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Daily Fantasy Football: Tournament Contest Selection

DFS Contest Selection

Picking the contest that best suits you is the most critical concept to understand when it comes to daily fantasy football. There are a lot of contests out there, and each one presents different opportunities for every player. In addition, bankroll management is crucial when managing how much you will have available each week and keeping you stable because there will be weeks where things don’t go your way.


The standard bankroll is utilizing no more than 20% in a single week. Of that 20%, you shouldn’t exceed 20% in a tournament structure. For example, if you have a $100 bankroll for the whole season, you should play $20 a week; $15 goes into cash-style games, and $5 goes into a tournament. This will give you a greater chance to continue playing and learning each week as you try different contests. For those who do not want to play cash-style games, it is recommended not to exceed more than 8% of your total bankroll in a given week. If you only play cash-style games, you can go up to 25% of your bankroll in a given week. It all depends on whether you prefer a mix of both or a specific one.

DFS Contests: Tournament vs. Cash

Both types of daily fantasy football contests are approached in entirely different ways and present very distinct advantages. The main difference from a structure standpoint is the contest's percentage of entries paid out. Cash game contests are where you have around a 50% chance to make money. The most common cash game contests are split into 50/50, Head-to-Heads, or Double-Ups. These contests have helped many professional players grind their way to the top for their bankrolls and get them the opportunities to max out tournaments. For new players, I highly recommend utilizing these to build a bigger bankroll as the year progresses.

Tournaments have a completely different structure, and only ~20% of the lineups make a profit. The prize structure for tournaments has the top prizes dominating the total payout of a contest. For example, the most popular GPP is DraftKing’s $20 Milly Maker contest, which has around three million in guaranteed money. Of the three million guaranteed, $1,000,000 goes to first place, which is 33% of the total prize money. For tournaments, the general entry limits are single-entries, three-entry maxes, 20-entry maxes, and 150-entry maxes. The rule of thumb is that if you can max it out, you should consider playing that contest.

DFS Contests: Satellites

This type of contest is a tournament structure and typically rewards the first place team the most, if not all of, the prize. The typical satellites can change in size from three-person contests to much bigger contests. The prizes are tickets to enter bigger tournaments. Playing in a satellite or qualifier type of contest is typically a bit riskier because second place might not even pay you any money back. However, satellites are a good contest for those that wish to avoid cash game structures and be able to play in higher stakes contests.