50/50 contest: A contest in which the prize pool is split evenly among the top 50% of the entrants. For example, a game with 50 entrants would have 25 winners. The amount of cash won by each person is slightly lower than double the entry fee, and it depends on the site’s commission. For example, a contest with a $50 entry fee might have a $90 prize.
Auction draft: A player allocation procedure in which team managers bid for players. Managers are given a specific allotment of cash and must build their lineups without exceeding their budgets. Auction drafts are sometimes used in traditional fantasy football leagues; they are generally not used in DFS contests.
Action: Competition in a contest. Players who create head-to-head matchups that are awaiting opponents to join their contests are said to be trying to create or get action, thus increasing the amount of dollars in play for their DFS lineups that week.
Bankroll: The amount of money a DFS player has set aside to wager in contests, such that if he lost that amount, he'd be unable to place any more bets until he finds an outside source of additional cash.
Bearish: A feeling against or not liking a player or contest. For example, the belief that a given player or team may not perform well or that a contest may not offer a very good payout structure. The opposite of “bullish.”
Boom/Bust: A player that has the potential to have a really big performance ("boom") or virtually no contribution ("bust") for the upcoming week. A boom/bust player often projects low despite his potential to post a high score because he’s less likely to boom than bust.
Bracket challenge: A term borrowed from the NCAA March Madness, where a field of teams is paired up against one another with the winner advancing on to the next round. For DFS, this usually involves a field of fantasy owners that are matched up in head-to-head contests where the winner advances until there are just two teams left. Those two teams face off in a final head-to-head matchup to declare a winner of the bracket challenge. Prizes vary for these types of contests, though payouts typically favor the last four surviving teams (“Final Four”) and especially the winner.
Bullish: A feeling towards or liking a player or contest. The belief that a given player or team may perform well or that a contest may offer a very good payout structure would be two examples. The opposite of “bearish” (see above).
Buy-in: See “entry fee.”
Cash game: Typically, a cash game is a contest in which at least 40 percent of the entrants earn a prize. For example, a 50/50 contest is considered a cash game because half the entrants win a prize, which is double the entry fee minus the site’s commission.
Ceiling: The highest level of production within a player’s range of possible outcomes, or his best-case statistical scenario. A player’s actual ceiling is subjective, so the term is most accurately used indefinitely to describe the general neighborhood of a player’s highest expectations.
Chalk: A player considered to be a consensus pick or a "must-start" option for a given DFS contest, especially in cash games.
Commission: The money collected by the daily fantasy sports site and kept for profit. It is sometimes referred to as a percentage of the entry fee. The percentage varies by site and contest size. Higher Commission either means less money to the winners or fewer payout positions.
Condia: Regarded as one of the largest-volume DFS players in the industry. He plays a large number of contests each week and is one of the more well-known names in DFS.
Dart throw: Also referred to as a “lottery ticket,” a small investment in a player with a similarly small probability of success but particularly dynamic upside; a low-risk, high-reward investment. Dart throws are often targeted when salary cap space is heavily allocated to high-dollar players, forcing an entrant to “throw a dart” at low-priced options (see “punt” below).
Deposit Bonus: The compensation you receive for adding money to your account on a DFS site.
DFS: An acronym for “daily fantasy sports,” fantasy contests that can be run daily or weekly based on a slate of games within that time frame.
Diversify: To use multiple lineups and players across several DFS entries. A way to hedge bets by compiling multiple rosters with differing players.
DPP: Dollars per point. A player’s salary divided by the number of fantasy points a player has scored, or is projected to score, in a given week. Sometimes used as a measure of value, with fewer dollars per point indicating greater value.
Entrant: Any person who enters a daily fantasy sports contest.
Entry fee: Sometimes called the “buy-in,” this is the amount of money you must pay in order to enter a contest. This fee includes the commission collected by the daily fantasy sports site.
+EV: Positive expected value. A wager is +EV if it is likely to generate a positive net return over an arbitrarily large number of independent iterations. In other words, a good bet.
