FanDuel: How It Works

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The basics

Here’s how it works

You’ve seen the commercials, have heard your friends talking about it, but you haven’t played FanDuel yet. What’s holding you back?

If you’re like most, maybe you think you won’t understand or you’ll lose. For most, neither is true. I’m not saying you’re going to be the next millionaire, but FanDuel can be a friendly and even free game — one that makes sports more exciting. When you watch your players get points when they score, you’ll feel like you’re on the sidelines!

Game play couldn’t be simpler. You’re already here, so I’ll bet you’re smart enough to win your share of $75 million a week! So here’s how you play on FanDuel:

1. Select your players.

Yes, any player. You won’t lose your favorite player because someone picked him early in the first round. Players have dollar values and like your team’s GM, you’ll have to select a team that fits under the $60,000 salary cap. Pay big dollars for that star QB and pick up your sleeper WR on the cheap.

There’s no one right way to select a lineup. In some games, you can play multiple lineups, so if you can’t decide between those two great running backs you’re sure are headed for big days, you don’t have to. Sometimes the best choice is not making a choice at all!

2. Select Your Game.

There are plenty of free leagues to get you started. If you’d like to go for some real money, maybe you should start with a double up. You’re better than average, so prove it. Here’s one you can try. The top half win double the entry fee. Simple right?

Feeling confident? How about play for a million dollars? This one’s just for you then. FanDuel has thousands of leagues each week of the NFL season. There’s no commitment and you won’t be stuck in a league with a bunch of guys who don’t set their lineups after losing the first two weeks.

Want to stick to a league with your buddies? You’re covered there, too. Create your own custom leagues, free or paid. Bragging rights are just as valuable as cash in some circles!

3.Watch them play.

Here’s the real fun — watching the games. Let your guys go out on the gridiron and score big points. When they score, you score. You’ve played season-long fantasy, but who has time to wait these days? When you have the right lineup, you’ll win.

Whether you’re playing on your laptop or on your phone, you can watch the scores update instantly. Every touchdown, every yard, every big play is now helping you win. Your favorite player no longer just playing for your favorite team – he’s playing for you.

4.Collect your winnings.

Your account will be credited right after contests finish. That bankroll can grow overnight. Don’t spend it all in one place, sport!

It’s really that easy. Don’t just watch football. Play to win this season. Set your FanDuel lineup and you’re in control. Grab a seat, grab your laptop, and then grab the edge of your seat. It’s game time. Are you ready?

Fantasy football is a competition in which participants construct a roster made up of a variety of players and score points according to the real-time performance of the selected players.

FanDuel asks you to select one quarterback, two running backs, three wide receivers, one tight end, one kicker and one defense while remaining under the $60,000 salary cap. Getting the most out of each and every position will separate you from the pack and having a deeper understanding of the FanDuel scoring structure helps you garner some control over the outcome.

If you are a football fan, these categories are familiar, but let’s break down the scoring for each position to discuss some strategies for how to allocate your salary cap for each position.


The quarterback is the most prominent position in football and touches the ball on every offensive play, therefore it should come as no surprise that the scoring for this player is more complicated than others. First, the QB scores one point for every 25 passing yards and passing touchdowns are worth four points. If you select a player that likes to run, he earns one point for every 10 rushing yards and six points for a rushing touchdown. Based on the difference in scoring, you may want to consider a rushing quarterback over a more traditional one if you feel both are primed for a similar performance. Also, signal-callers only lose one point for interceptions, so you don’t need to rule out the wilder gun-slingers as long as their passing yards and touchdown numbers are high.


As with all fantasy formats, you generally want to start a running back with a good matchup that will touch the ball 20-plus times per game. However, consider the player’s scoring ability, as well. He will have to rush for 60 yards to equal one touchdown. When looking for value, you may want to consider a cheaper player that gets a lot of goal line looks against a defense that is weak against the run. Also, watch for running backs that catch the ball since a player is awarded 0.5 points for every reception. Use this scoring category to help you choose between two similarly priced players facing comparable defenses.


