A common mistake made by DFS players is to dive right into a contest without a sound strategy. We have all done it. The excitement gets the better of you, and you want to get in on the action. In the age of one-touch digital gambling, impulses are almost impossible to resist. We learn from our mistakes, so I sat down to compile a list of tidbits for College Football DFS players to take advantage of to win some money this season.
Read these. Learn these. Win more.
QB IS THE KEY
Many college football DFS style contests include a Super-Flex position. Super-Flex provides additional flexibility where you can start either a QB, RB, WR, or TE. It should come as no surprise, but playing a quarterback in your Super-Flex spot is the most logical and beneficial approach. 2/3 of DFS lineups that take down their respective contests start a quarterback in their Super-Flex spot. The goal is to make a unique lineup, just not at the expense of logic.
KNOW YOUR CONTEST
The point on the importance of the quarterback position leads to a larger concept: know your contest. One would think that you wouldn’t have to mention this but never assume. How many players are required? Is it a smaller or a large field? Is it a point per reception contest? Are bonuses awarded for reaching certain milestones? All of these questions play into your strategy and how to build a winning lineup. If you can’t give a detailed explanation about the rules of your DFS game, why are you putting money into it?
TOUCHES AND TARGETS ARE KING
This concept may be obvious to some, but it is worth reinforcing. You cannot score fantasy points without the ball in your hands. Do your research on what players have the most opportunities to score. Which back is getting the most volume? Which receiver is receiving the most targets? There’s nothing worse than putting the wrong back in your DFS lineup. Do your research and give yourself the best chance to win. The most valuable players in the game aren’t always the most valuable point scorers. Don’t buy into the hype. Buy into the numbers.
VEGAS WEDDING: MARRYING BETTING AND DFS
Many believe that DFS and the betting side of football are two separate entities. This sentiment could not be further from the truth; you can take a lot from implied totals. You want players in games that score the most points, a simple concept that many DFS players ignore. The oddsmakers in Vegas are not newbie dummies, they know this game better than anybody. Rely on their expertise, choose players with higher implied totals, and your DFS lineup will benefit greatly.
BLOWOUTS MAY NOT BE A GOOD THING
Sticking with the Vegas narrative, having players on good teams is a good thing, just not TOO good. Take a look at the point spread. If you spot a large favorite, they may be pulling their starters and taking their foot off the gas. Remember, we want players that are going to have volume. Being removed from the game in the middle of the 3rd quarter will not help you reach your DFS ceiling. Nor will having receivers or QBs on a team that is routinely trying to run out the clock in the 2nd half of games because they’re always well ahead.
RACE TO THE FLEX
“Race to the Flex” is a term thrown around frequently in DFS circles. The goal is to build your DFS entry, so you are capitalizing on a weekly advantage at the flex position. ‘Race to the flex’ refers back to tidbit #2 ‘Know your contest.’ If you are in a small contest, the research suggests that playing a running back in the flex spot is the right decision. The back provides more safety and stability. A wide receiver is the way to go in contests with larger fields. Your competitors are likely not paying attention to the minor details, and these details make a difference and can put you over the top.
DO NOT BECOME A PRISONER OF THE MOMENT
DFS players are creatures of habit. We want to react to what we see on the football field. Many times these reactions become overreactions. Just because a player performs well this week does not mean that they will do so the following week. Just because a player underperforms this week does not mean that trend will continue next week. You will see wild swings in ownership percentage from week to week as DFS players react to what they most recently saw. Don’t get caught in this trap. If you like a player, there is probably a reason for that. Don’t be afraid to go back to them, even in a tougher matchup. Going against the popular opinion on a talented player can make your lineup unique and capitalize against a market that overreacts.
Read the numbers and don’t believe your lying eyes.
TO STACK OR NOT TO STACK, THAT IS THE QUESTION
Whether ’tis nobler–enough of all that. Stacking has become a point of conjecture onto itself at this juncture. Stacking is the new wave. All the cool kids are doing it. I’m here to tell you that in college football DFS, you are doing yourself a disservice is stacking is your approach. Stacking is the norm in the NFL game because the NFL has become a pass-happy league where quarterback play, pinpoint accuracy, and connection to the wide receivers are paramount. While there are similarities between the NFL and college football, there remain striking differences. Your top quarterbacks in DFS accumulate points by throwing and running. If your quarterback is running, he is simultaneously not helping your wide receiver if you are stacking. Using a naked quarterback approach is far more beneficial in college football DFS.
(*Editor’s Note: this theory is disputed among our own CFB DFS analysts on BeerLife Sports.)
You are looking for players who can positively affect the game in multiple ways. Dual-threat quarterbacks are the way to go. We know how valuable rushing yards are from the quarterback position. With wide-open spread offenses at the collegiate level, 100-yard rushing performances from the quarterback are obtainable. In leagues that award points for bonuses, you will see points skyrocket. You would benefit by targeting dual-threat running backs as well. A strong strategy is to target backs who can contribute with receptions out of the backfield on top of their rushing usage.
Staying up to date on the latest news, particularly injury news, is crucial to college football DFS strategy. Even in today’s world, the national media doesn’t cover college football very well. Following the local beat seems to give you the inside scoop. If you’re on Twitter and can follow those who follow the teams, you can get a leg up on your competition.
Okay, so Twitter sucks for many things, but for breaking sports news from team insiders and even routine outside observers, it’s the best playground. Where else will you hear from a hardcore fan who’s spent 25 years watching Alabama practices through the fence? They’re not on ESPN.