One of the most important things you will do when you start playing daily fantasy sports is to tailor your strategy to the specific site that you are playing on. If DraftKings is your site of choice, then you will need to change things a bit if you’ve been playing on a different site previously.
For the sake of brevity, we will focus on just daily NFL leagues here, but do know that each sport has a bit of a different approach that you will need in order to be as successful as possible.
Look at the Roster
The first thing that you will need to do at DraftKings—or any daily fantasy sports site—is to look at the roster you need to fill. At DK, you have nine spots to fill up: 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 FLEX, and 1 DST. You have your salary cap as well, which may or may not be different from other sites. This doesn’t matter a ton; it’s really how you apply the usage of your salary to fill the specific spots on your roster that does. So that’s where we will look next.
At DK, you have a salary cap of $50,000. Again, this isn’t super important; it’s really an arbitrary number. Applying the salary to get the most fantasy points possible is the end goal. To do this well, you need a method of fantasy point prediction that is trustworthy. Most people start by looking at their quarterback. This is a decent method, but it should ideally be adjusted each week of the season so that you are beginning where the player that will bring you the biggest number of points is located. To do this, you need to have a firm grasp upon how the site scores each play of the game. Sometimes the QB will be your top scorer, sometimes it’s the WR. Once in a while, it’s the RB. Your biggest purchase, though, should be on the player that is the most likely to bring you the biggest number of fantasy points. As a player loses fantasy point potential, you should spend less and less on them. Understand the scoring, and then allocate a certain number of dollars to each position based upon how many points they will provide you with.
Understanding Fantasy Value
Value is a core concept in the world of fantasy sports. It refers to the amount of points that a player will bring you in relation to the salary that you pay for them. A player with the potential to bring you 20 points in a game that costs $9,500 has less value than a player that will give you 20 points, but only costs $8,500.
The trick with value though, is that it’s not an end goal. If you do find a player that is likely to bring you 20 points, they could be worth buying even if they have awful value and cost $10,000. 20 points is a lot, and making up for that extra cost in other places is possible. Your big player purchases shouldn’t really consider value to heavily, then. It’s something that you should start relying heavily upon for your last five or six roster spots, and not the first three or four.
Because two positions allow you to have more than one player, you will find that most fantasy strategies break the players down into tiers. You have three wide receiver slots, so you can break the WRs down into three levels based upon how many points you expect out of them. A tier 1 player will return you far more points on average than a tier 3 player. The same is true with your running backs. You have two slots, but breaking them down into three tiers works well.
Before we go any further, realize that most places break the tiers down by price. For the last two WRs and the last RB, you will be limited by price, but if you look at value as your determining tier factor, you will never need to select worse than a tier 2 player. Spend little here, but ask for a lot as far as fantasy points go. This will allow you to spend more upfront on top players and not have to worry about drafting a no name player just so you can finish your roster. Definitely look for a tier 1 player in the top slot of each of your WR and RB columns, but don’t think that you need to get a nobody at a cheap price.
Also remember that you have a FLEX position. This can be a WR, RB, or TE. Typically, you will want to stay away from the TE just because they do not score as many points as a WR or RB will, but this may change once in a while. Use your discretion.
As stated before, this is specific to daily NFL play, but it is going to be a very similar concept moving from sport to sport. Many sites have different scoring systems, and they can be confusing when you move around to a different site, but looking at these core concepts—roster slots, fantasy scoring, and maximizing your projected points per salary dollar—will allow you to be successful at DraftKings or wherever you decide to play.