Over the last couple years the growth of daily fantasy leagues has grown by leaps and bounds. Over $2 billion and 41 million people take part in fantasy sports in the U.S. and Canada according to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association. There are a couple players in the daily fantasy marketplace, but the clear leader is Fanduel.
Football Daily Fantasy
Most of us know what a season long commitment to a fantasy league means. The new option is a daily fantasy league. As the name suggests, daily fantasy on a site like Fanduel allows you to select a roster for any Sunday and play against others for real money prizes.
You might like Peyton Manning, Jamaal Charles, Calvin Johnson, and Jimmy Graham. The caveat is the salary cap as an equalizer, which on FanDuel is typically $60,000. Each player is assigned a value, for example:
- Peyton Manning = $10,200
- Jamaal Charles = $9,800
- Calvin Johnson = $9,200
- Jimmy Graham = $8,100
Taking those 4 players, you've blown over 60% of your salary cap, and you still need to add 1 RB, 2 WRs, a kicker and team defense. To give you an idea, a 3rd or 4th string WR is still going to cost you ~$4,500. Even the worst kicker in the NFL is going to cost you $4,500. In other words there is some skill and strategy required to maximize your roster and salary cap.
Top Strategies to use on Fanduel
There is no magic strategy to use in daily fantasy football, but below are some best practices to use when starting out.
- Be consistent by playing head to head matchups to start. Tournaments can be fun, and rewarding (such as the $1.2 million NFL Sunday Monster). But your odds are lower, usually you have to be in the top 10% to win. When you're starting out, a head-to-head matchup your odds are always 50-50.
- You can't have all Studs - spend 10-20 minutes researching guys who are not the Peyton Manning's, Jamaal Charles', etc. As I mentioned above, you'll run out of salary cap room and your team will entirely rely on the studs. I usually limit myself to 3 studs on any given team otherwise you're really restricting yourself on players to fill out the remainder of your roster. On Sporting Charts we have the Fanduel points per game for Quarterbacks, Receivers/Tight ends, Running backs, and Kickers to help with your research.
- Pay attention to the matchups - Even an average participant in a season long fantasy football pays attention to weekly matchups, FanDuel is no different. Sometimes you can grab a mid-tier quarterback like Andy Dalton who is up against a terrible pass defense team. We use the SportingCharts Matchup pages a lot to find mismatches and maybe pickup a mid-tier player that will allow you to still go after more studs.
- Understand the point system on FanDuel - The point system for FanDuel Football is the same for all games you might enter, but spend 10 minutes understanding what offense and defensive plays score. In season long fantasy there are 100s of different scoring systems that a commissioner can tweak, such as point per reception leagues, point per completion, etc. Realize that the scoring you're normally used to probably is not identical to the FanDuel scoring system.
- Be risk adverse! Don't play a hunch or a player who is questionable with an injury. There's nothing worse than researching your roster, paying the entry fee, then one of your players who is questionable or doubtful with an injury doesn't start or plays in limited capacity. More often than not it's not worth the risk.
With daily fantasy at FanDuel exploding in popularity, we'll be looking at some more advances strategies as the season goes on, stay tuned. If you want to give it a try, they are currently offering a 100% deposit bonus...throw in $50, they'll double it.