Daily Fantasy Sports Glossary

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by Kevin Adams, DFS Analyst

Published, 6/17/14


This is the first article in an ongoing series focusing on Daily Fantasy Sports formats, which will continue to be a focal point for throughout the season. For more about DFS analyst Kevin Adams, scroll to the bottom of the glossary.


New to playing in daily fantasy football formats? This simple glossary will help you understand the important and commonly used terms in Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS). This glossary will be required reading before delving into the DFS articles that will be coming later in the summer and during the NFL season.


Note: For selected terms, examples are centered immediately below in italics.


Daily Fantasy Sports Terms

50/50 – A league in which the top 50% of scores win, and the bottom 50% lose their buy-in.


In a 50/50 with 100 entries the top 50 scores

double their buy-in minus the rake.


Bankroll – Funds a player has allocated or made available to play in DFS contests.


Buy-InThe entry fee or cost to enter a DFS contest.


Cash Game – A common term used for describing contests in which the prize pool is divided in half and awarded to the winner(s). Cash Games consist of Head to Head, 50/50s, and Double-Up contests. These contests are lower in risk and are sometimes referred to as “bank roll builders.”


Ceiling A player or team’s upside.


The term “High Ceiling” is commonly used for a player with big upside (Josh Gordon). The term “Low Ceiling” would be used for a player with limited upside (Davone Bess).


Contrarian – Used to describe the selection of a player(s) who is not popular or heavily owned on a specific night. This is typically reserved for GPPs, in which lesser-owned players can be highly profitable if they are productive. It is a risky strategy, but plays off of the attempt to avoid player overlap that occurs in large tournaments.

ComboRostering a QB along with his skill position players (RB/WR/TE). Also refer to stacking.

Dollars Per Point ($/Point) – The number of points a player needs to reach “value”. The lower the better.


Brandon Marshall was $8,400 on FanDuel in Week Fifteen. He finished with 6 receptions for 95 yards and a touchdown. (17.5 FanDuel points). This equates to $480 per point.

$8,400/17.5 = $480.


Alshon Jeffery was $7,800 and finished with 5/72/1 (15.7 points). This equates to $496 per point.

$7,800/15.7 = $496.


Double-UpContest in which the top 50% of scores win double their entry fee (minus the rake).


In a typical double-up contest, a $10 entry would win $18 ($20 minus the $2 rake).


DFS – Daily Fantasy Sports.


Exposure The number or percentage of a salary camp a player has invested into a particular player.


Fading/Fade – Not selecting a particular player or match-up.


I am fading Drew Brees because he is on the road against an elite pass rush.


Field Size – The number of entries/players in a DFS contest/league. This can vary from as little as two (head-to-head) to thousands (GPP).


FFFC – FanDuel’s destination tournament in Las Vegas with a million-dollar grand prize.

Freeroll A free contest offered by the host company. This is a great way to get accustomed to the site’s scoring system and get some practice without risking any of your money.


GPP – Guaranteed Prize Pool. A contest that will pay out the specified prize even if it does not have the targeted number of entrants. When this happens the company makes up the difference, creating “overlay.”


Grinder/Grinding A common term given to a high-volume DFS player. The term evolves from the day-to-day “grind” of studying statistics/data and building lineups.


Head-to-Head A daily fantasy sports contest against a single opponent.


Hedge/Diversify A strategy to limit exposure or risk by playing multiple lineups/players.


Having half your cash game lineups with a Brees/Graham combo and the other half with a Manning/Thomas combo would have been a very profitable hedge strategy last season.


Late Swap – The ability in your lineup to a change player who has a later start time after the initial line-up lock.


Line-Up Lock – The time lineups are no longer editable. The time the first game starts in a contest.


In a Thursday-Monday NFL contest, line-up lock is Thursday @ 8:20 ET.


Multiplier Contest (2x, 3x, 4x, 5x) – A contest in which the prize pool is paid out to a predetermined percentage of entrants. In a 4x multiplier, the winner will get paid out 4 times his or her entry fee.


4x Multiplier = $1,400 prize pool (140 entries/$10 buy-in)

So the top 35 players win $40 from their $10 investment.


Minimum Salary (Min. Salary) The lowest salary offered in a DFS contest. FanDuel’s minimum salary for a player is $2200. These players are essential when trying to squeeze in multiple high priced players.


Multiple-Entry GPP – A large-field tournament that allows a player to enter multiple lineups up to a specified cap.A player can either hedge their exposure by creating multiple lineups or submitting the same lineup multiple times (train).


Multi-Position Eligibility (MPE)A player is eligible at more than one position. This is common with daily fantasy NBA, MLB, and NHL contests, and far less common with NFL contests.

Overlap – The percentage at which a particular player is owned in a contest, allowing DFS players to determine how many teams used the player.


Peyton Manning is 60% owned in a 500-player tournament on FanDuel.

Therefore, there is a 300-team overlap at the QB position.


Overlay – When a GPP does not fill to capacity, the hosting company has to make up the difference between the guaranteed prize pool and the amount of funds it actually took in.


