Daily Fantasy Football Guide

The NFL is king. That sentiment applies whether we’re talking viewership numbers, general interest from the public, or fantasy sports. There just aren’t many things that capture the attention of scores of people all at once, but pro football does.

That being the case, it should come as no surprise that Daily Fantasy Football is the biggest needle mover in the massive DFS industry. Weekly NFL tournaments offer the largest prizes, attract the most users, and generate the most revenue.

DFS NFL brings the fantasy experience to a new level. For those new to the game, you undoubtedly have some questions. We’ll provide you with all the answers you need, starting with the best fantasy sports sites to play. Below is a complete list of the top NFL sites.

Best Daily Fantasy Football Sites in 2024

Best Daily Fantasy Football Apps in the US Market

Best NFL DFS Mobile Apps

The Daily Fantasy Sports industry is ruled by two main companies which offer the biggest prize pools and attract the most users.

1. DraftKings DFS – $20 Free with First Deposit + Up to $500 Deposit Match

DraftKings burst onto the scene in 2012 and quickly gained a loyal following in the DFS community. The company took an innovative approach to rosters and scoring, and that proved to be a wise choice. Today, DraftKings is the largest DFS company in terms of prizes and users.

Click here to join DraftKings!

2. Fanduel DFS – 1 bonus NBA entry Free No Deposit Bonus

In the early days of DFS, the industry was served by several niche operators. FanDuel was the first company that was able to take the interest to a whole new level after its debut in 2009. The company was the driving force behind growing the industry with things such as massive prize pools and live final events.

Click here to join Fanduel!

How Long Has Daily Fantasy Football Been Around?

The roots of the Daily Fantasy Sports industry can be traced back to a ruling that was handed down back in 2006. That was the year that the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was signed into law. Language in the bill recognized that fantasy sports as a game of skill that was permitted under federal law.

From that ruling sprung the concept of daily fantasy sports. In the early days, several niche operators serviced what would turn out to be a loyal client base. DFS versions of all of the major sports were introduced, and the NFL offering proved to be quite a hit.

FanDuel made its debut in 2009, and interest began to intensify. Prize pools would begin to climb as a result. In 2010, the company generated headlines for the first-ever live final event for DFS. Held in Las Vegas, the top prize was $25,000, a huge sum at that stage of the game.

Dozens of other operators have entered the fray since then, including DraftKings. Many of the other entities have come and gone, but FanDuel and DraftKings are going strong. Today, there are weekly tournaments during NFL season which have an eye-popping prize of $1 million.

Through the years, DFS NFL has evolved right along with the changing times. While the classic format involving a standard lineup and salary cap remains incredibly popular, other ways to play have been introduced, such as single-game and tiers.

Additionally, new approaches to the game are being taken by innovative companies such as Prize Picks, which uses a prop betting model. Regardless of format, DFS NFL remains the most popular game across the industry.

How Does Daily Fantasy Football Work?

Daily Fantasy Football takes the popular season-long fantasy experience and boils it down to a single slate of games. For yearly leagues, users draft their lineups before the season kicks off and make moves along the way to enhance their chances.

In DFS, each NFL week is its own season. Users can draft their lineups from any of the available players from the slate of games. All players are assigned a salary value, and the challenge for users is to build a winning lineup while staying under the listed salary cap.

Once lineups are all set and the games kick off, users will see their lineups update in real time based on the actual performance on the field. As players achieve goals such as accumulating yardage and scoring touchdowns, they are awarded fantasy points based on what they do.

DraftKings NFL Fantasy Sports

For the average Sunday afternoon of NFL action, scoring moves fast, and so do the leaderboards on various DFS contests. That only enhances the enjoyment and excitement. Users can watch the action unfold on the screen, all while keeping an eye on their DFS lineups on the web or mobile device of their choice.

There are a number of different ways to play DFS. The following formats have stood the test of time and remain the most popular choices on the various platforms.

  • GPPs: This stands for guaranteed prize pools and refers to tournaments in which users compete for top prizes. There are smaller tournaments and massive ones, as well as all points in between.
  • 50/50s and DoubleUps: In this type of game, users enter their lineup against the field and are shooting for a score which is better than up to half of the lineups. If they make that happen, they’ll make up to double their entry fee back.
  • Head-to-Head: This is the DFS format which most closely resembles season-long fantasy football. It’s user versus user with the higher scoring lineup declared the winner.

In addition to the above, newer options have emerged through the years, including single-game DFS, pick’em style games, and games with different lineup variations. Beyond these ways to play, there are also the recent innovations being offered by companies such as Prize Picks.

DraftKings vs. Fanduel Football Rules and Scoring

There are several similarities between the scoring for season-long fantasy and DFS, but there are also some nuances to get used to. In addition, rules and scoring can vary by platform, so keep that in mind when signing up to play.

Using the two biggest operators as an example, they line up perfectly on lineup requirements for the classic format, but the salary cap is different. Here’s what you need to know.

  • Roster requirements on both sites: QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, WR, TE, Flex, DST
  • DraftKings uses a $50,000 salary cap
  • FanDuel’s salary cap is set at $60,000

Salaries for the players in the pool will vary on each site. Naturally, that means you will have to adjust your strategic approach accordingly. For example, a QB with a good matchup for the week may have an affordable salary on DraftKings, but the number attached to him on FanDuel might be too pricey.

