Drafting Rules & Scoring Systems
The drafting rules and scoring systems for daily fantasy sports are, for the most part, straightforward and easy to understand. They're similar to those used in seasonlong fantasy sports, so if you're familiar with playing them then you should have no problem getting to grips with the daily contests. There is one thing that might take some getting used to though, and that's the inclusion of a salary cap. Most seasonlong contests don't tend to use them.
Even if you've never played fantasy sports at all, it's really not hard to learn the drafting rules and scoring systems used at daily fantasy sports sites. If you read through this page then you'll have pretty much all the information you need.
It's important to note that the drafting rules and scoring systems do vary at different sites though. Most of the differences are fairly minor, but there are a couple of bigger ones too. This page illustrates the kind of differences you should expect, as we've explained the exact drafting rules and scoring systems used at two separate sites. We've covered all the major sports (football, baseball, basketball and hockey), and a couple of other ones as well.
We've used FanDuel and DraftKings for the purposes of our explanations, as these are currently two of the biggest daily fantasy sports sites. They're also both sites that we highly recommend.
Drafting & Scoring for Daily Fantasy Football
The drafting rules for daily fantasy football contests are mostly the same at all the major daily fantasy sites. One of the few areas where there is some variation is the size of the salary cap. For example, there's a $60,000 salary cap at FanDuel and a $50,000 salary cap at DraftKings.
Please note that this doesn't necessarily mean that it's easier to pick a strong team at FanDuel. There might be a bigger budget, but daily fantasy sports have their individual methodology for assigning salaries to players. On average, players are going to be more expensive at FanDuel, so it's just as hard to get the right balance in a draft.
At both these sites, the salary cap is used to draft a 9 player team. The following table shows how the rosters have to be made up.
FanDuel  DraftKings 
Quaterback  Quaterback 
Running Backs (x2)  Running Backs (x2) 
Wide Recievers (x3)  Wide Recievers (x3) 
Defense  Defense 
Tight End  Tight End 
Kicker  Flex Player 
As you can see, there's just a single difference here. At FanDuel you have to draft a kicker, but at DraftKings you get a flex player. This flex player can be another running back, another wide receiver, or another tight end.
These kind of minor differences are common across all daily fantasy sites, and they don't really affect the way the contests are played. They perhaps have a small impact on strategy, but that's about it.
No matter which site you use, you'll find that it's always forbidden to draft all the members of a lineup from a single team. You have to use players from at least two different teams, and those teams must be participating in at least two different games.
Your lineup will be awarded points based on how the players you've selected perform in the real games. Players can earn points for the following.


Players can also lose points for interceptions and fumbles, or if the team allows too many points.
Let's take a look at exactly how points are earned and lost at FanDuel and DraftKings.
Rushing and receiving touchdowns are worth six points at both FanDuel and DraftKings, as are kickoff and punt return touchdowns. Passing touchdowns are worth six points at both sites.
Players get yardage via rushing and receiving. At both DraftKings and Fanduel, rushing yards and receiving yards are worth a point for every 10 yards gained. Players also gain yardage via passing. At Fanduel, passing yards are worth one point for every 40 yards. DraftKings, on the other hand, awards one point for every 25 passing yards.
At DraftKings, players can earn bonus points for achieving certain milestones. For example, a game in which a player gets over 300 passing yards is worth 3 points. Also, over 100 receiving or over 100 rushing yards is worth 3 points.
Most daily fantasy contests are PPR (pointsperreception) leagues. That means a player earns points for completed receptions. At our two example sites, players get one point for each reception.
One of the main ways that a team's defense earns points is for sacks. Each sack is worth 1 point at both of our example sites.
Players also get points for recovering fumbles. That's worth two points at both DraftKings and at Fanduel.
How many points the defense allows is a big scoring factor, too. If a team's defense can keep their opponents beneath a certain number of points, they get points for that. On the other hand, if their opponents score a lot of points, the defense can lose points for your fantasy team.
At Fanduel, a defense that allows zero points earns ten points. A defense that allows 16 points earns seven points. Allowing 713 points earns four points, and allowing 1420 points earns one point. Allowing 2834 points loses one point, and allowing 35 points or more loses four points.
DraftKings' scoring system for their defense is exactly the same.
