Fantasy sports have exploded in popularity in recent years. While sports gambling is nothing new, the practice of assembling a dream team from real-life players and betting on their season-long performance has become a staple of the internet age. There are countless sites dedicated to fantasy sports, and quite a few allow you to make money from your bets.
Still, anyone who’s ever been to a casino or a racetrack knows that showing up isn’t enough to turn a profit. Making money off of fantasy sports involves a lot of legwork, from tracking stats, to making the right trades, to choosing the right league. So if you really want to turn your love of fantasy sports into a money-making venture, be sure to do your research before starting an account on DraftKings or FanDuel. Read ahead to reduce the surprises.
Choose a Sport
Before you become a fantasy sporting world tycoon, you’ll need to learn the ins and outs by playing one single sport. You’d be smart to choose a sport you already follow and understand, so you don’t have to learn too much along the way.
Of course, there are other considerations beyond which sport is your favorite. Consider the amount of games per season in various conferences. Major League Baseball, for instance, has 162 games in a season (2020 excepted), which gives you 162 opportunities to earn points in your fantasy league—points that can translate into money.
You might also want to think about how many fantasy players a given sport attracts. Football, for example, is the most popular fantasy sport in America, which means that you will likely be competing against a huge pool of players. Alternatively, if you choose a less-crowded game like baseball or golf, you’ll have fewer competitors and a better chance of making some money.
Nathaniell Brenes, founder of the blog One More Cup of Coffee, emphasizes the importance of tracking player stats and other information.
“The simple truth of the matter,” he writes, “is that you are going to need to crunch data if you really want to be good at fantasy sports.”
Brenes suggests using Excel or Google Sheets to form a table that stores data on player salaries, points per game, and other valuable information that will affect your fantasy point total. But this work must start well before the season begins, as it will help you recruit a fantasy team of the most promising prospects.
Of course, it’s impossible to guess which players will have a perfect season and which players will flounder. But that’s the same quandary real-life sports managers face all the time, and it’s why teams trade away players in mid-season. Still, that’s just another reason you must track data during the season. It’s so you can be aware of which players are making a splash and which players are disappointing. You may want to trade your own fantasy players in parallel to real-life events.
Find a League That Works For You
There are countless leagues online and they offer varying payouts. If you’re seriously looking to make money, you’d be wise to survey the landscape before choosing which contest to enter. Options include:
- Money Leagues – these leagues charge upwards of $1,500 just to enter, but, on the other side, they also offer grand prizes of up to $500,000. So if it’s your first foray into fantasy sports, you probably won’t stand a chance against the more experienced bettors who will be drawn to the money leagues. You may be better off starting small before dipping into such a high-stakes competition.
- 50/50 plays – these leagues typically involve 100 players with a guaranteed a cash payout to at least half of all participants. That’s because it splits the winnings among the fifty top players. Whether you rank as the league’s No. 1 player or its 49th, you’ll earn the same amount of money in the end. That means you don’t have to assemble the perfect roster. Your team only needs to be above-average.
- Free leagues – there are a number of ad-supported sites, like Wanna Make a Bet, which charge no entry fee at all. In these games, multiple players can earn money at the end of the season, since the prizes are allocated based on points, as opposed to a winner-takes-all model.
Spend Money to Make Money
After you’ve gotten the hang of the fantasy game, and you’re ready to start making real money, you’ll have to invest a little of your own. There are a number of services online that use an algorithm to perfect your fantasy roster. For $20 a month, Daily Fantasy Café will crunch the numbers and spit out an ideal roster for your fantasy team. Similarly, for $15/month, RotoGrinders will let you input your fantasy team and will give you recommendations on how to fine-tune your roster for optimal earnings.
But remember, gambling of any kind is a risky venture, making it more likely you’ll lose money than you’ll strike it big. But if you put in the time to learn the ropes, and track the data wisely, you may end up turning your passion for fantasy sports into a respectable side hustle.
Internal Links: “How to Make Money with Fantasy Football”