FanDuel Strategy Guide For Daily Fantasy Football
What’s the secret on how to win money playing in FanDuel (DraftKings, Draftstreet, etc.) daily fantasy football (DFF) leagues? Sadly, there’s no single sure-fire ploy that’ll make you a winner every time you play. What we can do, however, is share some of the best strategies as compiled and used by Fanduel players. Use them wisely and judiciously as you discovery your own strengths and weaknesses and improve at the game, and before you know it, you’ll be a winner, too.
1. Look for Softer Games and Opponents
While it’s unlikely that you’ll be jumping into the highest games on FanDuel right away, as you gain experience on the site, you’ll soon learn that certain players seem to show up frequently among the winners. These are the better players, with the most experience and greatest skill in selecting lineups.
In general, you’ll want to avoid the best players whenever possible, particularly in small-field events such as head-to-head matchups and small leagues, including some 50/50 events. In head-to-head matches up in particular, FanDuel shows not only players who are waiting for opponents, but also shows the number of simultaneous entries he’s willing to play. Even at a $1 stake, if you see a possible H2H opponent with a (x150) notation in the “Entries” field, you might be better off looking for another foe.
For the very newest of players, smaller and medium-sized 50/50s recommend one of the safest ways to gain experience on the cheap. You’ll learn the basics of the game while risking only a few dollars, and you’re likely to win a few matchups right from the start.
2. Choose Games That Suit Your Style
Even before you begin entering events, it’s good to think about what types of tourneys and events you’d most enjoy.
Are you willing to risk a couple of dollars in search of a big payday, even against very long odds? If so, then the major big-field entrants with hundreds or thousands of events are your ticket, even if the odds are very long against winning. (Such tournaments typical pay as little as 10% of the entrants, with the largest paydays going to the top few spots.) Conversely, if you’d like to stretch your bankroll, then low-budget 50/50s and leagues (which vary from 3 to 20 players) are the natural starting point.
It’s all about how you decide to play, and what you find most entertaining and worthwhile. Some tournament formats are more conducive to certain styles of play as well: If you like to take chances and build your lineup around high-risk, high-reward players, then larger tournaments are more suited for your style.
On the flip side, if you’ve got a knack for building solid but safe lineups that outperform most opponents on average, then your style is tailor made for 50/50 and small-league matchups.
3. Practice Proper Bankroll Management
This tip applies to all forms of daily fantasy sports. One of the quickest ways to go busto and lose your entire deposit is to play at stakes that leave your bankroll no room for a bad run. If you’ve deposited $100 and decide to try five $20 large-field entries, the strong likelihood is that you’ll go broke before you connect with a big score. Playing large events is fine if your online ‘roll is big enough to cover the inevitable downswings, but risking more than 2-3% (yes, that small!) in a single event allows for natural variance.
4. Beware Multiple Lineups
Playing multiple lineups seems like a neat idea, but with each new lineup you submit, the average profit you’ll make diminishes just a tiny bit. (You can win first place only once.) That said, playing a couple of extra lineups isn’t a bad idea, as long as you have a clear game plan in place. Here are some things to remember:
- Do it in moderation (just a couple or three extra lineups will suffice);
- Save it for the very largest events with the biggest fields;
- Make sure the lineups have significant differences from one another;
- Have a strategy of how the games could reasonably play out that supports each of the different lineups you submit.
In our opinion, smaller leagues and tournaments simply aren’t worth the added overhead, even if the multiple-lineup option is available.
5. Watch the Hidden Variables
The best daily and weekly fantasy football players know to keep an eye on some of the variables that can’t always be tracked by the raw statistics, such as a storm or cold front moving through on game day. Special rivalries? Outsized statistical trends? Unusual head-to-head player matchups that show obvious mismatches? The best players track this stuff, and you should as well. Doing so will give you an advantage over large numbers of casual players.
And don’t forget to check the last-minute news, keeping a close watch for late scratches and DNPs in your expected lineups. Locking in a lineup several hours before game time might be convenient, but the closer to start time you make your final roster decisions, the better your teams will perform.
6. Absorb as Much Information as Possible
For starters, FanDuel offers plenty of secondary information; it’s up to you to take advantage of it. From the statistical breakdowns and player profiles to the plentiful content available in the FanDuel NFL Insider area, there’s plenty of insight to be gained.
In addition to FanDuel’s offerings, it’s worth checking the major sporting sites for general information on the weekend’s games, and a visit to some of the top statistical-analysis sites can also be valuable. Some of these site even offer paid subscriptions for special daily and weekly updates. Are they worth it? Some are, others aren’t. It all depends on how much time you want to invest.
7. Take Advantage of Freerolls, Overlays, and Special Beginner Events
Especially as a new player, it’s important to take advantage of every little edge you can find. That means entering freerolls, even if the average prize works out to be only a few pennies per contest, simply because if you do connect and take a top place, it’s a bit of free money.
Similarly, on certain occasions, large-field tournaments with guaranteed prize pools can fail to reach the expected number of entrants. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does FanDuel itself makes up the difference, meaning that there’s free money (called an overlay) for those players who recognize and seize the opportunity.
Special beginner events also often attract a weaker field than normally shows up for higher-priced tournaments, meaning that your chances of winning early on are greater.