NFL DFS: How to get started and be successful at DFS

Peyton Manning

With the first week of the NFL season a mere 36 hours away, it’s hard for me to contain my excitement that football is back! Not only is it back, but this season is going to be the best one yet for fantasy sports. Daily fantasy football is bigger than ever. It’s hard to turn on the television without seeing one of the many DraftKings or FanDuel commercials these days. Even though Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) is bigger than ever, people are still hesitant to take the plunge. What I have done decided to do is do a small draft guide of sorts for daily fantasy football. It may be a little long winded, but I am certain that reading this will make you a better NFL DFS player and allow you consistently win over the course of the season.


For those of you loyal FakePigskin readers, you know my writings from mostly daily fantasy basketball. I have had a ton of success these past two years doing it, but DFS basketball has nothing on DFS football for me. Football has always been, and will always be my first true love. I am fully committed to making this my best DFS season to date, and I hope you take the journey along with me, and the rest of the DFS team.

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Know Your Website

The best way I can compare this is to buying a new car. There’s no wrong answer as long as you figure out what works best for you. You have an abundance of options out there between size, make, and model. The same goes for DFS. I wouldn’t deposit a penny into any of the websites without making sure I’m comfortable with the layout, know the scoring, and what type of contests they have available.


Here is the break down the three sites we will be using:


DraftKings:    $50,000 Salary Cap                 FanDuel:         $60,000 Salary Cap

1 QB                                                               1 QB

2 RB                                                               2 RB

3 WR                                                              3 WR

1 TE                                                               1 TE

1 FLEX                                                           1 DEF

1 DEF                                                             1 K


FantasyDraft: $100,000 Salary Cap

1 QB

2 RB

2 WR

1 TE




Each one of these sites offers their own individual pricing for each player, which then allows you to generate different lineups each week. Also, each website has their own scoring for players. Some play a full point per reception, and other play a half-point over reception. Knowing which roster construction and scoring system you like best will determine which site to play DFS on.


Make Your Money Count

Most of these sites match your first deposit, so putting in $20 now turns into $40. Awesome, right? I mean, who doesn’t like free money? That doesn’t mean you have to deposit $500 right away. I recommend $50 because it gives you some cushion, and it’s now breaking the bank


Nobody Is Perfect

If you take nothing away from this, please, PLEASE remember this: you are going to lose. I know people aren’t going to like me saying that, but it is the honest truth. I don’t care what anyone says, you will not cash out every week. It is impossible to win every single week in every single contest you enter. But don’t let that discourage you. It is very possible to be lose $10 one week and win $30 the next. I’ll talk about how to do that later on, which leads me to my next point,


Don’t Be A Sheep

Everyone sees these commercials about winning a million dollars or ten thousand or whatever other insane amount of money one person won. Don’t be that guy that deposits $50 and enters in two contests the first week expecting to win a million. The fact of the matter is that’s damn near impossible. Stick to the cash games and 50/50 contests, but stay away from what are called grand prize pools (GPP). Again, I know these DFS sites don’t want me to say that, but that’s how they make their money. So many people get excited and blow their bankroll the first week.


50/50s And Double Ups Are Your BFF

Let’s do some simple math here: is it easier in a contest to be in the top 50 out of 100 people or be in the top 5 out of 10 people? It’s the same percentages in both instances, but the former option offers much more variance for you. That means it will require less points to be in the top 50% out of 100 people. Simply put: the bigger the contest, the less points it will require you to cash out every single week. Stay away from these smaller cash games, and especially stay away from those GPP’s that only pay out around the top 10% of the contest. That is the easiest way to lose your bankroll and leave you high and dry.


Budget Your Bankroll

I always say that you should only play around 20% of your bankroll in any given week. That means the first week of a $50 deposit, I am only going to play $10. Once your bankroll grows, you can enter in more contests. This also allows you to try those GPP’s and losing that money isn’t a big loss. If you build up your bankroll every week, it will translate into more success and  you’ll be having more fun.


Setting A Lineup

Once you are set up and have found what contests you want to enter, it is now finally time for the best part: building your lineup. Now, it is very important to know what type of game you are playing because that will determine how you should build that lineup. It’s easy to get a head start on building your lineup because our DFS team will be putting out players we will have in our lineups every week of the season. You’ll have a leg up on the competition with these players to help build your lineup and be successful.


What I have found works best for cash games are minimizing the amount of risk you take every  week. The beautiful thing about DFS is it allows you to construct any roster you want as long as it is within the confines of the salary cap. Every player is a risk in DFS, but consistency will serve you better when making a lineup.


On the other hand, GPP’s throw risk out the window and you’re simply making a lineup on upside alone. You’re shooting for the moon here and you’re going to need a stellar performance from top to bottom in order to finish in the money. I won’t deny that GPP’s are so much fun to play and it’s such a rush when you do finish above the pay line. Just know that whatever money you put into that contest is dead money and you shouldn’t count on that to build your bankroll.


Have Fun

At the end of the day, this is your team. You can join whatever contest you want and have any player that you want. As long as you can learn and improve every week, the sky is the limit.


Good luck this fantasy football season. Let’s take this journey together and make it a fun one.


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