How to become a good player in Daily Fantasy
What do you think a typical strong Fantasy player looks like?
You think it’s a geek who has gone crazy studying sports stats and who knows more about players than Wikipedia does? A holy fool who knows the fixtures of top leagues and Watford players’ fantasy prices by heart? A Sheldon Cooper of football, who has built an ivory tower to constantly monitor the news feeds of club websites?
I will be quick to disappoint you, as Fantasy Football is not about the knowledge, it is about taking advantage of information. Yes, I’ve had some friends who fall within the definition of those geeks. But few of them can boast winning big. They know everything and even more about football, but that does not guarantee scoring fantasy points at all.
A strong Fantasy Football player is someone having a good algorithm of decision making in his mind in a world with unlimited sources of information that help in the process. Today I will show you how to pick a strong, worthy team for Daily Fantasy tournaments without having any fundamental knowledge about specific competition.
Step 1. Read the rules carefully
There are plenty of Daily Fantasy platforms in the internet. It should be remembered that different fantasy platforms offer different variations of rules, especially the scoring systems. For example, a goalkeeper can only score points for keeping clean sheet or saving penalty on some platforms, while others also count all saves made during a match. Naturally, such particularities of the rules will influence our immediate decisions in a dramatic manner, which makes it important to pay attention and study the rules for a while.
Step 2. Study the calendar
We have set our mind on a tournament to take part in and got familiarized with the rules. It’s high time to have a look at the fixtures list. You don’t normally have to look for it as the actual fixtures list is displayed on the lineup selection page in most cases.
Studying the calendar is one of the principal steps in picking a team in Daily Fantasy. We should not just quickly go through the fixtures, it is essential to analyze it thoughtfully, checking with the latest tournament table. It is recommended to work with an extensive table that would show us the statistical performance of a certain team home and away as well as in five previous games. Tables from soccerway.com and whoscored.com are generally used for this purpose.
Step 3. Study predictions on specialized websites
The abovementioned Whoscored.com posts brief predictions for top leagues’ games. There are provisional lineups (that cannot be trusted for granted), lists of injured players and a good perk in giving three most relevant statistical figures about a team (‘previews’ section). For example, this is what the key facts about the Chelsea vs Bournemouth clash looked like.
After studying such information and key facts, even an amateur who has no clue about English Premier League will not be betting on Bournemouth defenders.
Step 4. Study the odds in bookmaker offices
Every football fan has a favorite betting company that presents the odds for sports events on its website (the most interesting ones are the match winner odds and clean sheet possibility odds). You are free to trust the betting company, but there is an unspoken rule to prefer using information from Turkish websites when betting on Turkish championship, using German websites when betting on German Bundesliga games and so on. If you want to have a universal solution, powerful analysts from William Hill are always at your disposal.
Step 5. Classify the gameweek games
After collecting all necessary information about the games, it makes sense to divide them into three groups. The first one will comprise the matches that seem pretty much obvious (for example, Barcelona vs Levante, Bayern Munich vs Hoffenheim, Juventus vs Carpi). Games that do not seem totally obvious, but presumably have a favorite team, go to the second group. However, there are matches that do not have favorites playing in, thus nor the bookmakers nor ourselves can predict the outcome (Sevilla vs Atletico Madrid, AC Milan vs Internazionale, Bayer Leverkusen vs Borussia Monchengladbach). Such games go to the third group.
Such classification is typically made informally on a piece of paper. As you might have guessed, it is logical to select the players, performing for the favorite teams from group 1. Teams from group 3, instead, should be crossed out of the gameweek, if possible, as it is pure guesswork.
Step 6. Choose formation
We’ve already written about the principles that should be taken into consideration when choosing a Fantasy Football formation. Three most influential factors are the point scoring rules, players’ value and league reputation. For example, you should not be using less than four defenders when playing the tight French league as there is a high chance of clean sheets. On the opposite, in England you’d better go with just three of them.
Step 7. Choose substitutes
Substitutes are often useless in Daily Fantasy, hence traditionally we fill in the slots with the cheapest league players. Most fantasy platforms enable you to filter the players by price, so you will easily manage to complete the task.
Step 8. Pick the lineup
As a matter of fact, we can proceed to squad selection. Here are the basic principles to remember:
- You are supposed to choose a goalkeeper from a team which is likely to win easily and keep a clean sheet. Try not to pick goalkeepers from teams playing away games. Statistically, teams playing at home tend to score at least once.
- Preferably, you should pick defenders from the first group’s teams that are likely to win. It is a big gamble to bet on defenders from a single team as it may always concede an unexpected goal, so pick them from different clubs. All other factors being equal, give preference to full backs (they do not get booked often and tend to provide assists), or the defenders who take free kicks, although this becomes more rare these days.
- You’ve got to confide in your forwards hundred percent as they cost a lot and will need to score points on regular basis to live up to the price paid. If there is a tiny doubt about the forward, do not pick him in to your squad.
- If there is a game in the pool that is expected to end up in a rout, give the captain’s armband to the player who is likely to cause the thrashing.
- Is your squad all set up? Then check once again if somebody from your team is banned or injured. Use the information from the official website of the tournament.
Step 9. Play
Your lineup is complete and all set for the game. Note that our advice will hardly be of any help in winning the precious one hundred pounds should you register for a freeroll with a thousand and a half managers. However, it will most probably be useful in solving a less global task like beating your friends in a tournament or crashing the opponent in a Head-to-Head clash. Remember, do not be lazy and try to pick as much relevant information as you can.