Thu. Jul 25th, 2024

Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) for the NFL offers a thrilling and intellectually engaging way to engage with America’s favorite sport. Whether you’re a seasoned fantasy sports enthusiast or new to the realm, understanding the intricacies of NFL DFS is crucial for success. This article delves into various aspects of NFL DFS, including scoring systems on different platforms, strategies, methodologies, understanding ownership, slate size, and the expected scores needed to cash in your contests.

Understanding Scoring Systems Across Platforms


  • Passing: 0.04 points per passing yard, 4 points per passing TD, -1 point per interception.
  • Rushing/Receiving: 0.1 point per yard, 6 points per TD.
  • Receptions: 1 point per reception (PPR).
  • Bonuses: 3 points for 300+ passing yards, 100+ rushing yards, or 100+ receiving yards.


  • Passing: 0.04 points per passing yard, 4 points per passing TD, -2 points per interception.
  • Rushing/Receiving: 0.1 point per yard, 6 points per TD.
  • Receptions: 0.5 points per reception (Half-PPR).
  • No Bonuses: Focuses on yardage and touchdowns without bonus points.


  • Passing: 0.04 points per passing yard, 4 points per passing TD, -1 point per interception.
  • Rushing/Receiving: 0.1 point per yard, 6 points per TD.
  • Receptions: 0.5 points per reception (Half-PPR).
  • Bonuses: Similar to DraftKings but with slight variations.

Understanding these differences is crucial for building your roster. For instance, a pass-heavy quarterback might be more valuable in DraftKings due to the full PPR and passing bonuses.

Strategies and Methodologies

Value-Based Drafting

This strategy involves selecting players who offer the most value rather than simply the highest-scoring players. It’s about finding the balance between a player’s cost and their potential output.

Contrarian Approach

In large tournaments, going against the grain can pay off. If everyone is picking a popular player, choosing a less popular but potentially high-scoring player can differentiate your lineup.


Pairing a quarterback with his receivers can maximize points, especially in a pass-heavy game. For instance, pairing Patrick Mahomes with Tyreek Hill could yield combined points for each touchdown.

Weather and Matchup Consideration

Weather can significantly impact gameplay. For example, heavy winds can hamper the passing game, making running backs more valuable. Matchups are also crucial – a good defense against the pass might stifle a usually high-scoring quarterback.

Understanding Ownership and Slate Size


Ownership percentage refers to how many players have selected a particular player in their lineup. High ownership can be risky in tournaments as it doesn’t differentiate your lineup. In contrast, low-owned players can be a strategic risk, potentially leading to a unique high score.

Slate Size

Slate size refers to the number of games included in the contest. Larger slates offer more options and require more research, while smaller slates limit options but can be easier to manage.

Expected Scores to Cash

The scoring needed to win cash games (like 50/50s and double-ups) versus tournaments (GPPs) differs significantly. In cash games, consistency is key, and you’ll typically need to score in the top 50%. For GPPs, you need a higher, more variable score to reach the top percentile.

  • Cash Games: Aim for players with high floors – consistent, reliable scorers.
  • GPPs: Target players with high ceilings – potential for breakout games.

Advanced Considerations in NFL DFS Strategy

Before concluding our in-depth guide to NFL DFS strategy, it’s crucial to understand the considerations and processes that winning players often use. These advanced strategies can significantly enhance your DFS gameplay, leading to more consistent success.

Research and Analysis

Player Performance Trends

Winning players invest time in researching player performance trends. This includes analyzing recent games, understanding how a player performs under different conditions (such as weather, home vs. away games), and their track record against specific teams or defensive setups.

Injury Reports and Player Updates

Staying updated with injury reports and player news is crucial. An injured starter can increase the value of backups. Additionally, understanding the impact of returning players from injury on team dynamics is essential.

Statistical Modeling and Tools

Projection Systems

Many successful DFS players use projection systems that utilize statistical models to forecast player performance. These models consider various factors like player history, matchups, and more to give an estimated point value for each player.

Utilization of DFS Tools

There are numerous tools and platforms available that provide analytical insights, such as player ownership projections, optimizer tools for lineup construction, and matchup analysis. Leveraging these tools can provide a significant edge.

Game Theory Application

Understanding Contest Types

Different contest types (cash games, GPPs, head-to-head, etc.) require different approaches. Winning players adjust their strategies based on the contest they are entering. For example, in GPPs, they might take more risks for higher rewards.

Managing Bankroll

Effective bankroll management is crucial. This means not overextending on any single contest and diversifying contest types to mitigate risk.

Psychological Elements

Understanding the psychology of other players can offer an advantage. For instance, if a popular player had a bad previous week, they might be less owned in the next slate, presenting an opportunity for a contrarian pick.

Effective Lineup Construction

Balance of High-Risk and High-Reward Players

Constructing a lineup that balances high-risk and high-reward players is a skill. It’s about finding the right mix of safe bets and potential breakout players.

Positional Value

Recognizing the value of different positions on different sites is key. For example, tight ends might have more value on a site that emphasizes receptions.

Late Swap Strategy

On platforms that allow late swaps, being attentive and ready to adjust your lineup based on late-breaking news or earlier contest results can be a game-changer.

Continuous Learning and Adaptation

Staying Informed

The NFL landscape changes weekly. Winning players stay informed about team strategies, player developments, and other league-wide changes.

Reflecting on Past Contests

Reviewing and learning from past contests is essential. This involves analyzing what worked, what didn’t, and why.

