On the HBO hit show “Ballers,” Dwayne Johnson and Rob Corddry play a pair of Miami financial advisers seeking out NFL superstars to represent (think “Entourage” for football). At a lunch in a trendy restaurant, Rob’s character talks about his five fantasy football leagues and how he was even kicked out of a sixth for trash talking with a 13-year-old kid.
Fantasy sports are engrained into American pop culture. Entire TV shows like “The League” revolve completely around fantasy sports and don’t hold back on insider references because the show runners know their audience is wise to every last detail of playing fantasy.
But unlike “Ballers” and “The League,” there is real money to be made playing fantasy sports. Not the usual pool of $100 buy-ins we all know and love, but thousands or even millions of dollars. Players all across America are making a killing with fantasy sports and the industry has yet to scratch the surface.
Daily Fantasy and Draft Kings
Your typical head-to-head football league or rotisserie baseball league is good fun amongst friends, but the real money is made playing daily fantasy sports. Normal leagues don’t pay out until the end of the season, but daily fantasy sports pay out as the name implies. Companies like DraftKings.com host daily contests for nearly every sport imaginable and pay out millions each year.
Each contest varies in difficulty and entry fee (the higher the fee, the higher the payout). You can pick something as simple as the winner of a baseball game or something as complicated as how many strikeouts a pitcher will throw that day.
You can win money playing daily fantasy sports, but it’s important to maintain realistic expectations. Yes, you can win millions of dollars but most people don’t. A select number of people who dedicate lots of time and money to a sport are the ones who yield the most success. If you keep the attitude that you’re in it to win a few extra dollars, it’s can be a lot of fun.
Winning by the Numbers
The best general managers in sports are not former players, but wizards of the game who can break down the sport like a math equation. Fantasy sports are no different — the nerd will beat the jock every time. The people who win big playing daily fantasy sports have a formula for winning, much like the world’s best poker players. The Wall Street Journal goes inside the minds of some of the best in the business to figure out how they go Will Hunting on fantasy sports.
Equations and formulas are great for “A Beautiful Mind,” but what helps the average Joe succeed in fantasy? There are some tools and tips to give you a leg up if you want to try your luck in daily fantasy:
Use Your TV Provider
The last resistance for cord cutters — live sports. If you have a cable or satellite subscription, it probably offers more than just live TV. DVR, web streaming, and even fantasy integration can help keep you up to speed and knowledgable on the latest happening in the game.
ESPN, Yahoo, Draft Kings, and nearly every other fantasy service on the Internet has mock drafts. It’s a chance to practice before you play with money on the line. Draft well and draft often.
Download any and every app available for fantasy sports. You don’t want to rely on running to a computer when you have seconds to make a move. It’s as simple as ABC — Always. Be. Connected.