The Fantasy Football Party: Dare to Dabble in DFS

Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Going commando.

We’ve all done it. Whether it was because the laundry wasn’t done or you woke up feeling a little freaky on a random Tuesday, going through the day sans underwear has been a thing. Maybe you do it all the time. That’s cool. You can admit it. This is a safe space; we’re not here to judge. At some point, you’ve changed things up and gone with this less-restrictive approach — one that allows for more freedom of movement but one which doesn’t come without its own unique set of challenges.

In the spirit of going commando (stay with me here) might I suggest that the decision to try Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) in addition to your season-long fantasy leagues is something you might find liberating, perhaps exciting, and eventually even necessary?

That’s right; you might like it. Tens of thousands new players each year have gotten the itch and tried it out. Dare we say most seem to enjoy the new experience.

Therefore, permit me to summarize what you’re missing by not playing DFS at a really cool website like — oh, I don’t know — FantasyDraft.com for instance.

(Narrator: for the full effect, continue to read whilst commando)

LESS RESTRICTIVE

The best part about playing DFS is that it enables you to field a new lineup each week. Heck, you can field 10 or 20 different lineups each week if you want to spend the dough. You aren’t bound by a roster of players you drafted in August that you no longer like. You’re free of the binding that accompanies injuries or the chafing of poor play and a thin bench.

In a typical season-long league, you might have a starting lineup of eight or nine players, yet from week to week your roster combinations don’t vary much. You’ll use your studs in most of the spots with only a few starting positions up for weekly scrutiny.

In DFS, a blank canvas is yours to fill with myriad roster masterpieces. Want Tom Brady? He’s yours. Also, want Drew Brees? Insert him into a different lineup. Want to take advantage of a great matchup for Kyle Rudolph? Done. Have a sneaky suspicion this is the week John Brown leaves skid marks on a secondary for a 60-yard touchdown? Put him in.

All you need is enough salary cap space to make it all work — which brings us to our next point.

UNIQUE CHALLENGES

The most obvious challenge of DFS, as you likely know, is the salary cap. You can have all these great players each week, as long as their combined weekly salaries fit under the given salary cap. So, yes, you can load up on studs — just not every stud. Pick your favorites and fill in around them with players carrying smaller salaries. It’s called a budget. You should try it in real life, too.

Even so, the challenge of a salary cap beats having to soil your lineup with Joe Flacco every week in your season-long league because you drafted him as your QB3, your top two QBs got injured and the best available quarterback left in the free agency pool is Josh Freeman.

In the grand scheme of things, adhering to a salary cap is but a minor nuisance, especially if you’ve listened to the Fantasy Football Party podcast here at Zone Coverage and have promising options in mind for each position.

Which leads us to our final wrinkle.

DARE TO BE DIFFERENT

Not unlike the initial decision you made to eschew your undies or boxers or panties or thong or, I don’t know, maybe it was something cool I’ve never seen before, and go commando, DFS lineups are about daring to be a little different. You made the bold decision to allow for the skin-on-denim experience, now carry that attitude into your weekly DFS roster construction. Get a little weird.

The overall driving force behind this need to get wacky with your lineup is, as mentioned above, the salary cap. The other main reason is that to a certain extent you need to be different from the owners you are competing against. Taken to the extreme, if everyone was able to start Aaron Rodgers, David Johnson, Julio Jones, et al everyone would have the same or similar outcomes. You’ll certainly want some of these rock stars, who are sure to score big because you don’t want to miss out on the huge stats everyone else is getting. Beyond that, you need to differentiate.

One popular strategy for building a “different” weekly lineup is to identify players each week whom you deem undervalued. Maybe it’s a great player who has been putting up lousy numbers against tough opponents in recent weeks, thereby driving down his DFS price. Maybe it’s a receiver who has been playing with a backup quarterback but now his starting signal caller is back from injury. It could also be a cheap player with an especially juicy matchup against a horrible defense. There are many ways to identify these weekly sleepers at clearance prices. For every one of those you use in your lineup, you can afford an elite player at a higher price point. You’ll want some of each.

Note: We will be discussing DFS values on our Fantasy Football Party podcast and also in articles each week of the fantasy football season here at Zone Coverage so pay attention.

On the flip side, if you feel, for example, that Odell Beckham Jr.’s matchup against a shut-down cornerback is too daunting for your taste, fade him. Let the other owners in your DFS game pay top dollar for him and find a less expensive wideout with a better matchup.

In year-long leagues, you’ll never enjoy this kind of roster freedom and fun.

You will probably hear the term “stacking” when you play DFS. This simply means using a combination of two or more players from the same NFL team in your DFS lineup. The most common stacks are quarterbacks and receivers in a particularly favorable matchup. As an example, in Week 8 the Bengals will face a Tampa Bay defense that ranked last against the pass in 2017. Therefore, you might already be planning to give Andy Dalton a rare start alongside A.J. Green in anticipation of that connection going off against a hapless Bucs secondary.

OPPORTUNITY

In this great country of ours, you can do whatever you want. You can eat ice cream for breakfast, you can waste time at work thinking about your fantasy football lineups — you can go commando. The opportunity is right in front of you. Yay freedom!

I encourage you to seize these opportunities, and when it comes to fantasy sports, take them to the next level. Give DFS a shot in addition to the old season-long league you’ve been participating in with your college buddies for the past 12 years. Set yourself free and set multiple lineups so that if one craps the bed another combination might pay off. I strongly encourage you to try FantasyDraft.com this football season if you have not done so before. The site is terrific and the payout zones are bigger than those “other” DFS sites. Fantasy Draft is the DFS sponsor of the Fantasy Football Party podcast. We all play there every week.

Just like the first time you went commando, after the first time you play DFS my hunch is you’ll wonder why you haven’t done so before now.

The Fantasy Football Party is recorded each week by John Tuvey, Bo Mitchell and Anthony Maggio. You can also find a story from one of the three each week right here at ZoneCoverage.com. Subscribe to the podcast and never miss an episode by clicking here.


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