What is DFS? (Daily Fantasy Sports)


Is it a skill based game?

Is it gambling?

Do you need a Ph.D. in Mathematics to compete?

What about your bankroll?  Do you need to mass-enter contests to stand a chance?

These are questions I get all the time.  I am the owner of a website dedicated to winning in DFS – www.draftshot.com

What Are Daily Fantasy Sports?

The concept of DFS or Daily Fantasy Sports is still a relatively new one to folks.  Ever since the incredible ad blitzkrieg run by Fanduel and Draftkings starting back in 2015, the general public has gained a massively increased awareness of the companies leading the pack.  While these ads certainly increased brand-awareness of Draftkings and Fanduel, they did a poor job of explaining what DFS really is.

To put it as simply as possible, DFS is placing a wager (bet) that certain players will perform better or worse than others, usually on a daily basis.  There are many different sports one can forecast and play contests in.  The most popular are NFL and NBA contests.  Other contests include MLB, NHL, Soccer, PGA, Tennis, WNBA, NASCAR, MMA, and more.  The two biggest sites to play on are Draftshot and Fanduel and they command a market share of over 80% combined.  There are some up and coming competitors striving to shake up the market.  Only time will tell if they can maintain success and grow.

Different Types of DFS Contests

There are different styles of contests one can play in.  Two of the main contest types are known as GPP and Cash games respectively.  Other newer and lesser played contest types come and go, but GPP and Cash are kings.


A GPP or Guaranteed Prize Pool contest is a headline event.  These are popular as they offer the most money for the top finishers while paying out a lower percentage of the player base.  So you for a chance to win, say, $50,000, you accept the fact that you are less likely to win any money at all.  There is a concept called the “cash-line”.  This is the point at which one must score in a contest to make money.  The line is usually higher for a GPP contest versus Cash, but this is not always the case.  What is always true, is that a smaller percentage of the field is paid out in a GPP.  Around 30% of the field will win any money in a typical GPP tournament.


A Cash contest is usually used to describe a contest with better odds to walk away with some money.  Usually, more than 45% of the field will ‘cash’ or win in this sort of contest.  While the odds are better to win, the payouts are typically lower.  A usual contest would be 40-49% of the field can win double their entry fee, while the remainder misses out. Consistent winnings in cash contests can be an excellent way to build your bankroll.


So now that we know what DFS is, let’s look back at some questions.

Is it gambling? Yes.

The definition of gambling: play games of chance for money; bet

When you enter a DFS contest, you are playing a game of chance for money.  That is not debatable. Time and time again, the odds will not always play out like you expect.  Players get hurt.  Coaches act erratically.  Athletes have weirdly bad or good games.

At the same time, your choices have a genuine impact on your odds of winning.  Less like a slot machine, more like a long game of blackjack or poker.  This grey area nature of DFS has led to controversy since its inception.  As time has moved on, more and more states are legalizing the practice in general.

Is it a skillful game? Yes. The best players of DFS tend to maintain a certain level of success.  In fact, some of them have a big enough following to sell advice, lineups, or their own brand of merchandise.

Do you need a Ph.D. in Mathematics to compete?  Absolutely not. Now, more than ever, there is a MASSIVE amount of data, research, and content available for free or as a premium service.  The main differentiator in success over time is very similar to other aspects of life: preparation.  Those who do research and flesh out their lineups will almost always rise to the top over time.

Do you need a massive bankroll?  No.  Does it help?   Yes.  But where in life is that not true?  It is entirely possible to start with a modest amount $100 or so and grow that amount every week depending on your success.  Having said that, it always helps to have a bigger starting position to navigate.


If you’d like to read free expert DFS advice on a daily basis, check us out over at Draftshot.  Use Promo code “Backspin” for $5 off your first month of premium content.  We have experienced, expert competitors dishing out quality advice in content form and are completely accessible in a private Slack chatroom.

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