FanDuel Strategy Guide - The Basics Of How To Win On FanDuel

This Fanduel Strategy Guide below is intended to help new players get started on Fanduel. Experienced players can jump straight to these resources linked at the top, which will help take you from your current level to a bonafied DFS expert:

-Fanduel Research Page – All of our Fanduel-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 Fanduel 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.

Fanduel Strategy Guide:

Founded in 2009, FanDuel has long been a top site of the daily fantasy sports world—the destination for tons of new players in the industry—so implementing the proper strategy is paramount to your success. With so many novices playing daily fantasy sports on FanDuel, there’s a great opportunity to profit on the site.

Editor’s Note: Don’t yet have a FanDuel 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 FanDuel strategy content, which will build upon the guide below. Create your FanDuel account now!

When learning how to play on FanDuel, you’ll need to figure out the specifics of the sports you plan to play. Before you even do that, though, it’s vital to familiarize yourself with FanDuel’s various game offerings, how they differ from one another, and how you should approach each one to become a winner.

Head-to-Heads, 50/50s, and the Matrix

One of the key features of FanDuel is their abundance of head-to-head games. Playing one-on-one with another user, you can typically profit $1.80 on every $1 spent if you win. There’s so much head-to-head action on FanDuel that you can really scale your daily fantasy sports profitability if you have an edge; it will be difficult for you to run out of games.

One reason FanDuel offers potentially profitable head-to-head action is that you can see a user’s win total—how many games they’ve won all-time—and hand-pick players who aren’t above your skill level. Simply click on a username to see their history. You can also learn more about recent player wins, average buy-in amounts, and other info by searching for users using the “Opponent Search” tool in the top right section of RotoGrinders. Learn more about head-to-head strategy in GrindersU.

Similar to head-to-heads, FanDuel offers a wealth of 50/50 leagues. In those league types, there can be anywhere from just a few users to hundreds. Either way, the top half of all entrants get paid. If you continually find yourself posting good-but-not-great scores on FanDuel, 50/50s are a great option since you’ll always profit with a good score (unlike head-to-heads where a great score can beat your good score). We have a guide to 50/50 strategy right here.

A final game type that’s related to heads-up and 50/50 league is a relatively new feature that’s specific to FanDuel known as the head-to-head matrix. The head-to-head matrix allows you to play 21 users at once in the same manner as if you selected 21 different head-to-head games. You’re still competing individually against 21 separate users, and you can enter head-to-head matrices at various buy-in levels.

Whether you’re in a traditional head-to-head league, a 50/50, or a matrix game, the general strategy is the same: play it safe. You don’t need an amazing score to profit—you just need one that beats half of users—so stick with high-floor players and safe lineup combinations that you know will give you a certain level of production.

Tournaments and Guaranteed Prize Pools (GPPs)

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In addition to leagues of all different sizes (three-man, five-man, 10-man, and so on), FanDuel has a number of tournaments. These leagues have a lot of entrants—usually thousands and sometimes even five figures. FanDuel usually pays out in the neighborhood of 10 percent of tournament entries, so you’ll need a great score to cash. Those who do cash, though, normally at least triple their money, with serious cash available at the top of the prize structure.

Some tournaments are known as GPPs—guaranteed prize pools. These tournaments have guaranteed payouts, so FanDuel will guarantee the prize even if the league doesn’t fill up. Most FanDuel tournaments fill, but they do occasionally have some empty seats at game time. Those can be really good situations for users because, if there’s enough empty space, FanDuel could actually be losing money on the league.

When that happens—when there’s more money paid out than put into a league via entry fees—it’s known as overlay. You can calculate overlay very simply by multiplying the entry fee by the number of entries. If it’s less than the guaranteed prizes, there’s overlay (the extent of the overlay depends on how big of a gap there is between the entries and the payout).

For example, if you enter a $1 GPP with a cap of 1,000 entrants on FanDuel, the site might guarantee around $900. If you see that there’s only 800 entries into the league, though, then there’s $100 of overlay—the money put into the league ($800) subtracted from the guaranteed payout ($900).

Some tournaments on FanDuel have a multi-entry feature, meaning a single user can enter multiple times. One advantage afforded by submitting multiple lineups into a single league type is that you can diversify your lineups, picking different combinations of players. Even though it costs more money to enter, this strategy can help you limit some of the risk involved with playing in a tournament. If you enter 10 teams into a multi-entry GPP, there’s a good chance that at least one will cash.

