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Daily Fantasy Football Tips

Updated on October 16, 2014

What Is Daily Fantasy Football?

Daily fantasy football is a format that allows players to play in fantasy football leagues that last only one day or one week, with a new draft each week. For those that don't want to commit an entire season to the same group of players or for those that don't want to have to keep up with their fantasy leagues all season long, daily fantasy football is perfect. The two biggest websites offering daily fantasy sports are Draft Kings and Fan Duel.

The most common type of daily fantasy draft is the salary cap draft which allows fantasy owners to draft a team of players within an allotted budget. In salary cap leagues, players can be owned by multiple fantasy owners. The best players usually have the highest salaries, which means that it is very difficult to draft all star players. This is where strategy comes into play.

The problem that many fantasy players have when playing in the daily leagues, is that they take the same strategies used in traditional fantasy football and try to make them work in daily leagues. The problem is that the two formats are very different. Below

Draft Kings
Draft Kings

What Rules Are These Tips Based On?

Before I start, it is very important to lay out the rules that my advice is based on because different fantasy sites have different rules, and therefore different strategies are necessary. While most of the advice is transferable, some may not be. I will be basing my advice based on the scoring settings of DraftKings.com:

Offensive players will accumulate points as follows:

Passing TD = +4PTs
25 Passing Yards = +1PT (+0.04PT/ per yard is awarded)
300+ Yard Passing Game = +3PTs
Interception = -1PT
10 Rushing Yards = +1PT (+0.1PT per yard is awarded)
Rushing TD = +6PTs
100+ Yard Rushing Game = +3PTs
10 Receiving Yards = +1PT (+0.1PT per yard is awarded)
Reception = +1PT
Receiving TD = +6PTs
100+ Yard Receiving Game = +3PTs
Punt/Kickoff Return for TD = +6PTs
Fumble Lost = -1PT
2 Point Conversion (Pass, Run, or Catch) = +2PTs
Offensive Fumble Recovery TD = +6PTs

Defense/Special Teams will accumulate points as follows:

Sack = +1PT
Interception = +2PTs
Fumble Recovery = +2PTs
Kickoff Return TD = +6PTs
Punt Return TD = +6PTs
Interception Return TD = +6PTs
Fumble Recovery TD = +6PTs
Blocked Punt or FG Return TD = +6PTs
Safety = +2PTs
Blocked Kick = +2PTs
0 Points Allowed = +10PTs
1-6 Points Allowed = +7PTs
7-13 Points Allowed = +4PTs
14-20 Points Allowed = +1PT
21-27 Points Allowed = 0PTs
28-34 Points Allowed = -1PT
35+ Points Allowed = -4PTs

The following scoring plays will result in Points Allowed (PA) by your Defense/Special Teams (DST):

Rushing TDs, Passing TDs, Punt Return TDs, Kick Return TDs and Blocked Punt TDs
2pt conversions
Extra-points
Field-goals

*Note: Points Allowed (PA) only includes points surrendered while DST is on the field - doesn't include points given up by team's offense (i.e. points off offensive turnovers).

The roster consists of 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 FLEX (RB, WR, or TE), and 1 Defense for a total of 9 roster spots. Your salary cap is $50,000 and every roster spot must be filled. Notice something? No kickers!

In addition, my advice will be geared towards large tournament style leagues where approximately the top 15-20% of teams will win money, with there being a wide spread between the top teams and the teams that just barely cash.

