Given the asymmetry between users with deep pockets and automated tools, it’s no surprise that single-entry tournaments have become increasingly more popular for fantasy football players. As the scoring rules of single-entry contests will greatly vary across platforms and, therefore, greatly affect the strategy, we will just give general best practices to keep in mind when playing single-entry contests. For a DraftKings centric, single entry GPPS breakdown, checkout Max Steinberg’s piece for sabsersim. Let’s get to the basics of single-entry contests.

What are Single-entry fantasy football contests, exactly?

Single-entry fantasy football contests are a unique daily fantasy sports (DFS) game format where each participant can submit only one lineup or roster. This contrasts to multi-entry contests, where players can submit multiple lineups to increase their chances of winning. Single-entry contests level the playing field by ensuring that all participants have an equal number of entries, thus reducing the advantage held by experienced players who may have the resources to create and manage multiple lineups

Now that you better understand single-entry fantasy football contests and their appeal, you must familiarize yourself with the contest rules and scoring system to develop a winning strategy. While different platforms utilize different strategies, we’ll delve into the importance of knowing the rules and how they can impact your approach to lineup construction and player selection in the next section.

How Are Single Entry Contests Different From MME’s?

The single-entry strategy differs from multi-entry contests in several ways, primarily due to the limited number of lineups you can submit. In single-entry contests, each participant can only submit one lineup, which levels the playing field and requires a more focused approach to lineup construction. Some key differences include:

  • Risk Management: In single-entry contests, you have just one opportunity to get your lineup right, so finding the right balance between risk and reward is crucial. Multi-entry contests allow you to spread your risk across multiple lineups, incorporating a variety of player combinations and strategies. This lets you take more chances on high-risk, high-reward players or contrarian picks. In single-entry contests, however, you should be more cautious with your risk-taking, focusing on a lineup that offers a combination of safety and upside.
  • Lineup Differentiation: In multi-entry contests, you can submit multiple lineups with various degrees of differentiation, which increases your chances of having a unique lineup that stands out from the competition. In single-entry contests, you need to be more strategic with your lineup differentiation, as you have only one chance to create a lineup that sets you apart from your opponents. This may involve calculating contrarian picks or identifying overlooked players with high upside.
  • Ownership Percentages: In multi-entry contests, you can use ownership percentages to your advantage by spreading exposure to players across various lineups. This allows you to hedge your bets on popular players while also taking chances on low-owned, high-upside players. In single-entry contests, you must be more selective with your player choices, considering ownership percentages while ensuring your lineup has a strong foundation.
  • Focus on Fundamentals: Since you have only one chance to succeed in single-entry contests, it’s essential to focus on the fundamentals of lineup construction, player selection, and research. Ensuring you understand the contest rules, scoring system, player matchups, and other factors can be the key to success in single-entry contests.
  • Adaptability: In multi-entry contests, you can adjust your lineups based on last-minute news or changes in player availability. In single-entry contests, your ability to adapt to changes is limited to a single lineup, making it even more important to stay informed and prepared to make adjustments as needed.

If you can’t remember that then remember that single-entry contests require a more cautious and focused approach to lineup construction and strategy than multi-entry contests. By managing risk, differentiating your lineup, considering ownership percentages, and focusing on fundamentals, you can optimize your chances of success in single-entry fantasy football contests.

Understanding the Contest Rules and Scoring System

To be successful in single-entry fantasy football contests, it is essential to have a thorough understanding of the contest rules and scoring system. Different platforms and contests may have slightly varying rules and scoring, impacting your lineup construction and player selection strategy. By being well-versed in these details, you can make informed decisions and maximize your chances of success.

Familiarize yourself with the points awarded for player actions, such as touchdowns, receptions, passing yards, etc. Some contests may have bonuses for reaching specific milestones, like a 100-yard rushing game or a 300-yard passing game. These variations in scoring can influence the value of certain players and the overall balance of your lineup.

Be aware of the lineup requirements for each position in the contest, such as the number of quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, flex players, and defense/special teams units you need to select. Knowing these requirements will help you allocate your resources effectively when choosing players.

Most fantasy football contests have a salary cap, which limits the total cost of your lineup. Understanding the cap constraints and how to allocate your budget across positions efficiently is crucial to building a competitive roster.

Some platforms allow for late swaps (we’ll have a full article on how to utilize late swaps). Late swaps allow you to change your lineup after the initial contest start time, as long as the players involved haven’t started their respective games. Be aware of the late swap rules for your contest, as this can influence your strategy and lineup adjustments based on last-minute news or changes in player availability. In short, ensure you don’t just leave your lineup as is if your contest allows for late swaps. The ability to change your lineup before the 4:05 games begin could be the difference between cashing and not cashing.

