Millionaire Maker Blueprint: The Satellite Strategy

So you're a DFS rookie and like many, you're looking at that million dollar top prize and thinking how you could be just like that regular looking guy from the commercials who pocketed a cool million just from playing DFS. You're shelling out that $20 thinking "It's such a small amount of money to risk for such a huge reward."

First of all, you're doing it wrong. The Millionaire Maker is the great white buffalo. The impossible dream. The odds are stacked against you in a way you probably never fathomed. It is not a battle of 400,000 randomly generated lineups. It is computer warfare. Thousands of statistical models doing battle trying to unearth the hidden gems. You have no chance. Your dog has a better chance of randomly licking your iPhone screen and selecting better players. Alright, maybe that's a tad harsh, but you need to understand what you're up against. Don't have a DraftKings account yet? Well you can sign up on DraftKings here and earn a free entry to Millionaire Maker when you make an initial deposit of $10 or more. If you sign up, I get a free entry too, so do it!

Now that I've told you that you'll never win the Millionaire Maker, you probably don't give a shit and you're still going to try. Well, then you're just like me and everyone else. You have to have a ticket to have a chance. But there are ways we can circumvent the $20 entry fee and end up with 2-3 tickets for the same price. How, you ask? Satellites! Satellites are the portals that transform us from $3 entry fees into the bigger contests with those harder to swallow entry fees.

I earned a Millionaire Maker ticket this week by playing in a $3 NBA Satellite. All you need to do? Place highly in a tournament-style game. In this particular satellite, the goal was to finish top 400 out of approx 3000. That means your lineup needs to be roughly top 10%. No easy feat. Why? Sharks. Same as always. You need to stump the sharks. In this satellite, I chose to go with a small slate Thursday Night NBA with only 6 teams available.

Smiley face

I did not attempt to go too "studs and scrubs" here. This is the NBA. We need production. I choose to fade the expensive Chris Paul at PG and go with the fairly low owned at 9.6% Mike Conley. Conley produced a double-double and a solid return with 37 points. Kent Bazemore was a "scrub" pick, somebody you select purely because of opportunity at low cost. He didn't do much, but did manage to pick up 5 assists, which meant 17.75 points at basement price. Getting solid production across the board meant that I could compete on a night where 300 point lineups wouldn't be happening due to the small slate.

The lineup finished 344th. Good enough for a $20 entry into Millionaire Maker. It was sweet redemption for me after the previous night my 25 cent satellite lineup finished 62nd with only the top 50 places paying out. That lineup didn't pay off even though I scored 314.25 which would be a decent night in cash game. Why? Because the 25 cent satellite only pays 50 out of 4700. You need to be 1% good there. It makes more sense to invest a little bit more ($3 in my case) to be able to have a shot at taking down a prize. While there is allure to gaining the entry to MM off a single quarter, you have to be able to look at the odds logically.

It is more likely that my $3 lineup would be good enough to hit top 12% than 1 of 12 of my .25 lineups hitting top 1%, right? Well, again that comes down to your skill level. You also need to factor in your time. Your time is valuable. Time is money. You may spend the same amount of money ($3) on 1 lineup, but that 3 piece you're spending on 12 quarter lineups is going to mean you need to research and put together 12 lineups with a chance to hitting top 1%. Doing that is going to take a lot more time than putting 1 lineup together, unless you're going to severely half-ass it, and then you might as well just flush that money away.

Stay smart my friends.

-- DFD

Derek Finley

Existing in a world of psychotic monkeys. Writing about sports for passion. Thirsting for knowledge and beer.