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Fantasy Football

How To Find Winning Daily Fantasy Football Games

daily fantasy football strategies

We’re mere hours away from the first week of NFL games, so the next thing we need to discuss is how to find winning DFS games that give you the best chances.  These principles apply to both FanDuel and DraftKings.  I’ll cover the differences, risks and advantages of Cash Games vs. GPPs.

daily fantasy football strategies

Outside of lineup building NOTHING affects your ability to win in DFS more than contest selection.  A good lineup can lose in the wrong contest, whereas a mediocre one can win if you’re in the right contest.  There are a lot of different games offered by FanDuel and DraftKings, so it can sometimes be a little overwhelming.  That’s where your boy @FlashlightDFS comes in to shine some light on a sometimes confusing subject.

Wait, what’s the difference?

CASH GAMES refer to both 50/50 contests and Double Ups in which 43-50% of the top lineups win the same amount.  It doesn’t matter if you’re #1 or last over the pay line, everyone wins the same.

GPPs refer to tournaments where the prize money is highly concentrated to just the top 20-25% of players with a large majority concentrated in the top 10-20 spots.  These contests can have huge payouts to the winner ranging from a few hundred dollars up to the millions, but the probability of winning is much lower.

Need a refresher on DFS Lingo? DFS Introduction

Cash games are my bread and butter. Each week I put about 85-90% of my money into cash games.  Why? In a cash game you’re looking to finish in the top half of the contest.  For a 1000 entry contest it doesn’t matter if you finish in 1st place or or 499th, they all pay the same.  For that reason, I’ve found that you can win your cash games more consistently provided you build a sensible lineup with zero fat.  When building a cash game lineup you need to focus on mitigating risk and selecting players with the highest floor.  Remember, you just need to beat half the field, not everyone. For that reason the best cash lineups are filled up with “sure things” and rarely feature risky upside plays.

Conversely, GPP contests have payout structures that are HIGHLY weighted to finishing in the first few places.  For that reason, when building a GPP lineup you MUST take calculated risks to try to score as many points as possible. The game within the game in GPPs is ownership %, which factors in greatly when building GPP lineups.  I’ll touch on ownership % in future posts. GPPs are high risk/high reward propositions.

What Are The Options?

SINGLE ENTRY contests give you the most favorable situation to win.  Each player can only enter ONE lineup, so if you feel that you have an edge over the competition then these are great contests. I search almost exclusively for SINGLE ENTRY in my cash games.

MULTI ENTRY contests allow single players to enter multiple lineups (usually 1-10) in a single contest.  Mind you, they usually don’t enter the same lineup multiple times, but similar ones with slightly different players. Sharper players will utilize these contests when they have a core of players they’re confident in and a secondary group to mix and match.  The odds of winning sag a little here as some people will enter 1 lineup while others will enter 10.

MEGA MULTI ENTRY contests allow up to 150 lineups from a single person.  Often times, these are the contests with the highest prize payouts up to $1 million.  The odds of a meaningful win here are extremely low for a couple of reasons.

  1. You’re competing against hundreds of thousands of other lineups. On FanDuel it’s over 450,000 for $1 Million payout contest.  On DK’s Milly Maker it’s 294,100.  Yep, you read that correctly. The sites can only offer huge payouts if the contest sizes are extremely large.
  2. Sharp/Professional DFS Players max out their entries on contests like this. So while it may see nice that you can turn $9 to $1 million on FanDuel, keep in mind that the sharpest players are investing $1,350 ($9×150).  On DraftKings where the entry is $20 the sharps are putting out $3,000 ($20×150). That’s a lot of cheddar, so you can bet your ass they’re doing hours of research a week.

I’m not trying to talk you out of taking your shot at a million dollar lineup, but I do think it’s important to understand what you’re up against.  If you’re approaching these high Mega Multi Entry contest as anything but a hail mary you’re looking it wrong.

Just give me the bottom line

SINGLE ENTRY contests bring the best odds of success.  For cash games, find contests that have more than 100 total people. They range in size from 3 to over 10,000 entries.  As I said before, single entry gives you the best chance to enter your one, best lineup and put that up against the competition.  There are also plenty of single entry GPP contests that offer bigger money payouts.

MULTI ENTRY/MEGA MULTI ENTRY contests are much riskier so they should make up a smaller percentage of your weekly play. However, with great risk comes great reward so don’t shy away from these styles of contest because of the odds. Just have a realistic view of what they are.

Both sites allow you to enter contests before you’re ready to put your lineup in, and the best contests fill up first. I usually start entering contests for the upcoming week on Monday or Tuesday as they become available on the site.  You can enter the contest with a filler lineup that you can adjust leading up to kickoff or DraftKings allows you to reserve your spot without a lineup but don’t forget to fill your teams!

Hope this helps you when looking at what contests you want to play!  Stay tuned, as later this week I’ll let you know which players I like in week 1.

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