Expected value: The mean result of all possible outcomes weighted by their respective probabilities. The expected value of a six-sided die roll, for example, is 3.5.
Exposure: Ownership of a player. The term is most commonly used as a measure of how often a particular player is rostered across several entries (e.g. “limiting one's exposure to Player X”).
Fade: To purposely avoid exposure to a specific player or players, for any number of reasons.
Field size: The number of entrants in a given DFS contest.
Fish: An inexperienced DFS player. The experienced players ("sharks") are said to feed on fish, seeking out new and inexperienced players who may submit weak lineups.
Flex: A starting position in some fantasy leagues that allows players from multiple real-life positions rather than just one. For example, a fantasy football league might allow owners to fill the Flex position with their choice of a running back, wide receiver, or tight end. Lineups on DraftKings contain one Flex player (running back, wide receiver, or tight end).
Floor: The lowest level of production within a player’s realistic range of possible outcomes; his worst-case statistical scenario. A player’s actual floor is subjective, of course, so the term is most accurately used indefinitely to describe the general neighborhood of a player’s lowest expectations.
FPPs: Stands for “Frequent Player Points.” DraftKings awards fantasy owners with FPPs each time they enter a cash contest. The number of points earned is based on the amount of each contest’s entry fee (the higher the fee, the more points awarded). The deposit bonus DFS managers receive after making their first deposit is released incrementally as you accrue FPPs ($1 is released for each 100 FPPs earned).
FPPG: Fantasy points per game. The total number of fantasy points a player has scored divided by the total number of games he has played in.
Freeroll: A contest that does not require an entry fee to participate. Some freerolls offer real-money prizes to the winners, some provide free entry into contests with relatively high buy-ins, and some are just for fun.
Full PPR: A fantasy football scoring method where a player gets credited with one fantasy point per reception. DraftKings utilizes this scoring format.
Game script: A predicted set of outcomes for a game based on a set of data like the Vegas line (see below), offensive and defensive rankings, recent trends, and even team histories. The game script can help determine value for certain players based on how the game is expected to unfold. For example, a team expected to lose by a wide margin in a game projected to have a high point total suggests the quarterback will throw more passes than usual, due to playing from behind.
Game variants: Types of contests offered by daily fantasy sports sites. They include head-to-head contests, 50/50s, qualifiers, multipliers, and guaranteed prize pool (GPP) contests.
GPP: Stands for “Guaranteed Prize Pool.” It is a type of tournament for which the daily fantasy sports site promises a specific prize pool amount to be divided among the winners regardless of entry count. The prize pool is usually large (e.g. $1,000,000), as is the number of entrants allowed to join. Prize structures can vary widely, but the Top 10% to 20% usually win something. These contests sometimes feature an “overlay” when the maximum number of entries is not reached.
Grinder: A DFS player who plays daily fantasy sports to earn a profit in any legitimate manner possible. They play often, manage their bankroll, look for +EV situations such as overlays, and look to maximize return on investment (ROI) on their DFS play at all times.
Half PPR: A fantasy football scoring method where a player gets credited with one-half fantasy point per reception. DraftKings does not use this scoring format.
Head-to-head, H2H, or Heads-up: A type of contest in which there are only two entrants. The winner takes the prize pool, minus the Commission (see above).
Hedge: To offset potential losses by also wagering on an opposing outcome. For example, a DFS player who plays a semi-injured wide receiver with unknown playing status in one contest might play his backup in another to mitigate risk.
High stakes contests: Contests with relatively high entry fees, often $100 or more.
Large-field contest: A contest that permits an unusually large or unlimited number of entrants to join.
Late swap: An option on a DFS site to swap out a player in a lineup right before the player’s game starts. Entrants are only allowed to use players from games starting at the same time or later in late swaps.
