How to pick the best fantasy sports lineup

Daily fantasy sports has become a staple of American sports fandom over the last couple of decades. With an estimated 56.8 million users in North America alone, American’s across the country have added an extra layer of excitement to game day. The DFS bug is spreading too with experts estimating that the industry will grow another 12% by 2022. The best part is it is now easier than ever to get involved. All you need is your smartphone, tablet or laptop and an internet connection. Visit your DFS provider of choice, signup and start drafting!

What makes DFS so exciting is just how competitive it is. Not only can you play against your friends and family but you can compete in leagues of thousands with huge cash prizes at stake. There is even a science to it. A 2018 study by researchers at MIT determined that the most successful fantasy football players are there because of skill. With that in mind, here are some top tips for picking your best fantasy draft lineup.

Learn how you score points

I know what you’re thinking here, it sounds so simple. But you would be surprised at how many people draft their team without knowing how their players are going to score for them. 

By properly researching it is one less job you have to do when it comes to drafting your team. Instead, you can start looking at the stats of your rostered players and start thinking about where your points are going to come from or which holes need to be plugged.

For example, DraftKings will give you one point for your offensive players completed receptions. Knowing this, you can look at which receivers are going to fare well against the opposing teams’ cornerbacks or look at their average targets.

Pay attention to team news and schedules

There is nothing more frustrating as a fantasy player than realizing you have fielded an injured player when it’s too late. Make sure you are keeping up to date with injury reports throughout a game week. 

This won’t only stop you from fielding injured players but can also aide you when drafting your offense for example. If one team is missing cornerbacks for example, then their rival receivers are likely to face an increased number of targets.

Scheduling is also important to pay attention to. Every team in the NFL has one bye-week per season where they will not play. This of course means that any players on your team who are on a bye-week will not be scoring you any points.

With DraftKings’ late swap feature, you have right up until kickoff to make changes to your NFL fantasy football team. This gives you a chance to make last minute changes, especially for decisions made right around game time for players who were doubtful.

Off field implications

Any sport that is played outside is affected by the weather and none more so than football. For example, research by PFR found that the average combined points scored in a warm-weather game is 44.3 and the colder it gets the lower that total is.

Conditions like snow or rain have an impact on players grip so you can expect running backs to face an increased number of snaps and rushing attempts. It is the finer research like this that will give you an edge on our competition, many of which spending up on their receivers and neglecting the running game.

Use the ‘experts’

There are thousands of hours of podcasts, radio, articles, videos and even TV shows dedicated each year to breaking down the best DFS plays. Take advantage of all of this content and listen to the nuggets of knowledge they offer to best help you with your draft.

There are also a number of websites that offer tools including lineup optimizers, projections, rankings and any sort of thing that a DFS player may want to utilize to draft their team. Be it NFL, NBA, MLB or any other sport you play DFS in, there is tonnes of tips and pointers available week to week.

Know where to spend up and down

As most all DFS competitions have a salary cap, knowing where to splash the cash and where to be more conservative is a fine art. For example, a lot of players are drawn to big name QBs. Seeing Tom Brady at the top of your depth list can only be a good thing right? Well, that depends. 

The gap in points between the number one vs number ten scoring QB is usually a lot narrower than that of the same gap between wide receivers. For this reason, you are likely better off going for a top receiver over a QB.

Finding the balance between franchise players and solid point scorers in your team is very important for both your salary cap and your points total come the end of a gameweek.