At Fanduel, players earn three points for a field goal. For a field goal of over 40 or over 50 yards, they get four points or five points instead. At DraftKings you don't have a kicker, so there's no scoring for a field goal.
Throwing interceptions costs your team points. Interceptions usually result in a one point deduction, and fumbles usually result in a two point deduction.
Drafting & Scoring for Daily Fantasy Baseball
As with football, the drafting rules for baseball at FanDuel and DraftKings are similar but not identical. The salary caps are different, for one thing. FanDuel gives you a $35,000 salary cap, while DraftKings gives you $50,000. The salaries for individual players differ at each site, too.
Another difference between the sites is the size of your roster. At FanDuel, you only get 9 players, but at DraftKings, you get 10 players.
FanDuel  DraftKings 
Pitcher  Pitcher (x2) 
Catcher  Catcher 
Shortstop  Shortstop 
Basemen (x3)  Basemen (x3) 
Outfielders (x3)  Outfielders (x3) 
Once again the difference is very minor. At FanDuel you get just one pitcher, while at DraftKings you get two.
The rule about not drafting all the same players from the same teams applies to daily fantasy baseball as well as football. You must again choose players from at least two different teams, and who are playing in at least two different games. At DraftKings you have to get hitters from no less than three different teams.
Scoring for fantasy baseball is a little simpler, because you can divide pointearning activity into two categories. These are pitching and hitting. Let's look at how the scoring works at our two example sites.
At Fanduel, pitching is scored as follows.
 A win earns 4 points.
 A strikeout earns 1 point.
 Each inning pitched earns 1 point.
 Pitchers lose 1 point for each earned run against them.
At DraftKings, pitching is scored differently.
 A win earns 4 points
 A strikeout earns 2 points
 Each inning pitched earns 2.25 points
 Pitchers lose 2 points for each earned run against them.
 Every hit against a pitcher deducts 0.6 points.
 Every time a pitcher allows a player to get on base for balls or for hitting a batter, that's also a deduction of 0.6 points.
 2.5 bonus points are awarded for a pitcher who completes a game.
 2.5 bonus points are awarded for pitching a shutout.
 5 bonus points are awarded for pitching a no hitter.
At Fanduel, hitters score as follows.
 Singles earn 1 point.
 Doubles earn 2 points.
 Triples earn 3 points.
 Home runs earn 4 points.
 RBIs earn 1 point.
 A base on balls (BB) earns 1 point
 A hit by pitch (HBP) earns 1 point.
 Stolen bases earn 2 points.
 Each out deducts 0.25 points.
At DraftKings, hitters have a significantly different scoring system:
 Singles earn 3 points.
 Doubles earn 5 points.
 Triples earn 8 points.
 Home runs earn 10 points.
 Hitters earn 2 points for every run batted in, and 2 points for every run.
 A base on balls earns 2 points.
 A hit by pitch earns 2 points.
 Stolen bases earn 5 points.
 If a hitter gets caught stealing a base, it's a 2 points deduction.
The differences in the scoring systems stem directly from the different makeup of the rosters. Having an extra pitcher changes the situation dramatically, so the hitters' abilities to score points are upped at DraftKings compared to Fanduel.
Some other sites have even more dramatic differences in how they score games.
Drafting & Scoring for Daily Fantasy Basketball
As usual, our two example sites have different salary caps. It's $60,000 at Fanduel and $50,000 at DraftKings. Naturally, the salaries for individual basketball players also differ at each website.
On both sites, you get the same number of players on your roster (9). The makeup of the rosters is the same too, and is as follows.


Again there is a rule that you have to choose players from different teams who are playing in different games. You're not allowed to draft all the players from a single team.
Scoring for fantasy basketball is simpler than for fantasy baseball or fantasy football. Let's take a look at how it works at FanDuel and DraftKings.
At Fanduel, points are awarded as follows.
 A 3 point field goal is worth 3 points.
 A 2 point field goal is worth 2 points.
 A free throw is worth 1 point.
 Rebounds are worth 1.2 points each.
 Assists are worth 1.5 points each.
 Blocks and steals are worth 2 points each.
 Each turnover is 1 point.
At DraftKings players score for the same things for the most part, but the values are different in some instances.
