If you’re new to daily fantasy football, your goal should be to identify areas where you think you might be able to find an edge; what do I know that no one else knows or which aspect of the fantasy football is currently inefficient, and thus capable of providing value to me?
To help you determine that, it’s imperative for you to fully understand the starting requirements and scoring system on DraftKings. If you’ve ever played season-long fantasy football, you know how much of an impact the addition of a flex position or a single point per reception can have on your decisions.
In this lesson, I’m going to focus on DraftKings’ NFL scoring system to determine what’s unique and where potential edges might be located. A lot of this scoring is pretty standard, but let’s take a look at the unique aspects we can leverage into a competitive advantage.
Passing Touchdowns: 4 Pts
Passing touchdowns are worth four points on DraftKings, which is somewhat standard, but certainly limits some of the value of passers as compared to six-point passing-touchdown leagues. As far as the balance between yards and touchdowns, I’d say they’re just about equally important for quarterbacks on DraftKings, though touchdowns are more volatile and can help differentiate your lineup in tournaments.
Passing Yards: 1 Pt per 25
Some fantasy leagues award a point per 20 yards passing, so DraftKings is perhaps just slightly below-average in how it values quarterback scoring. Three-hundred yards passing -— not including any bonus points -— is worth the same as three passing touchdowns. This scoring format doesn’t really do much to change the value of elite quarterbacks or bottom-tier guys; you generally still want to pay up for top-tier passers, but it’s not like this is a six-touchdown/point-per-20-yards scoring system that necessitates always using an elite quarterback.
Receptions: 1 Pt
Anyone who has played in a PPR fantasy football league knows how much this small scoring change affects player value. Players who see a lot of targets, such as pass-catching running backs and certain slot receivers, see a huge boost in value. A player like Julian Edelman has limited value in a standard scoring format, but is a low-end WR1 certain weeks in a PPR system. This single point per catch is really important to keep in mind when filling out your lineups.
Another thing the PPR scoring does is even the playing field between running backs and wide receivers. That wouldn’t necessarily matter if you never had to evaluate those positions together, but you do since DraftKings has a flex position. Every week, you need to decide which position you’d like to use in the flex. The “right” position always depends on pricing, but receivers arguably offer more upside than running backs in PPR scoring formats.
Bonuses: 3 Pts for 300 Yards Passing, 100 Yards Rushing/Receiving
Perhaps the most overlooked aspect of DraftKings’ scoring system is the fact that they award three-point bonuses. Predicting 300-yard passing games and 100-yard rushing/receiving performances is pretty difficult on the individual level, but we know certain types of players are more likely to reach these numbers than others; slot receivers who rack up short targets, for example, rarely cross the 100-yard mark, whereas the bonus adds a bit of value for a player like DeSean Jackson who gets downfield.
This scoring change also has an impact on your flex decision. While 100-yard rushing performances have remained steady the past few years, 100-yard receiving games have increased. Chances are there will be even more 100-yard receiving performances this season, which means the value of using a receiver in the flex spot is probably going to improve even more.
Three-hundred yard passing games are also on the rise. You might think this increases the value of elite passers, but I’d say it actually decreases it (just slightly) because it changes their scarcity; if a mid-tier passer has consistent shots at throwing for 300 yards, you could make an argument that players like Matthew Stafford and Philip Rivers are better plays than they would be without the bonus.
Return Touchdowns: 6 Pts for Returner and for D/ST
Another overlooked aspect of value is return ability. Return touchdowns are of course difficult to predict, but players who get a lot of return opportunities during a season do have a bit of additional value.
One of the most underrated strategies I like to use in tournaments is pairing a returner with his defense. If that guy has a return touchdown, you’re going to actually get 12 points: six from him and six from the D/ST.
Sacks: 1 Pt
The name of the game on defense is to identify units that are going to be able to rack up sacks. That doesn’t always mean looking at past sacks, but rather defenses that are going to be able to generate pressure. The benefits of getting pressure on the quarterback extend past sack totals, too.
Interceptions/Fumble Recoveries: 2 Pts
Interceptions and fumble recoveries are challenging to predict, but you’ll obtain the most by, again, searching for defenses that get pressure on the quarterback. Defensive interceptions and fumble recoveries are actually better predicted by pressure/sack totals than by past interceptions and fumble recoveries, i.e. if you want defensive upside, you absolutely must find defenses with players who are going to get to the quarterback.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is bales) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.