Fantasy Football: How to Play FanDuel

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If you have your eyes set on beginning a journey in DFS for 2018, FanDuel is a great place to start. With an easy-to-use, clean interface and various formats to choose from, FanDuel is my personal favorite DFS site to use. Let’s walk through how to play FanDuel, the plethora of contests to choose from, and dive into some DFS strategies and lineup configurations to help you take down a tournament or consistently build your winnings in cash games.

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How to Play FanDuel

For those new to FanDuel, the best place to start is the Beginner Contests. These contests are only available to players who have entered 50 contests or less, regardless of when they registered and set up their account. More experienced players are not allowed to play which will allow you to get up to speed at your own pace while playing against others with similar experience levels. These contests are labeled and are easy to find.

FanDuel also offers a friends mode where you can play against your friends all season long and track the standings. This is a fun way to play DFS with your redraft league mates.

Experienced players are now designated on the website with either an “Experienced” icon or a “Highly Experienced” icon. This will allow you to see beforehand whether you’ll be going up against one or more experienced players and help you decide whether you ultimately want to enter that contest or not.

In the lobby, there are a plethora of clear contest entry limits have been set to put a cap on the number of lineups one user can enter into a single contest. This has been done to help maintain a competitive balance for all involved. The entry caps vary by contest:

  • Single entry contests – Only one entry is allowed
  • Capped contestsThe number of entries allowed is given. Depending on the specific contest, this could be two, three, five, or even ten entries per player.
  • Multi-entry contestsThese contests allow players to submit a lot of lineups. However, there are still limits.

The types of contests that you can enter are as follows:

  • Tournaments– The Most common contest with most entrants that are high-paying contests with guaranteed prize pools
  • Beat the Score– Recommended for beginners, this is a tournament where the prize pool is shared evenly amongst all the winners
  • Multipliers– Allows you to double up your money
  • Head-to-Head– Face off against someone else to go 1-on-1
  • 3-100 Players– These contests cap # of players with multiple payout structures
  • 50/50s– If you finish in the top half of entrants, you win money
  • Satellites/Qualifiers– If you finish in the prize payouts, you gain an entry into another contest

Here is an example of a list of contests to choose from:

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The rules and details of every possible contest are shown before you begin to enter your lineup. pertinent information such as the entry cost, number of entrants, which specific games (slate) are involved in the contest, the scoring system, prizes (how many people get paid), and payout structure (how much the winners win) are all available in advance of every contest.

This is super important as it allows you to analyze and research the specifics of a contest before deciding if you want to enter. In order to find all of this information, simply click on the name of a contest and it will all pop up for you. There is even a toolbar that contains info, entries, prizes, and enter sections at the top that allows you to sort through all of the information.

Roster Requirements

For FanDuel, you are given a $60,000 salary cap which equates out to about $6,667 per player. You MUST spend less than or equal to your budget in order to submit a valid lineup.

You MUST fill a starting lineup that consists of ALL of the following: 1QB, 2RBs, 3WRs, 1TE, 1FLEX, and 1DEF.

The FLEX position is brand new to the 2018 season and definitely adds a different flavor from the often random kicker position.

Scoring System

The FanDuel scoring system closely resembles the Ballers preferred scoring format at 0.5 PPR.

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This scoring allows pass-catching RBs and volume WRs to rack up major points. We will highlight some of the best strategy and lineup construction tips

How to Select FanDuel Lineups

Every player involved in the games within the contest you enter (also known as the slate) are available to you. Each player you choose costs a certain dollar amount. The most expensive (generally considered to be the best) players at each position cost way more than $6,667 and the cheapest (generally considered to be the worst) players at each position cost way less than $6,667.

  • You MUST complete your lineup while staying under the $60,000 salary cap budget.
  • You may NOT pick more than 4 players from the same team.
  • You MUST pick players from at least 3 different teams to fill out your roster.

Lineups lock when the first game involved in a contest starts. No more changes to your roster can be made at that point.

FanDuel Lineups

Every week during the season, we showcase a number of articles in our DFS Pass written by expert Chris Meaney. Chris ranked #6 in DFS Accuracy in 2017 and will continue to provide articles that focus on Vegas totals, who to fade, how to win big tournaments, and who to play in cash games.

