Guide to Daily Fantasy Football

Guide to Daily Fantasy Football

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Welcome to Daily Fantasy Football!

Life as you know it will never be the same

If you are new to the world of daily fantasy sports, welcome! Daily fantasy sports is redefining the way we play fantasy football by removing the season long commitment, and moving focus away from that once-a-year draft, and to the week-to-week art of analyzing match-ups and constructing lineups. I have always been a proponent of drafting ‘your guys’ when it comes to traditional season long fantasy football. It allows you to watch and root for your favorite team/players every week. However, with daily games you aren’t locked into a season-long commitment, so you really have to be ready and willing to throw all prejudice’s out and look at each week’s match-ups objectively.

This guide will introduce you to daily fantasy football, the art of constructing a roster and managing a budget and give you some basic tips to finding and choosing games you can win.

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Learn how to pick the right game

Play games you can win and avoid the games you can’t

When I’m speaking about daily fantasy football with guys from my traditional fantasy football leagues, they always ask the same two questions:

Are the companies legit and will I get a payout.
These are multi million dollar companies employing hundreds of professionals, paying out millions and millions of dollars every week. So, yes, it’s 100% legit.

Is it really competitive, could I actually win money?
Obviously this is such a loaded question. So much of what determines the success you will have in daily fantasy football has to do with your player knowledge, willingness to research players and match-ups, and sprinkle in a little bit of luck. But, if you understand what games to get into, what games have the best odds, and combine it with the right roster structure and research, you have a good chance to find success.

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Focus on Playing 50/50’s and Head-to-Head Matrix

There are a ton of game types to choose from: 50/50’s, tournaments, head-to-head games, double-ups, triple-ups, head-to-head matrix, and more. We always recommend that new players focus on keeping the odds in their favor. That means playing a lot of 50/50’s and head-to-head matrix games. With 50/50’s you have a 50% chance of winning 1.8 times your entries, and in a head-to-head matrix you just have to beat one guy in the league to win some of your money back. If you have the best lineup in the league then you will double up your entry.

I have been playing for years now, and will still only play 1 tournament per 4 50/50 contests. I find that I win around 70% of the 50/50 games I enter, but only finish in the money in 10% or less of the tournaments. The reason is obvious, 50% of people finish in the money in 50/50’s and less than 10% finish in the money in tournament play.

Because of the odds and the rakes, losses add up in a hurry when you are playing a one to one ratio of tournaments and 50/50’s. If you enter a $5 50/50 and win $3.80, but lose the tournament your still down $1.20. Lose both and your out $10. If you only want to play two or three games per day we recommend playing higher money 50/50’s and the smaller tournaments. The payouts on a $2 tournament are still really attractive, so why not play a $10 50/50 and a $2 tournament. If you win the 50/50 but lose the tournament your still up on the day, while giving yourself the opportunity to win some real money in the tournament format game.

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Develop a Winning Strategy

How to build a strategy that will consistently win daily games

There is a reason we separated developing a strategy from roster construction. While roster construction is certainly a large part of your strategy, it’s just a part. When we are talking about strategy we mean what resources are you going to use to choose your players, what games are you going to target, how are you going to rank your players, where are you getting your fantasy news, etc… If you have a strategy put together for gathering information, and ranking and targeting players your roster will start to assemble itself.

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In the latest articles section of our website we cover and provide a ton of different resources for you to add to your fantasy toolbelt. When constructing your own personal week to week rankings make sure you go into your rankings with a great understanding of the scoring system the league your entering uses. Most daily leagues are what we call PPR-Lite leagues, standard scoring with a half of a point per reception. This will make your rankings a blend of standard and ppr rankings.

We offer a ton of analysis on this website. You can find player rankings, projections, suggested lineups, strength of schedule and matchup analysis and many more invaluable tools. One of the things that you won’t find here, but do need to include in your research toolkit is advanced statistics. Their are plenty of introductory articles on the web to advanced analytics in the NFL, and even more websites that are providing them. Once familiar with what each stat means, and it’s effect on a player’s fantasy value, utilizing these statistics will help you immensely.

Properly analyzing match-ups is the first step to adjusting player values and finding value players to fill in around your big dollar guys. When it comes to analyzing match-ups we love using vegas as a resource. Vegas gives you a total for each team and each game, we combine the team total number, with defensive rankings to target players that have favorable match-ups. For instance, the Lions gave up a ton of yards/points in the first half of last season. However, they weren’t giving up any rushing yards, so if you relied on the fact that they have a weak defense that gives up a bunch of points/yards to take a RB playing them, you would have been making a huge mistake. We consider a good matchup to be someone with a high team total, and a favor positional matchup statistically. This means Vegas thinks the team is going to score a lot of points and you can identify which part of the offense will score those points.

Pick around our articles, and do some research of your own to put together and test a few different strategies. Don’t settle on one strategy, test a bunch of different ones, keep detailed notes and stick with what works best for you.

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Build a Winning Roster

How to properly manage your roster budget

Forget everything you think you know about assembling a fantasy football roster. All that matters is this week’s matchup. Winning rosters always have one feature in common: finding value players that take advantage of a favorable match-up and have a huge week. The key to winning week in and week out is to have one or two big name guys that have huge weeks, and to have ‘role players’ around them that are able to exploit favorable match-ups to put in above average weeks. Using the strategy we discussed on the previous page, you should be able to take a group of $4,00-$5,000 guys and identify enough of them with great match-ups to fill out your roster around your one or two big name, high cost players.

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If you have a proven strategy for identifying players to target you will finish in the money more times than not in 50/50’s. To win tournaments consistently in daily leagues you need to target the guys that are going to have huge days. So this means if Calvin Johnson is going against a week pass defense he has to be on your team. You won’t win if he has 200 yards and 2 touchdowns and you don’t have him. So you have to penny up on one or two big name players that have great match-ups, then fill out your roster with value players that will play above their pay scale.

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Chris is the lead researcher and writer for The Daily Audible. He has a decade of experience in sports gambling, handicapping, daily fantasy sports, scouting, and analysis.

Chris has a background in the development side of After spending almost a decade working on the development end of the fantasy industry, Chris made the move to the content side of the industry in fall of 2011. He covers the NFL, PGA, NBA, and NHL for The Daily Audible.