Category Archives: Daily Fantasy Football Tips

Daily Fantasy Football Defense Strategy: 6 Simple Tips For Drafting Defensive Players

Daily Fantasy Football Defense Strategy: 6 Simple Tips For Drafting Defensive Players

In daily fantasy football, quarterbacks get most of the glory. Running backs and wide receivers also get their fair share of attention. And let’s not forget the tight ends. A solid TE who’s having a great night can add 15 points or more to your score.

But what about defense? You don’t hear much about defensive players from daily fantasy football fans. To paraphrase the late comic Rodney Dangerfield, defense gets no respect.

That spells opportunity for you. While your competition all but ignores the position, you can fill the Defense/Special Team slot with a team that delivers reliable points. You might be surprised at the number of points you can rack up through sacks, interceptions, safeties, and defensive TDs.

So let’s set aside the silly notion that defense doesn’t matter. I’m going to give you 6 simple tips you can use to find a solid team for your lineup’s D/ST slot. Remember, in daily fantasy NFL contests, every edge counts.

#1 – Get Familiar With Defensive Scoring Systems

We’ll talk about some of the metrics you need to focus on in order to pick a good Defense/Special Team in a moment. To make the best use of those metrics, you need to be familiar with the scoring system used at your favorite daily fantasy sports site.

The good news is that the two most popular DFS sites – DraftKings and FanDuel – use the same system. There are no differences between them. A sack is worth 1 point at both sites. An interception TD is worth 6 points at both sites.

Here’s the complete defensive scoring system used at DraftKings and FanDuel:

Sack = +1 point
Interception = +2 points
Fumble Recovery = +2 points
Kickoff Return TD = +6 points
Punt Return TD = +6 points
Interception Return TD = +6 points
Fumble Recovery TD = +6 points
Blocked Punt or FG Return TD = +6 points
Safety = +2 points
Blocked Kick = +2 points
0 Points Allowed = +10 points
1-6 Points Allowed = +7 points
7-13 Points Allowed = +4 points
14-20 Points Allowed = +1 point
21-27 Points Allowed = 0 points
28-34 Points Allowed = -1 point
35+ Points Allowed = -4 points

Familiarize yourself with how points are scored by defensive units. That will give you the insight you need to fully leverage a defense’s strengths.

#2 – Analyze The “Points Allowed” Metric

The “points allowed” figure is a useful measurement of how effective a defensive team is. Its usefulness stems from its accuracy and the fact that it’s easy to understand. The more points a defensive unit allows, the less confidence you should have in it.

Is the “points allowed” statistic the best metric to use in fantasy football defense? Not necessarily. Other stats, such as the average length of possession and the number of fourth downs per game, are just as useful. In fact, they’re more useful when used together. But points allowed is accurate, simple, and easy to find.

#3 – Focus On Fumbles And Interceptions

A fumble can change the course and momentum of a game. More importantly, if your defense picks it up, you’ll get a couple of points added to your roster’s score. A fumble made by the opposing team that’s snatched up by your defensive players will earn you 2 points. If they run it for a TD, you’ll earn 6 points total.

It’s worth noting that using fumbles in daily fantasy football is tricky. They can occur for a number of reasons, not all of which have anything to do with your defensive players. For example, rain typically increases the number of fumbles in a game. Even the recovery of a fumble can be due to luck as much as anything else.

For that reason, concentrate on forced fumbles. It’s a much better gauge of a defensive player’s skill. Someone who has a track record of knocking the ball out of his opposition’s hands – linebackers Robert Mathis and Alec Ogletree are good examples – can be a valuable addition to your lineup.

Interceptions offer another useful metric. If a player on your defense picks off a pass, you’ll receive a quick 2 points. If he manages to get the ball into the end zone, you’ll receive an additional 4 points (6 points total).

Interceptions don’t occur very often. Those that are returned for TDs are even rarer. That being the case, their value as a metric is somewhat limited. One of the best ways to use it is to draft a defensive unit that’s scheduled to play against a QB who has a high interception rate. A defense with a strong record for intercepting passes should have multiple opportunities to exploit.

#4 – Choose A Sack Leader Against A Weak QB

You only receive 1 point for each sack your defense makes. But don’t dismiss this metric.

  • First, sacks occur in almost every game. That means you’ll have a chance to squeeze a few more points from your roster.
  • Second, a QB who gets sacked a few times is likely to get sloppy. He’ll look for opportunities to pass the ball – even if he can’t find an opening – just to avoid getting sacked again. That increases the odds of a fumble or interception.

Look for defensive players who racked up an impressive number of sacks during the previous season. In 2013, the field was led by Robert Mathis (Indiana), Robert Quinn (St. Louis) and Greg Hardy (Carolina).

Once you find a few suitable candidates, take a look at the QBs they’ll be facing during the week. Try to identify QBs who are sack magnets, like Ryan Tannehill (Miami), Terrelle Pryor (Seattle) or Christian Ponder (Minnesota).

Note that a quarterback’s sack percentage is influenced by numerous factors. For example, he might be overly-cautious to the point of never attempting a pass. Or his blockers might do a poor job of keeping the opposing team’s defensive line at bay. Or his wide receivers might stink. The point is that it pays to look beyond the obvious when targeting “weak” QBs to match against your defense.

#5 – Draft A Defensive Unit That Can Score TDs

Defensive touchdowns are where your defense can earn the big points. Take a look at the scoring system outlined in #1 (above). Notice that a TD will earn you 6 points regardless of whether it happens as a result of a recovered fumble, returned interception, kickoff, punt or field goal.

