Conservative vs. Aggressive Bankroll Management in Daily Fantasy Sports

Matt Brown
By Matt BrownPublished: March 5, 2024
Conservative vs. Aggressive Bankroll Management in Daily Fantasy Sports

In DFS, where victories can feel just a lineup decision away (sometimes they are with the right strategy), the real game often plays out behind the scenes in the strategies players use to manage their bankrolls. Whether you're eyeing the grand prize in a major tournament or aiming to steadily increase your funds through cash games, managing your bankroll can significantly influence your long-term success.

There are really two approaches to managing your bankroll, and it boils down to your experience, knowledge, and risk appetite — conservative and aggressive bankroll management.

What is Bankroll Management?

At its core, bankroll management involves the strategic allocation of your available funds for entering contests. You may have heard us drop this term around here and there in other posts. It's a critical, though often overlooked, component of DFS.

Proper management can prevent you from depleting your account on a bad streak and ensure that you're always in the game.

It's about balancing risk and reward, much like the decisions you make when setting your lineup, but applied to your finances.

We've all been there; you're excited about the game, and you drop a massive amount of cash into a tournament to buy in more slots or go heavy-handed into a cash game. Then, when the game doesn't play out in your favor, your bankroll is depleted to almost nothing.

Then, of course, the next step is to go back to the deposit options and add more money. It's a slippery slope that the pros tend to get under control.

The Conservative Approach

The conservative strategy is all about longevity and minimizing risk. It's particularly appealing to those who see DFS as a long-term investment or for players who are still learning the ropes.

Playing it Safe

Adopting a conservative approach means you'll allocate a small percentage of your total bankroll to entering contests, often recommended to be around 1-5%.

This method allows you to withstand a losing streak without significant damage to your finances. It results in you staying in the game, learning, and gradually building your bankroll over time.

Steady Growth

The beauty of conservative bankroll management lies in the power of compounding.

By consistently making small gains, your bankroll grows steadily. This approach requires patience and discipline, as the temptation to chase losses or jump into higher stakes can be high.

As your bankroll grows, that 3% becomes a larger amount. If your bankroll was $100 when you started, you were dropping $3 per contest. Now that your bankroll is $200, you're dropping $6 per contest. It's an exponential growth, just like stock investments.

Who Should Consider This Strategy?

If you're new to DFS, have a limited bankroll, or simply prefer to avoid high-risk situations, the conservative approach might be for you.

It's also suitable for those who enjoy the game and are in it for the long haul rather than quick wins. We tend to see this with the professionals who play DFS for a living and need to continually grow their bankrolls.

The Aggressive Strategy

On the other side of the coin, an aggressive bankroll management strategy is for those willing to take on more risk for the chance of higher rewards in a shorter timeframe.

High Risk, High Reward

Aggressive players allocate a larger portion of their bankroll to contests, sometimes 10% or more.

This strategy can lead to significant gains if you hit big, but it also comes with the risk of rapid losses. Aggressive management is a bit like swinging for the fences in baseball; when you connect, it's exhilarating, but there's also a higher chance of striking out.

Leveraging Opportunities

An aggressive strategy can be advantageous in situations where you deeply understand the sport or a particular set of games. That's why this bankroll strategy tends to be more in line with highly experienced DFS players.

If you're confident in your research and the edge you have over the competition, allocating more of your bankroll can capitalize on this perceived advantage.

Who Should Consider This Strategy?

This approach suits experienced players who are comfortable with variance and have the financial stability to absorb potential losses.

For the most part, professionals should be the ones using an aggressive bankroll strategy, though, from our experience, it tends to be the casual players or the new players that go in with 20% or more of their bankroll.

It's also for those who seek the thrill of big wins and believe they have a significant edge in certain contests.

Best Practices for Effective Bankroll Management

Regardless of which strategy you choose, several best practices can help you manage your bankroll effectively—

  • Stick to your plan. Discipline is key! Decide on your strategy and stick to it, resisting the urge to change course after a few wins or losses. Consistency is the foundation of a bankroll management plan. What's the point of having a plan if you abandon it when things don't pan out?
  • Keep detailed records. Track your entries, wins, and losses. Analyzing this data can help you refine your strategy and make informed decisions. We recommend something as simple as a spreadsheet.
  • Stay informed. Keep up with player news, matchups, and other factors that can impact your DFS performance. The more informed you are, the better your chances of success.
  • Understand variance. Both wins and losses can come in streaks. Recognizing this can help you maintain a level head and stick to your strategy during ups and downs.
  • Bankroll adjustments. Be willing to adjust your bankroll strategy as it grows or diminishes. What works for a $100 bankroll might not work for a $1,000 bankroll.

When following these best practices for managing your bankroll, you stand a greater chance of being successful regardless of what DFS platform you play on.

Start Playing Smarter

The debate between conservative and aggressive bankroll management in DFS doesn't have a one-size-fits-all answer. If it did, we'd tell you straight up how to move forward. But there are plenty of variables.

It depends on your personal goals, risk tolerance, and financial situation.

Whether you prefer the slow and steady growth of a conservative approach or the high-stakes thrill of an aggressive strategy, effective bankroll management is a critical component of long-term DFS success.

By adopting a strategy that aligns with your preferences and sticking to it through the inevitable ebbs and flows of the game, you can maximize your enjoyment and potential for profit in DFS.

Matt Brown

Matt Brown

Head of DFS

Matt's deep-rooted enthusiasm for sports betting and daily fantasy sports infuses the EatWatchDraft team with valuable expertise in football, hockey, and baseball. His forward-thinking perspectives are grounded in a solid academic foundation, including a B.S. in Aeronautical Computer Science and an M.S. in Project Management. This combination of sports passion and technical knowledge fuels Matt's innovative input to the platform.