New to Daily Fantasy Sports? Here’s What I Learned Playing DFS for the First Time

Matt Hicks, Staff Writer

Last week I tried DFS (Daily Fantasy Sports) for the first time. I’ll be honest, I was never really that interested in DFS. I wanted to play fantasy football the way I had always known, and I was a little intimidated by it. I’m going to credit the Fantasy Footballers DFS Fantasy Footballer Podcast (I’m a huge fan of the Fantasy Footballers in general) for changing my mind. Not only do they give great advice on their DFS podcast (released once a week) they also promote DRAFT as a platform for playing DFS. DRAFT is a very user friendly app that made it easy for me to ease into DFS (fun fact: if you make an initial deposit you get $3 free by entering BALLERS). I’m going to share my experience to help you either jump into DFS or improve your DFS game. Alright, here’s what I learned from my first two weeks playing DFS:

You Can Learn at a Low Risk

The minimum deposit to get going for DRAFT is $25; since my goal was to learn I started by playing the minimum.  DRAFT lobbies start as low as $1 buy-ins and go into the hundreds. They do have multiple game styles so there is a bit of a learning curve, but I had the most success in Week 2 when I entered into 5 different types of games, all with a $1 buy-in. I also suggest setting a weekly limit for yourself. I decided to only spend $5 per week until I got the hang of it. Deciding this ahead of time was great, because once I started drafting I didn’t want to stop. This seriously broke down the intimidation factor that had held me back from DFS.

There’s a Ton of Variety

What I like about DRAFT is that you can play a variety of game types at a variety of buy-ins. Here’s the game-styles, with buy-ins, that I’ve played so far:

  • 3 Person Draft, $3 Buy-in
    • Draft style games are what you’d expect for fantasy football. You enter a lobby, once it fills you enter a draft with those players. You pick 1 QB, 2 RBs, and 2 WR/TEs. The team with the most points at the end of the week wins.
    • The payout here was winner take all, $8.10 to first. So DRAFT literally kept 90 cents
  • 56 Person Dream Team, $5 Buy-in
    • Dream Team is what you’d think of with DFS. You pick any 5 players (same positions as above) and the team with the 5 best players wins. There’s no salary cap/restrictions.
    • The benefit to Dream Team is the high payout. 13 players cashed with 1st winning $75 and 13th winning $7.50.
  • 6 Person Draft, $1 Buy-in
    • I entered 3 of these Week 3 and got the W in 1 of them. I got $3.60 for it, 2nd got $1.80.
  • 111 Person Dream Team, $1 Buy-in
    • Lots of people, good payout. 1st got $25, 17th got $2.

In Dream Team Match-Ups are Everything

My initial reaction in dream-team was pure joy. I was hype to get the chance to have a bunch of players that had been doing well. In Week 3 I drafted Carr/Freeman/Ty Mont/Julio Jones/Antonio Brown. My team bombed on the poor performance of Carr (faced Washington) and Ty Mont (faced Cincy). In Week 4 I focused more on match-ups. I took Wilson (IND), Zeke (LAR), Bell (BAL) Green (CLE) and Jones (BUF). This helped me finish in 2nd and bring home $15 (would’ve likely won if Jones hadn’t gotten injured).


Be Intentional about Draft order in Draft Style

You’re not stuck with these players long-term so don’t feel like you need to take the best available player. I suggest finding either a top 5 talent RB or WR with the best match-up and taking them first. RBs go quick so make sure to get 2 of them in the first 3 rounds (or you end up with Melvin Gordon…whoops). Save the QB for rounds 4 or 5, where you can still get a Russell Wilson (not whoops).

Don’t Draft the Same Players in Multiple Draft Games

If you decide to play a lot of games in one week, like I did in Week 4, then make sure to switch your teams up. It’s okay to double up on some no brainers (like AJ Green vs Cleveland) but if you drafted Julio Jones in 3 leagues last week you were out big time. Fantasy football is unpredictable and DFS gives you the chance to mix it up and try out a bunch of different players, take advantage of that.

Wait Until Sunday at Noon to Draft

There’s just too much uncertainty at the beginning of the week to draft early on. You have the option to draft before the Thursday Night Game and include those players, but I suggest passing that up and just playing with the Sunday/Monday games. This allows you the absolute most time to gather as much fantasy knowledge from a variety of great sources (like us). Don’t worry about not getting into lobbies that late, there’s still a ton of lobbies to choose from. I did all 5 of my drafts between noon and 1 last week and didn’t have to wait at all.

You Don’t Have to be Perfect

One of my biggest hesitations with DFS was I thought I needed to perfectly pick every player on my team to win. That’s not the case. Don’t get me wrong, having a player disappoint hurts you (cough Julio) but like I mentioned above, my biggest win so far was on a team where I had picked Julio. I had just done well enough in my other 4 picks to cover for that.

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Published by

Matt Hicks

Matt’s writing is focused on dynasty and devy fantasy football. He loves blending his experience writing research in the field of education with fantasy football stats. Matt currently lives in Baltimore, MD and graduated from Eastern Connecticut State University and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. You can follow Matt on Twitter: @TheFF_Educator

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