Daily fantasy sports players number in the millions. In fact, some estimates have the total number of players at 20 million. Fantasy sports has evolved over the year from players calculating numbers on paper with their buddies.
Daily fantasy sports have become a sensation where knowledgeable sports fans can test their skills every single day against other like-minded players from around the globe. The information regarding individual sports has also grown infinitely. FanDuel is often credited with the origination of daily fantasy sports. The business operations launched there in 2009. Perhaps nobody ever realized how quickly the industry would grow.
Are daily fantasy sports characterized as a skill or as gambling? Information is readily available but that doesn’t mean every player utilizes the same research methods. Sports are unpredictable by nature so doesn’t that mean daily fantasy sports have to be a form of gambling?
What Are Daily Fantasy Sports?
Users provide their own daily lineups by picking out different players from different teams competing that specific day. They typically pay an entry fee to compete against other users in the same league. The winner gets the majority of the cash prize and the online site gets their own haul of the prize pot. Players from different sports are priced according to how they are supposed to score that day.
For example, a strong batter in baseball may be expected to hit a home run and get a certain number of RBI because he goes up against a weaker pitcher. His price would be significantly higher than a player who has a lower batting average and less home run potential. A basketball player who scores 30 points per game would have a higher price tag than a player who only puts up 10 points a game. It’s all relevant to the stats in that individual sport. Since the price tags are set, most lineups are seemingly close to the same. How can anyone truly pick a team with a guarantee of a win?
Daily Fantasy Sports As A Skill
The better question is why wouldn’t a daily player use every piece of information? There is such a thing as paralysis by analysis with setting lineups. Too much information might be a bad thing. However, the good daily fantasy baseball players know how to find relevant information on their particular sport. How does a right-handed pitcher do against a strong lefty lineup? How does a left-handed batter do against a dominant lefty pitcher? There’s an overload of information from historical data to recent streaks. The people who turn daily fantasy sports into a skill understand how to analyze the data and use the most important parts. This generally provides for a safer approach to a starting fantasy lineup. There are fantasy experts who charge a fee to deliver their advice.
The most important thing is being able to make a more than educated guess as to how an individual will do on that given day against that specific opponent. We can all assume that a prolific home run hitter is a good start on most days. The big question is whether that home run hitter is worth the price if he is set to face a pitcher he has struggled with. In basketball, a point guard might not do well against a particular defensive opponent. Some players excel on the road while others do not. Some don’t deviate whether they are home or on the road. Some hitters do better in open air stadiums as opposed to domes. The wealth of information and previous performances generally help determine what could happen during the next appearance. The great fantasy players roll with the numbers and previous occurrences.
Daily Fantasy Sports As Gambling
Daily fantasy sports become gambling whenever a player is less informed than his opponent. Without research, players are utilizing a a “hunch” or “guess” to pick which player might perform well. Players that rely on skill always go with concrete numbers unless all other things are equal. If two players have equal attributes and similar past performances, a “hunch” might be the only option left. In other words, all fantasy players end up gambling on lineups to some extent. The difference is the strong players who utilize skill gather vast amounts of information and roll with the numbers.
This eliminates the majority of gambling from the equation. Some politicians have differing opinions on whether daily fantasy sports is skill or should be recognized as gambling. Some have called for the complete shutdown of daily fantasy sports or asked for more regulations. In some ways, daily fantasy sports is similar to horse racing because the information is readily available these days. That doesn’t mean it isn’t often unpredictable. Just like in horse racing, even the most skilled fantasy players lose. With a deeper understanding of situational stats, they’ll most likely win more often.
The bottom line is daily fantasy sports can be a skill when useful and relevant statistics are acquired through the right channels. A user can look at the composite yearly statistics of an individual player they are assessing but that doesn’t provide the complete picture. A daily fantasy expert will look at different scenarios to see how that individual has played under different circumstances.
They’ll find out how they played against that team, individual or in that facility. They might also look for other relevant statistics like how a player does during day or night games. They might utilize recent streaks to see if a player is hot or cold. There are always hunches with daily fantasy sports but the people who walk away with more wins typically utilize every piece of information available to make their educated guess.