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A Comprehensive RotoGrinders Review

RotoGrinders is the daily fantasy authority. Founded in 2010, they have been at the forefront of DFS news and analysis since the industry’s beginnings. Over time, they’ve grown into a legitimate one-stop resource for the DFS community.

They strive to be the premier destination for daily fantasy news, tools, and analysis created by the brightest minds in DFS. [1] 

Wondering if RotoGrinders is right for you? This RotoGrinders review takes a deep dive into the offerings of the site and discusses its strengths, weaknesses, and what you need to think about before investing your hard-earned money. 

An Overview of Rotogrinders

Key specifications:

  • Price plan: All-access for 39.95/month.
  • Game coverage: National or International, if it’s a sport, they cover it.
  • Tools Suite: Many tools, chats, podcasts, videos, and articles to teach you the process, fully-featured Lineup Optimizer, advice from top DFS players, interaction, mobile apps, and Chrome Extension.

PROS

Mobile apps for iOS and Android.
They provide advice from top players.
Flexible and sophisticated tools.
They focus on the process. 
Outstanding bang for your buck.

CONS

Too many tools of which to take advantage.
Learning the process requires a time investment.

Who Should be Buying/Using RotoGrinders?

RotoGrinders is a DFS suite of tools and knowledge that will improve your ability to create prosperous, profitable lineups with regularity.

They are one of the few, if not the only, sites that focus first on walking its users through the process of creating successful DFS entries. And while the amount of data offered is quite substantial, they never let the data speak for itself.

Their mantra, and it shall repeat throughout this review, is to “teach the process.”

Their approach can be summed up by the following words of wisdom that I once provided to my little sister: give me a fish and I will eat today. Teach me to fish, and I will eat every day.

Alright, all kidding aside, the previous statement does accurately represent their manta. However, I did not invent the fishing advice.

Features and Benefits of RotoGrinders

#1 Price Plans

In this era of COVID, RotoGrinders is offering a “core” package that supports the PGA, MMA,Soccer, Korean Baseball, and eSports.[2]

In the pre-COVID era, their traditional “core” subscription plan, of which I have been a member for almost five years, covered the NFL, MLB, PGA, NHL, NBA, and XFL. With the imminent return of some sports, I would expect these offerings to be reinstated into the “core” plan.

Lastly, there is a NASCAR plan that will cost you $15/week, or a seasonal plan that provides access to everything NASCAR for $320 until the end of December.[3]

#2 Teaching The Process

RotoGrinders is a one-of-a-kind site. Most, if not all, websites that I have reviewed primarily focus on the rapid construction of lineups via computer-optimized algorithms. While this may suit some players, it is no way to improve your DFS acuity. 

While RotoGrinders also provides you the opportunity to mass generate lineups in a puff of smoke, most members of the RG community desire to leverage the knowledge that is available regarding the process of lineup construction.

On RotoGrinders, the greatest DFS players in the world write articles, appear in daily live broadcasts, and avail themselves to your questions, always responding with candor and sincerity. 

Virtually everything on this site focuses on the “how” or “why.” When discussing players they believe will perform well on a given night, the professionals do not merely mention the player but explain why that player is a good play.

Eventually, after reading the articles, listening to the explanations, and following the answers to the questions posed, it is impossible not to see what the experts are looking for, and how they identify the optimal plays of the slate.

You can then incorporate their teachings into creating your sound lineup-construction processes. At times you feel like Yoda is showing you how to best use the force to create better DFS lineups!

The Grind Down

The Grind Down, written by Derek “Notorious” Farnsworth, is the axle around which all other RotoGrinders tools revolve. 

Farnsworth writes up game-by-game breakdowns of the slate, including the spread, over/under, critical injuries, and whether the game is a pace-up or pace-down situation for each team. All game breakdowns include charts of relevant player statistics. However, his words take center stage. 

Keeping with the Rotogrinders mantra, he identifies plays that ordinarily might sneak past you, and provides sound reasoning for such suggestions. 

Lastly, regardless of who is the provider of the information, if said suggestion accompanies sound reasoning, people will likely listen. 

