NFL DFS is back baby! DFS was created based upon the further need for fantasy football, and the growth of the industry has been phenomenal! NFL Week 1 ranks right up there with Christmas in terms of best weeks of the calendar year, and both DK and FD offer the best games with the most options for all skill levels this week.
We need to be prepared to take advantage and crush the competition out of the gate! In order to optimize our chances for success this week and in the future, it’s vital to understand the scoring differences between each site and how to take advantage strategically. The players who take advantage will take home the cash – it’s that simple. I’m not going to run through all scoring options – you can do this yourself. Instead I’m going to help you take advantage of scoring differences and highlight the importance of each position.
Unlike real football, QB IS NOT the most essential part of your DFS lineup. Yes, you can roster Brady or Rodgers and they might throw five TD passes. Awesome result of course, but it’s vital to remember that passing TDs are only worth 4 points on each site. Three passing TDs for any QB is a great day, and five TDs doesn’t happen that often.
In most weeks the smartest strategy is rostering a mid-tier QB with an excellent matchup. This option is available each week in NFL DFS. Of course there are weeks where a top tier QB will be super chalk, and we should probably roster this guy in cash, but for the most part you don’t have to pay top dollar for solid point production here.
Let’s break this down with an example – always keeping in mind the importance of salary and point-per-dollar value of players. Last season, Brady averaged 23.1 DK points per game, and he’s the highest priced QB on DK at $7600. He’s an excellent play at home vs KC on opening night, but we have to remember points-per-dollar here. Carson Palmer averaged 18.6 DK PPG and he’s taking on a DET defense that ranked nearly dead last in passing defense last year. His price is $6000! Assuming each guy reaches his 2016 scoring average, should you pay $1600 more for 5 more FPs? Absolutely not! If you’re paying for Brady, Rodgers, Ryan, etc. you’re paying for safety at the position, but paying up at QB hinders your ability to roster top tier RBs and WRs.
In terms of point differential between DK and FD, the only difference here is DK offers a 3-point bonus for 300+ passing yards. These bonus points are important to remember when building DK lineups, and actually devalues the QB position slightly on FD. I’m not saying roster a scrub QB because these FPs mean a great deal, but I’m looking for a guy who’s giving me guaranteed points in cash games while allowing flexibility to roster a top tier RB and WR.
It’s such a simple strategy – roster big time RBs who get the most touches and you’re most likely going to cash. DK gives the 3-point bonus again here for 100 rush yards, which is great, but not the main focus for this position. These guys handle the rock and score TDs – if you miss on your RBs then your lineup is dead. Guaranteed. Always pay up for at least one top tier RB and look for value in other players. When a RB is injured, his backup will be cheap and chalky the following week. Example here is Spencer Ware’s injury for KC – Kareem Hunt is the backup and typically will be priced very low (this week is the exception due to Thur-Mon slates coming out after the Ware injury).
The RB position is where we begin to exploit the most vital scoring difference in DFS on DK – point per reception (PPR). RBs and WRs get one point for each reception on DK – YOU MUST TARGET RBs WHO CATCH PASSES ON DK. Also, with the Utilily spot (instead of K on FD) we can play a 3rd RB.
How do we exploit this DK scoring? Roster Le’Veon Bell or David Johnson to start your DK lineup – these guys lead the league in touches, both rushing and more importantly receiving. Exploit the PPR format! In almost all cases I want to utilize the UTIL spot for a 3rd RB – generally a cheaper player but a guy I know will be targeted (the Darrin Sproles/James White type of player) throughout the game. I want high upside here at a cheap price. Guys who catch passes have nice floors as well.
FD scoring makes roster construction different – instead of PPR scoring you receive 0.5 points per reception. Catches are still important, but we have to focus more on players who score TDs. Bell and Johnson are always my top targets, but my RB2 will most likely be a guy who receives a bunch of goal line touches as opposed to a more pass-catching oriented player. Another reason for this is the lack of UTIL spot on FD – strictly two RBs and three WRs. We can’t miss on the RB2 spot on FD. In seasons past, LaGarrette Blount was a favorite RB2 of mine because I could count on his production and he was cheap.
