Since the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was the death knell for some online entertainment sectors and the birth of others. One niche which benefitted from the UIGEA being signed into law in October 2006 was the daily fantasy sports (DFS) industry. DFS has enchanted sports enthusiasts for many years now – and it’s still going strong.
The essence of DFS focuses on sports fanatics being able to accurately predict in-form players and athletes. They do so by forming virtual DFS teams out of all available players within their chosen sport or league. The performance of each virtual DFS team is based on real-game analytics, with each player’s in-game performance given a rating. Those who pick the top performing virtual DFS teams stand a chance of winning the top jackpot prizes.
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Where to start with DFS teams
For the last decade, DraftKings has been one of the pioneers for the DFS sector. Since its foundation in 2012, led by VistaPrint entrepreneurs Jason Robins, Matt Kalish, and Paul Liberman, DraftKings has made waves for fans of all major league sports. It became the official partner of both the Major League Baseball (MLB) and the National Football League (NFL) and the rest, as they say, is history. It even partnered officially with other emerging sports like mixed martial arts (MMA) with the UFC. More recently, this operator has branched out into the online sports betting marketplace, with DraftKings Sportsbook launching in a host of US states where this concept has been legalized, including New York most recently.
At the time of writing, DraftKings’ DFS service allows sports fans to take their pick from ten different daily fantasy sports, including soccer, golf, and even eSports for those who know a thing or two about competitive video gaming.
The different ways to play DFS
There are multiple types of DFS competitions that you can enter, depending on whether your mindset is to play for the biggest prizes or play for the kudos of outwitting your friends or family:
Salary Cap format
The Salary Cap setup is considered the original DFS format. Each player receives a virtual salary cap to pay for the players in their roster. Unsurprisingly, the most in-form players are the most expensive to select, so it’s important to strike the right balance between finding in-form stars and undervalued prospects.
Quick Pick format
If you are strapped for time and don’t have the headspace to sit down and strategize your use of a salary cap, there’s always the quick pick format. In this setup you’ll be given a random cross-section of players or athletes from the overall group to pick from. Better still, you won’t have a salary cap to contend with, but the downside is you don’t have the entire league to choose from.
Season League format
Although DFS is all about daily tournaments across the biggest game weeks, it’s also possible to engage in a season league format against friends, family members, work colleagues or even strangers. You’ll get a leaderboard to track your performance throughout the season.
Private League or Head-to-Head format
Most DFS operators will also allow you to create a private DFS league to be played among family, friends or colleagues. Private multiplayer leagues prevent strangers from finding your league and entering as they are password protected. You can also lock horns head-to-head with one other player in a one-on-one format.
If you are just starting out on your DFS journey, you may wish to choose a DFS site that offers freerolls. DFS operators are inclined to offer freerolls alongside paid-for competitions, as part of their legalization under the UIGEA. This allows you to enter DFS tournaments without having to pay a cent. In most cases, you’ll be playing solely for the gravitas of being the winner, although some DFS operators may put up small cash rewards for freerolls reserved exclusively for first-time customers.
You’ll also find big-field DFS tournaments that are often open to players for just $1-$2. These also offer low-risk action, with the added bonus of being in with a chance to land a massive payout if you pick a red-hot team and finish top of the overall leaderboard.
DFS is a skill-based way to enjoy your sports gaming, but do play responsibly and always within your financial means.