This page is meant to be your guide to weekly and daily fantasy football games. Here you will see details about the game and how to play it. Our guide will help beginners by walking them through the entire process or giving new ideas to experienced players. If you are just starting to play daily fantasy football, and you are not sure where to begin, do not worry we will show you everything from the signing up and creating an account to drafting your team and participating in a contest. We are going to give you some useful tips about how to find the games you want and have great fun playing. In this guide, we are focusing on the fantasy football games offered by FanDuel and DraftKings.
Overview of Fantasy Football
- It is a legal game in most states
- The companies are market leaders in the USA
- Millions are awarded every week
- Daily fantasy football is a leader in popularity among fantasy sports
- There are real money games for every pocket and budget
- Exciting contests and tourneys with thousands of competitors
How to Start Playing Fantasy Football
In fact, it is very easy to start playing fantasy football, and you can do it right now. We will tell you exactly what you need to know and do if you are a beginner. Of course, you should have registered at a legit fantasy site, and only then you can start playing.
- Create your account at a fantasy site
- Look around in the lobby and choose a contest you would like to join
- Build a team
- Let the fun begin!
We will not get into details on how to create your account because it is very easy and you should just follow the steps on the site. We will directly move on to building your team and the play itself.
How does Daily Fantasy Football Work?
The first step of the process is building a team. Although the process is similar in all the sites, we will be showing you how to make your daily fantasy football picks on DraftKings. The positions of the game are the same as in every football game. What you need to do is choose players for the following positions:
- QB – Quarterback
- RB – Running Back
- RB – Running Back
- WR – Wide receivers
- WR – Wide receivers
- TE – Tight ends
- FLEX (RB/WR/TE)
Rules and Scoring Points
There is a slight difference in the scoring rules between different sites and games, so always check those before playing. Scoring points depend mainly on how you fantasy players perform on the field and their results. The better they do on the field, the more fantasy points you get. Your goal is to build a team that performs better and scores more points than your competition. For this, you have 50 000$ salary cap to spend on building a good team. You must draft all positions within your salary cap. For example, a great quarterback could cost as much as 9000$, while a low ranked WR – 4000$.
What Kind of Fantasy Football Games to Play?
- Big Tournaments – These are the largest field contest, which attracts thousands of entrants. Usually, the entry fee is quite low, and the prize is huge. Go for the Guaranteed Prize Pool Tournaments or GPPs. The big daily fantasy sites for football run these GPPs with million dollar prizes every week. FanDuel and DraftKings are giving away over a million each week of NFL daily fantasy. There are also some successful strategies you can use to play GPP, so do your research before you enter the game.
- 50/50 contests – These are the so-called “cash games”. In these contest, the top 50% of the field gets a payout. It is quite easy to understand a 50/50 game with 20 participants and a prize of 900$ will award ten entrants with the highest scores with 90$. The strategies used for the cash games are different from those of the big tournaments, so make sure you check those before you enter a game.
- Head-to-head games – These are also cash games, but in them, you compete against another team owner. The entry fees and prizes for these games may range quite a lot. Some of these contests have a 10$ entry fee, and others have a $5000 fee. If you want, you can create your head-to-head leagues on FD and DK if you want to play against a friend.
- Satellites and Qualifiers – In these contests, you can win an entry into other contests that have larger entry fees. For example, you pay 10$ to enter a fantasy football qualifier where the prize is a free ticket into a future event with much larger entry fee. If you win that qualifier, you will get into the future contest for free.
- Multipliers – These can be double, triple or quadruple and they are also considered cash games. They are contests where the money of the top “x” of the field is doubled, tripled or quadrupled. These can even go up to 10x leagues.
Now you know the different types of contests you can participate in as well as the variety of wagers you can place, but there are criteria you need to pay attention to when joining.
What to consider before joining a contest?
In this section, we will break down the important details you need to know when joining a contest. We will discuss salary caps, the size of the field, payout schedules, prize pools, entry fees and so much more. Some of the things are intuitive but still read this carefully to make sure you are familiar with all of them.