 Each point scored is worth 1 point.
 Each made 3 point shot is worth an additional 0.5 points.
 A rebound is worth 1.2 points.
 Assists are worth 1.5 points each.
 Blocks and steals are worth 2 points each.
 A doubledouble earns 1.5 points.
 A tripledouble earns 3 points.
 Each turnover is 0.5 points.
Daily Fantasy Hockey Scoring
Daily fantasy hockey contests are growing increasingly popular as the sport continues to grow, and
Fanduel and DraftKings both offer hockey contests. At Fanduel you get a $55,000 salary cap, but at DraftKings you get a $50,000 salary cap. As you'd expect, you'll find different prices for different players as a result of this subtle difference in the rules.
On both sites you get a 9 player roster, but the lineup differs slightly from one site to the other.
FanDuel  DraftKings 
Left Wings (x2)  Wings (x3) 
Right Wings (x2)  Centers (x2) 
Centers (x2)  Defensemen (x2) 
Defensemen (x2)  Utility 
Goaltender  Goaltender 
The utility position at DraftKings can be filled by any player other than goaltenders.
You're required to draft players from different teams in hockey too. For this sport, it must be at least three different teams.
Scoring in fantasy hockey is simple in the same way that scoring for fantasy basketball is simple. We'll now demonstrate exactly how it works at our two example sites.
At Fanduel, players besides goalies score as follows.
 3 points per goal.
 2 points per assist.
 1 point per Plus/Minus.
 Penalty minutes are worth 0.25 points.
 Power play points are worth 0.5 points each.
 Each shot on goal is worth 0.4 points.
Goalies have their own scoring system.
 3 points for a win.
 0.2 points for each save.
 2 points for a shutout.
 1 point for every goal against.
At DraftKings, the scoring is exactly the same for goaltenders. It's a little different for the other players though.
 3 points for each goal.
 2 points for each assist.
 0.5 points for each shot on goal.
 0.5 points for each blocked shot.
 0.2 points for each shootout goal.
 1.5 point bonus for a hat trick.
The scoring system for goalies is very similar.
 3 points for a win.
 0.2 points for each save.
 2 points for a shutout.
 1 point for every goal against.
Other Daily Fantasy Sports Scoring Systems
Those are the four most commonly played daily fantasy sports games, but some sites offer a wider variety of sports. These other sports also have their own rules and scoring systems.
For example, at DraftKings, you can participate in fantasy golf contests. You get to spend $50,000 to draft a team of 6 golfers. Each golfer earns points depending upon where they place in each tournament, and also earns points based on their score on each hole.
 20 points for a double eagle.
 8 points for an eagle.
 3 points for a birdie.
 2 points for a par.
 0.5 points for a bogey.
 1 points for a double bogey.
 2 points for anything worse than a double bogey
 Streaks of three or more birdies earn 3 bonus points.
 Bogey free rounds earn 3 bonus points
 Scoring all four rounds in under 70 strokes earns 5 bonus points.
 A hole in one is worth 10 points.
 Placing first in a tournament is worth 30 points.
 Second is worth 20 points.
 Third is worth 18 points.
You can also play fantasy MMA at DraftKings. You draft 5 fighters with a $50,000 salary cap, and those fighters score points based on how they do in their fights that week. The scoring system is as follows.
 Significant strikes earn 0.5 points each.
 Advances earn 1 point.
 Takedowns and reversal/sweeps earn 2 points each.
 Knockdowns are worth 3 points each.
 Fighters also score points for which round they win in.
 A first round win is 100 points.
 A second round win is 70 points.
 A third round win is 50 points.
 A fourth or fifth round win is worth 40 points.
 A decision is worth 25 points.
As you have now learned, drafting rules and scoring systems for daily fantasy sports all work according to the same basic principles. Players get points for achieving certain milestones in each game. Players also cost a certain amount of money, so managers have to balance how much they think a player will score against how much it will cost to draft that player.
The differences occur in the details, so it's advisable to familiarize yourself thoroughly with the scoring system for any contest you enter before drafting your team. Fanduel and DraftKings are the two sites we used as examples for this page, but other sites can also be different. If you want to look at some alternatives to these two sites, please check out the following page.
Article Details
Author: Brad Johnson
Updated: September 2015
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