Tournaments are often times referred to as GPPs. 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. The field of entrants is usually much larger in tournaments compared to other contests offered. Entry fees are relatively small compared to the prizes handed out to those that finish at the top of the standings. That’s because only about 5% of entrants end up winning substantial cash, depending on the specific contest.

When playing cash games, generally only the top 50% of the field is paid out. It can be as simple as a head-t0-head or 10,000+ entrants. Winning in cash is about finding a number of players who carry high floors. Meaney provides his FanDuel cash picks every single week.

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Here are some general tips when approaching each position and how to build your FanDuel lineup:

Quarterbacks– Pass attempts and Vegas totals are key statistics to look at. Selecting a QB that faces off against a porous secondary is a great way to see guaranteed production. Because the scoring system is only 4 point per passing TD and not 6, there is value is finding QBs who can rush the football and add a score on the ground.

Runningbacks– When it comes to DFS, volume reigns supreme so finding multiple RBs with guaranteed volume in a given week is vital. We know that stud RBs have heavy workloads and generally are involved in the passing game. As DFS writer Ben Cummins says, “This is huge because when an RB is involved in both phases of the offense, it means they are not as dependent on a particular game script for success. They can produce regardless of whether their team is winning or losing, meaning there are more possibilities for them to blow up and make them worth rostering.” For more info on this topic, check out the full article: How to Dominate the RB Position in DFS.

Wide Receivers– Finding high yardage WRs with a high probability of scoring TDs is gold. Obviously Antonio Brown and Julio Jones are elite options that also will cause you to fork over a major part of your budget. Because you start at least 3 WRs, this is the prime way to differentiate yourself from your opponent(s). A team’s 2nd or 3rd WR is a viable option and often wins the contest in DFS. Because teams are running 3-WR sets over 40% of the time, finding the right week to select likely low-owned 3rd options like Kenny Golladay or Mike Wallace can set you apart.

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Tight Ends– Most TEs are extremely TD-dependent. The high-end TEs such as Rob Gronkowski, Travis Kelce, and Zach Ertz will cost as much as a high-end WR. It’s totally acceptable to find a cheaper option on an offense with a high Vegas total.

Flex– Winning the FLEX position comes down to taking advantage of the scoring system and finding RBs and WRs that have the potential to “double” or “triple” their expected FanDuel points that week. If you’re part of the #FootClan, check out the Ballers’ weekly FLEX rankings.

Defense– Top-notch defenses are usually priced over $5,000 and eat into your overall budget. Finding a matchup with a poor QB who is INT-prone. Keep your eye on team’s with elite special teams or have a knack for pick-sixes like the Philadelphia Eagles. You’re looking for sacks and major turnover potential in any given week.

FanDuel Strategies

The goal of any contest is differentiating yourself from your opponent(s) while trying to simply gain the most amount of fantasy points in that given week. Here are a number of strategies employed for FanDuel:

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Cheap QB– Depending on the slate, there usually are extremely cheap QB options which help you build out a more robust roster when saving at this position. Because QB scoring is more predictable compared to the other positions and there is a large number of viable starters, being a spendthrift on QBs allows you to load up on stud RBs and WRs. Which leads to the next strategy…

The Sneaky DEF/Returner– Finding an RB/WR that also moonlights as a return man allows you the opportunity to get “double-points”. If Tyler Lockett or Tyreek Hill take a punt return to the house, you not only receive 6 points for their TD but your defense does as well. Very, very sneaky…

Stacking– A stack is betting on a combo of at least 2 players from the same team gaining correlating fantasy points. There are many different ways to accomplish this but the most obvious is pairing a QB & WR together. Essentially, if the WR goes off for 150 yards and 2 TDs, you know their QB will be producing as well. This is an easy way to gain an advantage over your opponents. Suppose you select Keenan Allen and you are deciding between Matthew Stafford, Philip Rivers, and Matt Ryan for your QB position. It may seem like you are putting all your eggs in one basket by selecting another Charger, but data says stacking works over similar players on different teams.

With the FLEX position now in play for FanDuel, stacking becomes even more of a no-brainer given that you have the opportunity to add another correlating piece to your lineups.

Going for the Bonanza– Ben Cummins defines a “bonanza” as stacking players from the same game in order to go for the offensive “back-and-forth explosion”. If you have a combination of a high Vegas total, two good passing offenses, and subpar pass defenses, this tricky strategy can blow away your opponent in DFS. For more info on this topic, check out the full article: Always Lookout for the Bonanza in DFS.

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