Until the early 2000s, fantasy leagues were one of the most popular ways for diehard fans to build out their own rosters and see how they stacked up against other dream teams. Whether playing with a pool of friends or opting into a larger sponsored league, the emphasis was on stats and a few gut feelings.
Today’s fantasy sports sector is almost unrecognizable from these early formats. While many traditional leagues remain the same, many are hosted exclusively online. Additionally, some fans prefer DFS or daily fantasy sports contests over leagues that run for the full season.
DFS is a shortened version of traditional sports betting, with contests concluding in a single day or week. It became popular as groups like FanDuel sportsbook started covering various contests. Though the brand now offers more than DFS, it remains one of the most popular platforms for US fantasy bettors.
But even the most experienced traditional fantasy leaguer will need a bit of time to learn how DFS contests work. In addition to unfamiliar rules and formats, DFS players also need to learn a bit of vocab. New to DFS? Keep reading for an overview of the most common contests and the conditions attached.
Cash Games vs. GPP
The two primary types of DFS contests are cash games and GPP. Cash games are contests where around half the participants walk away with prize money, which is distributed to all winners equally regardless of individual scores. GPP, on the other hand, covers contests where only the few win—but they win big.
Cash games (sometimes called 50/50s) are typically better suited for newcomers, as the rules and formats are more basic. For example, a player will submit a single lineup for a contest and will feature a smaller pool of competitors. This makes it easier to learn the ropes and build out a strategy.
There are variations in cash games, including EPE and H2H. These cover ‘experienced players excluded’ and ‘head-to-head’ contests, both of which will help a first-timer apply strategies and take notes on what works for them without facing veteran DFSers.
GPP, on the other hand, is best for intermediates looking to jump to a higher degree of play. GPPs include multiple entries (from a single player), tiered payout structures that consider total points, and larger pools that include more experienced players. The challenges are greater, as are payouts.
Aside from sifting through cash games and GPP contests, DFS players will also need to become acquainted with roster types. Those with a background in traditional fantasy leagues will be familiar with a full roster system, which requires all positions to be filled on a team and for a lineup to play multiple games in a given slate.
Single games (also called single game rosters), on the other hand, cover flex positions. Players are challenged to build out a roster with salary caps and other considerations—but those who can find wiggle room with their roster or points system can play whomever they like.
Given DFS contests are shortened and a bit more condensed, there are various terms unique to the sector. Keep reading for a few common DFS terms used across popular platforms.
- $/Point: the number of dollars each point will cost.
- Bankroll: the amount of money involved in DFS bets.
- Ceiling: the best possible outcome for a player stat.
- Correlation: a way to compare the strength of two variables to build out a probability (statistics).
- CV: aka the coefficient of variation, which is used to determine how consistent DFS players are.
- Exposure: the portion of bankroll spent on a player.
- Flex: lineup spot that can be used by multiple positions.
- Floor: worst possible outcome for a player stat (opposite of ceiling).
- Freeroll: a DFS contest with no entry cost but with cash prizes.
- Overlay: GPP contests with few players, which makes them more profitable.
- Rake: the commission DFS companies take from entry frees.
- Stack/stacking: pairing multiple players in the same game or team strategically.