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Daily Fantasy Sports vs. Season Long Leagues

Most people that hear about daily fantasy sports see it as some obscure or abstract entity. That’s either because they have had zero exposure to fantasy

sports of any kind or they’ve been stuck in the hamster wheel that is season long fantasy sports for too long.

There’s nothing wrong with being a total newbie in any regard, and there’s obviously nothing to be ashamed of in regards to being a season long lifer.

Completely ignoring the benefits of DFS (daily fantasy sports, for short) could be a big mistake, though. For one, daily fantasy sports and season long

fantasy sports share a lot of the same similarities:

DFS and Season Long Similarities

Daily Fantasy Sports
Season Long Fantasy Sports

No matter what fantasy sport or league type you’re dealing with, there’s always a draft in some manner. That’s still the case with daily fantasy sports,

whether it be a salary cap league or a snake draft. Different daily fantasy sites run their sites a certain way, but there are a variety of league types. Just

like with season long leagues, you still have to put in some time and research and you’re aiming for the best team possible.

Daily fantasy sports drafts usually are done with a salary cap in mind and your draft is independent of everyone else’s, but there are also snake drafts that are done in the same vane as regular season long leagues.

Season long leagues might even offer a wider variety of draft types

(auction, dynasty, among others), but the point is both still hold a

draft where you get to choose who is on your fantasy team.


Value is always a big deal in fantasy sports. Whether it’s based off of price, matchup, role or a certain player just being a sneaky sleeper that you don’t

think anyone else is high on, value is extremely important in all styles of fantasy sports.

In daily fantasy sports, you can be high on a player few will think

to use. This is called a contrarian option, which means it would be

low owned in a bigger game, and fairly unlikely to be used in

smaller games like Head to Head showdowns. Regardless of the

league type, chasing value can always be risky, but it also can be

what separates you from the pack.

For season long leagues it’s more about utilizing Average Draft

Position (ADP) to your advantage or playing the fantasy owners

you’re going up against. One way or another, you can manipulate

the way your draft pans out based off of how others value certain

players and how you value them, as well.


There is always some type of strategy involved in fantasy sports. It can shift from sport to sport, and what type of league you’re playing in also can

naturally impact the way you prepare, draft and position your team. This can be altered based off of roster settings, draft type, scoring settings and the

list really goes on. The point is, whether you’re battling fantasy owners in DFS or season long leagues, you probably want to spend a little time thinking

about how you’ll combat them.

For instance, in GPP (Guaranteed Prize Pool) tournaments in DFS,

you’ll want to get some studs and a few contrarian plays on

your roster. This gives you some of the top performing players

that you assume most of the field will use, while it would also

give you some of your favorite value picks that you’re betting

fewer people will test out in that day’s game.

In season long leagues, your strategy can hinge on value via ADP,

players falling in drafts due to injuries or sneaky rookies no one

else is convinced will pay off, but you think they will. Strategy

itself is a bit of a pandora’s box situation, but the point is at all

levels of fantasy sports, it is very much alive and well.


You probably already figured this, but no matter what fantasy sport or league you play in, you’re probably facing other people just like you. Both DFS

and season long fantasy leagues have you pitted against other people that want to win for respect/bragging rights or to win cash. Heck, probably both.

Anyone who plays daily fantasy sports can attest to the fact that DFS is far more competitive and the rush of winning is arguably greater, but this is a clear similarity the two share regardless.

The prize reward is much bigger in DFS and so is the field of competition, but you’re experiencing some intense competition for season long leagues as well.


You can win some serious cash playing both DFS and season long leagues. Both league types will tell you what cash prize is up for grabs before the

league starts and if your team is the best at the end of it all, you can win a good amount of money.

DFS and Season Long Differences

Daily Fantasy Sports
Season Long Fantasy Sports

Yes, you draft in all fantasy sports formats, but doing so in daily fantasy is completely different.

The biggest difference, of course, is you’re only drafting for that

specific day (or week, for the NFL and PGA), and you don’t care as

much about long-term sleepers or troubling situations. All you

care about is the best value for that week and building the most

complete team.

