Daily Fantasy Sports

League of Legends DFS Basics


Hi everybody, my name is Alex Jacoby and I’m a former Wall Street data guy turned professional online poker player. I went to school for (and got my masters in) Computer Science & Software Engineering and have played League of Legends (LoL) for the last decade.

At my peak, I was ranked in the top 1% of all players. I’ve used my past experience and passion for LoL to develop a model that I use to guide my LoL betting and DFS decisions.

With the current sporting landscape, LoL is the biggest show in town on DFS sites. I’ve been asked to share both how I approach LoL DFS from a strategic standpoint as well as give my thoughts on the larger slates. Let’s dive in!

What Is League of Legends?

First off, League of Legends is a MOBA, which stands for Multiplayer Online Battle Arena. Two teams of five players will select 10 characters in the game. They compete to destroy the opponents “Nexus” – a building deep within the enemy base.

The game map is broadly split into three parts, called “lanes,” and each team sends players into the three lanes. The game is much more complex than that, but you don’t need to know the intricacies of LoL to succeed in LoL DFS.

However, if you would like to learn how to play, this is a good video that is up to date with the current state of the game:

League of Legends DFS Basics

I’m going to write this article geared towards DraftKings (DK) scoring as that’s the most popular site for LoL DFS right now. A lineup consists of one captain, a roster slot for each of the 5 positions, and a team slot. Let’s take a look at player scoring:

  • Kills: +3 points
  • Assists: +2 points
  • Deaths: -1 point
  • Creep Score: +.02 points/creep
  • 10+ K/A bonus +2 points

It should be obvious that LoL scoring is driven by Kills and Assists. The players who get a lot of those are the ones we want to roster. Each player belongs to one of five roles, with their own unique purpose within the game:

ADC – This stands for “Attack Damage Carry” and ADCs are one of the two main damage dealers on a team. As the name would imply, they are there to carry the team. The ADC position generally has the highest ceiling for DFS scoring.

Mid – The mid player is the second main damage source for a team and plays in the middle of the map. They score very similar to ADCs and can easily be the highest scoring player on any given slate.

Jungle – The jungler moves in the areas of the map that are hidden to the other team. They try to create odd-man situations that result in kills. A good jungler has to balance helping their teammates get kills as well as responding to the enemy junglers movements. They have a few more jobs than this, but for DFS purposes their main task is to generate kills for their team. Junglers can score well, but their median score is definitely below ADCs and Mids.

Top – The top lane player can serve many purposes but will almost always be required to play a character that absorbs the enemy’s damage while also helping to initiate larger fights. They often score lower than the other roles as they often play isolated from the rest of their team. This makes it harder for them to rack up large numbers of kills and assists.

Support – The support player is a utility player whose job isn’t to kill the enemies but rather shield or heal their teammates. They will sometimes initiate fights. They often stick by the ADC player for the majority of the match so their scores are generally highly correlated. However, since the supports main priority is not getting kills they have a much lower floor/ceiling than any other role.

In the DFS lineup, there is also a slot to select a Team. This only produces a usable score if that team wins the match. The optimal strategy is generally to choose the team that also contains some of the individual players that you have selected. Individual player scores are generally positively correlated with their team winning.

We want to maximize our potential lineup score ceiling by taking advantage of the correlation. With that being said, an easy way to differentiate your lineups is to one-off the Team slot with another team you think will win, but their players won’t get as many kills as the ones you’ve rostered.

Finally, the most important point of this section is that winning matters. Imagine in hockey if when a team scored a goal their players became stronger, skated faster and shot harder. The result would be that the leading team would continually find it easier to score again, while the other team would increasingly find it difficult to do anything.

This is what happens in League of Legends. When a team gets kills and a lead, their characters continually get stronger. This allows them to score points more easily and simultaneously prevents the enemy team from doing anything productive.

Scoring Breakdowns

With all of that in mind, the important factor in developing winning lineups is to look at the actual numbers. From the last LCS split (season), here is how the scoring broke down by position. Data is pulled from Oracles Elixir, a website that compiles LoL statistical data.

League of Legends (LoL) DFS Scoring Breakdown

When I first saw this, my takeaways were:

  • ADCs and Mids generally are higher scoring than other positions.
  • But not so much higher that another position in the captain slot isn’t viable!