In the event of a tie, the contest may have specific tiebreaker rules to determine the winner. Familiarize yourself with these rules, as they can impact your decision-making when selecting players with similar projections.

By having a comprehensive understanding of the contest rules and scoring system, you can tailor your approach to lineup construction and player selection to suit the specific parameters of the contest. This knowledge will help you make informed decisions and optimize your chances of success in single-entry fantasy football contests. In the following sections, we’ll explore various strategies to improve your lineup and increase your chances of winning.

Player Selection and Value

A key component of success in single-entry fantasy football contests is making smart player selections. This involves identifying undervalued and overvalued players, researching player performance, analyzing matchups, and considering other factors affecting a player’s potential output. Remember it’s not just about whether a player will have a good game but how heavily other players own them.

What!?!? Contrarian plays have the highest expected values?!? Yes. We’re trying to instill in you that the lineup you expect to cash the least can be the best play. This is a tournament strategy you simply must internalize if you’re going to win large-scale multi-entry tournaments in fantasy. After this graph we’ll talk about general strategies but the message we want to convey through the graph is the most important, perhaps on this site. Not every lineup can be a winning lineup, but strategies can be.

  1. Research Player Performance: Analyze historical data and recent trends to evaluate a player’s performance. Pay close attention to consistency and factors that may have contributed to any outliers in a player’s performance, such as injuries or changes in offensive schemes.
  2. Analyze Matchups: Evaluate each player’s matchup against their opponent’s defense, considering factors like defensive rankings, strengths, and weaknesses. Some players may excel against certain defenses, while others may struggle. Understanding these dynamics can help you identify favorable and unfavorable matchups.
  3. Monitor Injuries and Depth Charts: Keep an eye on injury reports and depth chart changes throughout the week. Injuries can lead to opportunities for backup players, who may see increased playing time and potentially become valuable assets in your lineup.
  4. Consider Game Location and Weather: Home field advantage and weather conditions can also impact player performance. For example, a quarterback may be more challenged to accurately throw the ball in windy or rainy conditions. At the same time, a running back may benefit from an increased workload. You can use NFL Weather or RotoGrinders to monitor weather.
  5. Pay Attention to Vegas Odds: Vegas odds can provide insights into the projected game script and point totals for each matchup. High-scoring games generally provide more opportunities for fantasy points, while closely contested games may favor certain positions or players.
  6. Value-Based Drafting: When selecting players, focus on finding the best value relative to their salary cap cost. This may involve identifying undervalued players projected to outperform their cost, or avoiding overvalued players who may not live up to their high price tag.
  7. Diversify Your Lineup: To minimize risk, consider diversifying your player selections from multiple teams and matchups. This can help insulate your lineup from the effects of one underperforming player or an unexpectedly low-scoring game.

By employing these strategies during the player selection process, you can create a balanced and high-value lineup that is well-equipped to succeed in single entry fantasy football contests. In the following sections, we will continue to explore additional strategies and considerations to enhance your lineup further and increase your chances of winning.

Studying Matchups and Game Scripts

In single-entry fantasy football contests, analyzing matchups and game scripts is crucial for optimizing your lineup and maximizing your chances of success. By considering individual player matchups, projected game flow, and other factors, you can decide which players to include in your roster and how they may perform in their respective games.

  1. Individual Player Matchups: Evaluate each player’s matchup against their opponent’s defense, considering factors like defensive rankings, strengths, and weaknesses. Some players may excel against certain defenses, while others may struggle. Understanding these dynamics can help you identify favorable and unfavorable matchups and potential sleepers or breakout candidates.
  2. Projected Game Flow: Consider the expected game script or how the game will likely unfold. This can be informed by factors such as Vegas odds, team strengths, and recent performance trends. A projected high-scoring game may favor offensive players, while a low-scoring, defensive battle may benefit defense/special teams units or players involved in the running game.
  3. Target and Touch Distribution: Analyze how targets and touches are distributed among players within a team’s offense. Identifying players with a high share of their team’s opportunities can help you find consistent performers and potential value picks.
  4. Strength of Schedule: Consider the strength of each player’s remaining schedule when making lineup decisions. Players facing weaker defenses may be more likely to succeed, while those facing tougher opponents may see their fantasy production decrease.
  5. Red Zone Opportunities: Pay close attention to players who receive a high volume of red zone opportunities, as they have a greater chance of scoring touchdowns. Touchdowns are often the most significant source of fantasy points, so players with consistent red zone usage can be valuable assets in your lineup.
  6. Defensive Splits: Examine how opposing defenses perform against specific positions or types of players. For example, a defense may be particularly vulnerable to pass-catching running backs or slot receivers. Identifying these trends can help you exploit favorable matchups and find hidden value.