However, when the source of information and sound reasoning is one of the most recognizable names and faces in all of DFS who has also received nominations for five different Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) awards, you will absolutely listen![4]

He is the E.F. Hutton of DFS: “when he speaks, people listen”

SlateIQ

SlateIQ is provided for the major sports and provides a mathematical, probabilistic analysis of the current slate with respect to the 25 most similar historic slates. 

It then delves into detailed breakdowns as to how winning lineups were created for those 25 most similar slates, in an attempt to guide your lineup construction for the upcoming slates. 

Admittedly, this is likely best utilized by very advanced players with some background in statistics and their distributions.

Core Plays

Core Plays are available for all major sports and is a valuable tool. A top-rated player provides 3 or 4 site-specific plays that he believes are central to a successful lineup.

However, the plays are not merely listed without any other information. The entire write-up encompasses multiple pages that are choc-full of rationales and statistics detailing why so-and-so is a core play for tonight.

Whether the player is on a hot streak or owns a documented history outstanding efforts versus a team, those details are present in the write-up along with a litany of well-researched statistics supporting his points. 

Expert Survey

The Expert Survey is one of my favorite articles to digest. Polled experts respond to a litany of questions, and I know that I sound like a skipping CD, they provide thoughtful answers and their rationales behind said responses. 

The polling questions and responses are incredibly insightful: top player for cash games, top player for GPPs, top value player, top contrarian player, best team stacks, and many others.

Consensus Value Rankings

In the Consensus Value Rankings, three or four experts list their top picks in order of preference at a given position. 

If there is particular expertise that you prefer, you can look at the expert picks for that one specific expert, or you can look at the average of the experts’ rankings of a given player to obtain a more holistic view.

Showdown Lineup Builder Show

During the NFL season on FanDuel and DraftKings, there are single-game showdowns for the Thursday, Sunday, and Monday night contests.

For each of those contests, two experts engage in exciting dialogue and walk you through their thought processes about the game, game script, which side they like, and some of the players worth targeting. Of course, they explain their rationales along the way.

It is a beneficial and entertaining program that provides you with a solid foundation from which to begin lineup construction.

Crunchtime 

An hour before the main slates begin, experts appear on a live-to-lineup-locks show entitled CrunchTime, discussing last-minute strategies, engage in competitive banter, update injury statuses, and respond to quick questions that all premium members can propose.

I can see the appeal of such a program; however, once I set my lineups, I am averse to making last-minute alterations.

Discord

Experts and RotoGrinders members are frequently on Discord, and it’s a great place to chat in real-time, either before, during, or after the games.

#3 Mobile Apps

Want to access RotoGrinders while away from your computer? Want to research, build, optimize, and submit your lineups to the DFS site of your choice? Well, you’re in luck. There’s an app for that, two of them, actually.

The Rotogrinders and LineupHQ Express apps function seamlessly and are available for iOS and Android.

#4 DFS Alerts

Is there nothing more irritating than constructing a perfect lineup, only to find out after lock that your stud player is a late scratch? Some of these last-minute scratches related to “load management” are unavoidable.

However, whether at home or out, Rotogrinders monitors, updates, and relays the injury statuses of players to all devices.

This great feature has saved my carcass on many occasions. It is particularly useful right up until lock time. 

The key is to formulate contingency plans well in advance of tip time. In this manner, if five minutes prior to lock you are alerted one of your star players is not going to play, you have already formulated a plan, and can make the adjustments accordingly.

#5 Ownership Projections

Similar to most DFS tool suites, Rotogrinders includes a reasonably accurate ownership projection for all players in the slate.

The ownership projections are very helpful, as, in tournaments, you would like the lower-owned players, while in cash games, you would like the higher-owned players.

#6 Court IQ

When a star player, or any player, is not going to play in a contest, there are many beneficiaries, other than that player’s direct replacement. Wouldn’t it be great to know which players have historically benefitted the most when a specific player or group of players are off the court?

Of course, it would. Knowing who stands to benefit the most provides you with an enormous advantage over the field.

