With the NFL preseason well underway, daily fantasy players are licking their chops with the regular season on the horizon. Every Sunday, hundreds of thousands of DFS enthusiasts pound out their best lineups in hopes of taking down massive cash prizes - and a select few succeed, taking home six-figure payouts and becoming the envy of their peers.
Who wouldn't want to join THAT kind of club?
Here are eight tips to help you put together the best possible roster each and every Sunday:
Pick the right quarterback
As straightforward and obvious as this seems, quarterbacks tend to have the largest variance of any position in daily fantasy. Think of them as you would pitchers in daily fantasy baseball. Go with established options like Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers, or identify QBs who have great matchups against weaker secondaries. There are few situations more frustrating than nailing the rest of your roster, but getting a dud performance from your signal caller.
Secure a top-tier running back
You have to spend your money somewhere - so make sure you land one of the top five running backs on a given schedule. These backs are the workhorses, often finishing with the most touches each week. This gives them the greatest opportunity for touchdowns, while securing the high floor you need to fare well in cash-game competitions. Use matchups to determine how to break a tie between players of similar skill sets.
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Go low with your second RB pick
Every week, a handful of starting running backs will find themselves on the sidelines due to injury or ineffectiveness - and that opens the door for backups to shine in their absence. While you won't see a lot of low-cost options available in Week 1, every subsequent Sunday will feature plenty of running back bargains. Pair your high-priced stud with a decent low-salary speculative pick, and you give yourself the best opportunity to max out your fantasy stat return.
Load up on high-target receivers
Daily fantasy football is skewed toward receiving threats, even in instances where you're awarded a half-point per reception rather than the full point that is offered on other sites. You have three wide receiver slots per roster - and you should aim to fill those slots with high-target options that are guaranteed a certain level of action each week. It might cost you up to 40 percent of your cap, but it will be well worth it in the end.
Go cheap at tight end
This is just one of those positions where you'll need to accept a certain level of volatility. Only 10 tight ends averaged between six and nine targets last season, and just five recorded 100 or more targets on the season. With that level of unpredictability an annual occurrence, why bother allocating any more than five percent of your total salary cap to the position? Let others spend up here, and save your money for more reliable scorers elsewhere.
Red zone failure equals kicker success
The less often a team converts red-zone visits into touchdowns, the more often those teams are forced to settle for field goals. And when it comes to identifying which kicker to choose out of an uninspiring weekly list, this piece of information could prove valuable. Of course, you really can't rely on red-zone conversion rates until at least five or six weeks into the season; until then, you should opt for kickers on high-powered offenses.
Pick on the weak at D/ST
Choosing the right defense/special teams has as much to do with the strength of the opponent as it does the composition of the unit you choose. Finding teams that have trouble moving or hanging on to the ball will yield more points to opposing defenses; while you can't predict defensive touchdowns with any reliability, you can anticipate when a D/ST is in position to secure more fumbles or interceptions, which lead to scores.
At each position, consider how inclement weather will affect the value of the players you're considering. Does heavy rain negate a team's passing game, thereby decreasing the value of its quarterback and wide receivers and increasing the value of its running back? Should you avoid heavy-wind games altogether? The better grasp you have on each game's weather conditions, the more informed your roster picks will ultimately be. So make sure to keep an eye on the weather with Covers' NEW Weather page.