FanDuel and DraftKings. Those are the two heavy hitters in Daily Fantasy Sites. If you hadn’t heard of them before, I’m sure you’ve heard of them by now. It’s estimated that the two sites have pumped more than $150 million into the radio and airwaves in order to boost awareness and participation. The ads are everywhere. A simple word like “beer” or “pretzels” can earn you up to $600 in deposit matching from the sites. They show success stories of average people turned millionaires with the click of a button. People who have won hundreds of thousands of dollars and risked pennies on the dollar. It’s a good ad, though slightly misleading. (more on that later) But what I’m concerned with is the possibility that these sites have shot themselves in the foot. That they’ve gone too far with the ad campaigns.
This is too much.
This is what you’re greeted with when you are trying to access your ESPN fantasy team. It’s a full on ad explosion of FanDuel madness. I literally had to search before I was able to find the link for my teams. I was overwhelmed. This was far more annoying than the average 45 second commercial blitz. People coming to this particular part of the ESPN site are likely already fantasy sport fans, and as such, have probably heard of Daily Fantasy Sites and FanDuel. So is this necessary?
Ironically the crowd that seems to be complaining the loudest are fantasy fans.
— NFL Humor (@NFLHumor) October 5, 2015
I think as fantasy players, we can see how misleading the ads are. The sites are trying to turn something that many devote a large portion of their time to, into something less that what it is. Turning it into a game of luck. Being good at fantasy sports isn’t luck, it’s a skill. To be an exceptional fantasy player requires time, effort, and research. Do you think Matthew Berrys just fall off the turnip truck every day? No. It takes years of time and energy to get to a level where you can predict the production of teams and players. Often, it’s fantasy players who are the ones profiting from daily leagues. They already have a basic knowledge and skill set that puts them ahead of the curve. Are there fantasy players out there that aren’t the best daily league players? Absolutely. Are there daily league winners out there that possess only a basic knowledge of football or fantasy sports? It’s possible. But the majority of winners are coming from a select group of people. In fact,
“Sports Business Journal reported that 91 percent of the winnings at daily fantasy sports sites are claimed by just 1.3 percent of players — the so-called sharks. These winners, some of whom play full time, rely on sophisticated algorithms, trend data and knowledge of the games and matchups to invest heavily in optimal lineups for each 24-hour period.”
So these average joes flashing their hard earned checks are the exception not the rule.
Speaking of Daily League sharks deadspin.com has just released an article about possible insider betting.
Winning a contest like Millionaire Maker, which has hundreds of thousands of participants, is less about buying up the best players than about finding market inefficiencies and selecting players who will help the fewest amount of your competitors while running cheap relative to their production. (This is basic tournament strategy; it’s the same reason you’re discouraged from picking all chalk in a large March Madness pool.) Thus, when you select a lineup, you have to try, blindly, to determine both the bargain value and how under-the-radar your lineup will fly.
Of course, if you have this data ahead of time—as certain DraftKings employees evidently do, or did—you have a massive advantage over your competitors. There’s no guesswork, only algorithmic scheming. You can remove the behavioral uncertainty from the equation and play knowing all opposition strategies.
Pretty much a DraftKings employee had access to information that he used to win a high stakes league at FanDuel. New information suggests that the employee may not have had access to the information until after he had formed his lineup, but the reporting of the story has cast quite the shadow over the DFS sporting world. Currently, there isn’t much oversight with Daily League Sites. If stories like this keep popping up you can bet this will change. Read the full article here:
Overall, I feel like the media blitz, and the misrepresentation by the sites, kind of cheapen the product they are trying to sell. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great product. I love fantasy football, and have participated in leagues on both sites. But in my opinion, it’s all become too much. I hope that in the future DraftKings and FanDuel can turn their image around, because right now they’re turning off a lot of fantasy players, as opposed to recruiting their business.