There are two types of contests: free and real money games. The real money daily fantasy leagues require you to pay a higher entry fee. These are also called free-rolls. They are tournaments you can participate in without paying much. You can win a freeroll with which you can enter a larger contest where you will have the chance to win a cash prize or something else. But of course, that does not mean you will play the freerolls all week. At some point, you will want to enter a real cash DFF game. Both at FanDuel and DraftKings you will find tons of games that only require a 1$ entry fee, or even less sometimes. The freerolls are a shallow end, and once you leave it, you will venture into the exciting cash contests. There you will get to play a variety of daily fantasy football games among which large-field leagues, head-to-head games, qualifiers, multipliers, guaranteed tournaments and 50/50s.
- Entry fees – This is the amount you need to pay to enter a daily fantasy football game. As we already mentioned you could enter many contests that will cost you a fee of only 1$, other impose fees of hundreds of dollars. At both FanDuel and DraftKings, you will find an entry fee column in the respective lobbies. If you click on the column heading, you can sort the list of contests accordingly.
- Salary caps – This is the budget you are given to draft your team. You should fill your open positions without exceeding that budget. Salary caps can be fun and frustrating at the same time. The key to using them effectively is in identifying undervalued players. At FanDuel the salary cap for each contest in displayed in the Lobby. The salary cap is 60$K; the “expert” tournaments have a 55$ cap. At DraftKings you will see your cap while you are drafting your lineup. There is sometimes a 50K cap used. There are many salary cap allocation ideas and details about the basics of fantasy bankroll management which you need to read.
- The size of field – This indicates the number of entrants in a given contest. You will find this number under the column called “size” in the FanDuel site. At DraftKIngs it is displayed under the column called “Entries.” You can also sort the contests by this number if you click the column headings of each of the sites. The field size doesn’t affect the number of entrants when it comes to playing baseball.
- Prizes – This is the amount of money you can win. If you are playing qualifiers, the prize is the entry fee of the future even, which is listed. At FanDuel you will find this amount under the Prizes column, DraftKings displays it under the “Prize Pool” column. If you click the heading column, you will sort the tournaments according to the value in the column.
- Payout schedules –Usually, the cash prize attached to a given contest in a split among several people. For example, a tournament with 20 entrants could pay out a portion of the prize pool to the top 6 team owners. In other instants, the cash prize is awarded to the top-scoring entrant. You will find the payout schedules of neither Fan Duel nor Draft Kings in the Lobby. But you can easily find the details. At FD you need to click the amount of the prize pool for the contest for the contest you want (under the Prizes column). At DK you can click the title of the contest to find more. In both cases, a window will pop-up that will display the schedule.
With all this said, now you have enough information to jump right into your first daily football contest and put the information into good use.
How to enter a Fantasy Football Contest
Here is where everything happens. So far we only gave you a theoretical knowledge, but nothing is better than experience. Check the lobby of the site you have chosen and found a daily fantasy football tournament that appeals to you.
Maybe you should start with one of the guaranteed tournaments with low entry fee, but of course, you are the one to choose. There is a difference in the way FD and DK display guaranteed contests. If you go to FanDuel, you will find a small blue box with the letter G to the right of the contest’s title, which means it has a guaranteed prize pool. At DraftKings you need to click the large tab near the top of the page titled guaranteed.
In Fan Duel, you can sort the contents by entry fee if you click the “entry” column heading twice. The games with the lowest fees will appear first on the list. When you find a tournament that you like, click the green box saying “Enter” at the far right of the line. At Draft Kings, you should click the “Entry Fee” column heading to sort the list. Once you have chosen a contest, click the black box titled Enter on the right, and you will be in. Now you can start drafting your players.
How to Draft a Team Step by Step
- Salary Cap Games
- You should fill all roster spots with a budget of 50,000$
- Check this example of playing in a salary cap game at DraftKings
- $50k Salary Cap
- You must draft RB, RB, QB, WR, WR, TE, FLEX, DEF – FLEX position and another WR, TE or RB.
- According to the reviews, grafting players is identical at both sites FanDuel and DraftKings. The players who are available are listed on the left of the page, while your roster, which is empty is displayed on the right side of the page.
- You will see that each player has a salary, which is displayed to the right of his name. Your budget will be listed on your roster. You have to put together a high-scoring team, filling each position in your lineup without running out of cash. This is where you need to show some skills as you must use your salary wisely. In this newbies guide we do not go into discussing daily fantasy drafting strategies, but more the general concept of how it works.
