Thanks to the DLF Championship on Fanduel, I recently dipped my toe into the cloudy waters of daily fantasy football. I didn’t have much of a clue what to expect but I did my research enough to realize a guaranteed contest where 344 entries are vying for 201 seats of prizes when the contest was built for 750 seats is pretty ideal from a player standpoint, so I opened up my wallet and threw some money at it to see what came back my way. I ultimately ended up placing third with one of my lineups, but I had planned on writing this article before the contest had even begun. I know DLF has had some feedback regarding daily fantasy being the farthest thing from dynasty, and I tend to agree, but I would like this to reflect my thoughts on how the two can complement one another as a dynasty veteran.
Choosing a lineup
For me, one of my strengths in fantasy football is projecting outcomes and starting my strongest lineup each week. I’m not the greatest at trades and I tend to wait too long on waiver adds so I miss out. I even whiff on 70% of my draft picks in rookie drafts; however, I rarely leave points on my bench. I think this is a strength that translates well to daily fantasy football. If you are strong in this area, you will likely have an advantage at building your lineup and you could have a lot of fun. If it is a weakness for you, I’d recommend trying out the daily stuff on free rolls just to get a feel for it.
For my lineup decisions, I did a lot of research but mostly went with my gut. I filled my lineups with Eagles and Falcons in the passing game because it made sense to me and I later found out that their game had the highest over/under for the week so my gut was right. Around this core, I tried to fill with value and upside players like Chris Ivory, Davante Adams, Travis Kelce and Jarvis Landry. The goal was to find upside but also provide a nice floor. I expected an Eagles/Falcons shootout, I knew the Browns (and Mike Pettine teams in general) have an atrocious run defense and I knew Adams, Kelce and Landry had a solid shot at being the top targets on their team. I also know the upside of stacking a QB and WR is alluring for tournaments, so I tried out most of the major combos – Andrew Luck and TY Hilton, Ryan Tannehill and Landry, Sam Bradford and Jordan Matthews and Matt Ryan and Julio Jones. My goal wasn’t to pick one lineup and expect it to be perfect, it was to get it as close as I could and change a few variables in each entry.
During the Games
This weekend was the most intense nail-biting action I have had the pleasure of partaking in. The only thing that has ever come close from a fantasy football perspective was when I was in a close championship match in a dynasty league. The only actual football watching experience that was as wracking has been simply being a Giants fan during Eli Manning‘s tenure as the starting quarterback, never knowing if we’re going to see good Eli or bad Eli from week-to-week, especially in big games like the Super Bowls. If you enjoy chasing a high and have experienced those moments as you watch football, this might just be for you.
How Daily Fantasy Impacted my Dynasty Outlook
I have one very specific example of how daily fantasy changed my perspective for dynasty. I am always a youth > age owner. Even if I am a contender, I try to be a contender with the youngest studs possible. I flip 27-year old studs for 22-year old studs when given the chance. I turn my nose up at players who have yet to turn in a positional RB1 or WR1 season by the time they are 25 years old. Daily fantasy forced me to re-evaluate this perspective. Chris Ivory is a baller and a workhorse running back. He is someone I hadn’t considered trying to own in dynasty, but after realizing I couldn’t even submit a week one daily lineup without him in it, I have sent out multiple offers trying to acquire him in my leagues since everyone seems to be low on him. I can guarantee I will have more players that daily fantasy changes my mind on. Bishop Sankey is a very tempting week two play for me. Sometimes we have to acknowledge our deficiencies as owners and learn to accept good fantasy players as good players. In this way, daily fantasy being the opposite has made me a more well rounded dynasty owner. In my eight team home league, I just put in a waiver claim for Carson Palmer even though I have Ryan Tannehill and Jameis Winston. Hopefully I can put my ageist days behind me.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line about daily fantasy as a dynasty owner is that it does involve money, but you can play for free if you’d like and still reap the benefits. FanDuel has graciously put up the guaranteed money for this DLF Championship and we didn’t even fill half of the seats in week one. If you don’t have the money to put at risk for a one week chance at a payoff, then don’t sweat it. If you do have the money to give it a try, then I would implore you to do so. It has made a significant impact on the way that I approach fantasy football in general and I believe it is for the better. I think it can do the same for any of you who have considered giving it a go but have yet to do so.
Editor’s Note: We asked our friend Brad @thefantasydraw for an exaggerated look at the difference between a re-draft league and a daily league. This is what he came up with below. Make sure you follow Brad on twitter and visit thefantasydraw.com for more fun.