EPL DFS – The Basics of Daily Fantasy Soccer

To win in this sport, you will need to navigate a large player pool to pick the right combination of players who are going to score goals on any given day.   Think about it.  You have 20 people running around (we will exclude the goalies and the 3 subs per side) trying to score anywhere from 2-4 goals off of 20 to 30 shots, 10-15 of which will actually be on target.  These are rough numbers thrown out to prove a point.

Scoring

So let’s start by breaking down the scoring rules.  The rules between the sites, aside from the points awarded for each accomplishment, differ in key aspects that affect how we think about building our teams.  On DK, you get points for shots.  It doesn’t matter if you put it on frame or not.  You get 1 point for the shot and you get another if you get it on target.  On Fanduel, you have to get the shot on target to get your 5 points.  To put this in perspective, most shots taken in the premier league miss the target.  There are a few teams who are above 50% on target but the overwhelming majority hover a little bit under.  

Another difference between the two sites, is crosses (DK) vs chances created (FD).  You get 0.75 points for each cross.  On Fanduel, you get 3 points for each chance created.  What’s a chance created you might ask?  A chance created is a crossed ball that leads to a shot, whether on target or not.  This means that all chances created are crosses but not all crosses are chances created.

I mention all this because it brings about the idea of a floor for certain players.  We can go down the match reports and evaluate the floors for certain players and we can see which players are more involved.  For DK, your attacking floor, that is forwards and midfielders, will be comprised of shots, crosses, tackles, and to some degree fouls drawn.  You get points from fouls drawn on both sites and to some degree it speaks to an individual’s style of play.  The points you will likely get from fouls drawn in a given week will be a very small percentage but they are points, nonetheless.  For defense, your floor will consist of shots, crosses, and tackles.

On FD, your attacking floor will consist pretty much of passes, tackles, and to a lesser extent fouls drawn.  The way the point system is constructed, it is based on a lot of cause and effect.  Your defensive floor is going to consist of passes, tackles, and clearances.  You will find your core and cash players from identifying your high floor players.

Forwards

These guys do plenty of scoring across the board.  If you want to take down a GPP, you are likely gonna need somewhere in the neighborhood of 6 goals, most days.  Considering, that you have 8 roster spots and one of them is the keeper, it stands to reason that you are going to have to nail your forwards.  Do your due diligence in examining all teams and what you believe their strikers have in finding the back of the net.  Your strikers may not win it for you but whiffing on them has big consequences.

Midfielders

These guys will be monumental in driving the game.  They will touch the ball a ton as they help a lot in defense and in offense and a bit shy of half of the game is played in the middle third of the field.  The guys on the wings send in more crosses than the central mids but every team is different in how they attack. Take note of how each team attacks so you know who creates chances or sends in crosses.  This is a volatile sport but identifying those midfielders with goal and assist upside go a long way to helping you take down your contest.

Defense

Many teams in the premier league like to get their wing fullbacks forward to aid in the attack while leaving the centerbacks back to protect against the eventual counter attack.  These wing fullbacks help with crosses and may get a shot or two.  The more that possession stays in an attacking third, the likelier it is that the centerbacks get forward too.  Generally, the centerback’s job is to protect their goalie from ending up 1 on 1 with the opposing strikers; but, we are seeing that all of the defenders are gaining offensive prowess.  Take note of where certain defenders are roaming. The match reports on whoscored.com have heat maps.

Goalkeeper

Clean sheets are fun.  There is something to be said for 90 minutes of play and your opponent having nothing to show for it.  That said, it’s a tall order to achieve.  Anything can happen out there and if anything does happen, you could be left wondering what could have been.  

On FD, there are no points for a win.  You can get 10 points for a clean sheet, if you are lucky enough to get one.  The more important stat is saves.  Figure out who will likely see the most shots.  A high number of shots against and a low number of goals conceded makes a quality target for your squad.

On DK, you get 5 points for a clean sheet.  You also get 5 points for the win.  The rest of the criteria remains the same.  There is an added bonus for chasing the clean sheet here, if you can figure it out where and when one might occur.  We will get to that in the next section.

Stacking

Stacking tends to be an important part of DFS and while it’s not as important in soccer, it does have it’s place.  FD does allow for stacking because there is enough else going on that allows for other ways of scoring.  Even without scoring or assisting, a player can put up a solid scoreline and help your team.

Stacking the attack on DraftKings is tougher.  The reason is the same.  If you were to look at a historical view of the matches over a span of time, You would see a very small percentage of matches played where more than 1 person from the same team score more than 20 DraftKings points.  On DK, stack the attack only when the situation calls for it.  An example situation could be when a team is thought to score 3 or more goals.  

I specified stacking the attack before because you can always stack the goalie and defense on DK; if and only if, you believe the goalie will get a clean sheet.  The clean sheet bonus of 5 points applies to the goalie and a 3 point bonus to any defender played.  The goalie and defenders must play at least 60 mins to get their bonuses.  I get it if you want to chase the clean sheet, just be sure you know what the downside is if you miss.

Roster Finalization

Grabbing our contest spots early is all well and good, crucial even; but, we cannot be sure our players are going to play until 1 hour before game time.  This means an early day for some.  If you can’t be available between the hours of 9-10 am EST on the weekends, then you may want to find another sport.  DK even has a slate including the early Saturday game.  For you West coast US players, that is 330 in the morning when you find out who is starting that game.  Players often get rested for certain matches, as teams will have matches in other campaigns midweek, like the FA cup or the Champions League.

There are loads of lineups each week playing players who are not starting.  Your success is greatly aided just by have 8 starting players.  The last bit of advice is to make sure your players tend to play 90 mins.  If your player tends to get subbed out week in and week out, then you may wish to look elsewhere.  The longer your guy is on the field, the more point accumulation is possible.

Premier League soccer can be extremely fun.  Give it a whirl and maybe you might find your way in a fantasy sport that few dare to take on. See what I did there?… No? Oh well.  Maybe next time I will leave out the soccer puns.

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