Daily fantasy sports (DFS) is a subsector of fantasy sports betting, whereby players compete against one another to pick the top-performing team during each game week rather than over an entire season. This condensed format of fantasy sports gaming has drawn huge interest from sports enthusiasts who believe they have the knowledge and the expertise to draft a team from a player roster and land bragging rights against other players.

The market-leading DFS operators include DraftKings and FanDuel. These brands initially specialized in DFS games before expanding their range of services into the world of conventional sports betting. So much so, that DraftKings and FanDuel sportsbooks are now some of the most popular platforms in US states where sports betting is legalized.

They are battling for market share with the likes of Caesars Sportsbook, which is effectively a rebranded version of the former US-based assets of William Hill. Caesars Entertainment opted to decommission the William Hill brand and create the new Caesars Sportsbook franchise aligned with its world-renowned hotel and casino brand. Caesars’ platform is now live in 13 US states and there are specific Caesars Sportsbook promo codes for each state. FanDuel and DraftKings have also followed suit with location-specific promo codes of their own for first-time bettors.

The basics of DFS gaming

At the start of a DFS tournament, you’ll receive a salary budget to work with. You’ll need to use this budget to pick your team, without going over your salary cap. The number of players required in your line-up will depend on the sport. In soccer, you’ll usually have to pick one goalkeeper, at least three defenders, and one striker.

Each player you select for your DFS team will accrue points based on their performances in the next round of matches. Positive contributions like goals, assists, and time spent in-play accumulate points, but it’s also possible for players to lose points for negative contributions like red cards, own goals and fouls.

The skills needed to be a successful DFS player

Ultimately, the best DFS players are those that keep their fingers firmly on the pulse of their respective sports. They keep abreast of all the latest injury news and even go as far as developing their own data models to calculate how players will perform in certain scenarios. It can also pay for DFS players to act in a contrarian fashion. Those that go against the grain and select a lesser-known in-form striker than the league’s top scorer might just have the edge in the short-term.

Common tournament formats in DFS

Most DFS operators will have a range of tournament formats for players to pay to enter. The three most popular formats are:

  • “Guaranteed” Tournaments
    Guaranteed DFS tournaments mean there is a guaranteed prize pool on offer. This prize purse is usually provided by the operator themselves, ensuring the biggest prizes and the biggest number of entrants.
  • 50/50 Tournaments
    50/50 DFS tournaments, also known as Double-Up tournaments, offer some of the best opportunities to win. That’s because 50% of all entrants win and double the return on their entry fees.
  • Head-to-Head Tournaments
    Head-to-Head – or Heads-Up – tournaments are some of the most engaging DFS games that are perfect for pitching yourself against family or friends. Your roster goes head-to-head against their roster in a winner-takes-all affair.

The final verdict on DFS gameplay

DFS is such an engaging gaming concept for sports fans as it gives enthusiasts the chance to be the manager. It’s empowering to select your own roster and put your knowledge on the line.

Some people do not consider DFS to be a skill-based game, but the reality is that this could not be further from the truth. Yes, DFS managers don’t have the ability to control a player’s performance, but they do have the power to select the right players for each game week. It’s fairer to say that DFS has elements of both skill and chance.

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