. FanDuel is closer to 2 times as most guys worth rostering rarely fall below the $5K mark ($4500) and the top plays come in around $9-$10K at each position with QB sometimes being even a little bit more money. Some of you may be wondering why any of this even matters, so let me break it down for you.
On a site with a larger min/max capacity you get more guys who are in play. The idea of perfect pricing in the eyes of many hardcore DFS players is when you are equally likely to roster a guy at $3K and $9K based on the projections and value they offer. For example, to win the Milly Maker on DraftKings you need about 5 points per $1000 of cost on each player. That means if you take a $3K guy over a 4K guy you are doing so because when you apply that multiple you feel more confident in the $3K guy getting you 15+ points than you do the $9K guy getting you 45. No one is saying a $3K guy like a Delanie Walker or Jordan Reed the last two weeks is better than Gronk or even that they will have more raw points, but when you factor in price the better play becomes easier to see. If Gronk was $8K on DraftKings then he would need to get you 40 as opposed to a guy at $3200 who only needs 16. The larger the difference in prices between min and max, theoretically the more guys along the spectrum that are “IN PLAY”. Fantasy Draft has a top of around 13-14 K for most positions and a minimum of $6K. At those rates you are talking about 2.3 times difference between min and max. If you wanted to take a min guy like Stedman Bailey or Robert Woods this weekend over there your comparable would whether or not a top guy like a Demaryius Thomas or Antonio Brown can score 2.3 times more points than your min play. The pricing is not incredibly up to date on Fantasy Draft yet, so there are some viable candidates down in the min price range. As long as there are a number of guys along the spectrum that can come close to each other on a points per dollar scale at any point along the curve (Cheap, Mid range, or Expensive) than the site will have more diversity. When a top option on the week is badly mispriced though on this scale, then you will see some really high ownership on that mistake. Fantasy Draft has a good mix of decisions they force you to make, because the studs are not too expensive and the min guys have some merit in spots. Unlike DraftKings where you can find a lot of mid range value vs. the top options, I feel the way to play it over here is true to go stars and scrubs. As a percentage of the cap most of these guys on Fantasy Draft are a smaller bite to your overall money then they are on other sites and the difference between a top 5 option at any position and the less safe guys in the 6-20 range is smaller. Therefore instead of trying to put together the best mid range roster, it behooves the player to get the stars they want and figure out how to make the rest fit with upside plays. Keep in mind too that like every other site the money for these tourney’s is guaranteed, so depending on how much they fill you might not need a top 10-20% roster to cash. Whenever you have a better than 20% chance to cash due to overlay it sort of turns me in the direction of making a line up that is a tad more cash game centric and I would advise others to do the same.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Well, moving forward I think the key is to expect Fantasy Draft to become one of the guys vying for the third place spot left open since DraftKings bought Draft Street. Between the celebrity endorsers, the six degrees of separation referral scheme, and the willingness to eat Overlay they have a great shot to be a player in this still young developing industry. DraftKing’s meteoric rise was on the back of overlay and FanDuel used a large customer base to keep their spot on the top of the heap, so trying to incorporate both of those things seems like a shrewd move to me. While many were critical of the initial launch of the site through that referral program, I think it served its purpose of generating a buzz. As I said at that time in my write up on it, now that they got our attention, it will come down to whether or not the product they offer can keep us interested. Good luck Fantasy Draft, I for one am excited to have a new player and new place to try to win some money this weekend.