** This DFS Soccer Tutorial pertains to DraftKings and FanDuel soccer plays. This general advice applies for EPL, UCL, International, and any other DFS soccer format. Be sure to be on the lookout for the Clean Sheet moving forward, as well as other articles at Top Flight**
DFS Soccer Tutorial
How to play on Soccer DFS on FanDuel and DraftKings
Many people enjoy soccer and want to play Soccer DFS but don’t know where to start. This DFS soccer tutorial is meant to help explain a number of concepts and make building lineups easier. I will go through the general process and what I look at when making my lineup decisions on both sites. How to approach each site can differ drastically, particularly depending on the slate. There is a lot of information below, but hopefully it all helps simplify soccer for the beginner or intermediate player.
The Hour Before the Games Begin
The most important part of DFS soccer occurs the hour or so before the games when the lineups come out. What’s nice is that the more pro-active DFS player has an edge in this regard. Before anything else, we will want to make necessary switches if any players are not starting. There is never any point to rostering a player who is not in the starting lineup.
Prior to that, FanDuel usually has expected starters marked as EXP. On DraftKings, you want to check game logs to make sure that player has been playing recently and regularly. Just from a simple Google search you will find all sorts of projected lineups for a game and that should at least provide a reasonable basis regarding what to expect.
If not entirely confident that someone will start “either a fringe player or due to injury” and they are involved in a late game, it is imperative to leave salary and have a backup plan.
The actual lineups usually arrive give or take around an hour before main lock, at least for EPL. The first place they can be found is on each team’s Twitter account and from there they can be found on Google, ESPN, and a number of other sites. DraftKings and FanDuel will eventually show who is starting as well. However, these other sites provide us with the lineup formations.
I like to look at the lineup formations, just to make sure there are no oddities or unexpected boosts. If I am unfamiliar with a team, this is even more important to get a feel for how they line up. Keep in mind that the projections on these sites are just that and they cannot always tell exactly how a team will lineup. Much like you or me, they merely take an educated guess based on who is in the lineup and their skill set.
DraftKings Lineup Flexibility
One last pre-game note, on DraftKings, be sure to save people from any later games “if any” for the utility spot if possible so you have as much flexibility as possible to make changes in case that the later player is unexpectedly not starting. Make a back-up plan if possible and leave any money necessary. It’s astonishing how many people never seem to grasp this concept each week.
DFS Soccer Tutorial – Forward/Midfield Position
How I like to approach forward differs heavily between the sites. On FanDuel, both Forward and Midfield are combined, so I will address them as a single position for that site.
Forward is the toughest position to fill on DraftKings, as forwards are normally expensive and have a low floor. If you would consider using someone in a midfield spot and they are forward eligible, I’d almost always play them as a forward instead. If you can grab a forward who has some role on set pieces and has a decent weekly floor, that makes for an ideal cash play. An expensive forward who is dependent on goal scoring for points, makes for a better tournament play. Ideally, you can find a nice balance between floor and upside.
There will certainly be exceptions to this rule. Let’s say that a goal or bust style forward has a great matchup with terrific scoring odds and should come in at high ownership. Perhaps there are no good midfielders on the slate, so nowhere else to pay up at forward. There are certainly instances where you can make an exception and play the expensive goal or bust forward in cash. But generally I am looking to pay down here, if possible.
As for the midfielder position, this is normally where we find most of our set piece takers “although there are defenders and forwards out there who take set pieces”.
You can usually identify the teams set piece takers from game logs, as they normally gain most of their points from crosses and shots assisted. It is easy to see that as a result of their role, they usually maintain a higher floor than most other players, with less variance. These sort of players make for cash game staples, as well as solid tournament plays.
Unlike on DraftKings, on FanDuel, all I care about from my forwards/midfielders are shots on goal and goals. You get five points for every shot on goal, 20 for each goal, and 10 for each assist. Therefore, more often than not I am trying to pay up and grab four studs at this position.
DFS Soccer Tutorial – Defenders
On DraftKings, we want defenders who are playing on the sides or wing, as it is called. Based on the formation, they can be wingbacks, fullbacks, but these players are generally more offensive oriented defensemen. They tend to grab some crosses by sending the ball in the middle after bringing it up the wing. As a result, they are also more likely to grab an assist and get on the scoreboard than other defenders. If you come across a defender who also has a role on set pieces, they tend to be even more popular.
Normally, the better defenders are a little more expensive on DraftKings. This is the trade off for the higher floor that they can provide. Many of the central defenders tend to have extremely low floors. They make for tournament only options as normally their greatest chance of scoring a goal would come by using their height to head in a corner kick. Otherwise, most central defenders rarely get forward enough to be involved in the offensive mix.
FanDuel’s point system, unlike DraftKing’s, rewards defensive oriented players. As mentioned above, we do not want central defenders on Draftkings if possible, but rather instead want the defenders on the wings. On FanDuel, it is the complete opposite as we want central defenders if possible. The lack of points for crosses and addition of points for clearances and blocked kicks makes these central defenders ideally. Particularly, if they are in a spot where they should be under duress against a superior team.
Because there is little opportunity cost at defensemen on FanDuel, I normally spend down here and save my money for Forward/Midfield. All else equal I also try to correlate with my goal to try to go for a double clean sheet.
DFS Soccer Tutorial – Goalie
On DraftKings, you only receive five points for a win and five points for a clean sheet. Therefore, with two points per save, you can be a bit more creative with goalie. As always, it’s important to correlate. If you have a forward who really needs to score a goal to hit value “most forwards”, you probably don’t want to use the goalie that he’s facing. That should be common sense, but once again, you’d be surprised what I see on a weekly basis.
On FanDuel, the goal is to grab a clean sheet and a win as you receive ten points for a clean sheet and seven points for a win. A save is only boosted to two and a half points from DraftKing’s two. So there is little reason to pick a goalie that you think will lose and get bombarded with shots against.
DFS Soccer Tutorial Summary
Hopefully, you found some of this information helpful. Simply by not making basic mistakes, we can maintain an edge over the field at-large. There will be days where everything is wacky and the results make no sense. It is important not to overreact, as there is a reason the biggest money DFS soccer players continually utilize many of the strategies listed above.
One final thing to consider is who takes penalty kicks if the teams playing have a clearly defined penalty taker. I wouldn’t necessarily prioritize someone due to this, but would definitely consider it as a tiebreaker between players, if all else even.