On Thursday, DraftKings announced that they would be implementing a series of changes to the site to put themselves in line with demands of proposed state regulations, many of which make an effort to level the playing field between experienced players and new players.
Among the changes will be the banning of external third party scripts and daily fantasy tools, scheduled to take effect on January 28th. Earlier this summer, Draftkings had amended their terms to allow for players to use certain scripts. In its place, DraftKings has created their own lineup tool which is currently available to all players.
Other changes announced by DraftKings include the identification of experienced players to all users and the addition of entry limits to non-GPP contests.
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New DraftKings Script Changes Explained
Daily fantasy sports tools and scripts have grown in popularity recently as (mostly) sharp players look for ways to make the administration of their lineups more efficient. Starting January 28th, DraftKings will ban these external third-party DFS scripts and tools that make submitting lineups on DraftKings much easier. To level the playing field, DraftKings will be adding a tool of their own that all players will be able to utilize. More information on that tool below.
Some of these newly barred tools including the RotoGrinders lineup script allowed players to make late lineup switches in mass instead of having to make changes manually. DraftKings has asked RotoGrinders to update their existing tool to the same tool that DraftKings has given players.
Players could previously find this tool and others easily by making a simple Google search. Another popular tool among players is by FantasyCruncher, which promises that players “can create 50 totally unique lineups in under a minute.” FantasyCruncher also provides an expert prediction on their site.
In addition to the changes to DFS scripts, DraftKings will also begin identifying and marking players that they have determined are “experienced” users. This move will enable less skilled players to know who these players are before joining contests with these players. According to ESPN, DraftKings is still discussing what criteria to use to designate and identify experienced players on the site.
Lastly, ESPN also noted that DraftKings will be putting further limits on the number of non-guaranteed prize pool contests that players can join, which will depend on buy-in level per game type, but will generally be 50 entries per non-guaranteed contest. DraftKings had previously tweaked entry limits in November.
Reasons for the DraftKings Changes
A lot of players using third party tools are upset. Why make these changes?
A big catalyst for these changes is the increased pressure to adhere to proposed guidelines that regulators have and will be demanding as the industry continues to receive scrutiny. Massachusetts was one of those states that proposed broad guidelines on the industry after the fallout from the DraftKings data leak. The use of scripts was among the guidelines set forth. Not only did the guidelines bar the use of external scripts but those caught trying to skirt the rules would be terminated by the daily fantasy sports site.
In addition, if you are an online poker player, you likely have a bit of deja vu with similar policies instituted in the online poker world. In a skill-based game like poker or daily fantasy sports, professional players tend to get sharper over time, creating a more skilled player base overall. At first, this is fine when growth is strong. However, over time and especially as growth slows, the rate at which sharp players greatly exceeds the supply of new players to the game.
It can get can a bit complicated, but in short, new players who don’t improve their skills tend to lose their money faster in these environments. This naturally frustrates players more quickly, and as a result, these players are more likely to lose interest in the pastime. This process can be accelerated by policies that favor more seasoned players, such as allowing scripts and not putting reasonable limits on entries.
The poker industry realized after awhile that the best way to tackle the problem is to make the games more appealing to new and recreational players. This is likely one reason why DraftKings and some other DFS sites have limited the number of contests you can join.
About the New DraftKings Tool
With the banning of external daily fantasy sports tools and scripts, DraftKings players will now be limited to using lineup editing tools provided by DraftKings.
The new tool, which has already been released, aims to make it easier for players to enter their DraftKings lineups in bulk. DraftKings has also promised that they will continue to improve the product and features so that the site can be used more “quickly and efficiently.”
With the “Lineup Upload” tool, players can download a lineup template, fill out their lineup and then upload a CSV spreadsheet with their lineups
Players must first go to the Lineup Upload page. Players can also find this section under “My Lineups.”
To move forward, select a sport and pick a start time. At this piont, you will be able to download the template to an excel file.
Contained within the file will be a list of players for that contest, their positions and salaries.
Copy and paste the ID of the player into your roster. The ID will be unique to the player for the specific slate. For each row, you can create another lineup, up to 500 lineups per file.
Click the Upload CSV button and add your file. You should see a result like this:
The next time you go to “My Lineups” you will be able to use your lineups to join contests:
So who should use the DraftKings Lineup tool?
If you create many lineups for your daily fantasy contests and don’t use a tool, you should find the DraftKings tool helpful to you in quickly creating lineups and uploading them as a group (up to 500).
If you use a script, the DraftKings tool may not go far enough for you. Rotogrinders notes that the DraftKings tool doesn’t currently support bulk lineup edits; players who want this feature are encouraged to contact DraftKings to add the feature. Players disappointed in the banning of third part dfs tools are undoubtedly hoping hopefully DraftKings delivers on the promise that they will further improve the tool.
Full DraftKings Email Communication
If you didn’t receive the email communication from DraftKings regarding the new changes you can see their full statement to players below:
At DraftKings, our customers are at the core of everything we do. We are continuously seeking your feedback and optimizing our product to ensure that we are offering the best possible experience for all our users.
Today, as part of an ongoing dialogue with our users, we are taking additional steps to enhance our platform.
We know that efficiency and user experience is extremely important to DraftKings players. To that end, we recently launched a new tool that makes it easier for players to enter their DraftKings lineups, and we will continue to innovate and add features that allow everyone to use our site quickly and efficiently.
With the implementation of the new tool, effective January 29, 2016, DraftKings will prohibit the use of scripts and other automated means of interacting with our site. Though all customers were previously allowed to use scripts, going forward, all users must use only the tools available on the DraftKings site to submit lineups, enter contests, and perform all site activity.
DraftKings is committed to providing competitive and entertaining contests for our players while ensuring transparency of the Daily Fantasy Sports industry and we have been engaged for years in proactively defining ground-rules for responsible play.
We encourage you to send us your feedback and ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.