With Daily Fantasy Sports blowing up all across the internet, it seems that everybody is offering some sort of daily contest. So how do you decide where and what to play? It may seem like a vast ocean filled with sharks, so what do you do if you just want to dip your toes into the shallow end?
First you need to identify which site(s) you want to play at. Every site has its own advantages and disadvantages. Some offer huge deposit bonuses, but you don’t get those bonuses until you’ve been playing there for an extended time. Some offer huge field tournaments guaranteeing payouts in the thousands and millions, assuming you beat 65,000 other people. Still others are smaller and provide players with better odds of cashing on a regular basis, but their payouts are smaller as well.
Here at The Huddle, every week we breakdown the dollar values for all of the potential starters for FanDuel, DraftKings, and FantasyScore. That doesn’t mean that we dislike or do not approve of the other major sites. It simply provides our readers with information pertinent to three of the most popular sites available.
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Some of the other sites out there that have drawn my interest over the last couple years include:
- Fantasy Aces – A nice site with a mobile friendly app. They offer competitive bonus matching and a unique game play style called “Salary Pro”. In Salary Pro you can actually go above the standard salary cap and take a point penalty. In addition, if your roster comes in under the cap you get bonus points towards your final score.
- Victiv – This is one of the newer sites on the market and to draw fans they have offered the largest match bonus that I’ve seen (up to 100% of $1000). Their rake structure is defined but to an untrained mind may seem random. They also offer a unique Head-to-Head game platform called “Anonymous Head-to-Head”, which is exactly as it sounds. You don’t know who you are facing, so there is no fish hunting by the sharks.
- DraftDay – This site is brought to us by the extremely intelligent group of degenerates behind CardRunners.com. People in the know about poker will gladly attest to the skill and dedication the CardRunners team provides in training people how to be the best they can on the felt. This is why this site has gotten nothing but stellar reviews for its customer service and ease of use for newcomers to DFS.
- Both Yahoo and CBS Sports have also entered the DFS fray over the last year and I have not yet had the opportunity to play on either yet. What concerns me about both of those sites is a combination of their potential for impersonal customer service and their wonky interfaces for mobile users. Both sites have had these problems with their year round offerings so I would not be surprised if those problems reared their heads for them in a new venture such as this as well.
Of course if you want the largest player pools and the greatest guaranteed money pools there are no better options than the “Big Two”, DraftKings and FanDuel. Due to the size of their guaranteed pools they also offer some of the greatest overlay in the industry.
So now that you have decided what site you want to play on the next decision is what game type to play. All games fall into one of three types: Head-To-Head, Guaranteed Prize Pool Tournament, or Standard Tournament/League. Within those formats there are subcategories such as 50-50’s, Matrices, Multipliers, and Satellites/Steps. Plus in each of these formats, depending on which site you are at, you may be able to play the contest under salary cap rules or draft rules.
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Head-to-Head contests are exactly as they sound – a one-on-one contest where you attempt to build a lineup to beat one single opponent. Two people walk in and one person walks out with all of the moolah (minus the rake of course). When playing a head-to-head contest you need to be wary because many of the sharks look to score quick cash in this format. The benefits of this format are that you only need to beat one person to cash. In addition, if you lose with your base lineup against one opponent you still have even odds to cash against another random opponent.
Perhaps you like the one-on-one nature of a head-to-head contest but you don’t just want to go up against a couple sharks. For those instances I recommend the Matrix format of game play. In a matrix you pay one fee for the ability to play a round robin of head-to-head matchups against everyone in that matrix with you. For example if you entered a 20-player matrix contest for $20, you would face each of the other 19 opponents in HTH format for $1 each contest. The advantage of this format is that you will face X-number of unique opponents rather than potentially facing just a couple of the sharks who stage large piles of head-to-head contests.
GPP Tournaments are where you can make a lot of money really fast. Of course, that means that you need to defeat half the population of some small island nations. With player pools often dipping into the high five and low six digits, you are going to have to finish no lower than the top 20% to even get your money back. That said, finish in the top ten of one of these and you’ve got your bankroll for the next year locked up…and if you win one…you too could be a DFS-Made-Millionaire. The other huge advantage to these large-field GPP Tourneys is that there is often overlay and by definition that is free money.
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If you like the idea of a large player pool but you want better odds; then I might suggest entering a non-guaranteed tournament format such as a 50-50 or a Multiplier. In a 50-50 contest 50% of the entrants win by defeating the pool average score. If you enter a $10 50-50 contest and finish in the top half, you will likely be rewarded with $18-$19. Multiplier style contests are very similar to 50-50’s but instead of exactly half of the league getting a little less than double their money back, a predetermined percentage of the league will get exactly 2x, 3x, 5x, or 10x their buy in back. 50-50’s are great when you are just getting started because you only have to prove that you are better than half of the people playing in the contest. You’ll find that you too can turn $50 into $100 each weekend with about fifteen minutes of lineup research.
Finally there are Satellite/Step Tournaments. These are a great opportunity for someone to earn the right to “play above their bankroll”. Often for a smaller investment you are entered into the first step of a tournament, where if you finish high enough you are permitted to enter the next step of that tourney. Let’s say that you are a $1 contest level player. You enter a $1 satellite where if you finish in the top ten out of say 300 entrants you are awarded with a $20 tournament entry. You can then use that to enter a $20-entry satellite where the top 15 out of 100 will win a $100 entry. You can then take that $100 entry and enter a smaller field player pool for a six-digit payout.
So the last thing you have to decide is if you want to enter a salary cap format or a draft format. In a draft format your opponents will have completely different rosters and in a salary cap format teams can share players. When players are shared you need a certain level of variance from the mean to have a chance to win money. When each roster is 100% different the variance is naturally present. Some sites offer just one of these styles…some, like FantasyScore, offer both, so you can try your hand at each and see which one you prefer.
Now that you are ready to try your luck against me and other Huddlers it is time to go enroll at FantasyScore. Simply CLICK HERE to sign up. Huddlers get $5 deposited into their account FREE. Once enrolled, scroll down and enter TheHuddle.com exclusive Week 1 – $5 GPP tournament where you can win a share of a $2250 prize pool.
Of course, also make sure to visit The Huddle every Friday morning during football season for Daily Domination and other DFS features where we breakdown all of the potential players for that weekend’s games. Plus you should make sure to follow me @NewClearHarley on Twitter for last-minute lineup help or questions Sunday morning.