Daily Fantasy Sports

DFS Soccer Guide Part II – Why You Should Play

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This is part II of a DFS soccer introduction.

Part 1 can be found here

This article is explaining why soccer is a very good DFS option to take up.


If you’re ready to move on to some actual strategy about the game itself then skip ahead to part III.

There will be TL:DR summary at the end.

DFS Soccer Guide Part II – Why You Should Play

Take what you have learned to the Soccer/Football/Futbol pitch and win some money playing FanDuel DFS Soccer.

Soccer Offers a Very Fun Sweat

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Soccer DFS is based upon infrequent events. Even if you are far ahead or far behind, a single goal or red card can change your team’s fortune. This makes it a very fun sweat. Even if you don’t watch the games live and follow online it can be pretty fun to track. If you like a good sweat, soccer may be right up your alley.

It can be frustrating at times. But this is more than made up for with your epic victories as well. There is a certain beauty in winning or losing a H2H in soccer because of a last minute goal that none of your players scored… but it gave your opponent enough negative points to make a difference. Even when getting demolished, you can close a very large gap in a few seconds of play so you’re always one kick away.

Soccer is Very Unpredictable

Outcomes are binary where there are very few “ok” performances. Your players rarely do just alright. They usually either crush it or do nothing. They sometimes give you negative points. The reason is that goals are very infrequent and scoring is largely goal dependent. Goals sometimes never happen at all.

Imagine if basketball only counted dunks or if baseball only counted home runs. A lot of good players would lose all fantasy value and others would be gain tremendously. Even so, they’d still have games without a HR or a dunk. This is DFS soccer in a nutshell.

Soccer is in Statistical Infancy

Europeans don’t care for stats very much. One thing many complain about when they first attempt embracing an American sport is how the television screen is nothing but data. For this reason, it’s actually hard to get good data on European soccer. In fact, in most articles, even DFS related ones, the data is rarely mentioned. All this despite that DFS scoring comes from data.

There are also a wide variety of games throughout the season. They have regular league play and then exhibition games. Their playoffs happen at the same time as the league games. This is because it’s a wholly separate event. A team can play a horrible team in an important game and the next week they can play a great team in a meaningless game. So the stats themselves aren’t even very representative of future production. The next time they are out in Bratislava in some obscure event playing a team from Kazakstan. Soccer schedules and statistical records won’t make any sense to an American’s standardized and linear sensibilities.

The Old Tricks Don’t Apply

As mentioned, there are very few “safe” plays and they are nearly always priced appropriately. Messi will always be the most expensive player on the slate. He’ll always be the highest owned. You’re still crazy if you don’t eat the chalk on Messi. If you see Messi, just play him and don’t ask any questions.  If Messi is playing, he should be on your roster.

In games like basketball, it’s a simple process of determining relative value. We see that a star player is hurt, calculate who will soak up those mandatory counting stats and adjust appropriately. This doesn’t happen in soccer. In basketball things have to happen every few seconds so if Harden is gone, someone else will be taking shots. In soccer nothing has to happen at all, it’s possible no shots are taken all game.

It’s also commonplace for the starting players to rotate heavily. For this reason, the DFS salary of bench players thrust into the starting lineup is not the bargain one would assume. They are always priced with the assumption that they could get a start. There are still mispriced players, but that is true for all DFS.

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Sometimes someone missing a game helps his teammates. Sometimes it hurts, sometimes it has no effect. Each time it’s up to you to figure out and guess how things will play out with that star player out. There’s no “Boban will play 30 minutes tonight” in soccer. For this reason, chalk is more about player talent and less to do with sudden increases in playing time because they will either play or they won’t – that’s it.  Soccer is binary.

The Real Advantage in Soccer is No Advantage At All

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I know that sounds wrong, but it’s exactly why everyone should play soccer DFS.

Lineups are released just prior to lock and they vary dramatically from game to game. This makes team formations and starters very difficult to predict. The beat reporters aren’t fed lineups ahead of time, they are just guessing based upon matchups.

This makes planning ahead a fool’s errand. If you can’t plan ahead, you can’t possibly statistically model the range of outcomes. Even if it’s someone who plays every game he is still impacted by teammates who may play or may not play.  This is why DFS soccer is ideal.  It’s a level playing field where sharps like me are unable to gain any advantage because the stats aren’t very helpful for making predictions and we have very narrow windows before lock to crunch all the suspect numbers.

Woah, Soccer Seems Impossible

On the contrary dear strawman, it only makes it impossible for algorithms. I should know, I’m an algorithm player.

Soccer is the only sport where I neither project individual player outcomes nor optimize lineups.  Each slate, I must create a narrative.

If team A will score 3 goals, who will likely score those goals?  I will thus roster players x, y & z.  If team B should have a shutout then it’s a good idea to play their goalie and defense.  If team C should take a lot of corners then I should roster the player who is likely to be kicking many of them.

Creating narratives and constructing rosters accordingly is usually  a gpp only tactic for other sports because it’s so unreliable.  In soccer, it’s the only path.   It’s something everyone can do and since it’s so unreliable there really isn’t much edge to be had.  You are arguably better off not knowing the details because then you’re more likely to avoid chalk in the gpps.

The DFS soccer world is flat.

Flat DFS Society

In DFS soccer, everyone is on a level playing field. DFS sharps avoid soccer because they lose their algorithm edge. If someone creates 10k h2hs in basketball every night, you can be assured they likely do that for baseball and football as well.

They don’t do that for soccer… not even for $1.

Soccer is the most relatively sharp free sport out there. It’s the home of passion players and degenerates. And when the sharps do play, it’s nothing to fret over because they lose their edge when playing soccer.

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If you were to play me h2h in any sport, your chances of winning go up significantly if you choose soccer.

  • Soccer is an event based DFS scoring where points are hard to come by and come in bunches – leading to a very fun (or frustrating) sweat.
  • It’s unpredictable and the few things that are predictable are very expensive. This leads to very high variance – which forgives your mistakes early on as you learn the game. I lose to “bad lineups” far more frequently in soccer than any other sport.
  • Making models to predict optimal lineups doesn’t work for soccer – thus leveling the playing field.
  • There are no winning formulas – this means when you start off you don’t face the monumental learning curve that you’ll face in a “solved” sport like basketball.
  • Nobody can out research you because very little research without knowing the lineups is worthwhile and lineups are only known about an hour before kickoff
  • As a level playing field, soccer represents what many people wish football was

Proceed to Part III – An Introduction to Strategy

About DFSx42

DFSx42 is a tech consultant who built his own models for DFS. He primarily plays on Yahoo as "Adam" where you can see his H2Hs for every sport and every slate. He is a top DFS player, most recently finishing 5th overall in the Yahoo Cup. https://rotogrinders.com/profiles/dfsx42/blog-posts

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