It always will depend on what game type you’re playing, too, but

generally you want a team with reliable players that also carries

some upside. Needless to say, with your game being played the

same day you draft, your draft prep is reduced by leaps and

bounds. You may spend weeks or even months preparing for the

season long grind, but with DFS, it could literally take you minutes.


Yes, you draft in all fantasy sports formats, but doing so in daily fantasy is completely different. While DFS and season long fantasy sports do have a lot

in common, there are also a ton of things that differentiate them and arguably put daily fantasy sports atop the totem pole of fantasy lore.

Daily fantasy sports isn’t nearly as impacted by injuries, as you’re

just drafting for the here and now and if a star you use does get

hurt, you just don’t use him the next time you draft.Injuries,

trades and the waiver wire in general are all out of the picture

with DFS, and so is all of the stress that accompanies them.

Injuries can destroy a season long fantasy season. If your first

round draft pick goes down, failing to effectively replace him with

a stud off the waiver wire or via a huge trade could make for

a lost season. Truth be told, all of those aspects of season long

fantasy leagues can be a lot of fun, but they also can take a toll

and be a total nightmare.


The matchup aspect of fantasy strategy is never more prevalent than in daily fantasy sports and that is a huge thing that separates it from season long

leagues. Ever hear the “start your studs” mantra? That’s because if you draft a superstar player in the first few rounds, you selected them to be a pivotal

part of a successful fantasy team.That inevitably means that as long as they’re healthy, you can’t think about matchups: you just need to start them

blindly. Unfortunately, that can really backfire in the worst possible way at times.

In DFS, you absolutely can avoid those tough matchups, though,

and make sure you feel great about every player you use and

their specifics situation for that day or week. This is one instance

where you’ll hear other DFS players saying they’re “fading” a star

player. Matchup, injury, price or role can lead to this.

In season long, you’re drafting for the long haul. Meaning you

will feel pressed to always draft the most expensive players in

salary cap games or the biggest stars in general. You may feel

more or less handcuffed to your drafting before the season

even started.


Quite possibly the best aspect of DFS play is the ability to draft whoever you want.

Normally in season long leagues, with fantasy football as an

example, you won’t find yourself with a team that consists of Aaron

Rodgers, Adrian Peterson, Odell Beckham Jr. AND Rob Gronkowski.

But in DFS, if you play your cards right, you can have all of those

guys on one roster. Then all of that “value” talk comes into play

o an insane extreme, but the point is you simply cannot replicate

the freedom and flexibility of daily fantasy sports.

League type and strategy may restrict you to some degree if

you’re smart about it, but for the most part, your team can be

whatever you want it to be. That’s really not the case in

season long formats.

Bigger Reward

Quite possibly the best aspect of DFS play is the ability to draft whoever you want.

Winning money is one big thing DFS and season long fantasy

sports share, but which one you can win more in is beyond

obvious: DFS. Daily fantasy sports not only give you far greater

paydays due to huge GPPs (we’re talking up to $1 million in a

contest, folks), but you get a shot at making major bank on

a daily basis.

Season long leagues usually make you wait the entire season to

see if you were the best in your league, and the payout tends

to be rather small. Some season long leagues do award weekly

cash prizes or carry side bets (most points, best record, etc),

but none of that touches the upside or frequency that daily

fantasy sports can provide.

DFS and Season Long Differences

As you can see, daily fantasy sports and season long fantasy sports are pretty much the same thing. Except they’re not.

In summary, the main difference is:
  • DFS is shorter

  • Less time consuming
  • Far more profitable

Regular season long fantasy leagues can be bogged down and depending on who you face, the competition can be weak at times. Daily fantasy sports

doesn’t have to be a complete replacement for your season long leagues, but it sure is a nice alternative for when your league doesn’t go as planned

and you still want to play fantasy sports.

Our Thoughts

Which one is better or more worth your time is ultimately up to you. Odds are you’ll enjoy both, but if you have

to pick one with enjoyment, competition and profitability in mind, the DFS scene is probably the place to

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