A $100,000 GPP with a $200 entry fee requires 500 entrants to reach it’ target “prize pool”. If only 400 enter, the host company would have to make-up the difference ($20,000).


Player PoolThe players who are available to be drafted in a particular DFS Contest.


Paying Up – Selecting a top-priced or expensive player regardless of their dollars per point projection.


A player “pays up” for Adrian Peterson even though his salary is the highest in the player pool.


Points Per Dollar (Multiple) – The targeted number of points needed to (on average) win a DFS football contest.


The salary cap on FanDuel is $60,000. An average winning score is 120 points. So a player will need 2 points per every dollar spent or a – 2x multiple – to be successful.


Positive Expected Value (PEV or +EV) – When projections of a player exceed the dollars per point needed to reach value.


Brandon Marshall at $8,400 (FanDuel - Week Fifteen)

Since Joe Haden was expected to be matched up outside on Alshon Jeffery, Marshall became a popular play. We know FanDuel’s targeted “multiple” to reach value is 2X (8.4 x 2 = 16.8) In this example Marshall needed 16.8 points to reach value. My projections had him at 6/80/1 (17.5 FanDuel points), which equates to a PEV.


Qualifier/Satellite Tournament – A contest (usually a GPP) in which the prize pool is paid out in entry tickets (instead of cash prizes) to another tournament that is already scheduled.


A $20 Entry Fee/100-person GPP qualifier/satellite tournament ($2,000 prize pool) would pay out nine $200 entry tickets (only 9 due to the sites rake) instead of cash to the winners. This is a popular strategy for newer players to obtain high-priced entry tickets without paying the full price.


PPR/Point Per ReceptionMost DFS sites reward either half a point or a full point per reception.


Prize Pool – The total money entered into a contest, simply determined by the number of entries multiplied by the entry fee.


100 players at a $20 entry fee = $2,000 prize pool.


Rake – The portion or percentage of a player’s entry fee (or total prize pool) that goes to the sponsor/website for expenses/profits. This varies from site to site.


In a FanDuel $10 50/50 league the “rake” is 10%.

30 entries at $10 = $300 prize pool

15 Players Win $18 ($270)

FanDuel keeps $30 (10%)


Salary Cap The highest dollar total a DFS player can spend to form a lineup.


Shark – An experienced or professional player with a successful history in DFS, often known to “prey” on inexperienced players in Head-to-Head contests.


Single-Entry GPP – Large-field tournament that only allows one entry team per player.


Stacking/Mini-Stacking Picking multiple players from the same team. This is a strategy most common in MLB DFS, but is also utilized in basketball. In football, a more common strategy is more of a “mini-stack.” It is also referred to as “combo.”


A common mini-stack would be to pair a QB & his WR and/or TE

(Brees to Graham).

Survival Tournament – A single or multi-entry tournament that eliminates a predetermined percentage of contestants over a number of days/contests (weeks in the NFL). Sometimes the prize pool will also include a trip to a “Live Final” such as the FFFC.


Day 1 –110 entries (top 50 scores advance)

Day 2 – 50 entries (top 25 scores advance)

Day 3 – 25 entries (top 10 scores advance)

Day 4 – 10 entries (top 5 advance)

Day 5 (Final 5) – Top Score wins Grand Prize

TicketAll DFS sites allow you to qualify for larger (more expensive) contests through qualifiers or satellite contests in which you obtain a “ticket.” These may be used to enter a designated tournament in the future.


A DFS player bought a $2 entry into a Satellite contest. After winning the player was able to enter a $25 Qualifier. After winning that contest, the player got a ticket to enter a $200 tournament.


Train or Running a Train – A term used when a player uses multiple entries with an identical lineup in a single tournament. The advantage or pay-off to this high-risk, high-reward strategy is a monster payout.


If a five-team train were to come in first place it would also take home the other top-four payouts in that tournament/GPP.


Value This is a very common term and can have multiple meanings (also refer to Positive Expected Value).


Reaching value – When a player scores his targeted point projection

Failing to reach value – When a player fails to hit his projected points


About Kevin Adams


Kevin has been a financial advisor and small business owner since 2001. However, his true passion has always been sports (especially the Lakers and Dodgers), and more specifically fantasy football. He has been dominating his home and work leagues since 2000, and he has also secured a NFFC (National Fantasy Football Championship) league title.  


Kevin first appeared on our radar after winning the 2013 Sirius XM Salary Cap Challenge.  This 17-week contest had over 8,000 participants, including 40 fantasy football industry experts, as well as some of the top Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) players in the country. Kevin also submitted a second team for his girlfriend, and it finished in third place. 


Since then, Kevin has tried his luck in daily fantasy basketball and baseball, both of which he had never played before this season. The results have been similar. In just six months, he has already won seats into four exclusive “winners only” contests, the DraftKings Showcase (basketball and baseball) as well as the StarStreet Playboy Championship (basketball and baseball).


Follow Kevin on Twitter @MagicSportsGuy.


Bad draft picks are down 20,299%. Must be the Guru!

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