This write up will take you on a beginner’s journey to discovering weekly and daily fantasy football. We will explain to you, in great detail, the whole process of taking part in a contest. You will quickly be on your way to learning some beneficial tips that will help you find games and assist you in deciding which ones to participate in. What’s more we will also share with you a few useful ‘tricks of the trade’ to ensure the odds are in your favor.

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Overview of Fantasy Football

The great thing about fantasy football is that it is 100% legal with the US law permitting companies to operate such games. There is nothing shady about it and you make real money with millions of dollars given out to winners every week. Furthermore, the duration is also very short with games/leagues lasting only one day. Basically it is an entire season wrapped up in a single day/weekend. However, the best part really is that it is suitable for all pockets. You can start playing by depositing less than a dollar to one thousand dollars. As of this year, it is football that has the greatest market share in the booming fantasy sports market.

How to start playing fantasy football

It is extremely simple to become a part of daily fantasy football with no rocket science being involved here. After creating an account at one of our recommended websites, you simply have to choose which contest you want to take part in and then select your team. Picking your team is really what this is all about. Also see our girls guide to playing fantasy football here.

The rules of Fantasy Football-how to build a good team and score points

How to build a team

We will use DraftKings as an example to explain the process of selecting a team. On this website, you have to draft players for the positions mentioned below:

  • DST
  • QB
  • K
  • TE
  • WR1
  • WR2
  • RB1
  • RB2

For those unfamiliar with these terms, DST stands for defense/special, WR stands for Wide Receiver, TE means Tight End, K stands for Kicker while RB and QB refer to a Running End and Quarterback respectively.

You score points with your fantasy players depending on how well they perform on the field, in the actual game being played. Although each fantasy football website has slightly different rules for scoring points, the basic mission is to pick a team that gains more points than the competitors taking part in the same contest. At the beginning of the game, you are given a predetermined salary of $50,000 to spend on your players, meaning you cannot go beyond this amount. You are required to draft all player positions within this salary cap. The worth of players is determined by how good they are. A star quarterback, for instance, would cost a whopping $9000 while a mediocre Wide Receiver would be worth $4000. Learn more from the experts in fantasy football before you get into your next draft.

The kind of games you can play and the type of cash leagues you can choose from

The Big Tournaments or GPP’s (Guaranteed Prize Pool Tournaments)- These are huge tournaments that are known to attract more than 10,000 participants at a time. This is because the initial deposit you have to pay is very low and the prize pool i.e the total amount of money available to be won is very high. While I am writing this, the big fantasy football websites like DraftKings and FanDuel, are handing out over a million dollars worth of prizes every week of NFL football.

50/50 contests- Also known as ‘cash games’ these contests guarantee prizes to the top fifty percent of participants. For example, if ten people take part and the prize pool is $1000, each of the five participants with the highest scores will be given $200.

Head-to-head games- These are one of the more challenging contests in which you have to compete one on one with the owner of another team. The prize pools and entry deposits for these games range from a $5 entry fee to a $5000 one. To make this more interesting, you can even create your own head-to-head tournament if you want to square off against a friend.

Qualifiers– If you have a low budget don’t worry. These games known as qualifiers give you the chance to win entry into future contests that demand high entry fees. Let us say you pay $15 for entering a qualifier the prize of which is free entry to a later game that imposes a $100 entry fee. If you win the qualifier, you can take part in that event for free.

Multipliers-Double, Triple and Quadruple Up Games- In these games the top ‘x’ of the leader board get the opportunity to double, triple and even quadruple their money.

Now that you know about the different types of tournaments you can play, let us tell you about what you need to be aware of when entering them.


Some basic criteria regarding the tournaments

Here, we will fill you in with the most important criteria you should pay attention to whenever you decide to enter a particular contest. We will discuss factors such as salary caps, entry fees, payout schedules, the field size and prize pools.

In general, there are two types of competitions: real money contests and free contests. As the names suggest, the former type of contest requires you to pay an entry fee while the latter offers free entry. Winning a free entry contest enables you to participate in a big tournament where you can win prizes in cash or other forms. Although you might be tempted to only play these free entry games, you will soon feel the urge to throw some real money in. The good part is that there are many games that require meager fees such as $1 or even less than that. The real money contests are very exciting and you can find a wide range of these, including the ones mentioned earlier such as the head-to-heads and 50-50s.

Entry Fees- As we have told you before, this is the amount you have to pay to participate in daily fantasy football games. Both DraftKings and FanDuel have a column on their lobbies that sorts the games based on the amount of deposit payable. You can click on this column to sift through the ones most suitable for your pocket.

Salary Caps- You are given a budget of usually $60,000 dollars which you can use to buy players for your lineup. Sometimes this cap can even be $50,000 or $55,000. Effectively using this money can be frustrating and exciting at the same time; the secret lies in identifying players that cost less but are actually worth much more in terms of performance.

Field Size- This refers to the number of people allowed to participate in a contest. At DraftKings, you can find this number displayed under the column ‘Entries’ while FanDuel displays it under ‘Size.’

Prize Pools- This is the total amount of prize money available which again can be sifted through column heads in the website lobbies.

Payout Schedules-The prize pool for a certain contest is usually divided among several participants. The 50-50 contest, for instance, splits the prize pool equally among the top half contestants on the leader board. Some tournaments award the entire pool to the top scorer where the winner indeed takes all. When you click on the columns that display the prize pools, a pop up will show the payout schedule.

Now that you know enough about the theory let’s put it to use by seeing how to actually start playing.

How to enter your first contest

First choose a contest which appeals to you, from the lobby of the website of your preference. We advise you to go with the guaranteed games that have a low entry fee but the ultimate choice is of course yours. Once you have made your selection, click on the ‘Enter’ button and you’re in.

How to build your team

It’s now time to for the most important part-drafting your team.

Both FanDuel and DraftKings have a similar process for drafting players with the list of available players displayed on the left side of the page and your roster, which will currently be empty, displayed on the right. Each player will have a salary attached to him, which will be shown next to his name. Above your roster you will also see your total budget. What you need to do is fill up your roster with high quality players without running out of money. Here is where you will need to be skilful as you must pick your players wisely.

To start adding players to your team at FanDuel, first select the green tab next to the position you want to fill. Once you have chosen your player for that particular position, click on the green button that says ‘Add,’ located next to his salary. DraftKings also has a similar procedure.

As you keep adding players, your budget will keep reducing by the amount each player is worth. You can even remove players as you move along the drafting process, making changes until you are satisfied with your chosen lineup. Once your lineup is complete, hit the Enter or Submit buttons on Fan Duel and Draft Kings respectively.

That’s it! Now all you have to do is sit back and observe the leader board as it gets updated in real time or come back and check your team’s performance after the game.

Don’t have high expectations during your first game

It is important to go into your first game with realistic expectations. Although you might just do well enough to earn a payout don’t be discouraged if you lose, which you most likely will.

Start off with the free and guaranteed tournaments and then move on to 50/50’s. As you gradually gain experience, you will discover that playing in the 50/50’s is a great way to add cash to your payroll. Once you have the confidence, you will be able to venture into large leagues where the prize pools are bigger and where your skills can be utilized more fruitfully.

Have fun and happy fantasy footballing.

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