DraftKings Strategy Guide - Get Started Winning at DraftKings

This DraftKings Strategy Guide below is intended for new daily fantasy sports players. It will walk you through the basic league types and strategies you can use to win on DraftKings. If you don’t have an account yet be sure to sign up using our DraftKings promo code. for the best deposit bonus More experienced players should check out these resources linked at the top, which will help take you from your current skill level to a bonafied DFS expert:

-DraftKings Research Page – All of our DraftKings specific research tools and articles
-Main Forum – Ask any question you’d like and our community of experienced players will help you out
-GrindersLive – watch DraftKings strategy broadcasts from top ranked players
-RotoAcademy – Click on the “Free” tab to get coursework from Beginner to Advanced

If you’d like more sport-specific analysis, check out the NFL, NBA, and MLB DraftKings strategy guides.

DraftKings Basic Strategy:

Founded in 2012, DraftKings has quickly risen to one of the two most-frequented sites in the industry. With an outstanding interface, particularly in the mobile genre, DraftKings is the destination for a lot of daily fantasy players, both veteran and novice.

When playing on DraftKings, you’ll need to tailor your strategy to the specific sport you’re playing, conforming to optimize your lineups for DraftKings’ scoring and starting requirements. Even before doing that, however, it’s important to understand the site from a broader picture, including their league types, payout structures, and late swap feature.

Editor’s Note: Don’t yet have a DraftKings account? Click here to create one and receive a 100% deposit bonus. Not only will your first deposit be doubled, but you’ll also receive free access to our premium DraftKings strategy content, which will build upon the guide below. Create your DraftKings account now!

DraftKings League Types

In addition to all of the standard head-to-heads, 50/50s, three-man leagues, GPPs, and so on, DraftKings also has a couple league types that aren’t as common in daily fantasy sports. One of those is a multiplier, also known as a booster.

Many sites have double-ups and triple-ups, but DraftKings has boosters that allow you to quickly multiply your bankroll, including 5x and 10x boosters. If you enter a 10x booster with 34 entries, for example, you need to finish in the top 3 (the top 8.8 percent) to turn your x entry fee into 10x ($10 into $100, for example).

Your strategy for multipliers needs to be fluid because the proper way to approach them depends on the payout structure. The lower the number of entrants who get paid in any particular league, the more upside you need to win. In a triple-up (or 3x booster), you don’t necessarily need a whole lot of upside. You can play a high-floor team—much like what you’d play in a heads-up league—and you’ll be good to go.

In a 10x booster, though, you’re only going to win with a sensational score. That means you need to increase your lineup’s ceiling at all costs, pairing teammates when appropriate and choosing otherwise high-upside players.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the nature of the multiplier will dictate how much of your bankroll you can put into it. Typically, you’ll want to enter triple-ups that are slightly less expensive than the head-to-head leagues you enter. Meanwhile, you shouldn’t put a high percentage of your bankroll into multipliers with a low probability of cashing, such as 10x boosters; even if you’re an outstanding player, you probably have less than a 15 or 20 percent chance of cashing. At some point, you’ll run cold and, if you’re placing too much money into low-percentage multipliers, you’ll go bankrupt.

The second type of league that’s unique to DraftKings is known as a “steps tournament.” Steps tourneys have four separate levels, or steps, and you can cash only if you win Step 4. Each level costs more and more to enter, but you can win entries into higher levels. Here’s a breakdown.

You can buy directly into any step that you’d like, but you can start at Step 1 for $2 and eventually win $200 by advancing and winning Step 4. Note that to win a Step 2 ticket, you need to finish in the top two of 10 in Step 1. Those who finish in third or fourth place get to retry their luck in Step 1. The same goes for the subsequent steps, until Step 4, in which two of the six entrants will win $200.
Steps tourneys are a good bet if you like mid-sized leagues and want to maintain a lot of upside. In the steps tourney, you can basically acquire the end result of a tournament (100x your buy-in) without facing a humongous pool of players.

There are downsides, of course; your chances of advancing from Step 1 to Step 4 are pretty low, so it’s just a matter of preference. If you think you have an advantage in mid-sized leagues and not in GPPs, steps tourneys are for you. You can treat them as separate 10-man leagues (until Step 4), and they allow for minimal risk with very high upside.

DraftKings Payout Structures

DraftKings’ payout structures are pretty standard, except in one league type—GPPs. In their tourneys, DraftKings implements a much flatter payout structure than a lot of sites, often cashing the top 20 percent of even the top 25 percent. Most daily fantasy sites check in closer to 10 percent.
That minimizes some of the risk associated with tournaments on DraftKings. You can cash twice as often (or more) in DraftKings GPPs than on other daily fantasy sites, which allows you to reinvest your money at a faster rate.

