Keeping up with the latest fantasy football news and playing in a league is, for a lot of people, a passion. It’s exciting and lets you enjoy the game and a sense of competition in entirely new ways.
Before you can experience the thrill of fantasy, you have to decide the approach that’s right for you, however.
With that in mind, there are two general types of fantasy sports—season-long and daily fantasy.
Below, we delve into what each is and how they compare.
Season-Long Fantasy Sports
Season-long fantasy football is a massive and growing leisure activity. When you participate in season-long fantasy football, you’re building a team using strategy and deep research that hopefully leads you to victory. You dedicate weeks and weeks of your time to get the win.
Season-long fantasy sports are what we traditionally think of when we hear the term fantasy. You draft your team at the start of the season and follow along with the games every week.
Typically in the season-long format, you draft your starting lineup of players. These are the players you believe are going to get the most points throughout the course of a season.
You are the general manager of the team. You’re going well beyond just creating a winning roster.
You have to assess the value of players, draft them, and then make roster cuts. You set your starting lineup, and you negotiate trades.
Members of leagues will often pool their money, and the winner takes it all at the end of the season. In other situations, leagues might have a grand prize of some type. Leagues can also award prizes for the team with the most points overall and then smaller prizes for teams coming in second and third.
Daily fantasy sports, including football, are a subtype of fantasy sports. These contests occur in a short period of time. It may be days or only hours, instead of taking place over an entire season. The players still build teams from a pool of athletes, and they earn points based on the individual performance of their members’ on the field.
You can use online platforms to bet and then earn money through competition with other players.
Since the time periods are shorter, there’s more frequent selecting of teams, as well as betting and prizes. The contests that you participate in through online platforms let you build your athletes for a league and, as mentioned, win money based on their performance in the real world.
Some of the daily fantasy sports platforms let you build and submit a team right up to the start of the game, with results posted at the end of the day.
Daily fantasy sports is a massive industry generating billions in revenue.
Until 2018, sports betting wasn’t legal in the U.S., and there’s been some debate as to whether daily fantasy falls into the category of sports gambling. Now, most states have taken steps to explicitly make daily fantasy sports legal, and as such online platforms are growing in number, the total winnings they award, and how many users they have.
To play daily fantasy, you choose a platform to create an account on, and then you decide on the sport you’re going to compete in. You have to join a contest and to do that, you’ll pay an entrance fee.
From there, you build a team. You’ll have a list of available players and their stats, plus recent performance reviews in many cases. You choose the team you think is best, but you have to ensure you stay below the salary cap, which is the combined salary of all the players you choose.
Building a team requires skill, which is why many argue daily fantasy isn’t gambling.
Similarities Between Season-Long and Daily Fantasy Football
There are similarities between the two categories of fantasy sports.
One big similarity is drafting. No matter the league type or even the sport you participate in, you go through a draft of some type. The draft format can vary depending on the site or platform you use.
While technically you are drafting a team daily, what you’re actually doing is following a budget with each player being assigned a dollar value.
In all styles of fantasy sports, value is important. Value might be based on price, but it can also be based on other factors, like role.
No matter how you’re participating in fantasy sports, strategy is also part of the equation. The strategy might differ in its specifics, but it’s important.
What Are the Differences?
In a season-long fantasy league, you’ll usually draft a quarterback, two running backs, three wide receivers, a tight end, one kicker, and a defense. You could also get two wideouts and a flex running back or wide receiver. This will make up your starting team, and then you have a bench with backups.
A season-long league will often designate points-per reception, but not always.
You go head-to-head with other owners who might have the same players.
In daily fantasy, you’re drafting a player in each of the positions that you think will get the most points.
Rather than submitting your lineup every week, your roster is used for the games that take place that day.
You aren’t making trades or waiver wire pickups through the year to improve your team every week with daily fantasy. Instead, you just enter a new contest on the days you want to.
Daily fantasy isn’t as impacted by injuries as season-long, and if someone does get hurt, you can just skip using them. In season-long fantasy, on the other hand, injuries can ruin a season.
A reason that some people prefer daily fantasy overall is that it’s not as much of a commitment, and they get more flexibility and freedom than they do season-long. Of course, some people love the ongoing thrill and the commitment that comes with season-long fantasy football. For people who really love the commitment, there are dynasty fantasy leagues where you’re building a team over the years.
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