Wide receivers make up a third of your roster. You have to search for value at a lower price at this position more than any other. The best way to assess value is to look at the player’s average targets per game. You want to select someone that will be a part of the game plan, no matter what, and the 0.5 points per reception only solidifies that strategy. Another way to drum up value is to look for players that excel on special teams. If a player scores a touchdown on a punt or kick return, they score six points. They do not get yardage on the returns, so only consider that scoring category if you are torn between similar players and need a tiebreaker.


This position is one of the scarcest and most frustrating in all of football. Clearly, Rob Gronkowski stands heads and shoulders above the rest, but he’ll cost you. The second tier of players (which now consists of Jimmy Graham since his move to Seattle) will be cheaper, but less consistent. After that, don’t do it. This is the position that requires an investment because too many of the possible players have a large chance of zeroing out.


Kickers may be random, but they do matter. You only start nine players in your lineup, and your kicker is one of them. The most important part of the Kicker scoring structure is to take note that long kicks garner more points than short kicks. You don’t want to select a kicker that lacks distance because if given the opportunity, you need him to make the long field goals. Also, take his team into consideration. Can that team move the ball up and down the field? Check the weather and don’t start someone kicking in 50 mph winds. And this year, you’ll want to take note of whether a team kicks the extra point now that the PAT kick went from 20 yards to 33 yards, with the league incentivizing the 2-point conversion.


The defense can score points in a variety of ways, but a nice rule of thumb is to look for a defense that frequently forces turnovers and is facing an inexperienced quarterback. The more turnovers a team forces, the more likely they are to score, and touchdowns are the quickest way for a defense to score fantasy points. The new kicking rule also gives Defenses the ability to score two points on returns whether they block a kick or force a turnover on the 2-point conversion. This season make sure to look for defenses that excel in the new format.

Please note that we’ll update this page accordingly once we’re aware of what these NFL rules changes mean for your FanDuel squads this season.

Each time you sit down to make lineup decisions, you’ll have every choice in the world. Now that you know how the scores are tabulated, go with the players that you want, that you believe in and have a great time.


If you are new to FanDuel or are just too embarrassed to ask, here is a list of some common words and phrases used when playing Daily Fantasy Sports. Understanding these terms and mastering the language of fellow users is part of the experience, and could be paramount to your success. We will update the FanDuel Glossary as needed, so come back and check the list when you come across a new term.


“Dollars per point” is the number of dollars a player costs, divided by the number of points the player is projected to score and/or the actual points after the fact. The lower the number, the better.


A contest type in which the top half of all entrants win and the bottom half lose their entry fee.


The amount of money a player has allocated and has access to on the FanDuel site.


At the time of registration, you may be eligible for a bonus, which is distributed within a certain length of time. You may also obtain rewards such as a freeroll in certain circumstances.

Cash Game

Used to describe contests in which the prize pool is awarded to the top half of the scores, consisting of Head-to-Heads, 50/50s and Double-Up contests. They are considered the least risky of the contest types, but you could have regrets if you enter the same losing lineup into multiple contests.


Refers to a player, team or lineup’s best possible outcome. A player with a “high ceiling” has the possibility of scoring an exorbitant amount of points. Someone with a low ceiling has scoring limitations. Often people will compare a player’s ceiling with his floor to assess risk.


The fee charged by FanDuel to participate in a contest.


A strategy in which you select a player who is not popular or heavily owned.


Acronym for Daily Fantasy Sports.


Contests in which the top 50% of the entries win double their entry fee.

Entry Fee

What is necessary to enter any particular DFS contest.


The amount of lineups featuring a certain player. As the amount of lineups with this particular player increases, so does your exposure.


Avoiding a particular player or game. For example, you may “fade” on a player because they do not perform well outdoors in the winter months.

