5 Tips for Sustained NFL Daily Fantasy Success

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Daily fantasy sports has experienced an unprecedented growth rate since it burst onto the scene in the late 2010s. It makes sense. Fans and bettors get all the fun of the typical fantasy sports experience but don’t have to wait around until next season if their team isn’t in the running for the top spot.

Each week during the NFL season, millions of dollars are up for grabs on a number of daily fantasy platforms.

For this reason, these contests have captured the attention of the sports bettor in a way that traditional fantasy sports did not. In this article, I’ll go over five tips for getting the best NFL daily fantasy results.

1. Your Bankroll Matters

The concept of keeping your bankroll in mind at all times is familiar in traditional sports betting circles, but it applies to daily fantasy as well. That means before researching which sleeper picks are going to carry you to victory, you need to set aside an amount of money that you’ll use exclusively for betting.

First and foremost, make sure the bankroll you put in place is an amount of money that you feel comfortable losing. Nobody wants to think of their bankroll as “money lost,” but if you don’t have this mindset, you could end up in a compromising situation that just isn’t worth the risk.

Because it functions differently than traditional handicapping, different bankroll best practices apply. Most experts recommend not wagering more than 10% of your bankroll in a given week. For example, if you have a $500 bankroll heading into the season, don’t risk more than $50 in a single week.

It’s worth mentioning that your 10% number can be fluid based on your performance. If you string together a couple of wining weeks, it’s okay to increase your wager accordingly.

The bottom line is that if you care about being profitable, you need to set yourself up for success before you start playing the games themselves. A little preparation goes a long way, especially when you’re talking about a season that spans several months.

2. Double Check the Scoring System for Your Site

Just like regular fantasy football, the scoring settings can vary from game to game and especially platform to platform.

The most common example of this is the PPR rule.

  • Some leagues count all receptions as a point.
  • Some count them as a half-point.
  • Some others only take total yards and touchdowns into account.

The reason it’s so important to understand these rules is because it will impact the way you draft your team. Most notably, running backs.

While some receivers definitely have more receptions than others, the disparity is much more significant when it comes to running backs. For example, Derrick Henry and Alvin Kamara might be the two top scoring backs in the league, but in a PPR league, the high volume of targets and receptions might give Kamara the edge.

In addition to PPR rules:
Milestone scoring is something to look for prior to drafting your team. Milestone scoring systems award points for, as the name suggests, reaching certain “milestone” numbers. Typically, these will be 300 yards passing or 100 yards rushing and/or receiving.

The main takeaway here should be that it’s important to look over the specifics of how scoring and roster construction works before entering a contest. It only takes a minute to look it over, and it could be the difference between winning and losing.

3. Don’t Forget About Vegas

Many bettors have been playing daily fantasy in addition to betting on games in the traditional sense. With that being said, some have made the transition completely and now only focus on daily fantasy.

If you fall into this category of handicapping defectors, you might be ignoring those Vegas odds which were once the most important numbers in your gambling life.

Even if you’re only playing daily fantasy and have given up on spreads, totals, and moneylines, there is still value in knowing the numbers—the over/under in particular.

Although the oddsmakers in Vegas don’t have a crystal ball to help them predict the future, they’re still putting up consistently accurate numbers by and large. If you’re trying to determine which players you’re going to draft for your upcoming week, it’s a good idea to check out the over/under on the games that feature players you’re deciding between.

For Example:
Let’s say you’re deciding between Tom Brady and Russell Wilson for who you’re going to start at quarterback. If you look at the over/under number for the game featuring Tom Brady, and it’s 58.5 and the over/under for the game featuring Russell Wilson is 44.5, that should tell you which decision is going to be most beneficial for your team.

Additionally, if you really want to use oddsmakers to help you choose the best fantasy team, look at the prop bets offered on individual players. Most online sportsbooks will offer over/unders for yards, touchdowns, or receptions for all starting players.

I don’t want to make it sound like you’ll become the daily fantasy champion of the world simply by following the expectations of oddsmakers, but they’re as good of a guide as any to use during the draft process.

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Play Beginner Contests

One of the aspects of daily fantasy that players love is that there are different types of contests that cater to all skill levels. As you start to accumulate wins, you’ll “graduate” from the beginner games (okay, you won’t actually graduate, they just won’t let you enter them any more) and can start chasing the big bucks.

The majority of daily fantasy players get their feet wet by first playing these beginner contests but then quickly abandon them as they feel they’re no longer a novice.

Most daily fantasy platforms allow you to retain your beginner status until you’ve entered 50+ contests or won a couple thousand dollars in prizes. Until either of these things happen, it’s in your best interest to take advantage of the beginner contests while they’re still an option.

Not only do these games provide good odds to players, you’re also competing against those with less experience and therefore, you’re at an advantage. Obviously, nothing is guaranteed, but would you rather compete with the best players on the platform or the least experienced players on the platform? The choice is easy.

The beginner contests exists to keep you around.

5. Utilize the Late Swap

First and foremost, this particular tip is specific to DraftKings. With that being said, it’s not out of the realm of possibility the other sites, most notably FanDuel, could implement something similar in the future.

If you aren’t familiar with what I’m referring to when I say “late swap,” not to worry. It’s easy to understand. Here is an example: Let’s say you have Justin Jefferson, who is playing in the Sunday night game, in the flex position. If you decide that too many others in your contest have Jefferson playing, DraftKings allows you to swap him out for another player.

Additionally:
The late swap can be beneficial when dealing with injuries to players who have been listed all week as “game time decisions.” Most fantasy GMs don’t want to remove a star player from their lineup just because there’s a chance they won’t play; this option solves the dilemma which has plagued fantasy owners for decades.

Many daily fantasy players, regardless of platform preference, don’t even realize the late game swap is an option to be utilized when necessary. Keep this tool in mind and you might be able to gain an advantage in those Sunday and Monday night NFL games.

Conclusion

Daily fantasy is a growing industry because the games combine everything fans love about betting and fantasy and combine them all into one.

Not to mention, you won’t have to suffer the dismay that comes with starting out 0-5 in your fantasy league and knowing you have no chance to win.

Because it’s so new, there are very few daily fantasy experts which means the opportunity to make money is as good as it’ll ever be. If you’ve never played, take advantage of the sign-up bonuses and test your skills.

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Rex Hoffman / Author

Rex Hoffman is a passionate sports writer, with over five years of experience covering sports journalism in line with the Vegas betting landscape. His favorite subjects include football, basketball, and baseball. As a Las Vegas resident, he enjoys finding an edge against the local sportsbooks and aims to share his extensive knowledge with both beginners and experienced bettors. Rex also dabbles in horse racing wagering and enjoys typical casino fare like blackjack and poker in his spare time.