[toc]The daily fantasy sports industry has spawned a number of peripheral businesses in the fields of content, data and strategy.
FantasyAdvantage is one of the new kids on the block in the latter category.
According to its mission statement, the platform aims “to become an easy gateway for casual sports lovers and seasonal fantasy players into the daily fantasy sports world.”
What is FantasyAdvantage?
FantasyAdvantage is a lineup construction tool with the stated purpose of expanding the daily sports ecosystem.
Essentially, it is a picks platform which offers a small selection of optimal plays for the week’s contests. It is tailored toward the needs of the recreational user.
Rather than choosing from the full field of players, users choose from just three players at each position. They’re divided into three tiers — Stud, Solid and Bargain.
The site is the concept of former Google marketing professionals Or Lifshitz and Rotem Haber. Both men have degrees in economics.
Lifshitz is the CEO, and he talked about the thought process that led to the development of FantasyAdvantage:
The battle for a healthy ecosystem is the number one concern for all major fantasy operators.
As the professional fantasy players continue to expand their toolbox of high-end, complicated data-analysis tools, the real challenge for fantasy operators is the recreational players.
FantasyAdvantage provides a way for inexperienced users to draft a competitive lineup with little to no legwork.
A look at the features of FantasyAdvantage
FantasyAdvantage’s website is visually appealing and provides a streamlined user experience.
The main landing page broadcasts the site’s primary messaging: “Build a winning daily fantasy lineup in minutes!” Emphasis on the “in minutes” part.
There is a concise, three-step explainer below the fold, too:
- Faster — Our algorithm will give you the top 3 players for each position every day. All you have to do is choose one.
- Smarter — We collect all the projections from the top sports analysts every day to supercharge your picks.
- Free — Our service is absolutely free. No monthly charge, no paywall, no locked premium features.
There is just one button to click, labeled “Start Drafting.” Users then flow to a screen where they select which sport they’re playing.
NFL lineup tools are available for DraftKings, FanDuel, and FantasyDraft, and FanDuel for the NBA.
As far as menu navigation goes, there are three options: Lineup Wizard, Lineup Optimizer, and Player Ranking.
Once in the lineup creation screen, users are presented with their first three options. For NFL contests, the quarterback position is on the clock.
Only “the top three” options are presented, but there is a bit more going on under the hood. The first time I loaded the screen, my available quarterback choices for Week 11 were Alex Smith (Stud), Jared Goff (Solid) and Eli Manning (Bargain).
On refresh, Tom Brady replaced Eli Manning, and the available players were recategorized according to their salaries. Goff took on the Bargain role, while Smith slid down to the Solid spot.
Drew Brees and Matthew Stafford also appeared during subsequent refreshes, so it’s not a case of the top three options being presented consistently.
By clicking “Load More Players,” users can manually access players deeper in the rankings. Some of them are uncategorized and will never appear within the top three.
The process is repeated for each position, with the client automatically advancing as spots are filled. There is also an “Auto Pick Team” button at the bottom of the page which further expedites the process at the expense of hand-picking players.
Completed lineups can be exported directly to the corresponding DFS platform, though that feature had limited functionality at the time of writing. FantasyAdvantage says it selects “the most appropriate contest” for its users. For DraftKings, that appears to be the week’s biggest $3 guaranteed prize pool.
A “Start Over” button takes users right back to the lineup creation screen.
The lineup optimizer is a completely hands-off lineup generator, an even simpler version of the lineup wizard. Users select from three categories of pre-constructed lineups:
- Play it Safe: Designed to raise the floor and lower variance, these lineups are probably best suited to cash games.
- Fad Picks: Designed to be the “optimal picks” based on dozens of sources, these are all-purpose lineups.
- High Risk: Designed to raise the ceiling and increase variance, these lineups are probably best suited to tournaments.
This feature suffers from some of the same issues as the lineup wizard. The player pool is very small, and there doesn’t seem to be understandable logic behind the options that are presented. The first time I loaded the page, the “Play it Safe” and “High Risk” lineups were exactly the same.
The player ranking page provides a list of players with the options to sort them according to a handful of metrics like salary or projected points. Clicking on a player’s name opens up a card that shows salary, matchup and the player’s basic stat line.
Again, users will be trading some depth for brevity. Some of the data within the rankings doesn’t quite make sense.
For example, sorting Week 12 quarterbacks by ranking put the top three where you’d expect them—at the top. Blaine Gabbert is ranked No. 4 on that primary list, but clicking on his player card shows that he’s ranked as the #17 quarterback by some other undefined metric.
It’s also not clear exactly what purpose this page serves. FantasyAdvantage’s key selling point is that it does all the research for you. You just press a button and it spits out a lineup. Skimming through stats and week-to-week rankings might be a little much for the most casual players, and the tool is not robust enough to be useful to serious players either.
FantasyAdvantage pros and cons
Although its usefulness is narrow, FantasyAdvantage might provide a couple of benefits to inexperienced DFS players.
Selecting a pool of players is the first step of the week for most DFS users and arguably the most time-consuming part of the process. FantasyAdvantage takes that step out of the equation.
There are some significant strategy limitations with the auto-pick feature, though.
In the trial I performed with the lineup wizard, several players were drafted on each attempt at creating an automatic lineup. A.J. Green, for example, was placed into every single lineup I created. Likewise, I was given either the Bears or Rams defense each time.
Although certain positions can be locked in manually, the pool of available players is quite small. As a result, lineups created through FantasyAdvantage will have very little differentiation. They’ll be quite similar to each other, in other words. And differentiation is one of the major keys to winning large-field GPP contests.
For that reason, seasoned DFS players and those creating multiple lineups may not find much use for the tool. They’ll often be digging deeper into rosters, looking for value and pivot plays that won’t be available on FantasyAdvantage.
Tools like FantasyLabs and Rotogrinders might be more useful to that segment of the player pool.
Still, the platform might be an ideal solution for newer players with limited time and low volume. If you want a quick snapshot of the week’s most popular picks, FantasyAdvantage is a reasonable tool to use.
According to past surveys, around 50 percent of DFS players pay for third-party content. They’re acclimated to doing so, but FantasyAdvantage’s free product is an attractive way for the others to get a leg up, too.