Winning Fantasy Football On A Budget – Tips, Advice, and Strategy for Fanduel and Draftkings Contest Selection NFL Week 3 (FREE!)

I don’t know about you, but I don’t have $1000/day, or even per week, to plunk down on hundreds of different fantasy football contests like the big boys.  I’m a #Smallaballa through and through, and I need to be smart and efficient with my budget.  Contest selection is paramount to my success, and probably yours.  Every week, I will be drafted by DFS Army to offer you a roadmap towards building your own fantasy football bankroll smartly with tips, advice, strategy, and templates for several different budgets.

The track record is there on both Fanduel and Draftkings.  In 2020 alone, I have won an MLB contest containing more than 140,000 people.  I placed 4th out of 217,000+ in NBA.  I placed 2nd of 15,000+ in NHL, 4th of 7800+ in NASCAR, and 12th of 3500+ in PGA.  Being smart and well-rounded is my game.  I can teach you to conquer giant tournaments on a budget, but I can also teach you to grind up that bankroll while you lay in wait of the huge night.  So, follow me, and let’s lay siege to our next sport of the calendar year….NFL!

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What Started It All?  Revisit “The Ladder System:  Revolutionize Your Game

After we assemble the sample budgets, we will also discuss the types of players we are looking to utilize in these types of lineups.  When layering contests like 5050s and triple ups with only one or two lineups, we will operate from a smaller player pool than if we were playing giant MME formats with dozens of lineups.  We won’t focus on speculative, pure upside plays.  Those are for the huge life-changing gpps.  The focus here is grinding up bankroll with sensible upside and fun, not for playing the lottery.

For the more speculative types of players, please consult our GPP NFL Cheatsheets and our Coaching Forums.  The feedback you get from our coaches will change your game!

Week 3 Fantasy Football Sample Budgets

$15 Sample Budget – 3 Lineups/Ladders

  • $5 each lineup
  • $2 5050
  • $2 10man league
  • $1 100man league

Simple.  Elegant.  Cheap.  This structure uses the 10man league to bridge the gap of triple ups and quintuple ups.  You only need to produce a top 10% lineup across the industry to win a 10man league.  And, getting into that top 10% also means your lineup is cashing the 100man league with comfort, poised to beat just a few more people and take the whole thing down.

$25 Sample Budget – 1 Lineup

  • $10 single entry double up
  • $2 single entry double up
  • $5 triple up
  • $5 quintuple up
  • $2 100man league
  • $1 Small Squib (1,176 players)

I would build one strong lineup and enter it in all of these contests except the Small Squib.  In the Small Squib, I would make one or two pivots off a chalkier player and swap in a lower owned pivot piece or two.  Using our NFL Chalkboard will help here as it points out the ownerships of popular players at all positions.  Just one or two key pivots leaves the core of this lineup in tact, but gives it that little push to get it over the hump in bigger tournaments.

Instead of a Jonathan Taylor, use Melvin Gordon?  Instead of Tyler Lockett, use Stefon Diggs?  Instead of stacking Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper, stack Ben Rothlisberger and JuJu Smith-Schuster?  These simple pivots are enough to make the difference even in an 1,176 player contest.

The Fantasy Football 100man Challenge!

As mentioned above, the types of players we use in these bankroll building, budget lineups are not speculative tourney plays but instead, they are consistent players in strong matchups.  To further demonstrate this, our VIPs asked me to build some lineups as examples.

Each week, I will enter 5 slightly different lineups into the 100man leagues on Fanduel (or the Hundo on Draftkings), to track results.  Tracking results will also show the reader why these 100man leagues are so important at the tops of our lineups/ladders.

I usually enter just three lineups, but in an attempt to build a larger sample size faster, I’m entering 5 most weeks.  This also gives us opportunity to expand the education a little and talk specifically about players and how many players we will narrow our player pool down to while focusing on consistency over “low ownership” or speculation.

Games to Watch

Higher totals matter.  Vegas is more and more correct as the season goes on.  And, we have two games projected over 55 total points this week.  Obviously, we should focus there for the high likelihood of great fantasy plays.

Dallas @ Seattle – Both QBs are in play, but I’m inclined to focus more on Russell Wilson in multiple lineups and keep Dak to just one.  Home, favored quarterbacks historically reach value more often than road dogs.  Same with running backs. I like Zeke, but will be a little more inclined to grab some Cris Carson as the home favorite still receiving bellcow duties and receiving passing game work as well.  Any receiver is fair game here.  But, I might look to the lower cost in Cee Dee Lamb, who is $1400 cheaper than Amari Cooper on Fanduel.  Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf are somewhat interchangeable at their price points.  Tight ends are not likely in play for these lineups, but definitely worthy of larger field gpp consideration (perhaps in your $25 lineup pivot for the Small Squib?).