Court IQ is a tool that I have only encountered on RotoGrinders. It allows you to run queries with individual players on or off the court. It then spits out which players have historically enjoyed the most significant increases in usage, fantasy points, and many other relevant stats based upon who is present or absent in the query.

It truly is a phenomenal tool that, if used correctly, provides enormous advantages.

#7 Starting Lineups

Starting lineups is where you can see the entire slate of games in one view. There is a litany of information provided: over/under, spread, weather (for football and baseball), projected starting lineups, projected fantasy points, and, upon announcement, confirmed starting lineups.

The slate pictured is that of the NBA’s return on July 30. No odds, spreads, or over/unders have yet to be determined.

Starting Lineups is one of the best places to begin your DFS research as it provides a broad overview of the entire slate.

#8 Lineup Optimizer with many Features/LineupHQ

RotoGrinders provides an outstanding, full-featured lineup optimizer, referred to as Lineup HQ.

Not only does Lineup HQ allow you to generate massive quantities of lineups at once, and then seamlessly import them into DraftKings or FanDuel, but the customizable features are genuinely exceptional.

Build Rules

Displayed above are the inner workings of Lineup HQ. You can set the optimizer to include a maximum number of players from each team and that maximum can is adjustable on a per-team basis.

Particularly useful for baseball and football, you can identify the teams that you would like to include in your primary and secondary stacks, as well as setting the exposure level of different stacks.

You have the opportunity to select a global exposure minimum and maximum, or you may individualize exposure levels on a per-player basis.

These are advantageous features that are not common across the industry.

Range of Outcomes

You can set a separate range of outcomes for both hitters and pitchers, that Lineup HQ will take into account when optimizing lineups.

For instance, in baseball, there is significant volatility for both pitchers and hitters, although hitters possess much more volatility than pitchers.

The player projections are median projections with a comprehensive continuum of potential outcomes. Particularly in baseball, it is almost impossible to make any projection with a substantial amount of certainty.

To account for this uncertainty, LineupHQ allows you to adjust the Range of Outcomes for both hitters and pitchers separately. The red oval above indicates where you would account for pitcher variance.

For example, suppose Tampa Bay starting pitcher Blake Snell is projected for 20 fantasy points. By adjusting my pitcher Range of outcomes from the default, which is 0%, to a more practical 20%, The Lineup HQ optimizer will factor in Snell’s projection, plus or minus 20%.

Snell’s projection is 20 fantasy points, 20% of 20 is 4. Now, when constructing lineups, the optimizer will consider Blake Snell’s prediction to be anywhere in the range of 20 – 4 = 16 fantasy points and 20 + 4 = 24 fantasy points.

This feature serves as an excellent method for accounting for the inherently significant variance in baseball projections. 

Set Minimum and Maximum Ownership for Lineups

Another splendid feature of LineupHQ is the ability to set maximum and minimum lineup ownership totals, as illustrated in the green oval above.

The lineup ownership percent is the sum of all the projected ownership totals for all players in a given lineup.

In the red oval above, you can see that the ownership total for one of my lineups is almost 175%! That will never happen for a GPP tournament. Via the minimum and maximum ownership feature, I can ensure that the optimizer does not generate chalk lineups such as these.

#9 RG Chrome Extension

RotoGrinders provides an extension for the Chrome browser that is truly a work-of-art.

In the DraftKings Lobby, it shows the Rake (margin) for each contest in orange and the Overlay in blue.

Upon clicking on a contest, it indicates, in the red oval, the percentage of entries that will cash in this contest and the minimum amount that a user will earn upon cashing. In this case, 20.75% of all entries will pay, and the minimum amount of money that you will receive upon cashing is 1.5X the entry fee of $10.

Thus $15 is the minimum amount awarded to anyone who cashes in this contest.

Left of the green arrow shows the percent of all prize money awarded to the 1st place finisher, as well as the top ten finishers in this contest. 

The first-place finisher will receive 25% of all prize money, while the sum of all prize monies awarded to the top ten finishers in this contest accounts for 53.5% of all prize money.

This tool allows you to see that this contest is particularly top-heavy.

