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INTRO TO DFS SOCCER
The wait is over. The English Premier League season is here, and the Mafia is ready to make some money. We crushed the Women’s World Cup and picked up another 6 units betting random games throughout July. There are no plans to slow down now!
This article will be an introduction on how to play soccer DFS. As with all other sports in DFS, there are both Cash and GPP tournaments available.
For rules and scoring info, click this link to take you to the DraftKings website.
RULE 1: ALWAYS CHECK THE LINEUPS BEFORE THE GAMES START.
We’ll start with the big picture followed by more granular details.
Who’s the biggest favorite?
How big of a favorite are they?
Are they healthy or missing players, and does this affect the potential outcomes of the game?
How many players do I need from this team?
Where is the cheap value?
Typically, fullbacks (outside defenders who cross, hopefully often) who are inexpensive or other mispriced players.
Who takes set pieces (free kicks and corner kicks), and how many can we project they will take?
Who is most likely to score a goal (or two)?
Generally, we look at teams who are favorites.
Are there any correlated players who might assist a goal, and can you afford both players?
See CHASING ASSIST TO GOAL CORRELATION below.
Plug in a goalie.
Kind of, but not really. See GOALKEEPERS below.
LET’S TALK EPL GAME TIMES
Typically, the English Premier League slates will have a start time of 10am EST. There is usually one late game played at 12:30PM EST. The big decision sometimes comes down to how many players you play from the late game. It’s tough because we don’t know for sure who is going to be playing. We think we know lineups and formations, but until it’s released about 45 minutes before the game, we are making educated guesses. This requires us to have a strategy and plan for pivots if the unthinkable happens.
Some DFS players will roster at least one or two players from the late game to be able to make adjustments, depending on how the 10am slate turns out. This strategy is particularly useful in head-to-head or 50/50 matchups.
There are going to be a million “experts” coming out of the woodwork telling new Soccer DFS players how to win money. Again, let’s be sure to understand what type of contest we are playing and align my recommendations with your goals. If the goal is to play strictly GPP tournaments where you can win big money, we’ll target those players. To win these, you need goals. Not a goal, all the goals (most of the goals).
To find the goals, you need to take risks. Sometimes that means a player with a lower floor who could get you four points for $9k of your salary.
Sometimes, it means forgoing the old worn-out strategy of just plugging in cheap fullbacks and instead looking for a CB with goal upside. Who’s good in the air on set pieces? Which team will be attacking a lot to potentially get more set pieces? Which team is likely to get a clean sheet for a bonus three points?
Sometimes, it could mean taking a defensive center midfielder of a team who is going to dominate possession and be in the other team’s half the whole game. They are usually cheap and will allow you to pay up elsewhere.
Building a roster to win a GPP requires a lot of thought and a little bit of luck.
This is not a strategy for the weak!!
If you want to play it safe and stick to more cash lineups, I would recommend looking for players who take corner kicks and free kicks. Fullbacks who get up and down the line and put crosses in the box. Cheap GK with save upside and players who are M/F eligible in the F slots who pick up assists and shots but don’t rely on scoring goals to hit their floor. If you get the odd goal, you are golden. That is called a CASH strategy.
I wanted to break goalkeepers out because there are a million different hypotheses on how to decide on a GK. The short answer is, no one knows with 100% certainty. To say you know exactly when a GK is going to pick up a clean sheet, get the win and pick up four saves is probably a stretch. However, I’ve proved over a year and a half of producing content that GK is one of our bigger edges over the field. I’m not right every week but typically get us in the right slot often enough to be in contention in both Cash and GPP.
However, we need to make educated guesses. Just pluggin’ in the cheapest GK is not a strategy, no matter how many times the “experts” say to do so.
My roster strategy is to start with who I think will score goals, find the cheap value, and then look at potential money leftover and what my options are at GK. If I find a cheap-ish GK with save upside who MIGHT get a W bonus, then they are an option. If I can’t see a scenario where they will get more than five points, they are not. Does that guarantee my goalie will get five or more points? Unfortunately, no. But at least I feel as though I’ve done the work to make an educated guess and feel good about my selection.
Last but not least, if you don’t love any of the goalies and like your roster as constructed, find the goalie who fits the salary available that isn’t playing against your players rostered.
GENERAL DFS SOCCER RULES
USE THE UTILITY SPOT WISELY
Any player (besides GK) can be used in the utility spot. Make sure the player with the LATEST start time is used in this spot. You want to be able to pivot and have options available should you need to do so.
ALWAYS CHECK THE LINEUPS BEFORE THE GAMES START
As much as we think the managers know what they are doing, there are always surprises. I’m going to recommend players I think present good value, high upside and will likely be starting. I won’t intentionally recommend a bench player, and taking a 0 is a surefire way to lose your money. Be smart and take a few minutes to confirm all of your players are playing.
CHASING ASSIST TO GOAL CORRELATION
Assist to goal is not as correlated as a PG assisting a C might be in basketball. It’s hard to peg down, and while we need to be considering this, chasing it can result in bad results. The easiest way to do this is with a capture method of rostering all three attacking players (think Man City in EPL). This is usually expensive and not +EV, but in the PERFECT situation, it can be done.
ROSTERING PLAYERS AGAINST YOUR GOALIE
The general rule is don’t roster a forward against your goalie and expect both to hit the nuts.
Typically, do not roster a field player against your goalie. I say typically because these are going to be small slates. You might have to end up on a player, or even 2, against your goalie.
Situation: A slight underdog goalie is underpriced, and you like his team to nip a win (Team A). You can hope for a situation where they score and then Team A bunkers to protect the result. In this scenario, you might then find correlation as Team B presses forward to chase the game. Team B’s outside defenders might cross more. Their midfielders might try longer range shots, which could mean easy points for the goalie and points for the midfielder. Hence, you have the GK from A and a defender from B.
Be smart with this.
As with any other DFS sport, understand your goals and the likely outcomes of your roster construction. Playing a bunch of players who pick up points and have a high floor but rarely assist/score? Cash. Going TommyG/Duke balls to the wall and trying to hit the nuts? GPP.
Have a $150 budget for the whole EPL season? Maybe start with smaller, cheaper tournaments to build the bankroll.
The EPL season is a grind, kids. 10 months of games every weekend. There are a ton of smaller games available to get your feet wet. Don’t blow all the World Cup winnings in one shot.
Good luck and stay cashin!