Detroit @ Arizona – Another game where a bonanza of points should be available.  I’m not sure how much I trust the Detroit side of the ball, so I’m focused on the more secure workloads and consistent opportunities on the Arizona side.  Kyler Murray might wind up my favorite QB on the slate with the passing to Hopkins, Kirk and Fitzgerald combining with the frequent rushing attempts securing a strong floor of points.  Kenyan Drake has received plenty of opportunity through two weeks and just needs a little positive luck to swing his way to make real noise on a slate.  If I play the other side, it will definitely be in game stack situations where all these points get scored.  Marvin Jones Jr is a little speculative, but might be about the safest play outside of a rather volatile TJ Hockenson for an ok price point.  Danny Amendola is more playable on Draftkings, but I can find safer plays for the price point with more touchdown equity than to have to use Amendola here (so he still remains very speculative).

Players to Build Around

We mentioned some quarterbacks, but many of the home favorites are playable provided they are also implied to score over about 25 points (another historic value metric).  Cam Newton, Matt Ryan, even our new rookie in San Diego, Justin Herbert, are in play.  But if building just five lineups, I’m not sure I’m going to go nuts here with a Carson Wentz or even Drew Brees without Michael Thomas.  I will probably take two to three shares of Russ Wilson, maybe two of Dak, and then look to add a Cam or Herbert (for a different price point to build from) or even Philip Rivers.  Save the Gardner Minshews (still solid play) for bigger tourneys.  The spread of points at quarterback just isn’t usually that big and ownerships are usually spread pretty evenly……losing leverage for speculative plays.

I love the workload of the Derrick Henrys and Ezekiel Elliots of the world.  I’ll be using them, but as said above, I’m going to try and place more weight on home favorites.  I might sprinkle in a Nick Chubb, but I’m not going to take a risk on a Leonard Fournette yet.  And, I’m really nervous about the split duties I’m seeing in a great matchup I wish I could take more than a one-lineup-shot on in San Diego with either Austin Ekeler or Joshua Kelley.  I might take a shot, but it will be in one lineup of the five… avoid overexposure to a “wrong guess.”  At this point, we just don’t want to be guessing.  We want to save that for big tourneys that will reward us with $1000 on the $1 when we guess right.

Wide Receiver is typically more volatile than running back.  So, the “safer” move is to pay up for the secure workload and higher floor of a running back.  We might want a Calvin Ridley or Mike Evans right now, but there are plenty of emerging studs priced much lower that are still getting plenty of love in their offenses.  Two that come to mind are Diontae Johnson and K’Neal Harry.  When both Harry and Edelman are getting targets (18 each through two weeks), why pay up for a guy that doesn’t usually factor into the end zone as often as Cam’s favorite type of target……a tall guy?  Save the $1200 and pay up for a better running back with a more secure floor.

If I quickly consult our NFL Research Station, Harry is likely to receive the end zone work over Edeleman.  Sure, both are targeted three times inside the 20, but inside the 10 the tables turn to Harry.  On a 1/2 point ppr site like Fanduel, touchdowns are more important….and Harry for cheaper would be my preference.

We can discuss many, many players, but you are getting a sense of how focused my five lineups will be on simply solid plays rather than the upside-only picks best reserved for larger tourneys in fantasy football.  When winning on a budget, you need to keep it smart until it’s time to take that risk.  So, as the weeks go by, I’ll organize different structures for your budget and recommend situations and players to watch for the week.  And, I’ll also tell you when I’m deviating or taking on risk…and which type of contest I’m taking it in.

Our coaching rooms are ready to offer you feedback as you put into practice what you learn.  I highly encourage you to check us out!!

The Secret to Winning Fantasy Football on a Budget

The secret is simple.  Employing the right tools in the right contests with the right support system.  We offer that inside our VIP walls at DFS Army.  And, as the weeks go on, I will give you small tidbits of different combinations for different budget levels.  But, if you want to really take your game seriously, jump inside and dive even deeper into contest selection with our coaches.  Stop putting the wrong lineups into the wrong contests.  Stop getting eaten alive by the sharks.  Become a shark instead!!

Join DFS Army

And, use coupon code DFSARMY for a 20% discount as a thank you from me for reading this article and passing it around social media.  I will see you again next week with a different set of contests and combinations for new budgets.


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Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports