Daily Fantasy Sports giants DraftKings took a big step forward with their soccer coverage today as they announced a change in scoring provider from Stats Inc to Opta, the London-based sports data company used by the official fantasy games for the Premier League and Major League Soccer.
What Has Changed?
Previously, participants in soccer competitions on DraftKings were asked to fill an 8-man roster composed of a goalkeeper, two defenders, two midfielders, two forwards and a "flex" position that could be filled by any outfield player (non-GK). In the new system, the formation has been updated to a more realistic 11-man squad, to be made up of the following:
- 1 Goalkeeper
- 3 Defenders
- 3 Midfielders
- 2 Forwards
- 2 "Util" Players - Same as "Flex"
Scoring has also been updated, with quite a few new scoring metrics to take into account when building your team. Here's a full breakdown of the new scoring system that will be in place for all soccer competitions, effective immediately:
For any long-time readers of the blog, or for anyone who has played previously, you'll notice that this system is very similar to what was used for the Yahoo Fantasy Premier League game that was very popular until its cancellation ahead of this season.
The most notable changes from the previous scoring system are the addition of points for tackles won and intercepted passes, as well as negative points for fouls conceded and yellow cards. This makes well-rounded players like Crystal Palace's Yohan Cabaye or Chelsea's Willian much more attractive options on DraftKings, while also making it a little more of a gamble to hedge your bets on the likes of ill-disciplined players like Diego Costa or Aleksandar Mitrovic.
Our DFS fantasy partners Josh Kronfeld and Nick Collie from DFSportsGods.com have some thoughts on how to update your approach to DraftKings for the rest of the 2015-16 Premier League and Champions League campaigns:
1. Look For Defensive Workhorses
Coming in very sneakily at +1 per each tackle and .5 for each intercepted pass, look for a major rise in the importance of some of the better CBs and CDMs in the world of DFS. For example, whereas stalwart defenders such as Chris Smalling, Martin Skrtel, and Vincent Kompany were 'homerun or strikeout' plays before in the old scoring system due to their lack of offensive ability, we strongly believe that in the new system it will allow for all of us to expand our horizons and take some chances at the big boys with a much higher chance of them producing more than just a clean sheet.
Also, the Center Defensive Midfield role is an extremely important piece for most great managers in the world and will now see a major rise in value as the likes of Francis Coquelin (Arsenal), Lucas Leiva (Liverpool), and Ramires (Chelsea) all see major boosts simply due to their disruptive abilities to intercept 8+ passes a match as well as winning 5+ tackles.
2. Flex Your Attacking Muscles
This may not sound like as important of a change as an actual differential in points, however the addition of 3 extra players onto the squad, particularly an extra flex, allows for us to stack up 4 forwards in one given lineup if the DraftKings Gods (the real ones) are kind enough to provide the proper matchups. It's no secret, goals are what propel you to victory so the ability to throw in an undervalued, and more importantly less publicly known, striker can and probably will be the difference to making the cash in the coming weeks.
3. Don't Panic
With all these changes, do we have to completely change how we go about strategizing on our end?
Absolutely not, and absolutely at the same time! Don't panic, we are all in the same boat but luckily you've stumbled across the DFSportsgods and we are here to reassure you that these changes will 150% make it easier for knowledgeable Futbol fans to be rewarded for their dedication. The same three or four left and right backs were quickly becoming every week plays by way too many people.
These giant rule changes allow for all of us to save money on less offensively active defensive players but still not be costing ourselves points. Everyone will be in uncharted waters this weekend and it's very important to remember that DraftKings is clearly taking these scoring changes very seriously as they haven't even released the pricing yet for this upcoming slate. It remains to be seen how much the addition of three players to the squad will affect player values. We'll be back with our Week 11 DraftKings recommendations as soon as those prices are available.
If you're already playing DraftKings, are you happy with this development? If you haven't started playing yet, does this rule change entice you to give DFS a try? Let us know your thoughts on these changes in the comments!