Basic Fantasy Sports Strategy

Basic Fantasy Sports Strategy

Fantasy sports fans are excited for new seasons coming up for each sport. Online fantasy sports gameplay attracts over 57 million participants in North America alone. Online fantasy sports betting is one of the best options for gambling legally within the United States. Due to the state to state restrictions for online gambling regulations, fantasy sports betting is one of the only authorized forms of gambling that is not against the law. Fantasy sports betting was deemed legal in 2006 through a US Congressional decision to exempt the gambling by passing the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.


The growing trend has many trying daily fantasy sports betting to test their skill to win real cash prizes. Attractive sites such as FanDuel and DraftKings have paid out over $2 billion and $1 billion in winnings respectively.

The fact is, there is more to fantasy sports than picking the lucky team when it comes to winning fantasy sports entries. As a fantasy draft manager, you need to understand multiple aspects of the online gameplay if you wish to succeed in daily fantasy sports. The necessary strategy varies depending on several research statistics leading up to each game or contest. These statistics include the past and presently updated results that give value to an individual player.

You will also need to know statistics on any given opponent that you face in upcoming competitions, as well as analyze which players to draft. Additionally, match-ups play a significant role as a skill based factor that can impact the outcome of a game. Many players who believe they will pick the greatest team fail to understand the variable of match-ups.

Aside from statistical concepts, which can be rather complex, there are also other fundamental strategy factors that play into the game. Understanding rules and scoring for any given fantasy sports league is important in crafting your team. Certain players will have higher values that reflect on your league's scoring rules. Lastly, you need to understand bankroll management thoroughly and know when and where to place your wagers.

A combination of all these components fosters a true game of skill that separates the good players from the weak. Players need to know that there is always risk involved and that chance can and will play into every game. However, with the right strategy, you can significantly increase your odds of walking away a winner come game time. Read on to learn about basic fantasy sports strategy.

DFS Research

Statistics are the essential core that makes up the majority of game outcomes. There will always be out of the ordinary circumstances during sports that can either slightly or dramatically affect who wins and loses. However, most of the time, players can express their predicted performance through past statistics.


All players display their performance through numbers over a series of plays, games, and seasons. The numbers or statistics inherently show strengths and weaknesses for each athlete. Of course, an athlete's performance can go up and down with age or injury. However, consistency does show through numbers and are a huge part of picking players for upcoming drafts.

Players in team sports that show consistency from week to week depend on their teammates’ performances. For example, it is difficult for Pittsburgh Steeler Wideout Antonio Brown to rack up big numbers when his key quarterback is sidelined with an injury.

In every sport, players that become injured or suffer due to key teammates facing injury are never a safe investment when it comes to betting. A crucial advantage to betting on daily fantasy sports sites is that you can avoid injury bust drafts since you can draft a new pick every day.

DFS Statistics

On top of choosing statistically consistent players, draft managers also need to identify matchups in upcoming games. If this means a lightning fast receiver on a slower defender or a clutch pitcher primed to finish, determining a key matchup advantage will help pick the winning fantasy team.


Player grades or fantasy value go up and down each week and so to decide whom to draft you must put in an extensive amount of research. It is important to know which players are hot and which are cold. More times than not, players can build chemistry with teammates or find a focus that pushes them forward.

Reviewing statistics on each and every game can show a player on the rise or better yet, a player on the fall. A vital part of a winning fantasy strategy relies on passing up an inconsistent risky player and taking the statistically stable selection. In the laws of fantasy sports, one may cross their fingers, but in the end, it is a probability and statistics game.

Coaching Strategies

Another factor to consider before placing a wager on a fantasy sports league is the schemes and strategies that the coaches will be using in your upcoming matches or pool entries. In many instances, coaches will play to players strengths and try to exploit their opponents weaknesses. For example, selecting an all-star running back when he is soon to be facing a weak defensive team.

Coaches will typically decide to run a particular scheme for each season that gives their team the best chance of winning. Usually, players perform well when they play in their scheme and execute the plan they prepared. However, strategies may change come game time, such as a team manager pulling his pitcher. It is best in fantasy sports to choose players that play well in their schemes and for teams who have advantageous schemes for the matched opponent. It truly does fall to research in all aspects of the team’s matchups.

Fantasy Sports Scoring Rules

If a player wishes to make money through online fantasy sports betting, they will need to master the rules and regulations of a chosen league thoroughly. A big fan favorite is the famous PPR leagues or points per reception. This special league scoring parameter is set up where all players receiving a catch in a football game are awarded a half point just for making the catch. In some fantasy football betting situations, the 3-6 points that come from PPR could push you over the winning line.


