Daily Fantasy Football Basics

By devo1099 on November 14, 2014

What is Daily Fantasy Football?

Think of daily fantasy football as an entire season of fantasy football packed into 1 or 2 days. You select a roster of players from either 1 or 2 days of matches. Daily fantasy football drafts primarily use the “salary cap” system, which provides you with a certain salary cap such as 10 million pounds. Each football player has a salary assigned to them. As an example, Bony might be 12 million pounds. Once you select a roster of players within your salary cap, you can enter your team into a game. There are various types of games, which we cover in detail below. Each game will have a pre-established number of winners with a pre-established cash prize for each winning position. In some games, you can win thousands of dollars. Winning positions are determined based on the total score of your roster during the pre-established matchdays covered in your particular game.

Game Selection

Generally, there are two ways to win money  in daily fantasy football, cash games and upside leagues.

Cash Games (Head to Head, 50/50s): Formats where you risk an amount to win an equal amount, minus site fees, back.  For example: Both managers stake £10 so the pot equals £20. The site takes 10% (£2) so the managers compete for the remaining £18. Ready to learn more about the specific strategy for Head to Head & 50/50’s? Click here.

Upside Leagues (GPPs (Guaranteed Prize Pools), Triple Ups, 3-10 Man Leagues): These are typically just referred to as GPPs, but we prefer upside leagues because this is where you can make more than 2x your money. Read more about GPP Strategy by clicking here.

We dig much deeper into these formats in linked articles, but cash games are your slow growth, or slow death leagues.  The Upside Leagues are tougher to win consistently, and a good way to go broke quickly if that’s all you play – but when responsibly mixed into your game selection they give your best lineups an opportunity to multiply your money several times over.

Know the Site Scoring

Each site has different scoring systems to reflect how players earn points during matches.  Mondogoal’s scoring is comprehensive and attempts to mirror the true value of a player to his team.  Draftkings (not currently available in UK) keeps it simpler with an eye towards managers being able to have a pretty good idea how many points your players have scored just by watching and adding them up.  You may find you have a preference between the different site scoring.  Our preference is to win money, so we’ll make the necessary adjustments to our teams across site scoring to accomplish that.

Here is the scoring on Mondogoal:

As you can see Mondogoal has lots of ways for your players to score points, considerably more than a typical season long fantasy offering.  This highlights how crucial it is to know the scoring on the site you are on and to adjust your selections accordingly.

Optimizing Your Available Budget

In addition to managing your real pounds, you (keepers section is you not we) are given a fictitious budget to make selections for the fixtures.  Each site assigns a different total budget as well as a value for each player.  The goal is to select the players that will score the most points within the confines of that budget. To determine whether a player is “worth” his value you’ll want to determine what a winning score might be (check previous results) and then divide that by the budget.

For instance, in Mondogoal you are given £100M to make your selections.  It may prove difficult to get, but let’s use 100 points as a target score until proven otherwise. That also makes the math quite simple: for every £1m you spend, you need to get 1 point.  For example, Sergio Aguero is £11.8M in matchweek 11 against QPR.  So he needs to get 11.8 points or more to consider him decent value at his price.  This is a bit of a simplification but a good start for your thought process.

Different positions may have different standards for what we consider to be “reaching value”.  Players that contribute to goals will have a higher range of scores, but also a much lower floor if goals aren’t scored. Defenders that don’t get forward too often but have a good chance at a clean sheet will be able to reach value but won’t often exceed it greatly. We’ll look in depth into the strategy in making these selections in later articles.

Confirm Starting XIs

Starting XIs are released about an hour before kickoff and often will force you to react as well.  Formations can impact your selections and must be closely evaluated e.g. if Manchester City chooses to play Aguero as a lone striker he will get a higher percentage of shots, and likely goals, than if Dzeko joins him up top.

Injury replacements can also influence starting status e.g. were Costa and Remy to both sit out for Chelsea over the weekend, Drogba instantly becomes an option you must consider.  Easier said than done but you must be prepared to scrap your entire team on any breaking news revealed in starting XIs.

Managing Your Money

This is boring.  We don’t want to write about it and you don’t want to read it.  But it’s the most important factor to sustained success in daily fantasy football.  The best players in the world win about 60% of their cash games (we’ll explain this term shortly).  That means they lose a healthy amount of the time as well.  You need to give yourself a chance to survive and a chance to see if you have the ability to make money playing fantasy football.  While some gamers will win right away, there is generally a learning curve.

The general rule of thumb is to risk 10-20% of your money on a given lineup or time interval.  This is probably true for players with established track records.  For beginners you will just want to absorb as much information as you can and learn while you play, and keep it light until you feel you are consistently competitive.  Study the lineups of  the teams that beat you and figure out the manager’s thought process.  You probably won’t win big if you don’t put much at risk, but you won’t lose big either.

Put Your Thoughts In Play

The best way to learn is to form your teams and watch them perform. Having only read this article you are already able to do that.  The most important part early on is to enjoy yourself, learn from experienced players, and see what marks a successful team.  If you’re ready to give it a go, try one of our highest rated daily fantasy football sites – Mondogoal.  If you’d like to start by learning more about Mondogoal, read our Mondogoal Review for a full explanation of the site offering.

Cheers and good luck!

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