DFS Strategy: 6 DraftKings Tips You Must Know to Succeed

By Ian Rosen (@iozen9)

If you play daily fantasy sports, you’ve likely been there: repeatedly beaten by the experts, losing your bankroll, and feeling demoralized and defeated. While this article will mostly be geared towards beginners, everyone can learn something from even the simplest of tips. This 2017 football season will hold DFS strategies that pertain to specific weeks, which is why I am proud to announce that I will be doing a weekly DFS DraftKings football series all throughout this year helping you choose your moneymakers. So, without further ado, here are my top 6 strategies to win in both FanDuel and DraftKings for football.

Tip 1: Understand Your Bankroll

While you should always come in with a set bankroll and not add more to it during the season (something that you should never do), it is different from understanding your bankroll. The best contests that you can enter into are the ones that suit your bankroll perfectly.

For example, if you have a $100 budget for this NFL season and you are strictly a regular season DFS player, you have 16 weeks to make a profit. If you do the math, you have $6.25 each week to spend. However, if you feel very confident about a certain week in the season, whether it be matchups, statistics, values, or whatever it may be, by no means am I telling you that you have to only spend $6 or $7 that week. As long as you are in the realm of the $6.25 per week budget and are willing to accept the fact that you may have to bet $4 to balance it out, then by all means, go for it.

You should always expect to lose and pray to win because that way you won’t bet large sums of money expecting that you will make it back for the next week. For example, keeping to the $100 budget, by no means should you bet $75 with the mentality of, “Oh I will make it back and bet big next week again.” While this may seem tempting due to the increased rewards, don’t fall into the trap.

Tip 2: Understand Your Goal and Evaluate What Contests Are Right For You

Obviously, these observations fluctuate based on the number of participants and the entry fee. However, this is still a very useful baseline to discover what types of leagues to invest in.

Type Of Contest Risk Reward
Head to Head Lowest Lowest
Tournaments Highest Highest
Multiplayer Medium Medium
50/50s Low Low
Double up Low/Medium Medium
Multipliers Medium High
Satellites and Qualifiers High Low/Medium (You have to place well in the contest that you entered and the entry to the contest that you won)
Steps Low Low/Medium

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Tip 3: Focus on Your Contrarian Players

Very briefly, for the people who are unaware of what a contrarian player is, a contrarian player is a player that has a very low ownership percentage. As you are doing your research by following “dfs’ers” on Twitter, listening to podcasts, or whatever it may be, make sure to jot down the players that are repeatedly mentioned. While I am not telling you to fade these players, because if they have a big week and they are 35 percent owned, you are already down against 35 percent of the competition, you should make sure to include players that you didn’t jot down or players that haven’t been mentioned in any of your research that YOU think will do well.

For example, let’s say that Zach Ertz is owned by 2 percent of the pool of players in that contest and explodes for 35 DraftKings points. The 2 percent of the people that owned him are destroying the competition. Contrarian picks are especially needed in tournaments as in order to strike it rich, you must distinguish yourself from the field.

Tip 4: Know Your Scoring System

To this day, it still amazes me that not many people know that there are differences between FanDuel and DraftKings regarding scoring. DraftKings scores a point per every reception while FanDuel only gives .5 points per reception. While we will get into more scoring differences in a second, let’s break down the potential impact that this one has.

If you are a DraftKings user, this rule allows you to spend tons of your salary on the highest ranked players and pay for pass catching machines that are usually dirt cheap such as Darren Sproles and Duke Johnson. If you are a FanDuel user, receptions should not be a top priority and one should focus on yards and touchdowns. Other scoring variations include:

Scoring DraftKings FanDuel
300 yd+ passing game 3 pts 0 pts
100 yd+ receiving game 3 pts 0 pts
Fumble lost -1 pt -2 pts


Additionally, there are no kickers in DraftKings while there are in FanDuel. Before you enter a contest look over its rules because it should shape your strategy immensely.

Tip 5: Know the Maximum Amount of Entries

There are tournaments where players can enter lineups up to 50 or even upwards of 50 times. Unless you can afford this type of strategy, STAY AWAY FROM LEAGUES THAT ALLOW UPWARDS OF 5 ENTRIES.

When asked for DFS advice, my number one answer is always to check the entries allowed per person. If you enter a GPP (Guaranteed Prize Pools) with one lineup while others are entering with 50, you would be foolish to expect profitable results.

As you can see by the following image, there is a little rectangle that reads, “M 150.” This means that the maximum amount of entries for a single individual is 150.

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Tip 6: Don’t Change Your Lineup (Except for Injuries or Suspensions)

Once you feel that you have done a sufficient amount of research whenever that may be, don’t change your lineup. It’s the little lineup tweaks close to starting time that always kill the DraftKings users. This is by far the hardest temptation to resist and one that I struggle with immensely. I have found a balance to cope with my temptation. Usually, I have anywhere from 4-6 lineups per week. I tell myself that I can change half of the lineups that I create and must leave the other half alone once I am done with my research. I have found that my strategy has worked incredibly well and if you struggle with that temptation as well, you should give it a shot.

Other Things to Keep in Mind

  1. On DraftKings you are allowed to change a player anytime before he plays. This allows its users to switch players if they are questionable and do not play. At FanDuel, lineups lock once the first game of the slate is played. If you are a FanDuel user this may seem annoying, but you can use this to your advantage. For example, if you are in a contest that includes 1:00 pm games and Antonio Brown, who is questionable, plays his game at 4:00 pm, users will avoid him because it is too risky. However, if you decide to take the risk to play him and he plays, he will be extremely under owned.
  2. You should always go with your gut. If you have a gut feeling that someone will outperform a projection, then by all means play him even if experts disagree. Besides a weatherman, DFS analysts are professionals who will receive a paycheck whether or not they are correct.
  3. Try both DraftKings and FanDuel for yourselves. You may have much more luck on one site compared to the other due to scoring systems, rules, or prices of players. I personally prefer DraftKings but don’t let my opinion discourage you.

Ian Rosen will be contributing DFS/DraftKings advice to 5thDownFantasy.com this season. Check out his blog at fancavelive.com for more football and other sports posts.

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