Also note that the reward for cashing in the lower end of DraftKings tourneys is typically lower. Those who barely cross the cashing threshold will typically double their buy-in, whereas you can triple it on most other sites. Thus, you’re simply exchanging a small amount of upside for reduced risk in most DraftKings GPPs.

In regards to game strategy, DraftKings’ payout structure probably shouldn’t affect your approach all that much; you still want to maintain as much upside as possible, allowing you to cash big. Even paying out the top 20 percent of entrants, you still need to have a quality lineup to cash—the same as if you were in a five-man league that paid only the winner.

Late Swap

A final unique feature of DraftKings is their late swap. On most daily fantasy sites, your lineup is set after the first game begins. That means if you start a player on Monday night football, he’s locked in after the kickoff of the first game.

On DraftKings, you can sub out any player for any other player whose game has not begun. This can have pretty significant effects on your strategy. The most obvious is that it’s easier to remove late scratches, which is probably why the feature was added. That’s important in sports like basketball and baseball, where, due to the number of games, star players get removed from lineups on a relatively frequent basis.

If you’re playing daily fantasy baseball on a Saturday and you need to have your lineup set in the early afternoon, it can normally be a risk to start someone playing at night. If he’s a late scratch (or even if the weather takes a turn), you could be in trouble. On DraftKings, that risk is gone because you can change your lineup at any point before that player’s game begins.

You can see that there are more late swaps in baseball than in football.

Still, most people aren’t using the late swap feature enough. One way that the late swap can change your strategy is that you can choose riskier players. If you’re in a Thursday night NFL league, you typically would want to avoid playing anyone who is listed as questionable because your lineup could be toast if he doesn’t play. On DraftKings, though, you can roster those sorts of players because you can always make a change if he’s a late scratch. You still need to fit within the confines of the salary cap, of course, so it’s good to have a backup plan in place.

Another more advanced strategy that the late swap allows is altering your combination of players to either increase variance or reduce risk. Let’s say you enter a Sunday head-to-head league with a safe, high-floor lineup (as you should).

As the 1 p.m. games are coming to a close, however, you notice that you’re down quite a bit. Instead of playing it safe, you now need as much upside as possible to catch up. You can remove any players from your lineup who don’t have a high ceiling, replacing them with riskier players with a higher potential reward. Similarly, you can potentially remove any risks and play it extremely safe if you’re a heavy favorite.

Overall, there are a lot of unique features at DraftKings that can be exploited to give you an edge. Always think about which strategies you can use to take advantage of a site’s distinguishing characteristics.

If you feel like you’re ready for advanced content, check out RotoAcademy.

About the Author

  • Jon Bales (JonBales)

  • Jonathan Bales is the founder of RotoAcademy and author of the Fantasy Sports for Smart People book series.


  • Steed_23

    Can someone please explain the high floor low floor to me ? Also what is it when they say u need so many points for a guy paid a lot of money for? I think that is what is killing me in tournaments.

  • wsickles31

    I have noticed people putting two entries into a step 4 league, usually using the same lineup on both entries. I cant figure out the benefit of doing so, do you feel this is a good strategy?

  • MOFF503

    High floor players don’t offer the most upside but consistently score AROUND THEIR AVG or better. They have a higher probable score even if they have a “down” week, but can still have “big” weeks. They are best used for 50/50’s, 2x-3x, and H2Hs. An example in the NFL would be Phillip Rivers, Cam Newton, Derek Carr, Peterson, Gurley. A Low Floor player can be considered a “boom or bust” candidate. They will either have a score BELOW THEIR AVG or could have a big week. They are best used in GPP’s and big multipliers. Examples would be Kirk Cousins, Bortles, Latavius Murray, Stefon Diggs. Of course you need to keep their respective salaries in mind and choose a High Floor player who will still allow for a well rounded lineup of all the same. This is also going to very much depend on what specific DFS you’re playing on, their scoring system, and their player salaries.

    In reference to your “so many points” question. You should be looking for at least 2-3X their salary in points. Ex: Gronk @ $8000. He will need to score at least 16-20 points for you to get your worth from his salary. As good as he is, he should be considered a risky play in “Cash” games because the rest of your lineup will end up consisting of lower floor players. There are usually a handful of other TE for much less that can get 10-15 points, and leave you with a well rounded lineup still.

    Hope this helps a bit.

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