Lastly, once you consummate your lineups, the extension allows you to see the exposure levels of all players in your lineups. 

Indicated as a blue percentage to the right of each player in every lineup, is that player’s exposure level.

What are People Saying About RotoGrinders?

I scoured the internet and found some reviews that seemed somewhat positive about the product.[5] 

I would concur with the first commenter. It’s less about the actual numbers and more about learning the process by way of their content.

Alternatives to RotoGrinders

Let’s see how three similar alternatives compare to RotoGrinders: Fantasy Pros, Daily Fantasy Nerd, and Draft Dashboard.

1. FantasyPros

While FantasyPros does provide some excellent tools, it is more appropriate for season-long fantasy leagues, as two of its three main functions, Draft Wizard and My Playbook, are only applicable to such contests. 

Annual membership for FantasyPros HOF package costs around $95, far lighter on the wallet than RotoGrinders.

If you participate in NBA, NFL, or MLB season-long competitions, you should give FantasyPros a shot. 

2. Daily Fantasy Nerd

Daily Fantasy Nerd is built with the DFS user in mind. They have three levels of membership, after a 7-day free trial.

Daily Fantasy Nerd is built with the DFS user in mind. They have three levels of membership, after a 7-day free trial.

All plans enable access to their tools in the four major sports: NFL, MLB, NHL, and NBA. The veteran plan only allows support for ten lineup optimizations and just for one DFS site. Upgrading up to the MVP plan provides a level of service most similar to that offered by RotoGrinders. 

Daily Fantasy Nerd’s MVP plan is twice as expensive as a RotoGrinders’ subscription. Nerd may provide more information; however, they do not teach you the process necessary for DFS success.

If you are an advanced user with a well-developed process, Daily Fantasy Nerd might be the answer you are looking for, and I encourage you to visit the website.

3. Draft Dashboard

Draft Dashboard is a multi-sport DFS research suite that I recently reviewed. Please check out my review to learn more about this impressive site. 

The cost of the first month’s subscription is $1, with each additional month, billed at $39.95.

The data and tools are substantial, and the visuals are very pleasing. Draft Dashboard provides a significant quantity of information, enabling you to create profitable DFS lineups with minimal time investment.

Once again, however, it is a site that fails to embrace the process.

If you are a relatively new participant in DFS contests and are searching for an aesthetically-pleasing, information-relevant site to quickly produce competitive mass lineups, with little concern for learning the process,  there are few products better than Draft Dashboard. I strongly encourage you to give them a try.

Final Words

As a reasonably successful DFS player, I know that two issues must be addressed prior to attaining consistent DFS success: a sound process that reliably repeats, enabling the identification of successful plays, and a significant quantity of data upon which to build said process.

RotoGrinders is a rare site that satisfies both crucial necessities. 

For a mere $39.95/month, you can have it all, the best of both worlds.

For beginners and intermediate players, RotoGrinders is a clear choice. Even advanced users can always glean insight from the top professionals who are the content creators at RotoGrinders.

Well folks, we’re about to make history. Forget about putting a man on the moon, the Rosetta Stone, and the Great Barrier Reef; today, I am assigning my first perfect rating!

I assign RotoGrinders a well-deserved 5/5 rating! 

I encourage all users to leverage RotoGrinders’ in-depth data and process teaching/refining mission to climb up the DFS food chain by clicking on this link and sampling the website. 

Resources:

[1] “About Us – RotoGrinders.” https://rotogrinders.com/about-us. Accessed 2 Jul. 2020.
[2] “RotoGrinders Premium.” https://rotogrinders.com/premium?. Accessed 1 Jul. 2020.
[3] “RotoGrinders Premium.” https://rotogrinders.com/premium?. Accessed 1 Jul. 2020.
[4] “About Us – RotoGrinders.” https://rotogrinders.com/about-us. Accessed 1 Jul. 2020.
[5] “Need some help – Awesemo or Rotogrinders for … – Reddit.” https://www.reddit.com/r/dfsports/comments/aa33p7/need_some_help_awesemo_or_rotogrinders_for/. Accessed 2 Jul. 2020.

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