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Back in April, I deposited $10 into a new DraftKings account. I already knew I wasn’t good at sports gambling, as my record on free wagering games like ESPN’s Streak for the Cash attests, but I gave the money to DraftKings because it got me a year’s subscription to BaseballProspectus.com, something that ordinarily costs $30. I’d already won!
Having secured the benefit of my bargain, I decided to try to win my money back (in reality, a windfall) by playing some DraftKings baseball contests. I needed to turn my $10 into at least $20, that being the site’s minimum cash-out amount. (So risk-adverse am I, I didn’t want to try depositing an additional $10 to see if that would do the trick.)
Early results, like my undisciplined “strategy,” were mixed, but mostly negative, as you know because I did not appear on any commercials this fall holding a Publishers Clearing House check.
In August, FanGraphs began hosting something called SaberSim, a daily analysis of all baseball players driven by matchups and sabermetrics, all stated in terms of projected value based on the way DraftKings and FanDuel each award fantasy points. I decided to use the remainder of the MLB season to put SaberSim to the test. I’d strictly adhere to its optimized lineup, even if its counsel conflicted with my (demonstrably feeble) intuition.
Early results under the SaberSim test remained mixed but were far more positive than before. I soon climbed close– so close!– to that $20 mark. DraftKings’ transaction history log makes it difficult to track these things with precision, but at one point in late August I hit $19.40 (or so). I had one month of regular-season MLB games left to earn less than $1. I did not achieve my revised goal.
After reaching that high-water mark, results, while still mixed, turned decidedly negative, and I finished the season with $0.80, too little to enter another contest without depositing more money, something I have no intention of doing.
When I discovered SaberSim, I had visions of writing a fun post here on how best to use the new tool to make a little money in daily fantasy sports. Instead, all you get is this piddling tale.
Something you also get is a link to my latest post at TechGraphs, an overview of two new lawsuits filed against DraftKings and FanDuel by a person who lost money on both sites.
The full post is available here.