The Ten Commandments of NFL DFS
10 Commandments of NFL Daily Fantasy Sports
I’m not a pro at Daily Fantasy Sports or anything like that, in fact last season was my first full year of NFL DFS. Heck it wasn’t even a full year as I made my first deposit until week 5. As a newb last year I made every rookie mistake that can be made by someone who played a lot of season long fantasy and thought he knew what he was doing. And by every, I mean EVERY…. I quickly found out that DFS is not easy, but if you know what you’re doing you can have fun and maybe even make a few dollars. Maybe…
Since I’m not overly fond of losing money (and I was losing money my first couple of weeks) I decided to educate myself. I read everything I could about DFS from a variety of sources. I was a pretty quick study though, and my initial deposit on Fan Duel of $50 had grown to over $2000 by the end of the season and I had branched out into Draft Kings and a couple of other sites, where I made more rookie mistakes. Still, my total bankroll was about $2500 across various sites by season’s end, and I managed to grow it a bit during NBA and MLB as well.
So in an effort to help a new season of newbs not make the same mistakes I did (I’m philanthropic that way) I put together this list. Experienced players probably won’t need this (since you’re still here and not busted and disgusted) but all you young-uns, pull up a chair and let Uncle Infantryboys tell you a thing or two.
1. Know The Scoring System
I know this one sounds like a complete “no brainer” but it’s amazing the number of players who really don’t know their sites’ scoring system. How can anyone properly select their players if they don’t know what kind of stats get them points? Yet there they are, picking who they think the “best players” for the week and then wondering why they aren’t cashing.
Sites like Fan Duel have pretty straight forward scoring systems. You get .1 point for every rushing and receiving yard, .025 for every passing yard, 6 points for a rushing/receiving TD, 4 points for a passing TD, etc. FD is also a half PPR site, players get .5 point for every catch they make, etc. Other sites have very different scoring systems. For example Draft Kings awards milestone points for 100 yards rushing, 100 yards receiving and 300 yards passing with a full point awarded for each completion.
Add to these scoring differences the fact that different sites have line up comprised of different positions (some have flex positions, some don’t have kickers and/or defenses) and you can see how your line ups on different sites might look completely different. If you’re playing on different sites, don’t try to shoehorn the same line up into every site. It just doesn’t work. Tailor your line ups to each site’s specific scoring system.
The bottom line here is that if you aren’t completely familiar with the scoring system you’re working with, you’re playing with a severe handicap. You might luck into some wins, but long term you’re going to lose your bankroll. Before filling out your first line up, take the time to completely familiarize yourself with your site’s scoring system. It will be time well spent.
2. Know Your Contests
Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with your site’s scoring system, the next thing you’ll notice when you enter the lobby is the vast array of contests available to you. Even though it may seem like there are an almost limitless variety of contests all of them boil down to one of two types: cash games and GPPs (guaranteed prize pools). In cash games (50/50s, double-ups and head to head) you only have to be in the top 45-50% to win, where as in GPPs you have to be in the top 15-20% to win money and in the top 2% to win and serious money.
Cash games are all about finding players with high “floors,” or minimum expected performances, and fitting them in under the salary cap. Players with high floors are usually the guys who don’t have huge games but usually don’t have bad games, either. Receivers who catch a lot of passes, but don’t have high yards per catch totals, or running backs who get a lot of carries but aren’t break away threats, are examples of players with high floors. Target these players in your cash games and safely avoid the boom or bust guys.
In GPPs, finishing in the 30th percentile will do you no good, so you have to be much more daring when constructing your line ups. Therefore you’ll want to target players with high “ceilings” in GPPs or players that have the ability to have big games. Often times these are boom or bust sort of players, but if they bust, oh well, finishing in the 25th percentile does you as much good as finishing in the 95th. Typically you’ll want to target players with high upside, who may not get as many chances in games as your GPP targets (WRs with high yards per reception but not as many receptions, break away runners, etc.)
Typically I’ll build one cash game line up and two or three GPP line ups. Others play almost exclusively cash games while other do the opposite and play only GPPs. Find out what types of contests best suit you, there really isn’t a right or wrong here. Just do yourself one favor here, always put your cash line up in a GPP. If it explodes and you finish first in a 500 man $5 double-up, you’ll still only win that $5, whereas it could have won you several hundred in even a $1 GPP. Believe me, if this happens to you, it’ll haunt you for a while.
Check back Monday for the second installment.