Welcome everyone to the latest edition of the DFS Army Strategy Series. For this article, we will be taking a look at NASCAR scoring on both the major DFS platforms, Fanduel and Draftkings. We are going to breakdown how the scoring works, how the two sites differ from each other, and how to utilize their scoring to your advantage.
This article is brought to you by DFSArmy.com and written by Ryan Larkin. You can catch up with Ryan on twitter or in the DFSA VIP slack @Larkin8
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Fanduel vs Draftkings
Since Fanduel started offering NASCAR contest in mid 2018 a lot has been asked about the difference of the two sites. What strategy goes into playing on either site? Which site can you get more of an edge? Or simply How does the scoring differ from one site versus the other. Let us dive into these topics so that we can get a better understanding of how they work and which could be better for you.
The best place to start is the scoring for each site. Knowing how they score the races will help us better understand how to play on each platform.
The first place to start is with a drivers finishing position. Unbelievably, there is actually a difference in scoring here. On Draftkings they still score based on a 43 car field even though NASCAR moved to a 40 car field years ago. This means they award 4 points to 40th, 5 for 39th, 6 for 38th and so on. The winner of a race gets 43 points + 3 bonus. As for Fanduel they give a point per position as well but it is based on a 40 car field. What this means is 40th scores 1 point, 39th scores 2 points, and so on. There are two exceptions to this however with 2nd scoring 40 instead of 39 and the race winner gets 43 total points instead of 40. Essentially 2nd place gets 1 bonus point and the winner gets 3 bonus points.
The differences are minor but still a part of the overall puzzle.
Now for the most important part of the equation. Dominator or Dom points as it is referred to within the DFS Army is the accumulation of laps led and/or even fast laps throughout a race. This is where the site’s scoring varies the most and where people often misinterpret how to play on a certain site. For Draftkings they utilize a system in which laps led score .25 of a point each and fast laps score .50 of a point each. As for Fanduel they do not utilize fast laps as part of their scoring and only reward .1 of a point for a lap led.
These differences create a major contrast in terms of the importance of drivers. Naturally, this will affect the construction of a lineup.
On DK you may often pick 2, 3, or even 4 potential dominators. Not necessarily because they can all lead a large number of laps but due to the fact that they can secure a large number of fast laps while also potentially leading. These Fast laps are a major separator each and every week.
To give a quick example of how this DraftKings NASCAR scoring works, let us do some quick math.
Driver A leads 100 laps and secures 50 fast laps.
100 laps x .25 = 25 Dom points for laps led
50 fast laps x .5 = 25 points for laps led
This equals a total of 50 extra points over the competition.
On the other side, Fanduel offers very little separation by a race dominator. Another side effect of Fanduel’s way of doing things is that the number of laps in a race can greatly change the scoring potential of the dominator. If there are 90 laps in a race like at Watkins Glen then that means there are a total of 9 dom points available. While if you look at Martinsville or Bristol there are 500 laps or 50 potential dom points. All this means is from week to week the dominator importance varies depending on the number of laps the race is.
For comparison to the Draftkings math above let see what it would look like under Fanduel NASCAR scoring.
100 laps led x .1 = 10 points
50 fast laps x 0 = 0 points
This means the dominator only separated themselves by 10 total points. A number that can be overcome by place differential or proper lineup construction.
What can the DFS Army do for you!!!
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Next up is something both sites offer as part of their scoring, Place Differential. Place diff can be scored both positively or negatively. Each site uses the driver’s starting position and finishing position to calculate this. If a driver starts 20th and finishes 10th they have a positive place differential of 10. If they finish 30th a negative PD of 10. The difference between DK and FD comes from how they score it. Draftkings is +/- 1 point while Fanduel is +/- 0.5 of a point. If driver A has a positive place diff of 10 then he scores 10 points on DK and 5 on FD.
This part can get a bit convoluted because on DK place differential can massively set a driver apart. On Fanduel it is important but doesn’t have as huge of an effect. Theres more of a balance between picking drivers based on finishing position and place differential
Lastly, there is one final form of scoring utilized, Laps completed. This scoring is only used by Fanduel and overall is borderline pointless. Drivers get 0.1 of a point for each lap completed. At the end of the race if a driver is 3 laps down then he scores 0.3 of a point less than a lead lap car. .3 of a point is such a minor amount that it will have little to no effect on a slate. Occasionally, a play could finish one lap ahead of another with that .1 of a point being the difference but that is assuming all the other scoring in those lineups are equal. It is a very minor detail in the long run. This does vastly change the total score of lineups from race to race while Draftkings stays relatively consistent.
For an example of how drivers score for each site lets take a look at a killer chart put together by long time DFS Army NASCAR coach and the guru of all things related to our Research and Domination Stations, Taco.
In this chart, you can see the percentage in which drivers score fantasy points per race track. As you can see on the DraftKings side of things scoring is fairly consistent track to track no matter the lap total. However, for Fanduel you can see the % of drivers reaching higher point totals climb with the number of laps for each track.
