I’m No Pro, But Here’s How I Won Over $100K Using Stokastic’s NFL DFS Sims

I’m a sports fan. I’m a sports bettor. I’m a gambler. I enjoy playing DFS. I work with a lot of DFS pros, but I am NOT one myself.

I won over $113,000 playing NFL DFS on Sunday.

Let’s get it out of the way, right? This is an endorsement of Stokastic and the data and tools. I used the NFL Sims to create my winning lineup. When our other winners say the same thing, they’re a little harder to believe. Tom Kennedy was a profitable DFS player before the Sims and he’s the CEO of the company, so he gets met with skepticism after winning $50K and crediting the Sims.

Tom and Steve Buzzard were part of the chop for over $12K in the UFC 297 main contest. Again, they’re pros, so you don’t want to believe them. I get it. I used to think the same thing.

I’m no pro. My biggest DFS win was before I came to Stokastic in a PGA single entry for $7,500. A couple weeks ago, I finished top-5 in the main NBA contest on DraftKings for $3K — four spots shy of $100,000. I used to be a hand-builder, picking golfers I liked on my own and based off the content I consumed during the week. I lost NFL every week because I’d do the same thing. I was too afraid to even try NBA.

Then the Sims happened and they closed the gap from people like me who like to gamble vs. the pros you see at the top every night.

Here’s my winning lineup from Sunday in the NFL $700K Wildcat. It was a $333 entry with up to 70 entries per person and 2,300 entries total.

Before I get into how I built this lineup, let’s go back to how I even ended up in this tournament to begin with. If they wrote a book on bankroll management and contest selection, you probably aren’t finding a section that said I should play this one. But with NFL prize pools just weeks away from the end, I wanted to take my shot. I’ve built up profit over the last month and wanted to take a chance. I was between the $555 single entry with 200 entrants and $20K to first or playing a single lineup in this $333 contest. I went for the bigger prize up top.

That’s the other thing you hear about pros and why you don’t have a chance: They enter more than anyone else, which gives them an advantage. That is true in a sense. It gives them more chances to build positive ROI lineups. But you can still have positive expected value off one lineup. If I built 50 more lineups, it wouldn’t have changed the expected ROI of this single one.

This lineup was the last one I built on Sunday. I was entered into a few other single entries as well as the $3 20-max and a handful of lineups in the Milly Maker. For those, I used the Sims but added my own opinion. I bumped Rachaad White down and moved Chris Godwin up. The Lions run defense is good, which meant less White and more Godwin. Because I know sports, remember?

For this lineup, however, there were no adjustments. I ran the Contest Generator for 2,000 people, chose the 30% top prize option and ran the simulations in the Pre-Contest Simulator.

Here’s my exact screen:

After the Sims are complete, I look at the top Simulated ROI lineups, compare that to the Win% and look at the lineup in general to see if anything stands out. Based on our projections and my own slight opinion, I was leaning toward Baker Mayfield stacks. When it was a Tampa Bay stack on top, that was even better. I scrolled to find the next option because I wanted to see if we could fade White (remember, I know sports!). When there wasn’t one near the top, I just went with the best option. Click the heart, export favorites, upload to DraftKings. That’s it.

Godwin was a bust scoring just 8 fantasy points. White, of course, made it into my winning lineup with 19.10 points — the second-most for running backs on the slate. Turns out maybe I don’t know sports.

And that’s what makes the Sims great. If you want to use your opinion, you can with ROI boosts. I’m more likely to do that in NBA after listening to our Live Before Lock on an over-owned role player that night. More times than not, at least for players like me, my opinion just gets in the way. It’s not just NFL; we’re running Sims for PGA, MMA, NBA with more on the way.

There was nothing in my process anyone else couldn’t have done — other than show a little more restraint and not enter the contest in the first place. Hey, I’m still a gambler who wants to sit at the table across from Johnny Chan and take his shot. With the Sims, I’m a gambler building better lineups.

This isn’t the story of someone hitting a 100-leg parlay telling you to start betting 100-leg parlays. It’s an example of how Stokastic’s tools are closing the gap for players like me. There was SeanGeezy taking down MiniMAX after MiniMAX, winning $2 and $4 tournaments for four-figure amounts. Before that, it was Andrew Biggs turning $0.50 into $1,000 using Lineup Generator.

Wherever you’re at in your DFS process, we can help. I know, because it helped me.

Tommy Stokke is the Editor-in-Chief of Stokastic. He was previously a Senior Editor at Action Network, with prior experience in Managing Editor and Director of Content roles throughout sports media. His DFS sport of choice is golf, but his losing lineups are because no one can putt -- not because he picked the wrong players. He can be reached at [email protected]

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