Ask The Shark: Small Slates Vs. Large Slates

As a former professional poker player, gin rummy hustler, backgammon aficionado and now daily fantasy sports shark, I’ve always found enjoyment in solving intellectual puzzles and exploring the “game” behind the game. The search and implementation of the most optimally advantageous decisions is my definition of fun, much to the dismay of friends who attempt to engage me in them purely as social activities. (Either I play for blood or not at all!)

DFS, at least to me, is not as much a short-term game of picking players day after day, but a long-term game of developing the optimal playing philosophy. While anyone with a halfway decent knowledge of a sport and an hour of research can construct a winning lineup on a given day, it’s those who combine that with a solid grasp of the fundamental theory behind the game that profit consistently over time.

For this reason, I believe relying too heavily on “player pick” articles hinders your progress of getting better at DFS. They’re great for a start, to get your feet wet for a slate, but they ultimately become a crutch that prevents you from walking on your own, profitably. And once you are able to assess the dynamics of a slate – from a “game behind the game” perspective – you’re more likely to find yourself successfully landing on an optimal lineup construction and winning consistently.

While it’s quite arrogant of me to proclaim I am somehow an “expert” for this weekly Q&A column, I would at least consider myself a “student of the game” – always learning, experimenting, analyzing – and appreciate sharing the intellectual exercises with you. Hopefully, we both gain some insight in the process. Onto this week’s question!

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