In any daily fantasy sport, strategy varies greatly between cash and tournament drafting, and soccer is no different. It is, however, slightly harder to utilize each strategy as soccer is such a different style of sport. There are so many variables and player positions to choose from that it can sometimes prove tasking to organize the perfect lineup.
In this article I will go through each position and explain the strategy behind picking each position and how it should be applied when you’re playing either a standard cash game or an actual tournament on your favorite daily fantasy website. Enjoy!
Goalkeeper Selection in DFS Drafts
Okay, first up is the goalie. Perhaps the position with the least room to maneuver, as of course there is only one option per team and not every player is a viable pick. This is very simple, in cash games you want one of the highest priced goalies almost every time.
The price difference between a top goalie and a mediocre one is far smaller than that of any other position, so be prepared to pay the money for the best you can get. You should be aiming for a keeper with the best chance of winning the game and keeping a clean sheet.
In tournament play, you can be prepared to chance your luck somewhat. Even though the top goalkeeper options are often best for tournaments also, the average amount of points a goalkeeper scores is lower than midfielder and forwards, so saving a bit of money here and spending it in more lucrative positions is sometimes the best strategy.
Choosing Defenders in Daily Fantasy
Defenders may well be the hardest position of all to draft. With the exception of a small group, not many defenders are reliable and consistent enough to guarantee you points week in and week out. However, for cash games you must always look to the full backs who send in crosses game after game.
If you can find them in a game which is expected to be fast paced and in which they’re team should dominate, they would be as close to a cash game certainty as is possible. As crossing is highly overpowered in DFS, not much else matters when choosing your defenders. The points will add up between winning tackles, fouls and making interceptions, but even all those point combined will not out score a defender who can send in 8+ crosses a game.
In tournament play, you can be prepared to fork out more money for the higher scoring defenders. For example, the highest priced defender by some margin week in, week out is Alexander Kolarov for Manchester City. This man crosses, takes corners, free kicks and has a mean left footed shot which has scored him plenty of goals for a defender. He costs maybe $1500 more than the average defender, but when you compare this to the price hike you would see in midfielders and forwards, it’s on the small side.
There are only a handful of defenders who can score the type of points we would see from more attacking positions, so you will normally need one if you want to reach the higher positions in the leaderboard.
Midfielder Selection in DFS
This is by far the easiest position to cater for, by some margin. There are certain midfielders who you will find are incredibly consistent every game. They are normally the players who take corners and free kicks and will deliver 10+ crosses a game. If you can’t find 3 midfielders who will score you 10+ points a piece in your cash games you are doing something horribly wrong.
The great thing about some of these players is they are not outrageously expensive. You will find tons of mid priced players who will score you the points. Of course, they don’t set the place alight too much, but a player who crosses the ball numerous times a game always has a chance of snatching an assist.
For tournament play, this is where you can start to really differentiate your team and start looking for the big plays. Midfielders can often change the outlook of a tournament leaderboard and it’s usually one that most people have overlooked. Finding a low priced gem is obviously much easier said than done.
Some tips to help are to always check the starting lineups an hour before kick off when they are released, you may find a player who wasn’t expected to start, or an unknown youngster making his debut. You will never win a GPP without taking a risk and making plays that are against the grain, so never be scared of taking a chance on a player.
Forwards and Their Importance in Soccer DFS
The most valuable position. Most people would expect that you must pick a forward who is going to score you goals. And of course that is relatively always going to be the case, but not every time . Earlier this season, Mauro Zarate for West Ham was a cash game must. And guess what? He only scored 6 goals in 18 games.
What he did do, however, was reliably score great points from taking corners, free kicks and crossing the ball. He also had numerous shots a game. You don’t always have to go searching for the top goal scorers, especially not in cash games. Not many forwards take corners or cross the ball, but that is one of the most valuable scoring avenues in cash games, so if you can find one who does, they are a must play.
In tournaments, it’s a little different. You want goals, goals, goals. Scoring a goal is of course the highest scoring action in soccer DFS, so we always want the best possible chance of goals in our team. However, soccer DFS highly inflates the price of superstar forwards who play for the top teams, no matter what match up they have.
This has its advantages in other aspects though, as it means other striking options are underpriced and, most of the time, under owned. A star striker with a terrible match up is definitely less valuable than a good striker with a mid placed team who are playing relegation candidates for example, especially when you factor in the thousands of dollars in price difference.
A good representation of this is Jermain Defoe. Defoe plays for Sunderland, a poor team in the English Premier League, but his goalscoring record is fantastic. If Sunderland are up against a similarly bad team, especially in a home tie, I would take Defoe all day long in a GPP. He would also free up a lot of money to use in other positions.
Flex positions are usually pretty simple. For cash games, 9 times out of 10 you want to add 2 midfielders who fit the bill of what we described in the section above. Consistent, cross taking wingers. They are the lowest risk of any player in soccer DFS so there’s no real reason to look elsewhere.
For tournaments, this can vary. Most of the time I would add 2 more forwards or 1 forward and 1 midfielder. I would say the reasons are self explanatory, forwards have the best chance of scoring big points, and in a format where we are looking to score the max points, that’s exactly what I want in my flex spots. The only time I would opt for a midfielder is if the budget I have left just cannot buy me a viable striking option.
So there are all the position in a soccer DFS draft. Hopefully this will help you next time you come to choose your next team for cash or tournament play.