- If you want to add a player to your roster at Fan Duel, you first need to select the green tab corresponding with the position you are trying to fill. Once you have found someone you like to add to your team, click the green button labeled Add right next to his salary.
- At DraftKings it is just as simple to draft a player. Click the gray tab associated with the position you are filling. The click the green plus sign to the right of the player you want to draft. You can see your remaining budget above your roster, and it will decrease with the player’s salary the moment you draft him. You will have to make some changes to the lineup during the draft. To get rid of a player, you should click the X to the right of his name on your roster. On DraftKings the X is yellow and on FanDuel it is red.
- Once you have finished drafting your entire lineup, click the big green button Enter on Fan Duel or the big yellow button Submit on Draft Kings. Then confirm your entry.
- That is all you need to do. The rest is to sit back and monitor how your team is performing in real-time or check after the games are over and see how you did.
Informative Guide for Fantasy NFL
- Thorough Fantasy Football Research
- Positions of the Players at NFL Games
- View the Fantasy Football Projections
- Check the Odds for a Football Match
- Play Fantasy Football for Real Money
- Advanced Research About Fantasy NFL
- Using a Strategy for the NFL Mock Draft
- Daily Fantasy Football Advice for Betting
Get Prepared for Your First Daily Fantasy Football Contest
- If this is your first daily fantasy game, you should be prepared to lose. Of course, you might get lucky and even manage to claim a payout. If that is the case, fantastic. But go you should enter your first contest with the right expectations.
- After you get some experience with the freerolls and guaranteed tournaments, you can try the 50/50s. Choose contests with low entry fees to minimize your risk. Learning how to identify undervalued players is a great way to slowly build your bankroll. After you gain some confidence, you can try some of the large-field daily fantasy football leagues where you have bigger prize pools. And this is where you can really profit from your skills.
- Many people ask the question if fantasy sports are legal. These games are considered games of skills so they are officially legal. However, there are a few states where there are laws against playing and if you live in one of those few states you cannot play for real money.
Why is Fantasy Football so Popular?
No wonder that dayly fantasy football is so popular. Why wouldn’t someone want to have some fun and get the chance to win millions of dollars? The game isn’t calm as golf but this is where all the excitement is. If you are an NFL fan daily fantasy football has a lot to offer. Read more on what the fantasy football money leagues have to offer below.
The most attractive thing that DFF has to offer is the chance to win loads of money. At DraftKings, you could play in the Millionaire Maker tournament every week during the football season. The cost to participate is 27$ and the award 1$ million to the winner of the weekly tournament. In addition to the tournaments that cost less than 27$ to enter at FanDuel and DraftKIngs can also offer huge cash prizes.
Of course, money is not all. If your season long fantasy football team is not performing well, you should try daily fantasy football for money. The excitement that follows the NFL week increases with the 1-day fantasy football.
There are two types of games that users play when selecting a daily fantasy football game. These are generally divided into tournaments and cash games. The main difference is the type of payout they offer. If you participate in a tournament, you get the chance to turn a small entry fee into a massive payday by beating thousands of other lineups. The cash games give the user a good chance to double or triple their entry fee in a small field and by paying out a large portion of it.
Tournaments are what normally draw people to fantasy daily football games. The opportunity to turn an entry fee of few dollars into a five figure is very tempting. But these tournaments also pay only 15-20% of the players who enter them, so, in the end, a lot of the entrants will walk away empty handed, but a few will get the big bucks. These tournaments are great for entering different lineups to diversify your action in weekly fantasy football. The minimum payout is usually three times the buy-in, so you will need to cash a couple of five or ten entries to win your money back and some more to make a good profit. You do not need even to make changes in the different lineups you put in. Select a few core players and continue to build around them until you have a diverse set of lineups. The best thing to do to diversify lineups is to play with players you expect to do well, not just all the players others are not looking at. You need a good mix since every lineup cannot have every player.
