This is a weekly article to discuss my thoughts regarding playing cash games.  Cash games are generally considered to be Head to Head, Double Ups, 50/50’s, Triple-ups, as well as small multi-player games where your chances of cashing are 33% or higher. 



My Fantasy History


My grandpa infused upon me a love of sports.  I grew up in Southern California and fell in love with with the Angels, Raiders, and Lakers.  When Gretzky was traded to LA, I became a Kings Fan.  I played soccer my whole life and still coach all my kids and referee on the side.  My grandpa would take me to HS football games.  We’d watch games together.  He’s now 97 and I’m not sure how much longer I will get to spend with him on this Earth.  So when his beloved Dodgers made it to the WS this year I cheered for them like crazy.  When they lost that Game 7 I was heartbroken for him.  I called him, and he said… “Craig, it’s OK, there’s always next year!”

That’s perspective.  It’s perspective that I’ve had to learn along the way.  Both in life, marriage, my job, as well as in fantasy sports.

Packham family.jpg


In 1991, my brother Joel, my friend Scott, and I joined a fantasy Football league.  It was back when we had to call our Free Agents in at noon and beat the other owners on the phone call.  LOL.  Crazy times.  I was instantly addicted, even as a dorky 17-year old kid. Then, in 2002, after my beloved Angels won the Series, I became interested in baseball again and started playing fantasy baseball and loved it. 

In the past few years I’ve started with Basketball and found my groove I guess.  Now, I’ve gotten my boys playing in leagues with me as they’ve become teens and fallen in love with sports.  I’ve always been a season long player.

However, I was always frustrated with other owners quitting during the year, as well as injuries ruining the season, or players being sat for no reason during my playoffs among other reasons.

Then, in the Fall of 2016, I discovered DFS.  Wow, I thought, this solves everything, right?  Injuries are gone… At least long term.  Players losing their starting spots… fixed.

Basically, I get to draft one or more teams every night.  I get to decide based on matchups.  Put a value on each lineup and enter them into contests.  So let’s give the DFS thing a try.



My Adventurous First Year = DFS Frustration


I won!  I entered the Millionaire maker in September 2016 and won almost $300 one night.  It would have been over $500 if David Johnson would have gotten the ball over the goal line on that Seattle/Arizona Sunday Night game that ended in a tie because the kickers kept missing kicks.  You all remember that game, right?

Anyways, I was sure I was going to retire someday because of all my DFS winnings.  After all, I’ve played Fantasy Sports for over 2 decades and I am a huge sports fan.  And now I’ve won some money.  What could go wrong?  I’ll just keep applying the process and build up a nice nest egg.

So, I started throwing money into big tournaments.  Why dabble with cash games?  That’s not going to make me rich I thought.  Well, about 2-3 weeks later, I was making another deposit in draftkings since my balance was gone.  Then a few weeks later, once again.  What the heck?!  So then I started to research.  And what did all that research from roto-trash, and other google searches lead me too?  More losses.  Then I started listening to podcasts and more of the same.  They were scripting lineups and max entering in multiple entry contests.  I tried this with $0.25 multi-entry contests and just found that I was achieving negative ROI every day.  I was still learning what the difference was between a cash player or a cash lineup vs. a gpp lineup.

Toward the end of the NBA season last year… in large part thanks to Daniel A. Green (aka. The Judge of DG Courtroom), I was starting to achieve some glory.  I was winning more often.  I knew the difference between a cash player and a tournament player.  I was pulling positive ROI regularly.

Then baseball hit and it was a totally different world.  Losses after losses.  Halfway through the summer I quit.  I was done playing DFS.  Couldn’t afford it anymore.

Then football came back and I was sucked back in, but once again found myself pulling negative ROI.  I spent the month of September at about -20% ROI.  I was struggling and frustrated with myself.  I thought I was building good lineups, but I’d just miss cash.  Or I’d Min cash but it would barely make back 1.5x my buy-in and at my winning percentage the rake was killing me.

Then Basketball got fired up and I kept following the same logic and I kept losing.  Even listening to Judge I was putting good lineups in and winning a high percentage of contests and still pulling Negative ROI.  Weeks 1-3 of NBA saw me pull a -23% ROI. 

Does this sound like any of you?




The Revelation


I started looking at numbers.  And numbers don’t lie.  I started evaluating Rake (This is the Percentage that the Websites take before giving out prizes). I started doing some basic math to determine what my chances were to achieve various levels of cash prizes. 

For Example:

If I enter a $1 Single Entry Tournament on Draftkings, what percentage of the field would I have to beat to achieve double my money?  Triple?  5 times? 10 times?

Next, I looked at the various multiplayer and multiplier contests on the website and did the same math.  What I found was astounding.

Packham chart.jpg


Now I realize the appeal of playing a GPP.  There are more columns to the right.  Like 20x, 100x, even 1000x.  But obviously those are dart throws anyhow.  Very, very low percentage chance of winning or even finishing top 5-10.

So, I had to do some self-reflection.  And I asked myself the following questions:

·         What is my goal with playing DFS?

·         Have I been entering the correct contests to accomplish this goal?

·         If I change to smaller contests will I miss the thrill of the big payday?



November Rewards


So I started out November with the goal of playing 90% of my contests in smaller multipliers, leagues, top 3,5 winner, winner take all type of contests.  Contests with generally 5-50 players.

And the results were staggering.

Here are the numbers for November:

·         Avg played per slate:  $35/night (slate)

·         30.5% was allocated toward Tournaments with a -14.8% ROI.

·         23.3% was allocated to cash double-ups, 50/50’s and H2H’s with -16.8% ROI.

·         46.2% was allocated to multiplier, Leagues, small-man (3/5) sided, Winner Take All, etc… contests with a +49% ROI.

·         Overall ROI for the month was +13.6%.


(These numbers can be found by using the DFS Analyzer link on rotogrinders website)

Now I know that 30 days of data and over $1000 in contest entries is still a small sample size that needs to be tested over a long period of time… but I was excited with this information.

Also, one of the things I was doing was looking at who the other players in the contest were, what their badge level accomplishment was, if they were a top player or not.  This is pretty simple to do on Draftkings.  I’ve heard it is more difficult on FanDuel.

That way I was limiting my exposure to top notch players, and targeting lesser experienced players, to help increase my odds of winning.  It’s all about increasing your percentages of success.

I know there will be good nights and bad nights but hopefully my growth will follow this type of a linear graph similar to the Dow over the years.






So, I’ve come around to the idea of just pushing ROI.  Do I still throw a percentage each slate into tournaments to maybe get that huge prize?  Of course.  But more and more of my allocation is going to smaller field contests with higher percentage of multiplying my money.  Hopefully that will grow my bankroll over time.

The Judge always mentions that we need to evolve as DFS players.  Well, I’ve evolved this past month and, perhaps, will do so again.

I admonish each of you to evaluate your numbers with a little more detail and see where your strengths are.  I’m not going to preach that my method is the right one.  It just may be that the way I form lineups is more conducive to the smaller field contests.

Good luck in all your contests tonight.



You can reach Craig on twitter @cpackham007 or on the Slack chat.  You can also email him at  He’d love to hear your takes as well.