Defensive teams that have logged a high number of TDs from fumbles, interceptions, and the like can give your score a much-needed boost. Check out last season’s stats for the Chiefs, Bears, Bengals and Cowboys. All of them posted impressive numbers.

Admittedly, the number of fumble and interception TDs earned during a season is low. But if your defense manages to gain possession of the ball and run it into the end zone, the points they earn will come in handy. They could make the difference between cashing and busting.

#6 – Look For Value

One of the notable differences between DraftKings and FanDuel when it comes to NFL defense is the salary range. At DraftKings, the salaries in this category range from $4,000 all the way down to $1,500. At FanDuel, a much smaller chasm separates the highest and lowest salaries. At the time of writing, the top-ranked San Francisco 49ers cost $5,600 while the bottom-ranked Jacksonville Jaguars cost $4,500.

How should that influence your choice of defensive unit? Consider this:

At FanDuel, you’re not going to save much money by drafting a second-rate team. Only $1,100 separates the top and bottom of the list. So you might as well spend a few extra dollars and draft a great defense.

By contrast, you can save a ton of cash at Draftkings by picking up a second-tier defensive unit. The top and bottom salaries are separated by $2,500. That’s significant given that the highest salary is only $4,000.

It’s worth looking for a good value.

The most important thing to remember is that your defense matters. It can play a key role in whether you win the daily fantasy football contests you enter. Use the 6 tips outlined above to draft a productive defense that will contribute its share of points.

Daily Fantasy Sports NFL Strategy

Daily Fantasy Sports NFL Strategy

With thoughts slowly but surely turning to the NFL with the preseason just a month away, it’s a good time to look at some strategy for your daily fantasy picks. Here you’ll find a list of ten strategies that might enhance your roster, and make you into a solid winning player for the 2014 season.

Check Your Line-Up – There is no excuse not to get this right, but you can be sure that there will be a large number of players on a weekly basis who don’t do this. If a player is injured, and he is in your line-up, you can’t complain when you don’t win. Use the NFL injury report to not only know who is injured, but work out who the replacements will be and see if they can gain you valuable points. If you’re not doing this you are burning money.

Check the Weather – Are they playing in wet or windy conditions? If so, do you really want to be paying top dollar for that receiver/quarterback pairing you like the look of? In bad conditions, running backs will be seeing a lot more of the ball than usual. Conversely a sunny, still day might be the perfect day for that quarterback to throw those bombs. Of course, the conditions in a dome will also be great for the quarterback/wide receiver. Keeping an eye on the weather will give you an edge over many.

Use Sportsbooks – Odds makers are some of the most clued up brains in sport – if they weren’t they would all go broke. Knowing this, when they set a betting line, you can normally assume it to be accurate. Therefore, if a team is well ahead on the spread, you won’t go too far wrong in picking some of the players for your roster. The totals line also tells a story – you’ll immediately know which games expect the most points.

The Quarterback – Like the game itself, your quarterback is the most important pick you’ll make. If you get the quarterback wrong, you can probably say goodbye to your money. Spend the most time researching this player – maybe list all of the starting quarterbacks, and cross them off one by one. This way you won’t be guilty of the “I didn’t even consider him this week” moment, having only looked at five or six passers.

Player Mentality – Players react differently to situations. Consider a player who has just had a terrible outing – is he the type of player whose head will go down and his performance will be affected again? Or is he the type of player who will train extra hard and will come out the following week determined not to let it happen again? The determined player is a player you really want to consider, as you’ll both gain a few points, and it’s likely he won’t be on
many rosters as a result of last week.

What about the player who has just had an MVP performance? Will he back this up next week, and go on a streak of good form, or are these performances just a rarity? Knowing which type of player is which will go a long way to giving you those vital extra few points.

Doubling Up – It can be a good move to put all your eggs in one basket by picking a combination of quarterback and wide receiver. If one has a good game, it’s very likely that the other will as well. This works best in leagues with lots of players, as it can go very well or very badly – when it does go well you could be aiming for that very big prize.

Rest – How long was it since the team last played? Did they play Monday night, and are now playing Sunday and have had a lot of travel in between? Have they not played for two weeks? Are they playing the second of back to back home games – and are therefore completely settled and had a full week of training? When deciding between two or more players, looking at this factor can make the decision somewhat easier.

Match-Ups – Check out when a poor defense is playing a good offense, or vice versa. Check out when a running back is up against a poor run defense. Maybe you expect a quarterback to have a good game, but his pass protection isn’t great, and the defense he is facing is leading the league in sacks? Do you really want to pick him? Consider as many factors as you can – the more work you put in, the more successful you’ll become.

Bargains – You want to find value for money in daily fantasy sports, and you’ll get no better value than a low salary player picking up a good load of points. Obviously this is easier said than done, as players have a low salary for a reason – but look at the winners of any big fantasy contest, and they’ll have a couple of players who were great value. Some fantasy players actually see a really cheap player, and are put off because of this – do the

Use the Media Wisely – A player tweets that he is up for a big game, or a coach comes out in a press conference and says that his team is pumped for the weekend or that a player will have an impact at the weekend. Many fantasy players will see comments like this, and use them in picking their roster. Generally, not much notice should be taken here – for two reasons. Firstly, players and coaches don’t like to give information away – so any comments
should be taken with a pinch of salt. Does a coach really want to give his strategy away? Secondly, many fantasy players will indeed react to these comments, so by not picking the named players, you won’t be one of the sheep – always a good thing in fantasy sports.

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