Every year fantasy football enthusiasts gear up for the grind of a long, busy fantasy football season. Needless to say, the amount of time one puts into research for their draft is at least mildly daunting, and if that draft doesn’t ago according to plan, well, it could be a long, ugly season.
Luckily fantasy football nuts don’t have to spend their time worrying about drafts and a long season, thanks to daily fantasy sports. DFS makes fantasy football a weekly event, where fantasy gamers can put together a new winning squad each week.
While the pain of one big-name player going down for the year is gone with weekly fantasy football games, DFS players still have several things they have to worry about on a weekly basis. Whether you’re new to the DFS scene or not, these 10 daily fantasy football tops will help (or remind) you what’s most important when trying to maximize your winning potential:
1. Know Your Scoring and Roster
No matter what site you’re playing on or which sports, it’s always a good idea to know the scoring settings and roster limitations. For scoring, certain positions are obviously going to hold more value due to the scoring upside. For instance, some daily fantasy gaming websites limit quarterback touchdowns to just four points, as opposed to six points for other positions. This naturally beefs the value of running backs, wide receivers and tight ends a bit, while also giving an edge to running quarterbacks (six points per rushing score). This doesn’t mean that quarterbacks don’t hold any value (a quarterback throwing five scores compared to a running back running for two obviously is the better play), but it’s something to note.
This line of thinking stretches beyond touchdowns, as you’ll always want to know how many points players get for all types of turnovers and yardage, and if receptions warrant points. Most sites do give points per reception, which again gives a lot of value to the positions that accrue these stats – running back, wide receiver and tight end.
As for the roster, it’s usually pretty cut and dry once you know the format. However, different sites call for very different rosters. Some DFS sites only ask you to roster one quarterback, some include kickers and others may or may not include a Flex position to add an extra RB, WR or TE. Regardless of the roster layout, you need to know it front and back so you can maximize it when you’re putting your team together.
2. Lineup Lock and Site Rules
Another site-specific rule that can kill you if you don’t know about it is when your lineups lock. Fan Duel, one of the leaders in the daily fantasy gaming industry, locks everyone in your roster the second the first game of the day starts. That means if a guy suddenly is no longer active, you’re stuck with him. Draft Kings, another huge DFS site, allows you to change your roster as long as the players you intend to move haven’t started their games yet.
In addition to helping you with injuries and sudden role changes, this also can help with your general DFS fantasy football strategy. For example, if you went with a high upside (and high risk) team for a given week and your first few players in a locked game paid off with huge performances, you could opt to re-do your previously set roster and take fewer risks with your remaining players.
3. Injury Bug
It’s pretty simple. Playing a guy who is going to be limited by injury is a huge risk. His performance can suffer or he could get hurt even worse once the game starts. Either way, he’s in the game, you used him and now your team could be negatively impacted because of it. Even worse, if you’re not paying attention to the latest injury news, one of your players could randomly be listed as out and if you forget to take him out of your lineup, you’d get a big fat 0 in his spot. Suffice to say, you can never be too careful when it comes to finalizing your DFS fantasy football roster, so right up until the game time, it’s best to hit up the best NFL fantasy news sites like Rotoworld.com to keep up with the latest player news. Staying active on Twitter and watching the morning fantasy football shows on T.V. is also helpful.
4. Weather Watch
Weather doesn’t impact daily fantasy football quite as much as it does for fantasy baseball. Pro football almost never cancels games due to weather, but it’s happened before and the way a game is played absolutely can be impacted by the weather. If it’s raining hard, snowing, really cold or muddy, it’s going to be a lot more difficult for pass-happy offenses to find success. In that same breath, the defenses could also have some issues, which could always turn the tables the other way. Usually, though, awful weather conditions give way to more conservative, run-based offensive approaches. This limits turnovers and naturally reduces the upside of passing game weapons and could inflate the production of running backs. NFLWeather.com has been a staple website to use as you gauge the weather before each game.
5. Know Your Matchups
When selecting your daily fantasy football roster, one of the biggest aspects of the decision-making process is analyzing matchups. Paying a lot for an elite running back makes less sense when they’re facing the league’s #1 ranked run defense. Anytime a rough matchup is headed your way, it might be a good idea to just use a different player. Rotogrinders.com is probably the best DFS site to use when it comes to analyzing rankings, matchups and player value. Fantasy gamers can use the free info or take their game one step further by paying for an enhanced slate of information.
6. Role Play
Roles are key in fantasy football. You might be on the hunt for a cheap guy to the roster, but if he never sees the field or touches the ball, what’s the point? The role is key when targeting a running back who runs the ball and catches the ball, as well as finding cheaper wide receivers and tight ends that get a good amount of targets despite having a low price tag. The bigger the role, the better your odds are that your chosen fantasy player meets expectations.
7. Seek Value
Value is the name of the game in fantasy football. Generally, everyone has the same idea as to which matchups can/should be exploited each week. The difference comes when someone sees that a normally weak quarterback is bound to go off on a bad pass defense or a running back subbing for an injured starter is slated for a huge workload. It’s not always easy to pick the right value plays, but when you combine them with your elite studs, it can wind up winning you major cash.
8. Vegas Odds
One of the easiest things to do when trying to gauge player and team value each week is to simply hit the sportsbooks. If Vegas thinks a game is going to be really low scoring or have a huge total (total points scored by both teams), then you’ll have a pretty good idea whether to use players from that team or fade (not use anyone) from those teams, altogether. The better the total, the more likely you are to see huge yardage and scoring totals from your chosen fantasy options. It works the same with blowouts. If the spread is huge, you may want to use players from the predicted winning side, but the loser’s side would make for unattractive DFS plays.
9. Pass Connection Pairing
One nice trick in daily fantasy football is pairing a stud fantasy quarterback with his 1-2 top passing weapons. Some don’t think it makes much of a difference (if you build a winner, you build a winner and all), but if you’re sold on an elite passer crushing a weak defense, the odds are a good amount of his success will come via hooking up with his top options. If you’re right, you’ll have 2-3 players right away on your fantasy squad that pays off in a big way.
10. Pay For Points (WR/RB)
As mentioned before, different positions generally carry different values and wide receivers and running backs, on average, tend to be the biggest scorers in the DFS world. Depending on roster limitations, it’s usually best to pay up for the sure things at these positions, and then try to find your value elsewhere via a solid, cheap quarterback, a cheap tight end with upside and a cheap defense with a good matchup. If done correctly, your studly running backs and wide receivers score most of your points and your value plays at the other positions do enough to place you in the money.
To sum up, the best daily fantasy football tip of all is to make the previous 10 tips second nature when you’re preparing each week to dominate in fantasy football. Once you have these tips down, you can dig even deeper with advanced stats and focus more on aspects of the game no one else is. With a set foundation like this in place, you could be well on your way to dominating in DFS fantasy football.