cover32’s Daily Fantasy Football Primer

Photo Credit: NY Daily News
If you’re ready to take the daily fantasy sports (DFS) plunge…(think cannonball off a dock into a northern state lake in late Fall)…then here’s a primer to get you started. I’ll compare and contrast DFS to season long fantasy leagues as we go.


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Drafting, Lineups, and Salaries

No more coordinating schedules, auto-pilot pickers or getting robbed of “your guy” by the team picking right before you. Also, nothing falls in your lap. In DFS, you’ll pick your lineup each week using a salary cap limit. Player’s salaries fluctuate week-to-week based on performance and opportunity. Yes, you could pick the same eight player lineup as someone else. No, you cannot pick a lineup all from one team – nor should you. There are some differences across platforms on late swaps that you should investigate. I use DraftKings and this platform does not force you to roster a kicker – this makes me very happy as does the ability to make a late swap.

Contests, Cash Games, and GPP’s

Your new league is called a contest and there are hundreds of them to choose from once you enter the site’s lobby. Entry fees range from a few coins to hundreds of dollars. You can even test strategies in free contests or $0.25 arcade contests. You’ll see expert lineup recommendations based on cash game plays or GPP plays. Cash games are either head-to-head contests or small pools of players in a contest typically called a 50/50 or double up where half the pool doubles their money at the expense of the other half losing their money (with the site taking a cut).

GPP’s – Guaranteed Prize Polls – have more (sometimes thousands) of people in a tournament field competing for prize payouts based on the final total points of the lineup you entered. Before you enter a GPP go into that contest’s menu and read the contest details and payout structure. It is not uncommon to pick a cash play lineup and a different lineup for GPP’s. DFS sharks enter dozens of lineups and contests. Don’t be a “fish”.

Slates, Scoring, and Matchups

Slates are a way to break down the schedule into chunks of games. In a full slate NFL week (with no byes) you have 16 games (you probably knew that if you’re on the cover32 website, right?) However the contest providers will create slates of games – like early or late Sunday games only. DFS scoring is similar to the scoring in season long leagues and there are some minor differences across platforms. I prefer DraftKings full PPR to FanDuel’s half PPR scoring and DK’s bonus bump on players going over 100 yards rushing or receiving or 300 yards passing.

There have been some newer formats on the platforms that change the classic lineup structure and scoring rules. Their creativity is lost on me. Whereas season long leagues are an attempt to capitalize on a player’s predicted performance over the entire season – DFS focuses on exploiting matchups in THIS SLATE. Value players are still important as you cannot fit all the weekly studs under your salary cap.

(Again), Don’t be a “fish”

The most difficult part of the transition from season long leaguer to DFS-er is determining how to get started. Do some research on the platform differences. All the apps work pretty well although I’m not crazy about DK’s new font. Test your fantasy football philosophy on free contests or $0.25 ones. See what happens when you pay up for the top QB vs. top RB, etc. Read the contest details and stay away from large pool multi-entry tournaments as you get started. Look for single entry and 3 entry max contests. Sharks troll head-to-head contests – always PICK your opponent by checking out how many stripes they have on their badge. Always do a post-game analysis on your contest by comparing your lineup to the ones that finished at the top.

Grinders are people that play 50/50’s every day to slowly / consistently accumulate their winnings. I’ve had consistent success in the small double ups. There are dozens of Twitter experts out there that will sell you a lineup that they generate out of their model for $5. You can create your own lineups via an expert model for free on some websites or select a platform that will sell you their data to feed into a model you build. I use FantasyLabs. I typically only play GPPs that limit entries. While it’s not as advantageous as stacking the top 5 in an MLB lineup or a hot NHL line combo – I typically use QB / WR1 stacks from a team with a high Vegas-predicted score.

I have some final good news – the Beginner’s Luck Phenomenon is real in DFS!

I’m KDOOLZ8 on DraftKings – hope to see you in a contest soon!

– Kevin Dooley covers Fantasy Football for cover32. Like and follow on

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