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FanDuel: The keyword of 'small profit' is 'profit,' not 'small'

We all want to say we made our millions in weekly fantasy, but if you can say you got back more money than you started with, isn't that enough?

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Steve Dykes

I used to play more than my share of poker tournaments. We'd get together after work in college at my buddy Greg's and play 10-, 15-player tournaments, paying out the top two or three spots. Honestly? I rarely won those tournaments. Occasionally, sure, but not with any regularity. But what I was very successful at was finishing in the money. If we paid out two spots, I'd finish second. If three, I'd finish third.

In other words, I never got rich playing those poker tournaments. But I almost always turned a profit, and if you can put out any sort of money and come back with more than you started with, you can't really complain.

Last week, I talked about my strategy of five entries in the same FanDuel tournament. The argument was five different rosters gives you a better chance at hitting a big payday. And that argument holds true.

What I think I discussed less adamantly in the piece was the second, less impressive -- but possibly more relevant -- idea that tossing five rosters out there makes you more likely to turn a small profit. To wit, in my 45,977-person tournament from Sunday and Monday, I didn't come out with any great windfall. I would have needed 199.08 points to pull back triple-digit profit, finishing in the top 20. Of my five rosters, the highest score I got was 174.

Before you say "Oh, that's close," 20th place had 199.08 points; my 174 points was only 632nd. But 632nd was good for $14, meaning on my $10 investment, I profited ... four bucks.

I didn't get rich this weekend. I did make some money. It's really the least I could ask.

Now for the week's roster check.

Ten different players put up multiple touchdowns this week (excepting quarterbacks, obviously). Here's how they were represented in the top 10 rosters:

Player No. of
Kelvin Benjamin 4
Dez Bryant 0
Justin Forsett 6
Jimmy Graham 1
Marshawn Lynch 9
Jordan Matthews 4
Jordy Nelson 4
Denard Robinson 3
Emmanuel Sanders 2
Julius Thomas 5

So Marshawn Lynch put up the week's high score and was the most widely owned player. That adds up. The lack of Dez Bryant anywhere was odd, but if a multi-touchdown player is going to go unowned, it would be one of the most expensive players.

Only three quarterbacks were on any of the top 10 rosters -- Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers and Mark Sanchez. In other words, two wildly successful and expensive quarterbacks, and one slightly less successful but much less expensive one.

In short, there weren't many huge surprises this week. Every one of the top 10 rosters had at least three multiple-touchdown guys. The three top defenses were Green Bay, Arizona and Philadelphia, and they were on nine of the top 10 rosters. Lynch was the most owned player on the successful rosters, followed by Justin Forsett and Martavis Bryant.

My most successful roster? Well, I had Rodgers, Forsett, Bryant, Jordy Nelson and Julius Thomas. It was a good roster. Seattle's defense didn't rock anything out for me, and by investing in those guys, I tried to save at running back with Charles Sims, which was the piece that took me from rolling around in piles of money and buying helicopters to bringing back $14. (I don't know how much helicopters cost.)

If you play FanDuel determined to get yourself a spot on its top winners list, you're going to struggle with FanDuel. But if you optimize your chances at small-but-consistent profit, hey, maybe you won't make it into one of those commercials, but you also will, you know, have more money than you started with. And isn't that the point?

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