Cash games are much different than tournaments. The fields are much smaller which will allow you to double or triple the entry fee by beating a smaller percentage of the field. On the different sites, you will need to beat somewhere around half the field to double your buy-in in a 2xgame, or beat one-third of the field in a 3xgame. As the multiplier increases, it starts to be more and more like a tournament, so you cannot consider anything past the triple-up. Head-to-head games and 3-player games are also in the cash game category, but the challenge with these field games is getting good diversity among your opponents. You should track who you are playing and how well you perform against them to stay profitable in the long run, rather than just blindly jumping into some games per day.
Tourneys vs. Cash Games
Advanced stats are more important in daily fantasy football than season-long fantasy football as it focuses on the individual matchup and gameplan for the week instead of the overall teams and players you are selecting. You need to find the right advanced stats and also determine which correlate best with the position you are analyzing. The same goes for Nascar.
There are many sources where you can find advanced stats during the NFL season for the biggest and most popular fantasy sports. Do some research on stats and use to in your play to improve your strategy and the performance of your team. There are many accurate advanced statistics out there for players, which are both helpful and frustrating when playing one-day fantasy football. It is important to have detailed statistics on players and trends, but what is even more useful is the matchups of the players face with the defense, and those statistics continue to be compared to the offensive statistics that look like popping up in volume every day. These statistics can also be very helpful, especially target rates and touchdown rates for receivers, which give you an idea of how the offense utilizes its receivers in volume. Red-zone target rates tell you which receivers are most likely to receive targets in and around the end zone, leading to touchdowns and ultimately to the biggest fantasy point totals.
You can apply the same analysis to the running backs and learn which offenses tend to run more and if they are expected to be winning or losing throughout the game. Game flow is important for the running backs because they tend to get a lot more carries killing the clock when their team is winning. You can use Vegas lines to get very helpful information when selecting running backs, and it is probably more helpful than team stats and tendencies as these are not very useful when the game flow demands it.
If you are looking for the best field leader for your team, invest time in finding a good quarterback as they can make the most of every opportunity during the game. Another important thing you should keep in mind when planning your fantasy football strategy is to discover the holes in the defenses your players will be facing. Rather than just knowing that the other team will provide you with many passing yards, it will be much more helpful to you if you know which position is receiving these yards.
We can take the Arizona Cardinals as an example. In the previous years, they did very well in defending wide receivers but were almost crushed by tight ends. If you only check their performance against the pass which is not so great as a whole and don’t do more thorough research, you may decide to play wide receivers against them. But the better option will be to use their tight ends weakness. And not only rankings, tiers and different groupings can be helpful for your daily fantasy football performance. You can really take advantage of the player types and learn how to classify them as such. We’ll present several types of quarterbacks and how they can help your growth in the daily fantasy games keeping in mind different factor like matchups for example.
These are players who get injured (or injure someone else) in almost every game. This can be related to other sports, like hockey for example. They are very expensive, and most of them rose to fame too quickly but didn’t manage to develop their skills and reach the full extent of their abilities. They are a bit similar to Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, and Andrew Luck in 2014. Against such players, you should target better team. We don’t mean teams with better defenses, simply – better teams. The trick is that when two quarterbacks from the elite play in the opposite teams, the game normally ends with the two teams scoring at will. This makes such games perfect for targeting in order get more of your daily fantasy football experience.
These are the players who can bring you the most profit if you are lucky enough to take the in the right time. They change every year and for 2014, for example, this category included the names of Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Tom Brady. In most of the cases these types of players have very good games every time but only a few predominant performances. Still, they give the vibe that they are the best in each game. The other plus is that their price is lower that the elite players. And if you have good daily fantasy football strategy you can begin playing with them just at the start of their rise, when their price is still low enough. This is actually what makes the quality players so lucrative. Especially if you manage to take advantage of a great deal at Manning or Luck for the Roethlisberger’s six-touchdown game last year or some similar amazing offer.
Those are the player that you would usually want to play only for tournaments. Most of the NFL players nowadays are part of this exact category. Joe Flacco, Jay Cutler, Matthew Stafford and Philip Rivers – all names that you can connect with both great wins and huge losses. This is very typical for those quarterbacks. They are capable of amazing results, but most often than not they fail miserably. If you are lucky enough and catch them in a good game, you will be rewarded. On the other hand, if they lose, this can ruin your whole team and cost you few bucks. It’s very risky, but also a very tempting idea to use those players, but as long as you’ve discovered your successful DFF strategy, the Rollercoasters could be good additions to your teams.
