How To Play Daily Fantasy Soccer

Since its debut more than a decade ago, the daily fantasy sports industry has experienced meteoric growth. A good portion is because of the introduction of DFS games for all kinds of sports.

Included is soccer, which is one of the most popular additions. As some of the top athletes in the world compete on the pitch, you can get even more involved in the action while having a little skin in the game.

Different from soccer betting, daily fantasy soccer is lots of fun, and you also have the chance to win real-money prizes

For soccer buffs, that’s what we call a win-win situation. For those new to the game, it’s all the more reason to see what the fuss is.

We’re going to walk through some of the steps you need to take to compete successfully in DFS soccer. By the time you’re through with this article, you’ll have some actionable information to follow, such as lineup building and how to find the best plays.

Before we get there, let’s take a look at the best places you can get in on the game.

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Which soccer DFS app is right for you

Two major operators control the bulk of the action in DFS. The biggest prize pools are on these two sites, as well as the largest number of active users. 

However, there are also other options for those who are interested in mixing it up a little.

  • DraftKings DFS ($20 free with first deposit, plus up to $500 deposit match): The king of the hill in DFS, DraftKings offers the largest guaranteed prize pools and has the most active users. Soccer DFS is one of the staple offerings.
  • FanDuel DFS ($5 free upon sign up, plus $5 extra on deposit): FanDuel has been a tremendous driving force in the growth of DFS. Its simple game-play style attracts plenty of players, including those who love DFS soccer.

Signing up for an account on each of these sites is a piece of cake. Just click on our exclusive links to get started so you can take advantage of the generous welcome offers. 

Complete the simple process, and you’ll be all set and ready to play.

How soccer DFS works

When playing daily fantasy soccer on DraftKings or FanDuel, the object of the game is to build out the best possible lineup from the slate of games available. You have to adhere to position requirements while staying underneath a salary cap.

All the players on the slate will have their salary for the day. These will range from high-priced stars to low-priced role players. We’ll take a closer look at how to build a lineup shortly.

For the time being, let’s examine some of the most popular contest types:

  • Guaranteed Prize Pools (GPPs): These are guaranteed prize pool tournaments. The biggest prizes are here, so these games attract the most significant number of users.
  • 50/50s and Double-Ups: In these contests, the object is to build a lineup that outscores more than half the field. The reward can be double your entry fee.
  • Multipliers: You also have to beat out a portion of the field to win prizes here, but the reward is a multiple of the entry fee, such as 3x.
  • Leagues: The same concept as tournaments but on a smaller scale with fewer players. The highest-scoring lineups win prizes.
  • Head-to-Heads: This is user versus user to win all the marbles. The lineup that scores the best is the winner.

All the different contest types will have varying price points. There are options for every budget, ranging from small to large entry fees.

In addition to the above, you will also come across “showdown” contests. These are DFS contests that revolve around a single game as opposed to an entire slate.

Soccer scoring: DraftKings vs. FanDuel

The two major DFS operators touch on the same aspects of the game for DFS soccer scoring, but they hit different notes in several cases. 

Here’s how major events are scored on both platforms:

DraftKingsPoints AwardedFanDuelPoints Awarded
Shot on Goal1Shot on Goal0
Assisted Shot1Assisted Shot0
Accurate Pass0.02Accurate Pass0
Fouls Drawn1Fouls Drawn0
Fouls Conceded-0.5Fouls Conceded0
Tackle Won1Tackle Won1.3
Passes Intercepted0.5Passes Intercepted1.3
Yellow Card-1.5Yellow Card0
Red Card-3Red Card0
Defender Clean Sheet3Defender Clean Sheet5
Shootout Goal1.5Shootout Goal0
Shootout Miss-1Shootout Miss0
Chances Created0Chances Created1.3
Blocked Shots0Blocked Shots1.3
Goal Conceded-2Goal Conceded-2.5
Goalie Clean Sheet5Goalie Clean Sheet10
Penalty Kick Save3Penalty Kick Save0
Shootout Save1.5Shootout Save0

In general, DraftKings takes a more detailed approach to scoring. FanDuel hits on fewer categories, but the points awarded are larger for major events while the penalties are also bigger.

The differences can have a significant impact on the lineup building strategy used for both sites. Players that may excel in FanDuel scoring aren’t always the best plays on DraftKings, and vice versa.

Soccer DFS picks: DraftKings vs. Fanduel

Lineup requirements are also different on the two DFS titans. 

On DraftKings, it’s eight positions to fit under a $50,000 salary cap. 

Over on FanDuel, you need seven players and are working with a $100 salary cap.

  • DraftKings: F, F, M, M, D, D, G, Util
  • FanDuel: Four forwards/midfielders, two defenders, one goalie

Once again, this will impact how you build out lineups on the two sites. When examining a slate of games, keep this in mind. 

While you can quickly identify the top players who would be great fits in both spots, it gets a little more tricky when it comes to value plays.

Don’t let that discourage you from playing on both DraftKings and FanDuel. There are plenty of DFS users out there who play on both sites and find success.

When playing on both, it can be helpful to pick out the top plays from each slate of games, i.e., top goal scorers, defenders and goalies. 

Choices from these categories will fill out the bulk of your lineup, and you can then research site-specific value plays to finish building out a competitive lineup.

DFS EPL soccer teams and schedule

The English Premier League is the most popular soccer league in the world. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that both DraftKings and FanDuel focus on the EPL as a result.

On FanDuel, EPL soccer is the only option. DraftKings includes more leagues such as the UEFA Europa League. In the world of DFS soccer, the EPL receives the bulk of attention from users and offers the biggest prize pools, so we’ll focus our attention there.