As well as the difference in scoring rules, there are also various set-ups for putting a winning team together. Each daily fantasy sports platform will list parameters for creating your team before you draft on gameday. For example, if the rules in your fantasy football league list a flex slot as any scoring position, then you know there will be far more value for quarterbacks. This is because there are not as many great players at the quarterback position, and they will be drafted in the closer rounds.

Like football, other fantasy sports have a similar drafting strategy. The scoring rules will affect whom you want to draft. In soccer, if a league allows five midfielders instead of just three, this greatly pushes the fantasy draft value for midfielders in the league.

DFS Salaries

The most important thing to consider when covering basic strategy concepts is salaries. Each player comes with a price that typically reflects their performance. It is vital to understand which players will produce the most bang for your buck. Intelligent player selection combinations can significantly separate a skilled player from a lucky one.


In daily fantasy sports, player’s draft salaries will change based on how many managers are selecting any specific player. In most online fantasy sports leagues, each player will be attached to a market salary that will float up and down like a stock value just before the start of the game. It is best to get the most production out of your fantasy team for the cheapest value. However, spending an extensive amount on a few powerhouse performers pays off as long as the entire team still produces results.

When looking at salaries, the best tip is to create multiple mock teams until you can fit a statistically consistent unit all under the floating cap. Fitting the right squad to the best salary cap parameter is a big advantage for more experienced players. Veteran fantasy sports bettors will have numerous options in regards to draft classes and will prepare the draft for a targeted salary cap.

Some sites will allow managers to adjust the salary cap to raise or lower the total budget for each manager. Mock drafts are the closest thing to practice in fantasy sports, and prove to be a great tool for preparing your lineup for the real deal when wagering cash.

DFS Bankroll Management

Bankroll management is one of the most important factors for a winning strategy in fantasy sports betting. Even prior to the start of the season, a team manager should know how many bets they are planning to make and at how much money per wager for any given game.

Weekly budgets are always a must, and an inconsistent bettor is a losing one. Take your total bankroll and divide it by the number of weeks you would like to bet on for the season to get a basic overview of how much you want to spend.

Betting larger portions of your bankroll on your favorite upcoming week than the rest of the season is unreliable and irresponsible for money management. A typical losing strategy is to wager more money when you are winning or even worse, more money when you are losing. Staying consistent within your budget does not promise the golden ticket jackpot, but it does allow you establish week to week winnings.

As in every game of skill, practice makes perfect, and fantasy sports betting is a great example of this philosophy. Players will become attuned to winning lineups and consistent athletes that may not be in the spotlight, but bring big numbers to the game every week.

Trying your luck in free contests are one of the best ways to get past the learning curve. Just like in every other game of skill, fantasy sports will always have this learning curve for newer team managers.

A big portion of developing a winning strategy is first establishing a healthy bankroll that won’t kick you to the curb the first time you lose. One of the best ways to start the correctly sized bankroll is to take advantage of the deposit bonuses. Every single fantasy sports betting site will offer a various amount of promotions or bonuses when you sign up. We’ve tracked down the top offers from all of the top daily fantasy sports platforms. A bonus will not be entirely accessible all at once, but sites will always explain the rules of releasing a bonus in the fine print.

Typically, a bonus will slowly pad your bets over the season, boosting your available bankroll week by week. You can utilize a slow release bonus to your advantage by sticking to your budget every week and not overspending. The ultimate bonus fantasy sports bettors seek is the “double your deposit bonus”, which allows you to earn the deposit money slowly through rollover release. If you are uncertain about which real money fantasy sports site is right for you, we recommend reading our reviews before signing up to find which sites have the best bonuses.

DFS Overlay

Overlay is another great advantage to use for both basic strategy and money management. Overlay is the statistical instance that arises when the guaranteed amount of prize money exceeds the total sum of money collected from entries.

There are two reasons why overlay is advantageous. First, guaranteed prize money is always split regardless of the number of contestants, and so the prize money you would get from winning becomes instantaneously bigger. Second, with fewer entrants paying into a contest, the odds to win also increase in your favor.

The trick to achieving overlay is entering into a guaranteed game near to when the entry pool closes. If the guaranteed contest is about to start, and the pool is only two-thirds full, there is overlay available. Overlay, as well as investment value, can be mathematically calculated for any guaranteed fantasy sports pool.


Check out our specific sports strategy guides for all of the most popular fantasy sports. In each guide, team managers will understand how to strategize for their favorite fantasy sports, including examples of overlay and determining each wager’s investment value.

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