You can learn more about tournaments, GPPs, and large-field events in Grinders U, but your general strategy should be much different than that when playing in head-to-head or 50/50 leagues. Instead of playing it safe, you really should look to increase variance. That means starting players and combinations of players who are more likely than others to have really big games.

In daily fantasy football, for example, it’s common to pair a quarterback with his wide receiver in a tournament because if one has a really good game, it’s likely that the other will as well. That’s not always a smart strategy in head-to-head leagues, however, since the tactic also increases risk; if one player has a bad game, it’s probable that the other will too.

Gaining Familiarity with FanDuel

The easiest way to become a great player on FanDuel is to get your feet wet by playing in as many leagues as possible. You don’t even need to play for money to start since FanDuel offers free leagues (no prizes) and freerolls (free leagues with prizes). Take advantage of these, working on different combinations of players and entering all different league types to see what you like and how various strategies work in each.

You can and should track your progress, too, to see if you’re ready to either play for cash or enter leagues for more money. The easiest way to do that is to use the RotoGrinders FanDuel Bankroll Tracker. This is an amazingly simple and effective way to visualize your progress as a daily fantasy player to figure out what you do well, where you need to improve, and if you can be a long-term winner.

The most efficient way to become profitable at FanDuel is to use the RotoGrinders Incentives. There are all sorts of helpful tools, including player projections and expert advice for every sport. You can gain Incentives access simply by signing up for FanDuel through any link on this site.

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

About the Author

  • Jon Bales (JonBales)

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


  • pitchfork

    I saw one person had exactly 600 (winning) identical lineups in Fanduel’s $700k thu NFL Rush with 160,920 entrants at $5 each. I’m very suspicious of foul play now. Can you explain why anybody would submit hundreds of identical lineups? My only explanation is that Fanduel would buy the empty seats to fill a guaranteed league but you say they go unfilled.

  • fantasygirl00

    Good question. But where’s the logic in that? Why would they buy their own spots? And spend their money? I guess I don’t see how that benefits them. Please explain.

  • TheLoadKing

    It’s not them it’s people. FanDuel has now limited how man entries you can have. Fatasygirl00 have you won money from FanDuel? If so can you give me some tips please? I don’t know what I doing wrong. I even have edraft but do not think I am using it correctly. Please help. Thanks a lot.

  • ggeegino

    @TheLoadKing said...

    It’s not them it’s people. FanDuel has now limited how man entries you can have. Fatasygirl00 have you won money from FanDuel? If so can you give me some tips please? I don’t know what I doing wrong. I even have edraft but do not think I am using it correctly. Please help. Thanks a lot.

    If your confident in a lineup and you have the money than you enter as many as possible at the same time ! I do this everyday ! It works and sometimes it bombs ! But it’s def not suspicious just strategy

  • molder1019

    My 3rd week of playing I won $252.00 its like any gambling you do it is all by luck and if alfred blue would have played running back that night instead of special teams I would have won between $5000 and $10,000 dollars but I was still happy winning $252.00 my tip is if you play a sat-sun game pick a bunch of good players from the sat game and like 2 good ones for sun so you get a bigger jump on points than everyone else.

  • Foeverfly22

    That’s simple answer. Fan Duel realizes what contestants are buying and which players in each h contest. If they pay out on a contest which isn’t filled,and they are short 600 players short at $5, they miss on $3,000 in lost revenues plus the additional 10-20% vigorish they make on each contest. That would equate to a $3,3,00 to $3,6,00 hit simply because those spots weren’t filled…it makes much more sense, all things being equal, to randomly buy those spots. The notion that there may be collusion is very insightful and probable. Fan duel knows the percentage of players being played in a contest and has algorithms which could make a winning lineup. It makes no sense for an individual to play 600 contests at $5 a contest when he could play larger contests at $100 a contest with fewer contestants and greater odds of winning. The mere fact that this “individual” played this contest 600 identical times rather than mixing up their contests up or playing in higher values contests indicates duplicity. In a contest this large, I’m sure they aren’t concerned about filling spots, but notice a void in lineups which jumps out them like a red flag!. If they pay out a guaranteed $700k and need 160,920, It’s unlikely that they did it to fill 600 unused slots, but more probable that they noticed a void in the distribution of contestants with a high probability of winning and decided to fill that void themselves. If it was a winning position that paid $200 on 600 contestants, that saves $120 000 in payouts. I can think of no reason why an individual would enter a $5 contest 600 identical times. Fan duel usually places a limit on the number of times an individual can enter the same contest and I doubt that they would allow a person to enter the contest with same lineup 600 times.

  • roberto28

    how can i pick my lineup if you put 10 or 50 line up how can i know wich is the best for make a money

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