The first mistake people make is that they will sacrifice the correlation of their roster so that they can fit a Mid or ADC into the captain slot. Every role is viable in the captain slot. Look no further than that we’re two weeks into the LPL (Chinese league) restarting on DraftKings and a major contest has been won with each position in the captain slot, aside from the Team.

Teams are simply not viable in captain slots. They don’t have the ceiling that roster players do. Players can always get more kills in a back and forth game, but there are a finite amount of objectives to take, capping Teams’ potential for a true ceiling.

Next, let’s think about how correlation plays its role in League of Legends. Every time a player gets a Kill, any teammate that helped in any way will get an Assist. This means that for every Kill there are a possible four assists, one per teammate. They are very easy to earn when a nearby teammate gets a kill.

With uncapped assists, it means that if one player has a great game and gets tons of kills, it’s likely that many of his teammates got a significant amount of assists. This results in ceiling games for everyone on the team. This is why it’s important when constructing your team to try and stack your captain with three roster (non-team) players.

Using the 2019 LCS split again, let’s look at how well each roster player is correlated with each other in terms of DK Fantasy Points:

League of Legends (LoL) DFS Scoring Breakdown R

I won’t clutter up this article with the actual plots of the data, but if you’re interested you can find them here:

Again, all of these roster players are highly correlated with each other, so stacking them is a more optimal strategy. We can see that in general the best players to stack together are ADC and Support as they work together most of the game. On the other hand, Top laners are the least correlated with the team.


The 4-3

The most obvious stack is called the “4-3” stack. As you can probably figure out, your 7-man roster will have a 4-man stack from one team. One of those four in the captain slot, and then another 3-man stack that includes two roster players and the team slot. I also think optimally you would include the top laner in the 3-man stack. As always, the “optimal” lineup rarely wins large field GPPs, and I wouldn’t make that a strict rule.

The 3-3-1

The 3-3-1 is also a viable way to stack your lineups if there are two teams you really like, but can’t get the salaries to work. This implies two 3-man stacks and a one-off from a third team. I try my hardest to build 4-3 or 4-2-1 stacks. That being said, I recognize that 3-3-1 stacks with a one-off Top or Team role can easily win contests. It will generally differentiate themselves significantly from the field.

The 4-2-1

I’m certainly not the first to do this, but I’ve recently been liking the power that the 4-2-1 stack provides. Especially if you can one-off the Team slot with a big favorite. This allows you to 4-man stack with your captain, include two roster players from a second team, and have a Team you expect to win easily (or sweep 2-0 in best of 3 series).

Having a one-off again sacrifices some correlation, but a Team hitting their ceiling point output doesn’t normally have to do with your roster players hitting their ceiling as well. For example, a slow-paced, methodical team can easily capture numerous objectives and win the game by 30 minutes while only having 10 kills on their team. The team slot will have a massive performance but the roster players will put up disappointing individual numbers.

A sloppy team can win in a 35 kill slugfest, leading to higher individual player scores but a relatively modest team score.

The floors are correlated, but the ceilings aren’t!

The Stats That Matter

Vegas Totals – Just like every other sport, Vegas has its opinions on who the favorites are and how many kills they will get in the game. Given the importance of winning and kill totals to DFS scoring, you should be using Vegas projections. I would use Pinnacle for an idea of a sharp projection. Other sites (Bovada especially!) have so much vig on their lines that they can be misleading.

CKPM – Combined Kills Per Minute is a way to measure the “pace” that a team plays at. You want to play teams that will win and have a lot of kills in their games. Those are the types of teams that produce fantasy goodness. There are many ways to win in League of Legends, and many teams play a slow approach that will net them wins but very few kills. These teams don’t usually have the ceiling to take down a GPP and can be deceptive to those who focus just on a winning team.

KP – Kill Participation is a measure of how often a specific player is involved when their team gets a kill. It is similar to usage rate in the NBA. If a team is expected to get a ton of kills, but one of their players is hardly involved, he can be the one you leave off of your stack. For both CKPM and KP I would use oracleselixir.com or gol.gg.

That about covers the basics of LoL, player scoring and lineup construction. I hope that helped and if you have questions you can always find me on twitter @AJacoby12!

Good luck!

Now that you are ready to play and win, check out my latest  League of Legends DFS – DraftKings Slate Breakdown!

About Alex Jacoby

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