It is extremely important to know where to spend your allotted amount of money in fantasy football. It’s obvious that your end goal is to get as many points as possible but being able to do that successfully requires a certain amount of skill. You have to analyze the situation you’re in, which includes being aware of which type of contest you’re participating in and how every position will affect your team’s final score.
Below, we will explain these concepts by devising a draft strategy for big and small events.
Where to spend your money in Small-Field Events
Small field events are contests with less than 100 participants and include head to heads and 50/50’s. Your strategy for drafting players in these contests should be different from that of larger events.
One thing you should always remember is that you need to get a sure set of points. You can only do this by drafting reliable players who you know are highly unlikely to screw up. Choosing risky players is the wrong strategy for small contests. This is because in small field tournaments, many participants get paid instead of just one winner taking all the money. In a 50/50 match-up for instance, the players at the top half of the leaderboard all get a piece of the prize money. So all you have to do is secure your position in the top 50%. You can only guarantee yourself a top half finish is by picking a reliable team you can count on.
These contests usually have more than a hundred entrants and the prize pool is huge. The NFL Sunday Million, for example, is a large field tournament that offers a $1 million dollars cash prize to more than 5,500 participants.
The main thing to remember when drafting players for a big contest is this: choose a quarter back who can score points way beyond reasonable expectations. As you can see, this strategy is the complete opposite for the one we discussed for small field contests. This is because here you do not need a stable team but rather an unpredictable one that can take you to the top of the leaderboard.
The payout schedule curve is highly kinked towards the top ranked players. Most of the money is awarded to those at the very top of the leaderboard. For instance, lets look at the payout schedule for the NFL Sunday Million on DraftKings:
1st place – $100,000
2nd place – $50,000
3rd place – $25,000
4th place – $15,000
5th place – $12,500
6th through 10th place – $10,000
$10,000 might seem like a good chunk of money but lets say the contest has entrants upto full capacity i.e 5,500 participants. You will have to finish in the top 0.2% to get a piece of that prize money. It’s possible to get a prize even by coming in as number 1000, but you’d only win $200. However, even then, you have to do better than 80% of the players taking part.
This is why you need a Quarter Back who can win you a lot of points.
Drafting Picks by position
Now that we know an overview of the basic strategies pertaining to drafting for daily fantasy football, let us look at each position in your team. Below you will find tips pertaining to each position with respect to both small and large field contests.
Quarterback – If you’re taking part in a small contest, you will need a reliable QB like Manning or Brees. You might be tempted to pick cheaper alternatives since these star QBS are expensive. Don’t fall into that trap. You need these stars because almost everyone else will be picking them too which is a good sign as it only validates your prediction of their performance. This is not the time to be stingy.
On the other hand, in larger tournaments you will have to be more risky and draft a QB who has a decent track record but without the outrageous salaries of stars like Manning. Basically, you have to identify and select an undervalued player who will perform better than expected. Since you only get to pick one quarterback for your line up, make it count.
Running Back – It is a known rule that running backs score more points than wide receivers. The plays associated with this position i.e catching, making touch downs, rushing etc. all have point scoring potential. This makes running backs point scoring machines.
Both DraftKings and FanDuel have two RB slots for you to fill. If you’re playing in a small-field game, you should fill one slot with a ‘guaranteed’ point scorer. Use the opportunity to fill the other slot with a more risky and less expensive choice; someone who hasn’t been doing exceptionally well but who has the potential to bring out an incredible performance.
This approach is also suitable for the larger tournaments. With the undervalued player, try to identify a running back who will be up against a weak defense that night and he might just give you the performance you’re hoping for.
Wide Receiver – The receivers are basically your hard workers. They rack up points by running yards, making touch downs and catching passes. Your wide receiver and your quarterback are the backbone of your whole team. You must have seen players like Calvin Johnson and Josh Gordon catch a phenomenal number of passes and the works, earning you points with each completed play.
For this position, you have three slots to fill. You have three WR slots to fill in your daily fantasy football lineup. In a small tournament, pick a steady receiver who has been consistent. Reliable players come with a premium salary but they’re definitely worth it, especially for small contests. Fill the second slot with a n undervalued player like like Terrance Williams or Jarrett Boykin. Both are young guys who have the capability and fire to do really well. They also come with lower salaries than the stars.It would do you well to fill the last slot with a receiver who has done well in the past but has been discounted for some reason. He could pull off a good performance.
In large field contests, fill 2/3 of your slots with star receivers who will earn you guaranteed points. You need receivers who will produce enough points for you to climb up the leaderboard. Use the third slot for your riskier option with a low salary. Hopefully he will get you some ‘cheap’ points.
Tight End – Tight ends don’t do just one job. They act as both blockers and receivers which might seem great but wait a second.
Their versatile nature makes it difficult to predict how they will perform. Firstly, they are prone to many injuries. Secondly, they rarely score a lot of points as compared to your other positions. You only have one slot to fill for this position. In a small contest, fill it with someone who has a fairly good track record and a low salary e.g Charles Clay.
If you’re playing in a large field contest, pick an underdog who has currently been discounted but is perfectly capable of pulling an outstanding performance out of the hat.
Kicker – A kicker is not as important as your other players with regards to producing points. DraftKings does not even offer this position anymore but FanDuel does. It’s somewhat impossible to forecast how many points your kicker will score on any given night. Because of this reason, it is a good option to pick someone with a low salary as the position is not valuable enough to warrant a high salary.
Whether you’re taking part in a small-field tournament or a large one, be stingy when picking a kicker. Even if your offense players are facing a tough time and your kicker’s role becomes important, a mediocre player can perform just fine. kicker should do reasonably well.
The strategies outlined above are mere guidelines to help give direction to your drafting process. There are exceptions to every strategy offered and you will learn these with experience.