These players usually give an average performance in the weekly games and have a couple of outstanding performances every now and again during the season. However, thanks to these good games and their lock-in starter status, they become very expensive. This is why they won’t bring you a lot of benefits regarding profit. They are often perceived as cash game plays, but in the same time they are overused, and if you are looking for a lucrative game strategy maybe they are not the right players for you. Famous names, connected to this type of players are Alex Smith and Andy Dalton.
These players can bring you fairly good financial results, especially in comparison to the game managers. Most of the value plays are new, inexperienced players or injury replacements, and you can make really profitable deal buying them. Often you can purchase this type of players with a big discount at the daily fantasy football and what’s more, the quarterbacks play four quarters in nearly every game. And because, unlike the other positions, quarterbacks don’t rotate, you will receive almost the same good results as from an elite option. The difference being you will pay much less for the value player than you would for an elite one.
Another position that is easier to analyze is the running back. You can quickly decide how to use these players in your lineups, because, similarly to the quarterbacks, the running backs can be effortlessly classified in different types. Later on, this helps you to plan your strategy and choose the best players for achieving your targets. One of the reasons the running backs can be put in a certain category so easily is the fact that they are a volume based position. And that volume determines the player’s type. Keep in mind that there are running back types that you would probably never use for your teams. On the other hand, there are some types in which you simply have to invest.
These players participate in every part of the game (like the MVP at basketball). They support every move – carrying, blocking or pass catching. You can expect them to be part of almost every game, and they have the highest floor of all running back types. This, of course, makes them very expensive. Among the big players that were part of the Elite in the previous year are Matt Forte and Le’Veon Bell. They were very important contributors with their point per reception scoring, and this usually led to higher floors and upside.
This is the type of players like Arian Foster. He was very reliable when it comes to volume. He also delivered great results in most of the games and had 20+ carries with a couple of catches. In the same time, he wasn’t playing in an offense and some cases this turned out to be a bad move. His decision and strategy in the games became very predictable and sometimes you could notice big differences in the scores at the top and bottom end from the above group.
Usually, when the team is calling running plays, these players are on the field. They are not as fast as the elite players and don’t catch as many passes as you would like, but nonetheless, they are very important to the team. They are irreplaceable when it comes to good offense, and they are almost always in scoring territory. For instance, in 2014 such players were Eddie Lacy and Marshawn Lynch. They had their difficulties throughout the season and still managed to achieve great scores with double-digit touchdowns. This, of course, helped enormously for the increase of their fantasy value. So if you decide to include them in your lineups, it could be beneficial for your daily fantasy strategy.
It’s recommended to stay away from these players in most of the games. Examples for such running backs are DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart and the way they performed in the last few seasons. Yes, they are important players and contribute to the game and results, but if you look closely, you can see that their success relies on the other one having some kind of contusion. Keep this in mind when selecting these players for your team. Also remember that most of the time everything is divided 50/50. Therefore, even if you have a great matchup, you will get only half the touches. This can be both helpful and problematic regarding your strategy for fantasy football.
When we talk about the quarterback or running back positions, the value players aren’t so dependable. The reason is that those two positions rotate throughout the whole game, and the players can often lose reps to the person behind him. On the other hand, if there is a clear-cut backup receiving starters reps, it would most definitely be the best value play for this week. For instance, in the previous season, Jeremy Hill replaced the injured Gio Bernard did so well that he made the position his own. Yes, he had some bad days in the beginning, but overall his fantasy value was great, and his price was very good. If you are wondering how to incorporate value plays in your daily football strategy, maybe the quarterbacks and the running back positions aren’t the best options, but it’s worth checking them out – you never know how they can help your scores.
Are you ready to start playing Daily Fantasy Football?
You can find many lists of top sites to play real money fantasy sports. Since football is the most popular of all fantasy sports, all the sites offer it. DraftKings is one of the favorite sites to play real money daily fantasy football. One of the coolest features is that you can change players if their game has not started yet. At FanDuel your lineups are locked after the 1st game begins regardless of when your player does play. So, check these sites and let the daily fantasy football fun begin!