It’s wildly popular, sometimes profitable, and always fun. It’s daily, (or weekly if you prefer), fantasy football online, and people are signing in droves to play it on sites like FanDuel.com, or DraftKings.com.
Roughly 58.6 million people will play fantasy sports online for money this year – the vast majority playing football.
There are a million different fantasy football sites out there, and a multiple ways to play. So here are some of the basics how to get started. Keep in mind, this is not a strategy guide, since, based on my results, I am not qualified to tell you how to win, (dang you Jets defense).
Basics of Daily or Weekly Fantasy Football
Unlike the season long fantasy football leagues we’ve all played in the past with buddies or at work, daily fantasy sports games last just one week long, or in some cases, one day long. Each week is independent.
In other words, if you play on say, NFL week 1, you start fresh the next weekend, entering a brand new lineup. It’s nice that you don’t get stuck for 17 regular season games with a starting quarterback who is out on week one, (that Tom Brady injury a few years ago killed me).
Here are steps to begin playing daily fantasy football:
Choose a Site
As I mentioned, there are many new fantasy football sites to choose from. I’d recommend you try one, (or both), of the two largest sites, (as measured in player traffic): FanDuel.com or DraftKings.com.
Why do I recommend them? Because they are established, trustworthy, reputable, and because I get a commission if you use them:) Seriously, if you register on register on DraftKings via a link on this page or using promo code GJ100 , you will get you a free ticket into on of their many $3 entry-free tournaments.
Also, both FanDuel and DraftKings have good reputations and are known to payout winners quickly. And in case you were wondering, playing daily fantasy sports on the internet for real money is completely legal, at least in all but 10 states.
On top of that, FanDuel has marketing partnerships with 16 different NFL teams, and is partially owned by the NBA and NBC Sports, among others. DraftKings, for its part, is partially owned by Major League Baseball and has an exclusive marketing partnership with ESPN.
Register on the Site
I haven’t experimented with other daily fantasy sports sites like the new one that Yahoo.com has introduced, however the registration process for FanDuel and DraftKings is very simple.
Those of you who may still be a little gun shy and who want to dip your toes in the water are free to register without depositing any money. In fact, one of the great benefits of DraftKings and FanDuel is that you can play lots of free tournaments to get comfortable before depositing and playing for real money. Speaking of which…
Depositing on these major fantasy football sites is simple and safe. You can do so by using your Visa, MasterCard, or Discover Card. You can also deposit via PayPal.
Typically there is a minimum deposit. Oftentimes this is $10.
Choose a Game
You’ll basically have two main options when it comes to actually playing: 50/50s (sometimes called “Double Ups), or tournaments, (sometimes called “Guaranteed Prize Pools”, or “GPPs.”)
* 50/50s or Double Ups
The 50/50s, or “double ups,” are tournaments in which half the field, or the top 50% (hence the name “50/50”) double their money, while the bottom half leave empty-handed.
These double ups can range from small, 6 person tournaments, to large entry fields with tens of thousands of players.
* GPP Tournaments
Guaranteed Prize Pool Tournaments are the ones often advertised, telling you how you can turn $3 into riches.
These tournaments can range from four players to a half a million. In fact, DraftKings has a Week 1 NFL tournament in which the first place prize is $1 million dollars. The entry fee is $3. And even that is free if you are a new player who registers via the links on this page.
While these are the two main types of tournaments, there are other games too.
These include triple-ups, which are like the double-ups, only the winners triple their money instead, and satellite tournaments, in which the winners are given free entry into a larger buy-in tournaments.
Another style of tournament, “Head-to-Head” is always shown in the lobby of fantasy football sites. It’s just as it sounds: two different players go mano-a-mano, with the winner taking all of the money (minus the site’s commission).
However as a beginning player, avoid these Head-to-Head games. Many savvy, long-term winning fantasy football players enter these, just licking their chops to take advantage of beginning players.
Fill Out Your Lineup
While every site is a little different, all the major daily fantasy football sites operate in pretty much the same way.
You’ll be given a salary cap, of say, $50,000 dollars (each site is different).
With that pretend money, you’ll be given a list of NFL players to choose from. You’ll have to choose a quarterback, running back, wide receivers, and a defense and/or special teams.
Each player will have a certain monetary value. An Aaron Rodgers, for example, may cost $8,600, while a Chad Henne may cost $5,000. Going with the better quarterback will mean you may have to sacrifice when it comes to picking your third wide receiver, or vice-versa. But that’s all part of why daily fantasy football is so intriguing and fun.
Like I said, every site is different. Sites like FanDuel have you choosing a kicker and a different special teams, whereas DraftKings combines defense and special teams into one.
As you probably know, players get points based on yards thrown, yards rushed, points scored, etc. Again, each site calculates this slightly differently, however in general, the format is the same across all of the major one week fantasy football sites.
Once you have a lineup that is under your salary cap, you submit it, then wait for your games to start.
And that’s it! Other than obsessively checking your stats every two minutes, like I do.
Once all the games are final, your account will be credited with your winnings. And of course, you are free to withdrawal your funds at any time.
Daily, or one week fantasy football is skyrocketing in popularity, and playing online for real money makes game days and nights even more fun than before.