Understanding these differences is key, as what works well on one site may not translate to the other. Beyond the salary differences, there are also scoring nuances between the two sites. Here’s where FanDuel and DraftKings are in sync. Both sites offer:

  • 1 point for every 10 rushing or receiving yards
  • 1 point for every 25 passing yards
  • 4 points per passing TD
  • 6 points for rushing, receiving, return, or defensive TDs
  • 1 point for sacks
  • 2 points for blocked kicks, safeties, 2-point conversions, fumble recoveries, and interceptions
  • -1 point when for TNTs thrown
  • +10 to -4 depending on total points allowed by DST

Now, let’s take a look at the key differences.

  • FanDuel awards 0.5 points per reception, while DraftKings awards 1 point
  • Fumbles lost on FanDuel are -2 on FanDuel, and -1 on DraftKings
  • DraftKings awards bonuses to players in your lineups who hit the following achievements: 300+ yard passing game, 100+ yard rushing or receiving game.

What may seem like small variations at first glance are actually pretty significant. Once again, that means the strategy will vary based on the site. As a result, there are some users who prefer playing on one site over the other, but there are also plenty of users who play on both sites.

How to Select / Optimize a Lineup

Just like in season-long fantasy football, there are a number of different strategy approaches you can take with DFS NFL. Ultimately, the goal is the same: to build the highest-scoring lineup that you can each and every week.

For season-long, the hope is that the performance of the players you draft and add along the way will average out to be the best over the course of a season. For DFS, you need to hit on the best plays of the week to score well enough to compete in the big tournaments.

As you would expect, that’s not exactly easy. However, there are a number of different approaches you can take to improve your chances of making it happen.

For starters, matchups are absolutely key on a weekly basis. The best running backs in the league make for excellent season-long draft choices, but there will be weeks when they have poor matchups. There will also be weeks in which the matchups are too good to pass on them, so understanding the strength of opponents they’ll be facing is critical.

Beyond the individual matchups, every game on the docket doesn’t project exactly the same way. There will be high- and low-scoring matchups, as well as several that fall in the middle. For a clue on how to figure out which will be which, consult the odds for the weekly games.

In addition to designating a favorite and underdog and posting a point spread for each contest, oddsmakers will also set a benchmark total for each game. Also known as the Over/Under, reviewing these numbers can give you a quick feel for the week’s matchups.

Researching fantasy football can be a ton of fun, but it can also be time consuming. It’s pretty easy to fall down the rabbit hole and find your head spinning with various stats and pieces of information.

You can help to make it more manageable by finding a few key sources that you trust to assist in the research process. Fantasy football is big business, and there are a ton of news and advice sites out there as a result.

Take the time to check out several of the more highly-regarded ones and choose the ones you like. There are completely free resources out there that are great, as well as some subscription services which do a stellar job.

At a minimum, find a resource that tells you all you need to know about weekly injuries, any weather concerns, provides intel on the week’s matchups, and also offers baseline projections on player performance.

If you can lean on some good sources which handle a lot of the legwork, you can spend more time researching what’s most important to you. One final note: there are dozens and dozens of lineup optimizers out there, just know that many other DFS users are using the same and will wind up with the same lineup as a result.

Who to Start in Daily Fantasy NFL

The answer to this question is going to vary on a weekly basis. Players can be exceptional plays one week and poor choices in another. That can make building a lineup a little frustrating, but it’s also part of the fun.

Putting together a well-researched lineup which just so happens to go off can be a rewarding experience, both on a personal and a monetary level. Here are a few key steps you can take to narrow down the top plays of the week.

  • Research the matchups. Look for top performers who are going against defenses which struggle against that position.
  • Review the projected totals for each game. Pay attention to ones which have a high Over/Under attached, and use caution with ones on the low end.
  • Consider salary in relation to expected output. Some players are too expensive to be worthwhile, while others can be too cheap to pass up.
  • Pay attention to recent play and output. Players go through hot streaks and cold streaks, as do teams themselves. Look for players and teams on the rise and take a cautious approach to those who are struggling.

If you can walk through these steps while leaning on a trusted resource or two to do the heavy lifting, you’ll be able to walk away with a short list of players worthy of consideration as best plays of the week.

Daily Fantasy Football Draft Strategy

As fantasy football has evolved through the years, a countless number of strategic approaches have emerged. The same applies for DFS NFL. In both cases, there’s no one size fits all approach that works.

As opposed to zeroing in one single strategy, review several popular strategies and principles which have stood the test of time. Once you have learned all you can, put it all together and pick out what you feel are the most important pieces of the puzzle.

Don’t worry about including everything. You may leave something out initially and also include something that doesn’t make much of a difference. The good news is that you can tweak as you move along and continually optimize your approach.

For DFS, it’s important to remember that each week is akin to a new puzzle. Approach it as such and know that the best plays will vary depending on numerous components, most importantly the matchup and salaries.

Fantasy Football FAQ

Fantasy football begins with Week 1 of the NFL regular season. For season-long, the action winds down as the regular season does. DFS NFL runs all the way from the preseason through the Super Bowl.

Yes, DFS NFL is legal to play, except for in the following states: Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, and Washington.

This is an abbreviation that stands for player rank. It generally refers to how a player stacks up in relation to their peers at that position.

ADP refers to average draft position. It’s a designation which gives you an idea of the value of player for a season-long draft.

For season-long, QBs are typically drafted from the 3rd round and onward, but there are exceptions here and there. On DFS, the QB should be a big focal point of your weekly research routine.

DFS NFL contests on the major operators are offered at numerous buy-in points, ranging from very small to high roller range.