Introduction to Daily Fantasy Football

Fantasy Football

Imagine composing your Premier League dream team, entering for 11 euro, competing for a guaranteed pot of 25,000! This is happening right now on Bethard. But how to select the winning team?

Let us start with some general advice.

  1. Find out which players who are likely to start

Obviously, it is important to pick players that will get 90 minutes of play, or close to that. If you have played in the seasonal fantasy game, you may know that getting your players suspended or rested is bad news. In Daily Fantasy Football however, it is much worse than that. The reason is that you have only one sub, and in order to win you usually will need 11 performing players, not 10 or 9.  Many websites give a good prediction as to who will be in the starting XI.

  1. If you feel unsure as to who will play, spend some money on the sub

The line-ups are available one hour before match start. Therefore, if all matches start at the same time, you will not have to guess who will be in the starting XI! If that is the case, you should get the cheapest sub there is. Unfortunately, you will rarely have access to all line-ups in a round, so there will be some uncertainty. If you still feel confident that all your fielded players will start, go ahead and pick a cheap sub. Even one that is unlikely to play can be ok. However, if you feel less comfortable with your picks and their chance of being in the line-ups, it can be smart to spend some more money on the sub, to reduce the risk of not having 11 performing players. It will probably cost 1-2 million more to get a player that is likely to start.

  1. Which formation should I choose?

Traditionally, in Daily Fantasy Football, defenders have offered the best value for money. This is going to change somewhat in the 2018/19 season, as there is a new rule in place. Previously, all players got 1 additional point for playing the whole game. Now this rule only applies to midfielders and forwards. The advantage defenders previously had will therefore be smaller this season. Perhaps eliminated altogether.

A very successful strategy last season was to play 3+3 in defence. That is, picking defenders from only two teams. If you have never played anything other than the regular season game, this approach will be new to you, but there are indeed several advantages to it in DFF. Think about it. Let us say you have 1 keeper and two defenders from Manchester United, combined with two defenders from Chelsea. You are thinking about having 6 players in midfield+attack, instead of 5. If you are to win this round against 2500 other teams, surely Manchester United and Chelsea has to keep clean sheets. Which means, if you pick another Chelsea defender (making it 3+3), he too will already have a clean sheet! Can you really pick a player in midfield or attack that is sure to get 7 points or better? For the same price? Those players are few and far between. 

Even though we are not sure if defenders overall still provide better value after the rule change mentioned above, the 3+3 defence is so powerful, we still think it is the best way to go. You may want to experiment a bit with fewer defenders however, to see what works for you.

  1. Should I save some of the money?

The short answer is “no”. You cannot spend the saved money on the next round, because there is no next round. But you should know that if two teams have the same total points, the one that spent less money will be ranked better. In other words, money saved is the primary tiebreaker. This is especially important to be aware of when you play in competitions where the risk of many to get the same amount of points, is big. Typically, this happens a lot in competitions with only 1 or 2 games, but it can happen too in the full round competitions.

  1. Finding underrated players: They come from underrated teams

There are several ways to find underrated players, but the one we really like is to check the odds for all matches in the round, and decide which teams that seem to have too high odds to win. Players from those teams will have in most cases a lower price than expected. The reason for this is that the price of a player is heavily dependent on his team’s chance to win! If you only have played the seasonal game, this concept will be brand new for you playing Daily Fantasy Football.

Now you probably are itching to know how to select the best players, and if you are, go ahead and read our article Daily Fantasy Football: How to pick your players.

The author of this article has been playing fantasy football for real money extensively for several years and is considered an expert in the field.