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A blogger tries Fanduel for the first time: the results won't surprise you

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You can go a long time blogging about Fanduel without actually playing Fanduel.

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Here's a thing -- roughly a month after I became a fat cat corporate blogger, I decided to actually try Fanduel. Despite what I considered to be a relatively good understanding of how daily fantasy works, I'd had little desire to try it. This isn't an indictment against the service (and this isn't me pandering to it either) -- my indifference had simply won out.

Until yesterday anyways. There was no sudden urge that washed upon me, but rather the realization that Fanduel gave me money to try it, so I might as well waste it. Turns out, playing daily fantasy is as user friendly as you'd expect (a little too user friendly to be honest, but you can understand why). So I played one lineup with a low entry fee, and ended up actually coming away with a small bit of money. Nothing significant mind you, think playing a scratch off lottery ticket and uncovering one panel that wasn't laughing in your face.

Having actually played, I learned a few things as well. To veteran players, this will sound familiar, but if you're new like me, or haven't even tried it, there are a few things you should know.

Know the match-ups

This is important, not just for who your players are going up against, but how do they play against those teams, are they at home or on the road, and whether they are the second game of a back-to-back. For instance, Kemba Walker's been on fire recently, but he wouldn't have been a good pick playing in his second game in as many nights (oddly enough, I couldn't even select him, and I don't have an answer as to why).

But I'd recommend picking players against more favorable match-ups. I went with DeMarcus Cousins given he was playing a Pacers team playing in it's second game in as many nights. Cousins went for a career high 48 points, and picked up 63.6 fantasy points, so I'd say that was a good call. If you know an opposing team doesn't have the personnel to defend a particular player, and the team match-up favors your player's team, they'll likely end up a solid pick.

The value picks can trump the expensive ones

Last night's winner in my league had just one player that cost over $10,000, Anthony Davis, but they struck gold by wisely choosing Lebron James, who cost only $9,600 (which for James, is good value), along with the likes of C.J. McCollum ($7,700) and Danilo Gallinari ($6,900). These players are safer bets -- they've been consistent enough all season that there's a high probability they will produce. Look for these players, and don't hesitate to pick them, especially when they don't cost a whole lot.

Take a chance on a few low-cost players

This can make the difference in winning a few dollars, and winning hundreds, or even thousands. The winner from my league took full advantage of this, picking Tyson Chandler ($4,400), Myles Turner ($4,200) and Archie Goodwin, ($3,700), who finished with 56.9(!), 30.2, and 35.2 fantasy points respectively. The three of them cost just $12,300, and accounted for 122.3 of the 373.2 (roughly a third) total points he made. That's crazy good production from three players who you'd take modest returns from. It helps that Chandler finished 27 rebounds, but this is the perfect kind of player to select when you're salary cap is low. Chandler won't always have this kind of night, but he's capable of it, which makes him worth the play.

Disclaimer: Even though this is a sponsored post with affiliate links, all of the opinions in this post are my own. And as an FYI, FanDuel provided me funds to play its daily fantasy games.

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