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A Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) Guide

Learning The Lingo Of DFS


One thing you will quickly find if you dive into the world of Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) is that there is a ton of lingo that you will need to know in order to keep up with the game. Hopefully Card Player’s DFS guide will help get you speaking the language.

DFS Terms Glossary

50/50 – A common DFS game type where the top 50% of lineups win a prize that is almost double the buy-in.

Bankroll – This is the money that you have set aside for the specific purposes of playing DFS. For some, it’s all they have in their account and for others it can be what they have in their account plus more that they’re willing to deposit.

Bonuses – Many times, sites will offer new users or people making deposits a deposit bonus.

Cash Games – These are DFS games where the top 50% of entrants finish in the prize money.

Ceiling – This is a term that references the best possible realistic outcome for a player being discussed. Clearly, it’s hard to pinpoint the best possible outcome, but certain players will inherently have higher ceilings than others. In football, players with high ceilings are generally ones who are big touchdown scorers for their teams as opposed to players who don’t see a lot of redzone action.

Chalk – Playing the ‘chalk’ or making a ‘chalky’ play is a reference to using a player in your DFS lineup who is widely agreed upon as someone who represents a good value. Chalk plays tend to be very obvious to many users and will be on many users’ rosters.

Contrarian – Being contrarian is pretty much the opposite of being ‘chalky.’ A contrarian play is one that not many users will have on their rosters. The benefit of being contrarian is being one of very few to reap the benefits of your player having a good game. The pitfalls are that the contrarian plays typically have a lower expected performance.

DFS – Daily Fantasy Sports. You will see the acronym DFS everywhere.

DK – DraftKings, one of the biggest DFS sites in the marketplace.

Dog – Short for underdog. A reference to a player or team that is projected to be on the losing end by the sportsbooks.

Double Up – A DFS game type where approximately the top 45% of lineups in a contest double their buy-in.

Draftpot – A brand new daily fantasy site, the first of its kind to offer a DFS game with no salary cap at all. Pick the players you like. Simple.

EV – Expected value. This is more of a broad gambling term and it refers to the amount of return you can expect on a given wager.

Fade – To avoid using a player. If you are fading someone, they will not be in your lineup.

FantasyDraft – An upstart daily fantasy site with the top player referral program in the industry and a great place for beginning DFS players.

Flier – This is a player that you’re taking a bit of a gamble on putting them in your lineup. They’re usually cheap and aren’t consistently productive. Typically, you would use them when you really like the rest of your lineup and have to fit one final player in to make it all work.

Floor – You will read the term floor from time to time when a player is being discussed. The reference is supposed to be a reflection of what his really bad game looks like, barring injury. An example would be ‘Peyton Manning is so good, his floor is 250 yards and 1 TD’.

GPP – Guaranteed Prize Pool. GPPs are tournaments that the hosting site guarantees that the amount it lists will be the amount of the prize pool. These are the biggest events you will see in DFS.

H2H – Head to head. A very popular game type that pits two users against one another at a dollar level of their choosing.

League – In this game type, there is a preset number of contestants, anywhere from three up to one hundred or so. They are paid out in a somewhat top-heavy manner, with three and five player contests often being winner take all, and others paying out 10-30 percent of contestants. These are not guaranteed, in that if they don’t fill the required number of players before the games start, your entry will be refunded and the contest will not run.

Line – A very common shorthand term for ‘betting line’. When you hear or read the term line in DFS, it is almost always a reference to the betting line that the sportsbooks have posted on the game.

Lineup – This is the most popular term you will come across to represent the roster you have put together for a DFS contest.

Lock – This term can have two meanings in DFS. Luckily, it is very easy to identify in context.

One meaning is that if a player is a virtual certainty to perform well, then he is a lock (of course, there are no true locks, but the term is reserved for players in extremely good situations for their price).

The other use of the term lock that you will come across in DFS is short for lineup lock, as in the precise time when you can no longer make changes to your DFS lineups. During NFL season, there is a ‘lock’ every week at 1:00 EST on Sunday. On DraftKings, which features late swap, you may swap out any player in your lineup whose game hasn’t started yet for another player at the same position whose game also hasn’t started yet.

Multiplier – A DFS game type with a payout structure that results in a certain percentage of the field winning a prize that is a multiple of the buy-in. These can be double ups, triple ups, quintuple ups or 10x prizes, for example.

Qualifier – This is a tournament where the top prize(s) is entry into a much larger tournament, often in a live destination setting.

Rake – The fee that DFS sites take for hosting contests.

Satellite – Similar to a qualifier, though satellites are a more common term when referring to winning entry into a larger tournament that will be hosted on the website as opposed to one that is part of a live finals.

Tournament – You will often hear this term and it’s generally synonymous with GPP.

Thanks for reading, everyone. Find me on Twitter @IanJ300 with any questions.

If you think you are ready to play, check out our Daily Fantasy Sports page. Card Player readers eligible for deposit bonuses of 100 percent on a number of the best DFS sites around.