The EPL is the highest level of soccer over in England, and it attracts players from around the globe. There are 20 teams in the league, which follows the UK standard of promotion and relegation.

In a nutshell, that means that teams can move up and down the soccer hierarchy, depending on how they perform for the season. Those who fare the worst are at risk of moving down. This helps to keep the action intense all season long.

The season runs on a calendar that stretches from August to May. Each of the clubs plays others in the league twice, once at home and once away, for a total of 38 games per team.

Victors earn 3 points for each win while receiving 1 point for a draw. The team with the most points at the end of the season is the champion of the league. 

Here are the 20 teams in the EPL for the 2019-20 season:

  • Arsenal
  • Aston Villa
  • Bournemouth
  • Brighton & Hove Albion
  • Burnley
  • Chelsea
  • Crystal Palace
  • Everton
  • Leicester City
  • Liverpool
  • Manchester City
  • Manchester United
  • Newcastle United
  • Norwich City
  • Sheffield United
  • Southampton
  • Tottenham Hotspur
  • Watford
  • West Ham United
  • Wolverhampton Wanderers

The league’s schedule of 38 games per team translates into 38 weeks of action for soccer daily fantasy fans.

How to create a winning DFS lineup

Building out a winning soccer fantasy lineup is challenging, but that doesn’t make it impossible. 

The top plays will vary depending on the slate, not to mention the price you have to pay for their services.

So how do you go about putting together a lineup that has a shot? 

For starters, you can follow this simple five-point plan:

  1. Team Matchups: Does either side have any clear advantages?
  2. Player Performance: Average fantasy points scored and recent play.
  3. Recent Play on Both Sides: How have the two teams fared over the last five games?
  4. Dig into Stats: Shots, saves, penalties, etc.
  5. Team News: Pay attention to press conferences and injury news.

As you walk through these steps, make a note of the players who jump out from each category. Once you have finished with all five, you’ll have a shortlist of players to consider.

From there, try to zero in on your favorite high-priced and value plays. Shoot for filling out four spots based on your research. Afterward, it’s just a matter of completing your lineup with plays that make sense from a performance and salary perspective.

In addition to digging in yourself, don’t be shy about leaning on the research of others to help make your choices. There are several resources to be found on the interwebs. Some are free and others are of the subscription variety.

You’ll find lineup recommendations and key stats to consider. 

Please note: You’re not the only one who will be following the tips, so be sure to mix up your selections with some of your choices in addition to the top-recommended plays.

How to optimize your fantasy soccer lineup

In addition to research resources, there are lineup optimizers to be found. These allow you to plug in some plays and find the optimal fits. You can also just take a look at what the optimal lineup generator spits out.

Once again, remember that other DFS players will be going through the same optimizer. If you blindly follow the recommendations, then there’s a really good chance you’ll run into a bunch of duplicate lineups.

As opposed to doing that, follow the simple research process outlined up above to zero in on your core plays. From there, check out what the optimizer has to say for your remaining lineup spots.

It’s worth taking the time to check it out as the optimizers may point you to players you weren’t considering.

How to find quality players

Fans of the EPL generally know who the top players are, but that doesn’t always mean they’re the best choices for fantasy purposes. 

As for those who are just beginning to get their feet wet with the league, figuring out where to start can seem overwhelming.

As daunting as it may seem, there are steps you can take to find quality players for each and every slate on the docket. 

You can look in these additional places:

  • Season-Long Stats: Which players have been killing it this season? Which ones are struggling?
  • Average Fantasy Points Scored: You’ll find these stats front and center on both DraftKings and FanDuel. Take advantage of them.
  • Sports Betting Odds: When a team is a big favorite, goals may follow. Search the odds and lines for each game for clues on which teams to dedicate focus.
  • Prop Betting Market: Sportsbooks will list prop projections for individual players, as will Monkey Knife Fight and PrizePicks. Consider the over/under selections as benchmarks for player performances in the contests.
  • Recent Form: Players go on hot and cold streaks. For each player you’re considering for your lineup, examine average fantasy points scored over the last three or five games.

As with all DFS games, finding the top soccer players for a slate of games takes some practice. However, the process gets much quicker each time you work through it.

Understanding clean sheets

While most of the soccer fantasy scoring terms seem straightforward enough, this one tends to cause a bit of confusion for those new to the sport.

A clean sheet simply means that one side prevented their opponent from scoring any goals during a match. For example, if Manchester United picks up a 2-0 victory over Liverpool, the former’s shutout victory results in a clean sheet.

For daily fantasy sports purposes, defenders and goalkeepers earn points for clean sheets. 

FanDuel is more generous with points, as goalies get 10 and defenders get 5 points. 

On DraftKings, it’s 5 points for goalies and 3 points for defenders.

Soccer DFS FAQ

A sleeper player is someone who has the potential to outperform his or her expectations for the match. This could be a star player who has been struggling or a low-priced value play who is expected to get more time, for example.

Cheat sheets can be a good resource to lean on as they will help you zero in on the top plays for a slate of games and any relevant stats you need to know. However, remember that others will be following the same advice, so you’ll want to mix in some of your choices for lineup differentiation.

A lineup builder can also be a valuable resource as it can help you spot players that you may not have considered. That said, the same note of caution applies. If you blindly follow the recommendations, there’s a good chance you’ll run into lots of duplicate lineups in your soccer DFS contests.

The EPL is full of talent as it attracts the top soccer players in the world. Among the top goal scorers for the current season are Jamie Vardy of Leicester City, and Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero. Top goalkeepers include Newcastle United’s Martin Dubravka, while Virgil van Djik of Liverpool is among the many stellar defenders in EPL.

It’s completely legal and safe to play soccer DFS in 40+ states. As of now, only Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada and Washington state are not DFS friendly.

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