5 Ways To Improve Your Odds Of Winning Daily Fantasy Football Next Year

By Carl Tempesta
Carl Tempesta

Daily fantasy sports has changed the way many people play fantasy football.  If you’re a football fan who watches the games live, it’s safe to assume you’ve seen hundreds of commercials for sites like FanDuel and DraftKings.  With some contests offering millions of dollars in prizes, many football fans have taken the initiative to sign up and compete against hundreds of thousands of players online. Here are some ways you can gain some advantages on your opponents.

1. Defenses CAN win (DFS) championships!

Picking the right Team Defense/Special Teams is extremely underestimated in daily fantasy football.  In fact, it is so underestimated that defenses are often the same or priced similarly.  Some fantasy experts will tell you that picking a team defense/special teams doesn’t matter and to pick the cheapest one that isn’t awful.  I completely disagree.  Look at the matchup, and pick the best defense available.  This doesn’t always mean pick the defense that is playing the 32nd ranked offense. You must look at other things such as weather conditions and possible injuries on both sides.  Another very important statistic is how many turnovers a defense creates and how many are returned for touchdowns.  Defensive and kickoff touchdowns don’t happen often, but they do happen enough to make a difference.  For example, the Cincinnati Bengals allowed the least points this season at 261, however, they were only the 10th best fantasy defense.  This is because they only had one defensive/special teams touchdown all year with no safeties.  The top three fantasy defense/special teams were the Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, and Arizona Cardinals.  They combined for a total of four safeties and nineteen touchdowns.  For the exception of week 9, the top defense/special teams of the week scored twenty or more points. The average weekly score across the 2015 season was 7.28.  All daily fantasy football players know that twelve or more points could be the difference between a great, good, or no payday.

2. Stack your QB and top WR
 Stacking your quarterback and their top wide receiver in your lineup likely ensures that if one has a big day, so will the other.  Some of the best lineups this year included Blake Bortles with Allen Robinson; Ben Roethlisberger with Antonio Brown; and even Eli Manning with Odell Beckham Jr.  We even saw Russell Wilson and Doug Baldwin do wonders towards the end of the year.  Are you seeing a pattern here? Most of the top stacks were done with a middle-tiered Quarterback and a high-tiered Wide Receiver.  Even though we enjoy drafting guys like Cam Newton that could explode with a big fantasy day, it’s usually not worth the hefty price that daily fantasy sports sites are charging for him.  Through the first sixteen weeks of the NFL season, Cam Newton scored 356.36 fantasy points to Blake Bortle’s 312.56.  Their weekly averages were 22.27 points for Newton and 19.54 for Bortles, a difference of only 2.73 points. Still think Cam Newton is worth it? By selecting a middle-tiered Quarterback it allows you to not only invest in their top tier Wide Receiver, but also top-tier players at other positions, which brings me to my next point.

3. Invest In A Quality Tight End

In the 2015 season, we saw a very limited number of tight ends worth drafting.  There were some sleeper tight ends that had a few good weeks like Ben Watson, Travis Kelce, and Richard Rodgers; however, most of the high scoring was achieved by the same six guys.  Those guys were Rob Gronkowski, Jordan Reed, Greg Olsen, Gary Barnidge, Delanie Walker, and Tyler Eifert.  All of these players, at one time during the season, were a top-tier pick.  Some of these guys will be more expensive than others, but none are going to be cheap.  Their individual value will rise even higher when other top-tier tight ends are injured or on bye week.  In fact, of these six, only Gary Barnidge and Greg Olsen managed to play in every game.  After researching other statistics such as team matchups, coverage matchups, and more…it will be clear what tight end you should draft, even if he is expensive.  

4. Draft High Reward/Ceiling Wide Receivers

Drafting safe players in 50/50’s or cash leagues can sometimes be a good strategy, but usually not in large GPP tournaments. If you are playing in large tournaments, you are going to need some high reward/ceiling sleeper picks to differentiate your lineup from others and make a big cash.  These picks usually come in the form of low-valued wide receivers that haven’t had a good week in a while; but, under the right circumstances, are capable of having a high-scoring week. We saw this happen with Michael Crabtree in Week 9, Markus Wheaton in Week 12, Tyler Lockett in Week 14, Allen Hurns in Week 16, and several others. A very small percentage of daily fantasy players will draft these guys, so if they succeed, you will climb the ranks of your tournament higher and faster. Also, investing in low-valued high reward/ceiling players allows you to invest in more expensive players at other positions like Running Back and Tight End.

5. Research and Predict Possible Game Flow

Predicting game flow can sometimes be hard, but if you predict correctly, it could pay off. If a team is forced to play from behind, their wide receivers and quarterback may prevail while their running back suffers. This season, we saw many inexpensive quarterbacks like Blake Bortles and Phillip Rivers have huge games because their teams were forced to favor on the pass game early. You can then ‘Stack’ this quarterback with their favorite target for even more points. Vice versa, if a team takes an early lead and is trying to run out the clock, they may favor the run game, which would benefit the running back while hurting everybody else on offense. Game flow should be a main focus of daily fantasy football players when drafting their lineup in any contest.