As discussed above, focusing on receptions is the #1 goal on DK. We cannot always predict which WRs will score TDs, but it’s a virtual lock that Antonio Brown will catch at least eight passes on an given Sunday. Brown makes a tremendous play on both sites because he does score TDs in bunches, so I’m always looking to roster him, Julio Jones, Mike Evans, etc. I need one of them each week.
On DK we must pay down for at least WR3 and possible WR2 – so what do we focus on? Catches, catches, catches! Don’t forget this! Take a guy like Cole Beasley in Dallas – he’s never going to be a deep threat or score many TDs, but he’s always cheap and destroys people in the slot. Maybe he only racks up 60 yards, but with eight receptions. This equals 14 DK points, which is huge for his price point (4700 Week 1).
Again we must look at FD differently for WR2 and WR3 – the focus for cheaper players must be big play WRs and/or players who score TDs (not Beasley). In the same price range as Beasley, we have Mike Wallace or Kenny Stills – these guys generally aren’t targeted as much, but they possess big play potential and score more TDs.
Don’t forget the 3-point DK bonus for 100 receiving yards – yards do matter. An incredibly important stat to monitor each week when looking for value in WRs is targets (also red zone targets). Targets on DK and red zone targets on FD are numbers we must study each week.
This position I always pay down for on both sites, keeping in mind PPR and 0.5 PPR. While not as vital as other positions, winning and losing can be determined here. I don’t want a complete punt unless absolutely necessary.
For FD I’m looking for the cheapest guy with the most red zone targets. I want a TD from this roster spot, although it’s generally the last spot I fill (other than kicker). Some people prefer to pay up for Gronk, which isn’t a bad strategy, but if you pay up for TE and miss, you’re probably screwed. I prefer paying down and looking for upside – if you miss you’re generally still in good shape. Kyle Rudolph was a popular option last year because of his TD upside.
My DK options are cheap players who receive the most targets. Last season it was guys like Zach Ertz or Cameron Brate filling these needs.
UTIL (DK only)
RB/WR/TE all eligible here, but if you’re using two TEs your roster construction is sketchy. As previously mentioned, I want a 3rd RB here if possible, but the key finding a value player who will get at least 15 touches if possible. LET’S GET RECEPTIONS FROM THIS SPOT!
Kicker (FD only)
FD would be better served using a UTIL spot here (Please FD!!!), because it really sucks when winning and losing are determined by kickers. Actually, this isn’t much different than real life…but regardless don’t think much about this roster spot. Fill it last with a guy who fits your cap with the highest point total – you do need points from this position. Standard fantasy kicker scoring applies.
Both sites score defensive points the same way, and many players fill this spot last. I do not subscribe to this theory because picking the right defense can score you 20 FPs. I believe in doing everything I can to roster the defense with the best possible matchup. It’s smart to have 3-4 defenses in mind and utilizing the one that fits your cap needs. ALWAYS TARGET WEAK OFFENSES – it’s not about rostering SEA or DEN each week. Go after the worst offenses in the league – there are some terrible teams to target each week.
For example, any time you can matchup with the Jets or Browns it’s a good move. The defensive team isn’t necessarily the most important part of the matchup. Focus on sacks and turnovers, and hopefully these turnovers turn into defensive TDs. This being said give me PIT or BUF Week 1, but JAC and LAR have tremendous matchups with inexperienced QBs as well. Matchup with lousy QBs!
Never forget the overall plan on both sites – matchups mean everything and great players score big fantasy points. On DK our #1 focus is receptions – exploit the PPR! FD we need TDs to win, and while receptions do count for points, we must target players who get in the end zone. Find value players with great matchups and let the money roll in!
Good luck everyone! Owls on top!
Great article slim.