Networking and Community Engagement

Engaging with the DFS community through forums, social media, or podcasts can provide additional insights and strategies.

Optimal Player Exposure in NFL DFS Lineups

Player exposure in NFL DFS refers to the percentage of your lineups that a particular player appears in. Managing exposure is critical to balancing risk and reward across your lineups. Let’s delve into the details of optimal player exposure, differentiating between 1-10 lineups, 10-50 lineups, and hundreds of lineups, and discuss how this might change based on the slate size.

1-10 Lineups

High Exposure Strategy

  • Pros: Maximizes the impact of your top picks and research.
  • Cons: Increases risk; if your highly exposed player underperforms, a significant portion of your lineups could suffer.
  • Approach: In a smaller set of lineups, it’s often beneficial to have higher exposure to your core players (around 60-80% for your top picks). This approach assumes your research and gut instinct on these players are solid.

Mixed Exposure Strategy

  • Pros: Reduces risk by diversifying player selections.
  • Cons: Diminishes the potential reward from your top player picks.
  • Approach: Spread exposure more evenly (no player more than 50%) to mitigate risk.

10-50 Lineups

High Exposure Strategy

  • Pros: Allows you to capitalize significantly on your convictions.
  • Cons: Higher risk, as a poor performance from a key player could impact a larger number of lineups.
  • Approach: High exposure (up to 70%) to a select few players you have high confidence in, while diversifying the rest.

Mixed Exposure Strategy

  • Pros: Balances risk across various players.
  • Cons: May dilute the impact of your best player insights.
  • Approach: Keep player exposure more balanced, with a cap around 40-50% for any single player, to avoid over-reliance.

Hundreds of Lineups

High Exposure Strategy

  • Pros: Leverages your strongest predictions across a wide array of lineups.
  • Cons: Increases vulnerability to variance and unpredictable outcomes.
  • Approach: High exposure (up to 60%) for core players, but it’s crucial to have a robust player pool to avoid too much concentration.

Mixed Exposure Strategy

  • Pros: Spreads risk effectively; less susceptible to a single player’s performance.
  • Cons: Lessens the impact of accurate player predictions.
  • Approach: Moderate exposure levels (no more than 30-40%) to any single player, ensuring a diversified portfolio of lineups.

Considerations Based on Slate Size

Smaller Slates

  • Higher Exposure: More viable due to fewer options and clearer standout players.
  • Risk Management: Critical, as player performance variance can have a bigger impact.

Larger Slates

  • Lower Exposure: Preferable to capitalize on the wide array of options and potential sleeper picks.
  • Diversification: Key to mitigating the risk inherent in a larger player pool.

Advanced Statistical Analysis in NFL DFS

Target Share and Air Yards

  • Target Share: This represents the percentage of team targets that a player receives. A higher target share indicates a player’s critical role in the passing game, making them a more reliable pick in PPR formats.
  • Air Yards: This measures the total distance that a football is thrown beyond the line of scrimmage to the spot of the catch or incompletion. Players with high air yards are often involved in deep pass plays, which can lead to big plays and potential touchdowns.

Player Efficiency Ratings

  • Yards per Route Run (YPRR): This stat measures a player’s efficiency by dividing total receiving yards by the number of routes run. It’s especially useful for evaluating wide receivers and tight ends.
  • Fantasy Points Per Opportunity (FPPO): This metric divides a player’s total fantasy points by their total opportunities (carries + targets). It helps identify players who make the most of their opportunities, which is crucial in choosing between players with similar roles or pricing.

Predictive Analytics

  • Utilizing Machine Learning Models: Incorporating predictive models that use historical data to forecast player performance can offer a significant edge. These models can analyze complex patterns and player trends that might not be immediately obvious.
  • Regression Analysis: Identifying players who are likely to regress positively or negatively based on historical trends can be key in finding value picks or avoiding potential busts.

In-Depth Matchup Analysis

Defensive Rankings Against Specific Positions

  • Positional Breakdown: Analyzing how defenses perform against specific positions (e.g., WR1, TE) can uncover mismatches to exploit. For example, a defense that struggles against tight ends could make an otherwise average TE a valuable DFS play.
  • Cornerback-Wide Receiver Matchups: Examining individual matchups, like a team’s top receiver against the opposing team’s top cornerback, can provide insights into potential performance ceilings or floors.

Team Tendencies and Game Script

  • Run-Heavy vs. Pass-Heavy Offenses: Understanding a team’s offensive approach can guide player selection. For example, running backs from run-heavy teams might have more consistent production.
  • Game Script Analysis: Anticipating the flow of the game can be crucial. For instance, a team expected to trail might lean more on passing, benefiting receivers and pass-catching running backs.

Home vs. Away Performance

  • Statistical Differences: Some players or teams perform significantly differently at home compared to on the road. This variance should be factored into player selection, especially in quarterback and defense picks.

Weather Impact

  • Weather Conditions: Factors like wind, rain, or snow can significantly impact game dynamics. For instance, windy or snowy conditions might lead to a more run-focused game plan, enhancing the value of running backs and defenses.

Final Thoughts

Mastering NFL DFS requires not just an understanding of football and basic fantasy principles but also a commitment to ongoing research, strategic planning, and adaptive thinking. Employing advanced techniques like statistical analysis, game theory, and effective bankroll management can elevate your gameplay significantly. As the NFL season unfolds, stay agile, informed, and strategic to maximize your success in the exciting world of NFL Daily Fantasy Sports.