FanDuel offers a variety of different types of contests for players to join. The diversity in the different types of games is welcoming, but it can be confusing to new players.
Beginners may ask “Where should I start playing?” “Which games are the best?”
In this post, we will take a look at each of many different types and styles of FanDuel contests as well as some considerations when playing certain contests.
Game styles versus contest types
Before we get started, let’s briefly explain what a “game style” is versus a “contest type.” A game style is essentially a description of how lineups are constructed, whereas contest types basically describe the payout structure.
Most game styles can be put into one of three categories: full roster, single game and quick pick. With each of these styles types, the positions that you must fill to put together your lineup are different.
Game types, on the other hand, describe how your contest will be paid. For example, in a tournament, the contest often consists of hundreds of entries paying a top-heavy prize pool. Regardless of the style of the contest you are playing, the structure is essentially the same.
FanDuel game styles
As mentioned, FanDuel offers three main game styles for most sports. FanDuel will mix up the game style offerings for some sports but for the most part, styles can be grouped into one of three cateogries. Game styles can be found in the upper left section of the lobby after selecting a sport.
Full Roster contests are a “classic” version of daily fantasy sports and are pretty much what people think of when DFS comes to mind. If you are a new player and you don’t know where to start, you’re probably looking for a “Full Roster” contest. As the name would suggest, these contests require users to draft a complete roster of players from a variety of positions and depending on the slate, players from many different teams. Full Roster contests are available for most sports.
Unlike full roster contests, single-game contests utilize a pool of players from a single game. Apart from using a much smaller pool of players to construct lineups, DFS users utilize a simpler roster construction as well. Single-game contests aren’t for everybody, but DFS users who are focusing on a specific game may find these games enjoyable, especially if the contest involves your favorite team or is a nationally televised game on Thursday, Sunday or Monday.
Due to the lack of players in a single game contest, there are just five positions to fill with all positions being “FLEX” position. Depending on the sport, there is usually an MVP spot that earns additional points. For example, in NFL Single Game contests, an MVP can earn 1.5x the normal rate of points.
Some sports such as UCL, PGA and college basketball do not have single game contests, leaving the game option for just the most popular sports.
One of the newest game styles, Quick Pick is similar to DraftKings Tiers with a twist. In DraftKings Tier contests, players are grouped by approximate fantasy value. FanDuel Quick Pick contests are sometimes grouped in tiers, but not always. For instance, in college football contests, players are grouped by conference, where FanDuel users must select one player from each conference. In FanDuel NASCAR Quick Pick contests, players are grouped by chances of winning. Users can select players in one of five categories: Dominator, Contender, Underdog (2) and Field (any racer).
Each of the FanDuel game types are available as their own tabs in the FanDuel lobby, allowing for ease of sorting. Furthermore, because game types are essentially a subset of “styles,” the types of contests that you will have available can vary based on the style that you choose.
Tournaments are arguably the most popular type of contest in DFS due in large part to the opportunity to win large prizes. The large prizes form as a result of a high or no limit on the number of players or entries that can join the contest. Some daily fantasy tournament prize pools at FanDuel can reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and occasionally millions, the Sunday Million being an obvious example. The variance on these tournaments can be great, which is why many DFS users choose to enter many different lineups.
In many FanDuel tournaments, users can enter up to 150 lineups in a single contest. Multi-entry tournaments can favor seasoned DFS players, so if you are a recreational player or beginner, you might want to first try out “single-entry” tournaments, which limit the number of lineups you can submit to one per contest.
Beat the Score
Beat the Score contests could be their own style of game due to their unique difference to any of the other contests on FanDuel. They do use the same lineup structure of Full Roster contests, which is why FanDuel chooses to group them this way.
In Beat the Score contests, your goal is simple — to beat a predetermined point total of the contest. The score you must beat will be denoted in the title of the contest such as “NFL Beat The Score: 100.” All players who beat the score for their lineup will split the overall prize, often a guaranteed amount. While these contests probably shouldn’t be your first foray into daily fantasy sports, you should definitely try them out. The games have more of a community feel because players are not competing against each other in the same way as a normal DFS contest. You simply need to reach the point goal — it doesn’t matter if you beat your opponents. Add this to the large guaranteed prize pools, and you have what can make for some exciting contests.
Multiplier contests are a form of prize structure in which users will win 2x, 3x, 4x or 5x the buy-in. The payouts are easy to understand and straight-forward. All players either win 2x-5x — depending on what the contest stipulates — or they don’t. You can also easily figure out approximately how many players will be paid based on structure of the tournament. For instance, when playing a “Triple-Up” tournament, roughly one in three players will three times their buy-in. These contests may appeal to players who want a bit lower variance and not necessarily be rewarded for putting up the best possible team. Remember: long as your lineup is good enough to make the money you will be paid the same as everybody else that has earned a prize.
Head-to-heads are winner-take-all contests between you and one other DFS user. As long as your lineup scores more than your single opponent, you will win the contest and all of the prize pool, which is roughly half of your entry minus the FanDuel rake. These contests provide the best chance of winning because you only have a single opponent to beat. To lower your variance in these contests, you can enter multiple head-to-head contests with different FanDuel users. Lower your variance even more by entering multiple lineups.
Watch out though — these contests can be frequented by really good DFS players. If you have the option, create a contest versus joining one that has already been created.
50/50s are very similar to a 2x multiplier contests in that approximately 50% of all players are paid. The main difference in these contests is that exactly one half of the field gets paid whereas in a 2x multiplier contest less than 50% gets paid, but those that do get paid receive exactly 2x their buy-in. Due to the fact that rake is taken at 50/50s as well, the amount of the prizes are slightly lower versus the comparable 2x multiplier.
Variations on games
In addition to the main contest styles and types at FanDuel, there are some other variations on games that players should be aware of.
If you’re a true beginner, you can be best served trying out the Beginner contests at FanDuel. The contests are open to players that have played fewer than 50 contest. One exception is if you have a big win — that can label you an experienced player. In general, because these contests feature beginners, the competition is not as good on average. Take advantage of your ability to play these games, even if you are a seasoned player who is joining FanDuel for the first time.
FanDuel Friends Mode is another great way to play daily fantasy sports without playing the standard contests. Set up a group with your friends, play and create contests that only people that are among your friends can play. DFS is not extremely social but the ability to duel against your friends in Friends Mode for some bragging rights or to settle some scores can be quite engaging.