By carefully studying matchups and game scripts, you can decide which players to include in your lineup and how they may perform in their respective games. This level of analysis can help you identify high-upside players, avoid potential busts, and create a lineup that is well-positioned for success in single-entry fantasy football contests. In the following sections, we’ll discuss roster construction, leveraging ownership percentages, and other strategies to enhance your lineup further and increase your chances of winning.

Roster Construction and Lineup Balance

Roster construction is a critical aspect of success in single-entry fantasy football contests. It involves creating a well-balanced lineup that considers factors such as player ceilings, floors, and correlations. By crafting a balanced lineup, you can optimize your chances of success and minimize the impact of potential underperforming players.

Start by considering the ceilings and floors of the players in your lineup. A player’s ceiling represents their highest potential for fantasy points, while their floor is the minimum amount of points they are expected to score. Striking a balance between high-ceiling and high-floor players can help you create a lineup with both upside and stability. High-ceiling players may have a higher risk associated with them but can deliver significant points if they perform well. On the other hand, high-floor players offer more consistency and reliability, which can be particularly valuable in cash games.

Another crucial aspect of roster construction is considering player correlations. Correlations refer to the relationship between the performances of two or more players on your roster. For example, a quarterback and their primary wide receiver will often have a positive correlation, as a successful passing play will result in fantasy points for both players. In contrast, selecting two running backs from the same team may result in a negative correlation, as they could compete for touches and limit each other’s potential for fantasy points. Identifying and leveraging positive correlations can help increase your lineup’s overall upside, while avoiding negative correlations can prevent your lineup from being held back by redundant or competing assets.

Finally, allocating your resources effectively across positions is important, considering the salary cap and the relative value of available players. Be cautious not to overspend on a single position, which may leave you with limited resources to fill out the rest of your lineup. Instead, aim to identify undervalued players and potential bargains to help you create a well-rounded roster without exceeding the salary cap.

By focusing on roster construction and lineup balance, you can build a competitive lineup that maximizes your potential for success in single-entry fantasy football contests. In the following sections, we’ll discuss leveraging ownership percentages, staying informed and adapting to changes, and other strategies to enhance your lineup further and increase your chances of winning.

Leveraging Ownership Percentages and Contrarian Picks

Understanding and leveraging ownership percentages can be valuable for setting your lineup apart from the competition in single-entry fantasy football contests. Ownership percentage refers to the proportion of contest participants selected a particular player in their lineup. By identifying and selecting players with low ownership percentages, or contrarian picks, you can differentiate your lineup and increase your potential upside.

Highly-owned players, or chalk picks, can provide a safe and consistent floor, as they are typically popular for a reason – strong performance, favorable matchups, or excellent value. However, relying solely on chalk picks can limit your lineup’s overall upside, as your success is tied to the same players as a large portion of your competition. If these popular players underperform, your lineup may struggle to stand out from a crowded field.

Incorporating contrarian picks into your lineup can help you gain an edge over your competition. These low-owned players may have the potential for a breakout performance but are often overlooked due to unfavorable matchups, recent poor performance, or other factors. If a contrarian pick exceeds expectations and delivers a strong fantasy performance, your lineup can benefit significantly, as fewer competitors will have that player on their roster.

When selecting contrarian picks, it’s essential to balance risk and reward. While it’s important to differentiate your lineup, you should still prioritize players with a reasonable chance of success. Avoid selecting low-owned players solely to be contrarian, as this can lead to an overly risky lineup with a lower probability of success.

Consider the following strategies when leveraging ownership percentages and contrarian picks:

  1. Research player ownership trends and projections to identify potential contrarian plays.
  2. Look for overlooked players with favorable matchups or opportunities for an increased workload. Remember, fantasy football is an information game. Look for injury reports last second.
  3. Balance your lineup with a mix of chalk and contrarian picks to optimize both safety and upside.
  4. Don’t be afraid to pivot from a popular player to a lower-owned alternative with a similar projection, especially in large-field tournaments.

By incorporating contrarian picks and leveraging ownership percentages, you can create a unique and potentially high-upside lineup that distinguishes you from your competition in single-entry fantasy football contests. In the following sections, we’ll discuss staying informed and adapting to changes and other strategies to enhance your lineup further and increase your chances of winning.