Another thing that is noticeable in this chart is the percentage of drivers scoring 80+ points per race. On the DK side, you can see most tracks with a reasonable amount of dom points available see drivers score 80+ roughly once or even twice a race. This is the effect of the dom points aka fast laps and laps led points available. On the FD end, we see drivers reach this point total less frequently. We also see the number of drivers reaching different point thresholds more spread out on Draftkings while on Fanduel NASCAR scoring is tighter and there is less overall separation between drivers.
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Now that we have the scoring side of things covered let us take a look at the strategy for both sites.
Week in and week out the first place to start when playing on DK is looking for who the dominator/s will be. Miss on these dominators and you will struggle to make the cash point of any contest. The second most important aspect is place differential. Getting a full point for a position gained makes any driver who can gain multiple spots vital. A driver with +10 in differential can outscore a driver who finishes many spots ahead of them. Conversely, having a driver with a high negative place differential can kill a lineup. Putting together a combination of drivers with high finishing positions, good positive place differential and hitting on the all-important dominators is the key to a great lineup.
- Pinpoint dominators – most vital part of DK lineup building
- Find Stud plays who can finish high paired with positive place differential and fast laps potential. These drivers are usually at a higher price point and still eat up salary against the average
- Hit on key low tier/punt value plays who can help your lineup afford the dominators/studs in a race. These drivers may finish anywhere from 20th all the way back to the mid 30s. As long as the price and points scored is right these drivers can end up on an optimal lineup. This is something that will almost never happen on Fanduel
With Fanduel the necessity of a dominator varies depending on the number of laps in a race. Races with a lot of laps will make needing the dominator extremely important as that is the greatest point of separation for lineups. However, as mentioned above at tracks with low lap totals any potential dominator can be overcome with better lineup construction.
This would never be possible on Draftkings.
Another side of things is the half point place differential. This is often a hot topic with Fanduel players and carries a bit of a misconception. Frequently it is stated that place differential isn’t very important and that lineups should be built based on finishing position. While picking the highest finishing driver is more important than on DraftKings, it is not recommended to choose it over place differential for the site at all. We often see much lower ownership for drivers that offer good place diff upside. This is a mistake DFS players are making regularly. If a driver starts 19th and finishes 10th they outscore a driver who starts and finishes 6th. At the same time the driver starting 20th realistically has a higher upside and floor. There is a balance and strategy here.
High lap total races 300 laps or more
- Pinpoint the dominators but keep in mind that they have to lead a lot of laps to truly start separating themselves
- Find a good balance between finishing position and place differential for remaining drivers. This is where things vary from DK as you can focus less on drivers who would get fast laps or who have extra high place differential totals. The extra half point is a big deal in this aspect. You will look to get as many high finishers as possible in general.
Low lap total races below 250 or less
- Pick the highest finishers possible and if any offer good place differential they are a must have. If there are drivers starting in the very back of the field with decent finishing upside then you will want to utilize their place differential as a way to beat out higher finishing drivers. Lineup construction will be all about
- Dominator to an extent – In all honesty to win big on Fanduel you need to pick the race winner anyways. Often this will be the same driver who led the most laps or a portion of the laps. However, if the dominator has a negative place differential that eats into their point total then they really didn’t gain much extra value if any.
Deciding which site is the best to play
Draftkings can be a little more volatile as a whole. Miss a dominator and you will struggle to cash your lineup. Miss on a driver with massive place differential and you will again struggle to cash. The separation from a lineup with these drivers versus a driver who misses on these plays is much larger.
- Personal example: In 2015, with DK’s form 5 driver system, that had drivers 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th, and 9th. The one downside was that I did not pick Matt Kenseth who led 370+ laps and won the race. I never had the chance to cash. This type of lineup would still have the ability to cash on Fanduel.
Fanduel, especially with low lap total races can be much easier to play. You mainly focus on finishing position and any drivers with high place differential possibilities. When it comes to the races with high lap totals the slate becomes much more like Draftkings where you can not afford to miss on a dominator.
Overall will offer more consistency week to week with how outcomes of slates are decided but it also has the sharpest players and is more punishing if you miss on key drivers.
Fanduel changes more week to week but as a result, can offer a better edge. Paying close attention to the details of each race is key here. How you should build your lineup based on the scoring changes frequently.
At the end of the day, it is a personal preference decision. Both offer great formats but with different ways of deciding who takes home the winnings. Hopefully, all the information in this article helps you decide the best way to play NASCAR DFS going forward.
I hope you enjoyed the latest edition of the DFS Army Strategy Series and picked up some extra knowledge to help going into the new season. If you would like to follow me on twitter you can @Larkin8. Most importantly I hope you will join us at the DFS Army and become a VIP member. Join today and use my promo code LARKIN for 20% off membership