Are you a die-hard fantasy football player? Do you crave the thrill of potentially winning tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in one fantastic autumn afternoon?
Of course you do. And that's what makes daily fantasy football the game for you.
Daily fantasy NFL contests number in the thousands each week - and if you're fortunate enough to win one of the handful of high-stakes games offered, you could find yourself buying a new house or car, or taking a trip to anywhere in the world - all by picking the right players for your nine-player roster.
The premise is a simple one: Construct your nine-man lineup without exceeding your $60,000 budget. You're required to choose one quarterback, two running backs, three wide receivers, one tight end, one kicker and one defense and special teams unit.
Each player is tagged with a salary that depends on a number of factors, including skill level, opponent, weather conditions and others. Each week, the player field is reassessed - so a player's salary in Week 1 won't necessarily be his salary for Week 2.
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Understanding the scoring breakdown is essential to building a winning team. Study the scoring chart here and make sure you know exactly how players are rewarded for their on-field efforts.
The two main types of games you play are cash games, where you're matched against a small field of players in contests where a larger percentage of the field takes home modest cash prizes relative to entry fee, and tournament play, where you're pitted against a larger group of competitors with smaller prize fields but larger individual awards.
Here are some simple strategies to help you get started:
- You should reserve your "safer" lineups for cash games, where you only need to beat half the field the majority of the time. These lineups feature largely consistent point-producing options, and few risky plays. Conversely, because it takes so many points to win a large-field tournament, you should take plenty of risks with your guaranteed prize pool (GPP) rosters.
- Pay close attention to the weekly injury lists - not only do you want to avoid players who might not take the field on Sunday, but player injuries open the door for backups to see more prominent roles. And since salaries are locked in at the beginning of the week, these backups represent sensational value if they wind up playing more.
- With a half-point awarded for every reception, you should strongly consider rostering running backs who are more involved in the passing game. If you have to decide between two running backs of similar skill, opt for the one who catches more passes - after all, those half-points can add up in a big way over the course of a given Sunday.
- Choosing a defense/special teams unit should depend as much on an opponent as it does on the quality of the actual D/ST. Team defenses matched up against opponents with subpar offenses - think the San Francisco 49ers or Los Angeles Rams, for example - become valuable commodities and can often be had for cheaper than the perceived "top" defensive units.