Lean: A short-term preference towards a given player, lineup, or contest. A lean may represent a DFS player’s favored choice between two or more players, such as leaning towards Player X over Player Y. A lean can also reflect an existing fondness for a particular lineup or contest, as in leaning towards Lineup A over Lineup B or Contest 1 over Contest 2.
Lineup lock: The time at which an entire lineup can no longer be changed. Sites that allow late swaps lock in only those players whose games have started.
Lottery ticket: See Dart throw (above).
Minimum salary: The lowest salary available for a particular type of positional player on a given DFS site. These numbers vary from site to site. For example, the minimum salary for players at DraftKings is as follows: quarterbacks – $5,000; running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends – $3,000; defenses – $2,000.
Multi-entry, or multiple entry: A contest that allows multiple entries by a given DFS player. The maximum number of entries allowed per player may vary among contests.
Multi-position eligibility, or MPE: Describes a player who is eligible to be inserted into a lineup at more than one position. For example, a WR/TE MPE player can be used as either a wide receiver or tight end.
Multiplier: A contest which sets its payouts as a multiple of its entry fee. For example, the winners of a 5x multiplier earn five times their entry fee.
Over/under, or total: Refers to the number provided by the Las Vegas casino sports book or other sports wagering venue that reflects the expected total score of a contest. For example, the over/under for the 2015 NFL season opener is currently 49 points, meaning Vegas projects the Steelers and Patriots to score 49 points combined.
Overlay: Many daily fantasy sports sites host guaranteed prize pool (see above) tournaments in which a specified amount of prize money is made available to the winners. The site hopes that the entry fees from the participants will cover the prize pool. If there are too few entrants, the DFS site must contribute its own cash to cover the deficit. The deficit is known as the overlay. Overlays are highly desirable events and DFS players should target these value plays.
Paying up: Deliberately paying a premium to roster an expensive player who is projected to score a lot of points. DFS players who wish to roster highly-regarded stud players typically must pay up to do so.
Pivot: A change made to an existing DFS lineup. A pivot may be intended as a contrarian strategy to increase the uniqueness of a lineup -- switching from a “Chalk player” to another similarly priced player, for instance -- or to account for a late player injury or deactivation.
Player pool: The total population of players available to choose from for a DFS lineup at a given DFS site.
Player prop bet: A wager offered by a Vegas sports book or other sports wagering venue that is based on the performance of an individual player. For example, a prop bet for a wide receiver may be set at over/under 99.5 receiving yards. The bettor may wager that the wide receiver will gain more or fewer than 99.5 receiving yards. Prop bets are useful in DFS as an estimate of expected player performance. In the example above, a wide receiver with an over/under prop bet set at 99.5 receiving yards is projected to gain approximately 100 yards receiving in that week’s game.
PPR: Points per reception. A fantasy football scoring method where a player scores fantasy points each time he catches a pass. Common types of PPR scoring include Full PPR and Half PPR (both defined above). DraftKings uses Full PPR scoring.
Prize pool: The entire sum of money up for grabs in a daily fantasy sports contest. With the exception of GPP contests (see above), the amount of the pool is usually equal to the sum of the entry fees collected from the participants less the DFS site’s Commission.
Punt: To disregard spending on one position or statistic in order to allocate higher spending to another. An entrant might opt to roster top-salaried players at a few positions while entrusting others to extremely low-cost options. For example, a player who wants to roster the two highest-salaried running backs will probably be forced to “punt” with an especially low-cost tight end or quarterback.
Qualifier: A contest in which the winners earn a seat at a future contest, typically one with a relatively high entry fee. See also “satellite” below.
Rake: See “commission” (above).
Reach: In season-long fantasy football, to draft a player considerably earlier than he was expected to be drafted. In an auction, to bid considerably beyond a player's widely accepted value. In DFS, to roster a player who is unlikely to meet or exceed the level of production implied by his salary.
Recency bias: The phenomenon of higher or lower ownership that follows after a given player has performed dramatically well or poorly in recent weeks.