Demaryius Thomas
Demaryius Thomas

Daily Fantasy Football Tips - Do's

  1. Know The Rules - Daily fantasy leagues often have a very different scoring system from standard fantasy leagues. How can you win if you don't know the rules? Actually, you can, but you should know them anyway.
  2. Go Big Or Go Home - If you're playing in a tournament style league, there is a huge spread in winnings between 1st and 2nd place, and between the top teams and the teams that just barely make it into the money. These tournaments should be boom or bust, don't just try to cash - try to win the whole thing. My goal each week is to score 200 points. It doesn't happen often, but when it does I am able to cash in nicely. It may be easier said than done, but if you are able to do it you will be handsomely rewarded.
  3. Draft A QB and WR/TE Combo - It is hard enough to find players that have huge games; don't make it harder than it has to be. If a wide receiver has a huge game, chances are his quarterback did too. Instead of trying to find both a QB and WR that are going to have a breakout game, find a TE or WR that you think will have a big game and try to get his QB too. Think Peyton Manning with Demaryius Thomas and/or Julius Thomas.
  4. Draft Recent Breakout Players - For some reason, Draft Kings is slow to increase the salary of breakout players. It takes a few weeks for them to adjust the salary of a new breakout star. It's probably because they want to see if a performance was just a fluke or if it was a true breakout performance. Whatever their reasoning, you need to take advantage of it because there is great value available.
  5. Play The Match Ups - Remember, these leagues only last for one game. A second or third tier player can easily outperform the top dogs for one week. Would you rather have Aaron Rodgers against the Seahawks defense or Kirk Cousins against the Jaguars defense? Well, it depends on their salaries in the given week, but the answer may very well be Cousins. If it were a regular fantasy football league, Rodgers is the easy choice, but in daily fantasy football it might be a tough choice. It's all about match ups.
  6. Be Patient - It is highly unlikely that you will win money every week. The key is to be patient with it and stick to your strategy. This ties in with tip #1, you may not win often so when you do you have to make it count. Like poker, it take a combination of both skill and luck to win in fantasy football.
  7. Create A Budget - Daily fantasy sports can become highly addicting, so making a budget and sticking to it is a must. Set aside however much money you are willing to comfortably lose and then spread it out over the entire season.
  8. Only Draft One Team (Optional) - OK, this one may just be personal preference, but if you really want to enjoy cheering for your fantasy team don't have too many players too cheer for. Ultimately, fantasy football is about having fun and I find it much more enjoyable to draft one really good team than to draft a whole bunch in hopes that one will pan out.


Tim Tebow
Tim Tebow

Daily Fantasy Football Tips - Dont's

  1. Don't Draft Injured Players - If a player is listed as questionable or doubtful, do not draft him. Even if you know he is going to play, he will more than likely be limited. In addition, injured players' salaries are usually not discounted unless it is a long term injury.
  2. Don't Be Afraid To Take Chances - If you have a hunch that a player is going to have a breakout game, go ahead and draft him. That's the beauty of daily leagues. If you're wrong you won't be stuck with him all year. If you're right, you will have a big leg up on the rest of the league. Go ahead, get fancy and draft that 3rd string tight end, just don't pay too much for him.
  3. Don't Rush Your Draft - Don't start drafting your squad 15 minutes before kickoff. You'll end up rushing and making a mistake like playing a injured player or drafting Ben Tate instead of Golden Tate. Give yourself plenty of time to do your research and draft your team.
  4. Don't Draft Drunk - Maybe you're out tailgating before a game and you decide that you're going to pull out your smart phone and draft a team real quick. Don't do it; it won't turn out well. Remember, friends don't let friends draft drunk.
  5. Don't Draft Tim Tebow - He's not in the league anymore, dummy.

Something I missed? I'm sure there is, so leave it in the comments section below!

When did you start playing daily fantasy football?

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    • Fran Michaels profile image
      Author

      William Gibstat 2 years ago from NY

      That's actually a good point. I should have added don't be biased to the list.

    • Connor Rush profile image

      Connor Rush 2 years ago from New Jersey

      My bias goes away so i don't play favorites

    • Fran Michaels profile image
      Author

      William Gibstat 2 years ago from NY

      C'mon Connor, you shouldn't be encouraging such irresponsible behavior. Someone could get hurt.

    • Connor Rush profile image

      Connor Rush 2 years ago from New Jersey

      I actually won a 10 team $25 league drunk last saturday for college football lol. Thank you Jarvious Allen and Rashard higgins