DFS vs. Season-Long Fantasy Football: Pros and Cons

DFS vs. Season-Long Fantasy Football: Pros and Cons

Season-long or daily fantasy, which do you prefer? DFS is becoming the new normal, but season-long has been around for years and years. We're having a mini debate, with two of our writers providing their arguments for both formats. There are pros and cons of both, of course, but first consider all the facts in this article and decide for yourself. 

Are you a season-long fantasy fanatic or DFS hustler? Perhaps you play both? Regardless, there are pros and cons to both formats, so we're having two of our writers state their cases for both. Which format is better and why? Read both arguments and decide for yourself!


Argument for Daily Fantasy - Matthew Helmkamp

Before we get started, you are not going to win anything in fantasy football without doing research and developing a strategy that works for you. Extensive weekly research on things like injuries, team defense, points-per-game, etc. Without this you will lose, BIG. Whenever you read an article about how much money there is in fantasy sports, know that it is there but the time it takes to make money is the same as taking on a second full-time job.

The point is to be responsible, and if you do choose to gamble, choose Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) over season-long leagues, and here’s why:

Draft time

In DFS you get to draft who you want and when you want. In season-long leagues, you get one draft where you hope everyone is present. When they are not, you get the honor of spending the whole day waiting on each fantasy owner’s time to expire. In DFS, you don’t have to worry about Bob from accounting deciding on what kicker he wants in the 8th round. You get instant access to every player in the league.

DFS is an ever-revolving door of NFL greatness, where you are not plagued with season-long problems like the busts, injuries or anything else listed below.


Busts are those players, usually rookies, who are chosen very highly in season-long drafts based off potential. Then they get to the NFL and pull a JaMaracus Russell, giving you an average of 3-5 fantasy points-per-game. DFS eliminates busts by allowing you to choose different players each week.

In my book, the only thing worse than a bust are:


You can see the pattern here. Imagine drafting Patrick Mahomes and Todd Gurley II, then they both go down with season-ending injuries week 1. You will be scrambling to trade and make some magic happen in free agency. More than likely; however, your season, just like theirs, is over.


Based off the facts displayed above, you can imagine season-long leagues are just not very profitable. In DFS, most leagues now-a-days will hold challenges where the top prize is up to $1,000,000.00. Let me spell that out, one million dollars.

Although winning the million is highly unlikely, it is at least possible to make serious money.


There is more strategy involved in DFS than there is in season-long. In season-long, your strategy will involve evaluating free agents and looking for perspective trade opportunities. DFS consists of daily strategies and constant evaluation of every player in the entire league, as they are all readily available to you.


There are none. One could argue there is a salary cap limit each week, meaning you’re not going to get the top players at each position. That’s not a con, it’s what makes the game so interesting. It forces people to make bold predictions and use sound strategy to win the game.

At the end of the day, you get to pick the best players you want and not what’s left. No bye weeks, no injuries, no busts, and a high profit margin. Season-long leagues may have a longer history, but DFS is the future.


Argument for Season-Long - Richard Sanchez

I’m just going to get this out of the way and say one of the best reasons to play fantasy football is the pure fun of it all. One of my best memories is getting together for draft time with my friends at a local bar, anxiously waiting for the next person’s pick while continually updating my strategy, as the series of wall TV’s just continue to beam NFL updates. Season-long leagues begin with a draft. It’s great when the whole league is together.


Season-Long Drafts

Whether auction, dynasty or snake, it is always wise to put in some quality time and research into the best possible lineup. Season-long leagues tend to benefit the managers who think in terms of Average Draft Position (ADP). ADP serves as useful prep for understanding how players are valued from a fantasy football perspective. One way or another, there are ways to make the draft work in your favor.

For instance, in season-long leagues a player’s ADP is affected by injuries or sneaky rookies who nobody would pick other than a team on auto-draft. In most season-long leagues, which utilize the snake draft, you’re tasked with finding a well-balanced team. If you happen to be in a league where you have the number one pick, consider the fact that you will be waiting 18 rounds before your second pick.

The key to drafts is balance and a good strategy. Even if you decide to go heavy with a particular position—hopefully, not kickers or quarterbacks—your team will have an overall quality similar to other players in the league. You’ll have your elite starters, flex choices and maybe a sleeper or two (for example: choosing James Conner in the 14th round like I did!)


Tips to Season-Long Beginners

There are certain things about fantasy that do not require expert football knowledge. For example, strength of schedule. I have found that strength of schedule is not very useful. Over the course of the fantasy season, the schedules tend to even out. Take a look at the 2012 defenses. Consider the difference in rush yards allowed by defenses on the “easiest” schedule, compared to the team with the most difficult opponents: 6.5 yards per game.

When you factor in the uncertainty of streaming defenses on a weekly basis, there’s minimal effect. In daily fantasy, however, the matchups don’t even out because it is only one game. A player’s value is strongly linked to their opponents, whereas in season-long leagues the opponents don’t matter.


Why Beginners lean towards DFS? 

Although having a balanced team is a major bonus to beginners who start with season-long fantasy, your players will get hurt. That means that injuries can take away anyone from your first-round pick to your struggling Flex play. If you lose a starter, it will be hard to make up that point spread, but not impossible.

The main reason why so many beginners are hopping on the daily-fantasy bandwagon is the profitability. There really is no comparing the two when it comes to profitability. Season-long leagues just don’t offer the turnaround one gets from daily leagues. You would have to play at higher stakes for worthwhile returns.


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