Guide to Winning on DraftKings

Guide to Winning on DraftKings


How to Really Win on DraftKings

DraftKings has quickly risen to become one of the top three most-frequented sites in the fantasy genre since being founded in 2012. DraftKings is the destination for a lot of daily fantasy players, veteran and novice, due primarily to an outstanding interface, particularly in the mobile genre. Because of the dense variety of content available, when playing on DraftKings, you’ll need to tailor your strategy to the specific sport you’re playing, conforming to optimize your lineups for DraftKings’ scoring and starting requirements.

Even before doing that, however, it’s important to understand the site from a broader picture, including their league types, payout structures, and late swap feature. Only after doing all of this, can you begin to really learn how to win at DraftKings.


DraftKings League Types

In addition to all of the standard head-to-heads, 50/50s, three-man leagues, GPPs, and so on, DraftKings also has a couple league types that aren’t as common in daily fantasy sports. One of those is known as a booster, a type of multiplier.

DraftKings has boosters that allow you to quickly multiply your bankroll, including 5x and 10x boosters.

Important to remember, the nature of the multiplier will dictate how much of your bankroll you can put into it. Typically, you’ll want to enter triple-ups that are slightly less expensive than the head-to-head leagues you enter. Meanwhile, you shouldn’t put a high percentage of your bankroll into multipliers with a low probability of cashing, such as 10x boosters; even if you’re an outstanding player, you probably have less than a 15 or 20 percent chance of cashing. At some point, you’ll run cold and, if you’re placing too much money into low-percentage multipliers, you’ll go bankrupt.

The second type of league that’s unique to DraftKings is known as a “steps tournament.” Steps tourneys have four separate levels, or steps, and you can cash only if you win Step 4. Each level costs more and more to enter, but you can win entries into higher levels.

You can buy directly into any step that you’d like, but you can start at Step 1 for $2 and eventually win $200 by advancing and winning Step 4. Note that to win a Step 2 ticket, you need to finish in the top two of 10 in Step 1. Those who finish in third or fourth place get to retry their luck in Step 1. The same goes for the subsequent steps, until Step 4, in which two of the six entrants will win $200.

There are downsides, of course; your chances of advancing from Step 1 to Step 4 are pretty low, so it’s just a matter of preference. If you think you have an advantage in mid-sized leagues and not in GPPs, steps tourneys are for you. When trying to tailor your approach of how to win at DraftKings, Remembering these specific elements will help guarantee you success.

DraftKings Payout Structures

DraftKings’ payout structures are pretty standard, except in one league type—GPPs. In their tourneys, DraftKings implements a much flatter payout structure than a lot of sites, often cashing the top 20 percent of even the top 25 percent. Most daily fantasy sites check in closer to 10 percent.

In regards to game strategy, DraftKings’ payout structure probably shouldn’t affect your approach all that much; you still want to maintain as much upside as possible, allowing you to cash big. Even paying out the top 20 percent of entrants, you still need to have a quality lineup to cash—the same as if you were in a five-man league that paid only the winner.

Late Swap

A final unique feature of DraftKings is their late swap. On most daily fantasy sites, your lineup is set after the first game begins. That means if you start a player on Monday night football, he’s locked in after the kickoff of the first game.

On DraftKings, you can sub out any player for any other player whose game has not begun. That’s important in sports like basketball and baseball, where, due to the number of games, star players get removed from lineups on a relatively frequent basis.


Still, most people aren’t using the late swap feature enough. One way that the late swap can change your strategy is that you can choose riskier players. If you’re in a Thursday night NFL league, you typically would want to avoid playing anyone who is listed as questionable because your lineup could be toast if he doesn’t play.

Another more advanced strategy that the late swap allows is altering your combination of players to either increase variance or reduce risk.

Overall, there are a lot of unique features at DraftKings that can be exploited to give you an edge. Always think about which strategies you can use to take advantage of a site’s distinguishing characteristics.

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.

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