DFS 101: The Basics
Take a seat. Make yourself comfortable. We’re very excited to have you with us. We have plenty of amazing DFS content planned this year and can’t wait to get it to you. But first, let’s start from the very beginning. This is the beginner’s guide to DFS.
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What Is DFS?
First of all, DFS is the greatest thing to ever happen to fantasy football. That is a fact. Wait, you’d like to form your own opinion on the matter? Fine. I guess I’ll allow that. Let’s get you up to speed so you can do just that.
Unlike redraft or any “season long” leagues, DFS is a daily game. However, NFL DFS can be looked at as more of a weekly game since the majority of the games are played on Sundays. Every week, a number of various contests, on multiple DFS sites, are offered. Each contest consists of a particular “slate.” This is a DFS term that means what specific games are part of a specific contest. Numerous slates are offered on a weekly basis, and the information is made available to you before you have to spend any money or lock in any lineups. The beauty of DFS is that every player in every game (that is part of the slate) is an option for you in that distinct contest. There are no player limitations.
However, the majority of DFS sites do have a salary limitation. What this means is that your total roster must fit under a salary cap. Every player comes with a price tag. At the most basic level, the best players cost a lot and the worst players are cheap. This is where strategy comes into play. You can’t just play all the best players because your roster would not fit under the salary cap. You have to find that perfect balance between studs and underappreciated and underpriced players. Essentially, every week you’re given a new puzzle. You have all the pieces; you just have to put them together, and we’re here to help you do just that.
What DFS Sites Will We Focus On?
There are plenty of DFS websites out there, but we’ll largely focus on the big three. Those are:
Types of Contests Offered
The number of contests offered can be extremely overwhelming. However, once you form a general understanding of these contests, it’s nice to know there are options out there for every DFS player. That doesn’t just apply to the type of contest, but to the entry fee as well. No matter how much you’re wanting to spend, there is always going to be a contest for you. You can play for free, spend a quarter, or even just a few dollars to enter a contest. On the flip side, you can pay $20, $100, or even $1,000+ on an entry fee. You get to decide exactly what you want to do. With that said, let’s start breaking down all the different kinds of contest options:
- Draft Contests – These contests are unique to Draft. Instead of the salary cap format, Draft keeps the redraft feel by hosting snake drafts. Thus, this is one of the few DFS sites where not every player will be available to you. Drafts are five rounds and you build a roster of 1 QB, 2 RB, and 2 Flex. The flex positions can be made up of WRs and/or TEs. More on these contests coming in a later article.
- Beginner Contests – Play up to 50 contests against other beginners
- Multipliers – These contests do just what the name implies. They give you a chance to multiply your entry fee if you’re able to cash (win money). There are different kinds offered:
- Double Up – Those that finish in the money win 2x their entry fee. Around 43-45% of entrants cash in these contests. This percentage is not at 50 because the DFS site keeps the rest of the money.
- Triple Up – Those that finish in the money win 3x their entry fee. Around 29-30% of entrants cash in these contests.
- Quintuple Up – Those that finish in the money win 5x their entry fee. Around 17-18% of entrants cash in these contests.
- 10x Booster – Those that finish in the money win 10x their entry fee. Around 8-9% of entrants cash in these contests.
- 50/50 Contests – Exactly half of the field wins money and nearly doubles their entry fee in these kinds of contests. Those that finish in the cash don’t completely double their money because the house (the DFS site) takes a small cut. For example: a $2 contest with 100 entrants would see 50 players finish in the money. However, rather than all 50 players winning $4, each player wins $3.60.
- Head to Heads – In a head to head, you play against a single opponent. It’s your lineup vs. theirs and whoever scores more points takes home the cash. Winners can see anywhere from an 80-90% profit, while the house gets the rest.
- Tournaments – Tournaments often times can be referred to as GPPs. They mean the same thing. GPP stands for Guaranteed Prize Pool. Every single GPP tournament has a limit on the number of entries allowed. However, these contests always run and pay out money to the winners regardless, whether the contest completely fills up or not. These are absolutely my favorite contests and in my opinion the most fun. The field of entrants is usually much larger in tournaments compared to other contests but this allows for relatively small entry fees. Only about 19-25% of entrants cash, depending on the specific contest. Those that don’t cash are essentially donating their money to the winners and the DFS site itself. The main allure here is that the prizes at the top of GPP leaderboards can consist of life-changing amounts of money. For example, DraftKings offers a “Milly Maker” tournament every week, where the entry fee ranges from $20-$27, but first place takes home $1,000,000.
- Single Entry – In these tournaments, every user is only allowed one entry.
- Multi Entry – In these tournaments, users can enter multiple lineups into the same contest.
- Satellites and Qualifiers – With these contests, you pay a small amount of money to enter and play to win tickets for entries into contests at later dates. Without a ticket, these contests normally cost you a lot more money to join. Essentially, satellites and qualifiers are very similar to tournaments. You generally have to finish at the very top of the field if you’re going to win a ticket.
As the regular season gets closer, we’ll be putting out more detailed information about specific DFS sites, as well as strategy think pieces. Then in-season, get ready for numerous articles breaking down the best plays and strategies every single week. Stay tuned!