Fantasy football has helped elevate the NFL into a more intimate experience for fans, giving them reasons to root for players from multiple teams. However, we are fickle creatures, us humans, and we want instant gratification. For fantasy football, that quick fix has manifested itself as daily fantasy football.
Daily fantasy football is the natural extension of yearly fantasy football, as you are able to “draft” a team for just one day of football, or even, as is the case with the Super Bowl, for a single game. But, instead of drafting in the more traditional sense, you pick from the complete pool of players and create a team that fits under the salary cap.
Salary cap and team building
In DFS, there are a few iterations in team building, but the basics are:
- When drafting your lineup, you’re given $50,000 as a salary cap. Spend this budget on players to create your team.
- Choose your players from the Player Pool. A Player Pool consists of all the players who will be in a given contest’s game set.
- Your basic DFS lineup includes 1QB, 2RB, 3WR, 1TE, 1FLEX, and 1D/ST but when you get down to single game contests like the Super Bowl, called a Showdown, you are allowed to pick any positions available as long as they fit under the salary cap, but we’ll talk more about that in a second.
- Once you’ve filled all positions in your lineup while staying under your $50,000 salary cap, you can submit your lineup into the contest.
If you are playing in a “Showdown” you choose players from a single game. With only one game left in the season, you will only be able to find Super Bowl Showdown contests to play, but once the season starts back up, the player pool grows and your choices grow as well.
A Showdown has 1 Captain’s slot and 5 flex slots. The total number of players drops from nine to six due to the smaller player pool to choose from and you are allowed to use any positions you would like. The captain gets his fantasy points multiplied by a factor of 1.5 but you also pay 1.5x his normal salary. That little change in scoring allows more diversification in lineups and strategy.
Below you will find the main types of contests available:
GPP (Guaranteed Player Pool)
- Tournaments/Leagues – Small & large field contests with huge prizes
- Head to Head – Face-off against one opponent; winner takes all
- 50/50s – Finish in the top half of the field and win cash
- Double Ups – Win and double your entry fee
The main difference between GPPs and Cash games are the risk and reward involved. In cash games, your odds of winning based solely on the numbers of players who cash out are higher, as you have close to a 50/50 chance of winning. In head to head games that is obvious, as you or your opponent will come out victorious. In 50/50s and double ups, you are in a large pool of players and you are competing to score in the top half of the group. If you end up with the highest score of the group, you still win the same amount, as you can only double your money in cash games.
In GPPs, your risk goes up, but the reward goes way up. Payout structure varies in tournaments, but there are contests that range from 10 cents to win $50 to $10 to win a $1 million. The strategy changes between these two contest types, but the differences are all about risk and reward.
There are of course more strategies than you can shake a stick at but basic DFS strategy revolves around two different types of players. For higher risk contests like tournaments, you will likely try to pick players with the most scoring potential while in cash games, you will look toward players with more consistent scoring potential. An example might be a player like Tyreek Hill. His speed and big-play ability make his “upside” higher on average than say Travis Kelce, but Kelce delivers more consistent fantasy points on average. You likely want a player like Kelce in your cash lineups while you’d want to expand your upside and, in turn, your risk for tournament games, as you need to finish near the top to win while in cash games you just need to outscore half the field.
DraftKings scoring is similar to the fantasy scoring you are used to. The two most important scoring rules you need to remember are 1-point for every reception and yardage bonuses — +3 points for 300+ yards passing, 100 yards rushing and 100 yards receiving.
Offensive players will accumulate points as follows:
Passing TD = +4PTs
25 Passing Yards = +1PT (+0.04PT/ per yard is awarded)
300+ Yard Passing Game = +3PTs
Interception = -1PT
10 Rushing Yards = +1PT (+0.1PT per yard is awarded)
Rushing TD = +6PTs
100+ Yard Rushing Game = +3PTs
10 Receiving Yards = +1PT (+0.1PT per yard is awarded)
Reception = +1PT
Receiving TD = +6PTs
100+ Yard Receiving Game = +3PTs
Punt/Kickoff Return for TD = +6PTs
Fumble Lost = -1PT
2 Point Conversion (Pass, Run, or Catch) = +2PTs
Offensive Fumble Recovery TD = +6PTs
Defense/Special Teams will accumulate points as follows:
Sack = +1PT
Interception = +2PTs
Fumble Recovery = +2PTs
Kickoff Return TD = +6PTs
Punt Return TD = +6PTs
Interception Return TD = +6PTs
Fumble Recovery TD = +6PTs
Blocked Punt or FG Return TD = +6PTs
Safety = +2PTs
Blocked Kick = +2PTs
0 Points Allowed = +10PTs
1-6 Points Allowed = +7PTs
7-13 Points Allowed = +4PTs
14-20 Points Allowed = +1PT
21-27 Points Allowed = 0PTs
28-34 Points Allowed = -1PT
35+ Points Allowed = -4PTs