FanDuel vs DraftKings: Strategy, Lineup Construction, and Pricing Algorithms

Since people who play daily fantasy football play on both DraftKings and FanDuel, it’s important to make distinctions about which strategies will be most effective on each site. The scoring systems on FanDuel vs DraftKings are practically the same (aside from a few extras on DraftKings like bonuses for milestones and a full point-per-reception), the real differences between FanDuel and DraftKings are the pricing algorithms, causing differences in minimum prices, salary ranges, and player salaries. These difference, which are sometimes drastic, makes the optimal lineup building process on FanDuel vs DraftKings vastly different. In this article, I’ll go over concepts on how to change your lineup building approach based on the site you are playing on.


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A Half Point More Per Reception Matters

I recommend using our FanDuel vs DraftKings salary tool to find significant differences in salaries between the two sites. But one thing surface level salaries won’t tell you is the impact on the half point more you get on DraftKings for a reception. This is significant. A player who averages 6 receptions a game will average 3 more fantasy points on DraftKings vs FanDuel. Assuming we’re aiming for 3 fantasy points per $1000 of salary, that amounts to $1000 more in salary value on DraftKings than FanDuel. That’s why a guy like Stedman Bailey, who is only 3000 on DraftKings this week as opposed to 6300 on FanDuel is exceptional value this week, because he could have a 6-10 reception game.

(Note: Examples will be based on Week 13 in the 2014 NFL Season)

High/Low on FanDuel, Cheap at QB

You can read my analysis on the FanDuel Pricing Algorithm here, but the gist of it is high priced players on FanDuel are too cheap, because the salary ranges should be higher. This is true for RBs, WRs, and TEs. However, for QB, the salary range is a lot more reasonable.

This means an optimal lineup building strategy should involve going cheap at QB and maximizing your high salary plays at the skill positions. If you’re lucky like you’ll find this week, you get a great low priced play at another position like Kenny Stills at 5100 at WR, and you can just max out at the other positions. Having 5 players in your lineup at the 8-10k salary range will almost always yield a better lineup than one with 3 players or less in the high range.

Load Up On Great Points Per Dollar Value On DraftKings

One thing about FanDuel is their salary algorithm can be slow and players salaries often don’t come down fast enough. DraftKings salary algorithm is much more reactive, salaries dip more when players get injured or have a string of bad games. DraftKings also does not tend to be as reactive when a new player emerges out of nowhere. Therefore, what you find on DraftKings is several players who are extremely under priced.

Because of this and the larger salary range on DraftKings, it makes sense not set out for a high/low salary strategy or a more balanced salary strategy, but just make your lineup around the absolute best value plays. Sometimes, there are such extreme values that you will find yourself with tons of spare salary to spend on high priced players, sometimes you will find a lot of great middle salary values where you’ll find yourself barely using high salary players.

The most important thing to keep in mind is not to settle for mediocrity. You may really want to have some good high salary player in your lineup, but don’t do it at the expense of some extremely good value play. Make sure the lineups you make on DraftKings maximizes your usage of great value plays.


  • The lineup building strategies on FanDuel vs DraftKings are vastly different.
  • The half point more per reception you get on DraftKings can have a significant effect on salary value.
  • FanDuel’s pricing algorithm makes going low salary at QB, and playing as many high salary players at the skill positions an optimal strategy.
  • DraftKings pricing algorithm tends to yield some extremely good value plays, which is what you should focus on building your lineup around.


For free access to our NFL analysis and mathematical tools for creating optimal lineups, register with Daily Fantasy Winners by clicking the registration button at the top of this page. Our Fanduel vs DraftKings salary tool is a great way to compare salaries between those 2 big sites. Check it out!

View all posts by Daniel Steinberg
Daniel Steinberg

About the Author

Daniel Steinberg Daniel Steinberg is a former bond trader at a multi-billion dollar proprietary trading firm in Chicago. He uses his knowledge of statistics and his creativity from his career as a poker professional to create the most advanced Daily Fantasy statistical analysis that you will find anywhere. Follow him on twitter @DanielSingerS

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