Regression to the mean: For DFS purposes, regression to the mean is the tendency for a player’s weekly production to approach the weekly average of his projected yearly production over the course of a season. For example, an established wide receiver who averages six touchdowns per season will tend to “regress to the mean” after scoring three touchdowns in one game.
ROI: Stands for “return on investment.”
Roster: A DFS lineup (noun), or to add a player to a DFS lineup (verb).
Salary cap: The total amount of money each DFS player has at their disposal to assemble the lineup of a single DFS contest entry. All team managers have the same salary cap and they use the same player price listing to assemble their team. The salary cap varies by site and sometimes by sport.
Satellite: A DFS tournament whose prize is an entry to a larger DFS tournament. Prizes are sometimes referred to as “tickets” towards the larger DFS tournament. See also “qualifier” above.
Scoring bonus: On DraftKings, a three-point bonus given to entrants if any of the players in their lineup achieve any of the following statistical milestones: 300+ yards passing, 100+ yards rushing, 100+ yards receiving.
Season-long: Fantasy contests that extend for most, if not all, of the NFL regular season. The typical season-long leagues run between weeks 1-16, though the actual number of weeks will vary by league.
Shark: An experienced fantasy or DFS player, usually a grinder (see above), who knows how to optimize DFS lineups for cash games and tournaments. Sharks range from tough competitors to DFS experts to professionals who earn their living playing DFS.
Single-entry: DFS tournaments and/or contests that only permit one lineup to be entered per DFS player.
Sleeper: A player who has the potential to exceed his expected value in a DFS contest while remaining unlikely to be widely rostered. Strategically, sleepers help DFS players create more unique lineups and they are often considered contrarian plays. On the other hand, a sleeper who is widely discussed ("talked up") in the runup to the contest tends to lose their uniqueness as more and more DFS players target them for their lineups.
Snake draft: A common format for season-long fantasy drafts where team owners are awarded a fixed draft slot but the draft order is reversed every other round in order to improve competitive balance. In a “snake draft”, owners with the first overall pick will also have the last pick in the second round, and so forth.
Spread: Also known as the “point spread,” the projected score differential in a game. See “Vegas line” below.
Stack (as a hedge): Adding two complementary players to a DFS lineup in an attempt to raise their combined floor. For example, it may seem counterintuitive to stack the starting running backs from two teams playing each other head-to-head in an NFL game. But consider that while it is unlikely that both have huge performances in the same game, it is probable that at least one of the two posts a solid performance.
Stack (as a high-risk, high-reward play): Rostering 2-3 players from the same NFL team with the hope that if one player performs extremely well, then the other 1-2 players will also benefit. Stacking is normally done in tournaments as this is a high variance (i.e. “risky") way to build a roster. Typical stacks are QB-WR, QB-TE, QB-WR-WR, and QB-WR-TE, although some other permutations do exist.
Stake: A funding process whereby an investor makes a monetary investment into a given DFS player’s bankroll in exchange for a pre-determined percentage of that player's long-term winnings.
Steps: Similar to a Bracket Challenge, a steps format involves multiple contests. DFS players create their roster for the first step and the winners advance to the next step. This process is repeated until the prize is awarded at the final step. The steps format is similar to a satellite qualifier except this takes more than one "step" to qualify for the final tournament.
Studs and duds, studs and scrubs, or stars and scrubs: The common term for a DFS lineup consisting of a mixture of star and weak players. The salaries of the star players force the other roster spots to be filled with players at or near minimum salary players, hence the “duds” label. In auction drafting, this refers to the strategy of an owner paying for a few high-cost players, forcing them to pay low prices for “duds” later in the draft. See punt.
Survivor tournament: A multi-contest tournament format that typically attracts many entrants. A specified percentage of the highest-scoring DFS players “survive” each week to continue on to the next round. All surviving DFS players create a new roster each week until the tournament is complete. The majority of the prize pool is awarded during the final week of the tournament.
