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A beginner's guide to AFL DFS: An introduction

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I can hear what you’re thinking already. I can hear the cogs turning in your head. I can hear you trawling through your years of AFL fantasy knowledge. I can even hear you calculating how much money you think you’re going to win! How I am able to do this? Because I was once like you! When I first stumbled upon the Draftstars website, I thought “how easy is this!?” Surely my 27 years of AFL fantasy experience* would lead me to untold riches.

Yet, while my inaugural season in AFL DFS did yield some profitable results, there are things about this version of AFL fantasy that I know now that I wish I knew then. So whether you’re a first time DFS player or an experienced NRL or NBA DFS pro looking to swoop on the tempting AFL cash prizes, we hope the following tips will help you better understand AFL DFS. This guide both explains the concept of AFL DFS and provides some basic tips to playing the various games on offer.


As with other forms of fantasy sports, Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) involves entrants selecting teams of players from current playing lists. Traditionally, these teams must fit under a salary cap with player prices determined by preset formulas (which usually include experience, form, injury history and opponent match-ups). Sounding familiar so far? For the most part, DFS is very similar to traditional forms of fantasy sports. However, there are several unique features of DFS:


As the name suggests, DFS involves daily contests. You can enter teams for individual matches or single-day competitions (including all games held on one day of the round), depending on the options offered by your provider. Using site-specific scoring systems, entrants then compete against each other for cash prizes. With multiple entries possible on many sites, you’re free to try as many different combinations as your bankroll will allow.


Did someone mention bankroll? Surely that’s why you’re here isn’t it? Surely YOU know more about AFL fantasy than any of the other thousands of punters who play DFS. If that’s the case, then why not put your money where your mouth is. Apart from ‘free-roll’ game options, all DFS competitions (see explanation below) have an entry fee. Depending on your choice of game, this fee can be as little as $1 or as much as $200. The main attraction for many AFL DFS players are the guaranteed prize pool or GPP competitions. For example, in Round 1, there is over $100,000 available in GPP competitions. As the popularity of AFL DFS continues to grow, so to will the GPP offerings. Other versions of DFS contests include head-to-head, turbo and double/triple ups. Winners also usually receive payment on the same day as the competition.


Borrowing from Mick Malthouse’s famous quip, we don’t all have the time, patience or interest to enter season long fantasy competitions. They can be tedious, time-consuming and take us away from our loved-ones for seven months of the year (hang on, that last point could actually the reason why we do play season long comps!). DFS is immediate. You choose a lineup, enter a competition and away you go. Forget about planning for bye rounds, forget about breakevens and forget about being ‘Ross Lyoned’ in the last round of the season.

DFS eliminates these common pitfalls of season-long competitions. Remember that player you kept in your team even though they were losing value every week, just because you thought they were bound to return to form? Well with DFS, you can change your lineup every day. In fact, in many competitions, you can even select multiple lineups in the same game.

Happy DFSing!

* I’ve been playing some form of AFL fantasy for about 27 years. As well as DFS (mainly Draftstars), I have current teams in SuperCoach, Ultimate Footy (Dynasty version) and the little known but absolutely incredible, FootyRocks. I even had a team in the original version of DreamTeam run by The Age in which you had to mail ( yes MAIL!) your teams into the paper every week.