Optimizing Investments with Bankroll Allocation in DFS

Want to keep winning money in DFS? Manage your bankroll like a boss!

Matt Brown
By Matt BrownPublished: April 17, 2024
Optimizing Investments with Bankroll Allocation in DFS

Mastering bankroll allocation in DFS can significantly impact your long-term success and profitability. If you've been around for a while, you undoubtedly understand this concept.

Understanding and implementing strategic bankroll management safeguard your investments and maximize your potential returns. 

That's right, we said investments. That's because when you approach your DFS lineups as investments, you're more likely to make better decisions.

Let's break down the essentials of effective bankroll allocation in DFS that our pros and others we've played against use on a regular basis.

What is Bankroll Management?

While it might seem obvious, we feel we should start with a brief explanation of what exactly bankroll management is.

Bankroll management is the practice of managing your DFS budget to ensure you can withstand losses without exhausting your funds, thus remaining in the game long enough to see significant profits.

It involves deciding how much money to allocate to different games based on your total available funds, risk tolerance, and the type of DFS contests you are entering.

You can't win every game. Plain and simple. However, if you manage your cash adequately, you'll stick around long enough to see yourself go through a hot streak and start raking in the cash.

Strategies for Effective Bankroll Allocation

We've seen it all and have determined that a prudent approach to bankroll allocation hinges on several strategies tailored to DFS's unique aspects.

Understanding Contest Types

DFS offers a variety of contest types, including cash games and tournaments. Each type requires a different strategy for bankroll allocation. Keep in mind that each DFS platform has its own spin on various games and contest types, so you might want to get into the intricacies of each platform as well.

  • Cash Games (50/50s, Head-to-Heads). Some of the most beloved contests by DFS pros are the cash games. These games are generally lower risk, and it's advisable to allocate a larger portion of your bankroll here. For instance, you might decide to use 50% of your daily bankroll on cash games. The goal is steady and more predictable returns. A DFS pro might allocate around 60% of his daily budget to cash games, where his consistent strategy focuses on picking reliable players like Patrick Mahomes or Christian McCaffrey, who consistently perform well.
  • Tournaments (GPPs). Tournaments are at higher risk because they require finishing at the top of a large field to see significant returns. Consequently, they should make up a smaller portion of your daily bankroll. For example, you might limit tournament play to 20% of your daily budget. Experienced players often choose high-ceiling players who might have lower ownership percentages, giving them a competitive edge if those players perform exceptionally well. An example is selecting a less popular, potential breakout receiver like CeeDee Lamb in a week, where mainstream picks revolve around more well-known stars.
  • Pick'Ems. Not every platform offers pick 'em, but they're fun to play. These contests involve you picking various players' stats and whether they'll be under or over that number. For example, Victor Wembanyama, the power forward for the San Antonio Spurs, might have an over/under of 10.5 rebounds in a game. You would pick whether he'll be higher or lower than that. We recommend not allocating much bankroll to these types of games as the metrics are calculated fairly accurately by the DFS operators (i.e., Vivid Picks, Underdog Fantasy, etc.), and you stand around a 50% chance of getting it right.

There are, of course, more games than these ones, but these are some of the more popular contest types you'll see on various DFS apps.

Use a Percentage-Based System

A common method used by pros in DFS is the percentage-based system, where you decide in advance what percentage of your total bankroll to risk in a single day.

A commonly recommended figure is between 3% and 5%. This means if you have a $1,000 bankroll, you would spend $10 to $30 daily on entries.

This system keeps your spending in check and prevents the risk of quickly blowing through your bankroll.

The 3-5% rule isn't a hard-and-fast rule, but it's a good starting point. If you're more risk averse, then you might want to stick to 3% or less; however, if you're more risk tolerant, then 5%+ might be your style. There's no right or wrong answer here.

Some DFS players even put a spin on this and apply the 3-5% rule to each contest. There's a bit more risk in that, especially if you clone your lineups across multiple contests.

Diversify Your Entries

Like all investments — stocks, bonds, etc. — diversification is huge.

Just like investing in the stock market, diversification can protect your DFS bankroll. Instead of pouring all your allocated funds into one type of contest or betting all on one slate, spread it out.

Participate in multiple types of contests and consider entering different sports. For example, during NFL season, a savvy DFS player might also enter NBA contests if their football choices look risky or if there's particularly good value available in basketball for the night.

This isn't to say you should play in sports contests you don't know much about. That's a different topic altogether. However, you could diversify your lineups throughout various contests in the same sport so you don't blow through your bankroll when one of your stars doesn't perform. Unfortunately, many DFS platforms like DraftKings and FanDuel make it too easy for you to copy over your lineups into different contests. We only recommend doing this when you have no doubt that your lineup will rock.

Manage Your Bankroll Like a Pro!

Effective bankroll management in DFS is crucial for both safeguarding your investment and optimizing your chances for substantial payouts.

After all, that's what it's all about. We all want to play DFS for a huge payday, but you can only do that if you treat the contests like investments and not one-off gambles.

By understanding the types of contests, leveraging a percentage-based allocation system, and diversifying your game entries, you can maintain a healthy bankroll and increase your likelihood of DFS success. 

The goal is to stay in the game long enough to catch those big wins, and smart bankroll allocation is key to achieving just that.

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.