Ticket: The prize of a qualifier satellite (see above) tournament. This ticket prize gives the winner an entry into a bigger tournament that would cost more to directly enter. Some tournaments are only available to DFS competitors that win a ticket to enter.
Tier: A grouping of players who are considered to be very similar in terms of their value. Players in a given tier should clearly provide more value than those in the next tier down and decidedly less value that the previous tier up. Dividing the draft board into tiers is the backbone of value-based drafting.
Tilt: A slang term used to describe a period of time when a DFS player practices poor judgment with regards to bankroll management, particularly following multiple losing efforts.
Tournament: A DFS contest that consists of a large field of DFS competitors. The tournament can be a 50/50, multiplier (2x, 3x, 5x, etc.), or a GPP tournament.
Train: Entering multiple identical lineups in a tournament. This has extra risk and extra reward all at once, as the likelihood is high that all of the entries win or lose in the tournament. There is a small chance some win and some lose if the lineup score is near the cash cutoff for prize awards.
Triple-up: A particular type of DFS contest or tournament where the winners are awarded a flat prize of three times their entry fee. This triples their initial investment, hence the “triple-up” or “3x” reference to these types of games. The lineup typically must finish in the top 30% of the field to win the prize.
Upside: A term applied to players who are reasonably likely to score more fantasy points than projected. A boom/bust player (see above) has high upside by definition. Value players (see below) in cash games may also have upside, but normally somewhat less than boom/bust players.
Value, or salary multiplier: A player’s salary multiplier is often used as a measure of his weekly value in DFS contests. Salary multiplier can be calculated by dividing a player’s projected fantasy points for the week by his weekly salary cap number in thousands of dollars. For example, Player X would represent a 2x value on a week where he costs $7,100 against the salary cap and is projected to score 14.2 fantasy points (14.2/7.1 = 2). A player is said to “represent good value" if his salary multiplier is greater than the commonly-accepted value threshold based on his position, the type of contest, and the DFS site.
Value-based drafting (VBD): A traditional fantasy drafting strategy that calculates the value of each player based upon his projected fantasy scoring in relation to the other players at his position. An owner practicing VBD will compare his options for each pick, regardless of position, and select the player expected to outscore that position's average level by the greatest amount. For example, a fantasy footballer choosing between a running back expected to score two tiers above an average running back and a wide receiver expected to score one tier above an average receiver will select the running back.
Value pick: A player who is considered to be more valuable than his salary implies. Good values can often be found among players coming off of a bad streak or a recent injury. In both cases, the players’ salaries are often lower than they should be given how productive they have been throughout their careers.
Value play: A player that offers good value based on projected fantasy points in relation to his salary cap number for the week.
Vegas line: Refers to the point spreads and over/under totals (see above) provided by the Las Vegas casino sports books on each NFL game. The “point spread” in a Vegas line refers to the expected score differential of a given NFL contest, whereas the total or “over/under” reflects the expected total score of the contest. For example:
The (-7) is the point spread, as the expectation is that Philadelphia will outscore Dallas by seven points. To win a traditional wager on the Eagles, they must beat the Cowboys by more than seven. A wager on the Cowboys wins if Dallas either loses by less than seven points or wins. A final score where Philadelphia wins by exactly seven points is considered a “push” or a “no bet,” and the wager amount is refunded.
The (51) is the total, or over/under, and the expectation is that Philadelphia and Dallas will combine to score 51 points. To win a wager on the over, the teams must combine for 52 or more points, while a wager on the under will win if the teams combine to score 50 or fewer points. A final score adding up to 51 points exactly is considered a “push” or a “no bet,” and the wager amount is refunded.
Viable: A player that has a strong likelihood of achieving value for a cash game is considered a viable option for that type of lineup. Tournament lineups usually have a much longer list of viable players, as they include players that are both likely to reach value and also could have a big game under the right circumstances.
Whale: A DFS player that has a huge bankroll and is willing to play at any price point (see “Condia” above). These players often play a larger amount of volume each week.
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