We study provably effective and efficient data reduction for a class of NP-hard graph modification problems based on vertex degree properties. We show fixed-parameter tractability for NP-hard graph completion (that is, edge addition) cases while we show that there is no hope to achieve analogous results for the corresponding vertex or edge deletion versions. Our algorithms are based on transforming graph completion problems into efficiently solvable number problems and exploiting f-factor computations for translating the results back into the graph setting. Our core observation is that we encounter a win-win situation: either the number of edge additions is small or the problem is polynomial-time solvable. This approach helps in answering an open question by Mathieson and Szeider [JCSS 2012] concerning the polynomial kernelizability of Degree Constraint Edge Addition and leads to a general method of approaching polynomial-time preprocessing for a wider class of degree sequence completion problems.