Field Size

The number of entries in a contest. This can vary from two in a Head-to-Head to thousands in a tournament.


The worst possible score for a particular player. Often times this is zero, especially for some of the sleeper picks.


Contests offered by FanDuel that do not require an entry fee. Sometimes they are simply for fun, but sometimes there is a prize pool.


Acronym for Guaranteed Prize Pool. This means a contest is guaranteed and will run regardless of the number of entrants.


Contest type in which you face a single opponent.

Head-to-Head Matrix

Want to combine the best parts of Head-to-Heads and Double Ups? Then you want to play a Head-to-Head Matrix. Basically, it is a group of 20 smaller Head-to-Head contests in one entry. The more people you beat, the more money you win. In these contests, everyone in the league plays a Head-to-Head game with everyone else, with a portion of the entry fee on the line for each matchup.

High-Low (Studs-and-Scrubs)

A strategy in which you play only star players and cheap sleepers.


Leagues are structured contests that require a specified number of participants in order to play. If that number is not reached by the start of the contest, the competition will not take place and your entry fee will be refunded. Strategies vary based on the league format.

Lineup Lock

The time that the lineups freeze and you can no longer make changes to your roster. This happens at the start time of the first eligible game on which the contest is built.

Minimum Salary (Min. Salary)

The minimum salary for a player, which is $4,500 for NFL contests. These players can offer great value if given a boost in workload in a particular week.


When a Guaranteed Prize Pool does not fill to capacity, FanDuel makes up the difference. That amount is the “overlay.” For instance, if there is a GPP prize pool of $25,000 with a $25 entry fee, then it would take 1,000 entries to cover the cost. If there are only 800 entries, the overlay is $5,000.

Pay Up

Paying for a high-priced player because you believe he is worth it.


Acronym for Point Per Reception. At FanDuel, each player gets 0.5 points for every reception.

Prize Pool

The amount of money that will be paid out to winning entries in a contest.

Positive Expected Value (PEV or +EV)

A positive return on your investment in a particular player when they exceed their projected dollars per point.


To spend a minimum amount on a position. You may do this if you feel the position is too unpredictable, or want to spend money elsewhere.


Contests in which the top 25% of the entries win quadruple their entry fee.


Acronym for Return On Investment.


The final roster of players you select for a contest. Alternative: Roster

Salary Cap

The maximum dollar amount ($60,000) you can spend when building a lineup. Each player is assigned a price and you will attempt to play a lineup with the most scoring potential within those constraints.


A contest in which a player wins a “ticket” into another league. For example, a 10-team qualifier with an $11 buy-in might give away one ticket to a larger league with a $100 buy-in. In opposition to cash games. Alternative: Qualifier


An undervalued player and overlooked by many.


The pairing of multiple players from the same team in an effort to increase upside. You would roster a QB along with one or more of his skill players (RB/WR/TE) in an effort to double up on the scoring opportunities.


The biggest daily fantasy games in terms of number of entries and prize money. With life altering money up for grabs, these are the most enticing of the contest types. All tournaments are labeled as “Guaranteed” and display a blue “G” symbol, signifying these contests are guaranteed to pay out regardless of whether or not they fill.


Contests in which the top 33% of the entries win triple their entry fee.

Train (Running a Train)

When a user enters the same lineup multiple times in different contests.


The name by which you are listed on the FanDuel site. Choose wisely.


Often this word is used in conjunction with relative value. For instance, if a player seems cheaper than his upside, then he would be called a “value pick.”


An acronym for the World Fantasy Football Championship. This is a destination tournament in Las Vegas offering a prize pool worth millions.


Now, when you hear fellow FanDuelers talking about fading a player or drafting someone with a real high ceiling, you’ll know exactly what they’re talking about!

Set a winning lineup

Here’s where championship GMs are made. Every player has a price — each tied to his expected performance. Your job?

Hit the gaps — exploit matchups, avoid reaches & grab value — until you find pay-dirt.



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