Fantasy football is by far the most popular sport for fantasy sports in North America. I’m not sure whether football or hockey would have more fantasy players up here in Canada, but they are without a doubt the two most popular sports for daily fantasy north of the border. Fantasy football gets a ton of media coverage even here in Canada and it is by far the most popular sport at the daily fantasy websites.
Football is the perfect sport for fantasy football leagues because each team generally plays a game every week, with the vast majority of the games being played on Sunday. This allows the daily fantasy sites to set up week long leagues that include the Thursday and Monday games as well, or simply offer leagues that include the Sunday games.
Even though I’m a much bigger hockey fan, football is my favourite fantasy sport because the various positions, stats and match ups allow for a much more in depth strategy.
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FanDuel and DraftKings are miles ahead of the other daily fantasy sites online. This is shown in their sites functionality, their customer support, and of course the size of their biggest contests. Each of these sites offer a HUGE weekly contest that turns at least one player into an instant Millionaire.
At DraftKings they currently run a $5M guaranteed contest each week in the NFL and at FanDuel they offer a $2M Sunday Million contest each week.
I prefer to play most of my daily fantasy football at DraftKings, but it’s really about personal preference as to which you prefer. Here are some of the main differences between the two sites:
- DraftKings awards 1 point per reception, while FanDuel only awards 0.5 points each reception.
- FanDuel has a kicker position, while DraftKings does not.
- DraftKings allows late swaps (you can switch players until their games begin), while FanDuel’s lineups lock once the first game begins.
For a more detailed description of the differences between the two sites check out our DraftKings vs FanDuel daily fantasy football comparison page.
Both sites also have massive daily fantasy football championships set up for 2015. At DraftKings they are holding a $15M live event with $5,000,000 going to the first place finisher. The final event will also be filmed for ESPN, which will make the winner an instant celebrity in the daily fantasy industry. FanDuel’s championship has $12,000,000 on the line with $3M to the world champ!
From here on out I’m going to be using FanDuel for the picking players and scoring examples.
Once you have created a FanDuel account and made a deposit you are ready to join a league and pick a team.
A FanDuel football team consists of 1 quarterback, 2 running backs, 3 wide receivers, 1 tight end, 1 kicker and 1 defense. You pick your team against the salary cap, which is typically set at $60k.
Here are some examples the prices of wide receivers to give you an idea of the cost of players. These prices were from week 6 of the NFL season.
- Odell Beckham Jr. $9,100
- Jeremy Maclin $7,200
- Pierre Garcon $6,000
Each week FanDuel will update the players salaries depending on their projected performances for the upcoming week.
The object of fantasy football is to finish the week with more points than your competition. For this reason it’s vital that you understand the scoring structure in order to best pick players who will produce for your team. Below I will outline the scoring used at FanDuel.com. It’s the standard point structure that you would also find in your year long fantasy league at Yahoo. That said, some other fantasy sites may use a different scoring system so it is important to always check the rules and the scoring before starting to play at a new fantasy site.
I’ve created a page comparing the daily fantasy football scoring at DraftKings and FanDuel. Check it out here.
- Rushing yards = 0.1 points
- Rushing touchdowns = 6 points
- Passing yards = 0.04 points
- Passing touchdowns = 4 points
- Interceptions = -1 point
- Receiving yards = 0.1 points
- Receiving touchdowns = 6 points
- Receptions = 0.5 points
- Kickoff return touchdowns = 6 points
- Punt return touchdowns = 6 points
- Fumbles lost = -2 points
- Fumbles recovered touchdowns = 6 points
- Two-point conversions = 2 points (rushing, receiving or passing)
- Field goal 0-39 yards = 3 points
- Field goal 40-49 yards = 4 points
- Field goal 50+ yards = 5 points
- Extra-point conversion = 1 point
- Sacks = 1 point
- Fumble recoveries = 2 points
- Touchdowns = 6 points
- Safeties = 2 points
- Blocked kicks = 2 points
- Interceptions = 2 points
- 0 points allowed = 10 points
- 1-6 points allowed = 7 points
- 7-13 points allowed = 4 points
- 14-20 points allowed = 1 point
- 28-34 points allowed = -1 point
- 35+ points allowed = -4 points
If you participate in other sports at FanDuel check out their scoring structures at the pages below:
- Daily Fantasy Baseball
- Daily Fantasy Basketball
- Daily Fantasy Hockey
- Daily Fantasy Golf
- Daily Fantasy MMA
Daily Fantasy Football Tips
Here are a few tips that should help you as you are starting out playing daily fantasy football. As you get more experience you can develop your own strategies.
Lineup construction is huge in daily fantasy football. So huge that I wrote a full page on it. Click here to learn more about lineup construction strategy in daily fantasy football.
- Injuries & Suspensions – Injuries are very common in the NFL and they can drastically affect the fantasy value of players. Depending on the injury report throughout the week you may be able to get a player who will be stepping into a bigger role because of an injury for a cheap price. For example, if a starting running back is ruled out late in the week the back up running back will now likely be good value because he will get the bulk of the work and his cap hit likely won’t have changed at FanDuel. Click here for an up to date injury report.
- Match Ups – In fantasy football match ups play a huge role. If you can get offensive players who are up against a weak defense in the upcoming week that is very advantageous. Look at whether certain defenses are good against the pass or the run and you can start to figure out the potential game plan for the offense, which will point you in the direction of which players could have the big weeks.
- Quarterback, Receiver Stacks – When I select a quarterback I generally like to have at least one of his receivers. If the quarterback is going to go off for a big game then it’s very likely that at least one of his receivers also has a big game. The only time I may choose to pick a QB without also taking one of his receivers is if he can do damage with his legs and I don’t think the upside of the receivers justifies the stack.
- Avoid Negative Correlations – In big contests you should alwasy avoid negative correlation plays. Here are some examples:
- Team A’s Defense with Team B’s players – It would be very unlikely that both of these selections could have a big game.
- Too many players from the same team – In big contests you’re looking for players to go off for big games. Considering that only one player (receiver or rusher) can score each teams touchdown it usually doesn’t make sense to have too many players from the same team in your lineup. I usually cap at 2 receivers from the same team and in these rare cases I’d always have a QB stack with these two receivers.
- Team A Defense with Team A Players – I generally like to take a defense from a game where I have no players. You want the defense to score points and when this happens it keeps that offense off the field.
- Game Script – You should always be considering the game script in your head. For example, if you think Team A gets off to a big lead early this could be a perfect situation for Team A’s running back and Team B’s receivers. I’ll often take the running back from one team and a receiver from their opponents and then hope that the game script plays out to allow both of these players to get the most opportunities possible. There’s a lot of other ways that you can use possible game scripts to give your team the highest possible ceiling.