Make the Most of Different DFS Tournament Formats

Matt Brown
By Matt BrownPublished: February 21, 2024
Make the Most of Different DFS Tournament Formats

The DFS tournament format you choose can significantly impact your strategy and, ultimately, your success. From Underdog Fantasy to DraftKings and OwnersBox, each platform offers a unique take on DFS tournaments, presenting various paths to victory for savvy players.

By understanding the nuances of each format, players can tailor their strategies and techniques to maximize their chances of cashing in.

Understanding the Market

DFS tournaments, often referred to as Guaranteed Prize Pool (GPP) contests, attract players with the lure of significant payouts for a relatively small entry fee or even sometimes free.

Unlike cash games, where the goal is to finish in the top half of the field, tournaments reward players for finishing at the very top.

This low-risk, high-reward nature requires a different strategic approach that balances knowledge of the sport with an understanding of each platform's specific format.

Using Bonuses for GPP Contests

As mentioned, most GPP contests are free or have a fairly low entry fee. If the latter is the case, you might want to consider using the various bonuses DFS sites offer to get in on them.

This approach essentially eliminates the risk altogether, but you can walk away with a massive stack of cash.

Think this is for you? Here are some of the best bonuses DFS sites are offering right now.

Underdog Fantasy Logo

Special Pick + First Time Deposit Offer

Up to $250 in Bonus Cash


Must be 18+ (19+ in AL and NE, 21+ in AZ, IA, LA, and MA). Concerned with your play? Call 1-800-GAMBLER or visit
DraftKings Logo

$500 Deposit Bonus

+ A Free Entry

No Bonus Code Required

Must be 18+ (19+ in AL and NE, 21+ in AZ, IA, LA, and MA). Concerned with your play? Call 1-800-GAMBLER or visit
OwnersBox Logo

100% Deposit Match

Up to $500


Must be 18+ (19+ in AL and NE, 21+ in AZ, IA, LA, and MA). Concerned with your play? Call 1-800-GAMBLER or visit
Vivid Picks Logo

100% Deposit Bonus up to $100

+ $5 Entry


Must be 18+ (19+ in AL and NE, 21+ in AZ, IA, LA, and MA). Concerned with your play? Call 1-800-GAMBLER or visit
FanDuel Logo

Receive a Free Entry

+ Up To a $100 Deposit Match

Must be 18+ (19+ in AL and NE, 21+ in AZ, IA, LA, and MA). Concerned with your play? Call 1-800-GAMBLER or visit

Tailoring Strategies for Underdog Fantasy

Underdog Fantasy Serving Up Best Ball Tournies

Underdog Fantasy has made waves in the DFS scene with its Best Ball tournaments and Pick 'em contests.

Best Ball, in particular, offers a unique twist: players draft their teams before the season starts (or before a set period in shorter formats) and then sit back as their best-performing players are automatically started each week. There's no swapping players out for injuries; the system automatically sets the best ones for you.

Success in Underdog's Best Ball tournaments hinges on depth and upside.

Drafting not just stars but players who could explode in any given week is crucial. Late-round picks can often make or break your team, making it important to identify high-upside players who might emerge as season-long contributors.

Research and a deep understanding of player projections and team contexts become invaluable, as does a keen eye for sleeper picks.

Mastering the Salary Cap at DraftKings

DraftKings, one of the giants of the DFS industry, uses a standard salary cap format that challenges players to assemble the best possible team under a fixed budget.

Each athlete is assigned a salary value, and DFS players must craft a lineup without exceeding the cap. This format requires a blend of star power and sleeper picks, demanding thorough research and a strategic approach to roster construction.

The key to conquering DraftKings tournaments is value optimization. Identifying underpriced players who can outperform their salary allows you to allocate more budget to proven performers.

Staying updated on player news, matchups, and even weather conditions can provide the edge needed to identify these value plays.

On top of that, embracing variance by selecting contrarian picks can differentiate your lineup from the crowd, a crucial tactic in large-field tournaments.

OwnersBox: Weekly Fantasy Sports' New Contender

OwnersBox introduces an innovative weekly fantasy sports format, offering a fresh challenge for DFS enthusiasts. With its SuperFlex position, allowing an extra quarterback, outfielder, point guard, or various other skilled positions depending on the league, strategy takes center stage.

This flexibility demands a nuanced approach to lineup construction, with a premium on understanding matchups and player ceilings.

Success on OwnersBox often comes down to exploiting the SuperFlex position. This is how our DFS experts play on OwnersBox.

Given the scoring potential of quarterbacks, selecting a second signal-caller can offer a significant advantage.

However, this isn't always the optimal strategy, as matchups and player performances vary from week to week. Staying adaptable and leveraging the flexibility offered by the SuperFlex spot can lead to consistent performance in OwnersBox tournaments.

Strategies for All Platforms

Despite a few key differences between platforms, certain strategies are universally effective in DFS tournaments. Following these tips and strategies will tend to go pretty far regardless of what platform you play on.

  • Variance is your friend. Embrace the unpredictability of sports. Opting for players in high-variance situations can lead to big performances that propel your lineup to the top of the leaderboard.
  • Stay informed. Keeping abreast of the latest player news, injuries, and matchups is the name of the game. A late scratch or an advantageous matchup can dramatically shift a player's value. If you're on top of the latest updates, you'll be able to make your lineup stand out from the tournament crowd.
  • Understand ownership trends. In large tournaments, selecting low-owned players who perform well can differentiate your lineup. You want your lineup to be different yet still dominant. Tools and resources that project player ownership can be invaluable in making these picks.
  • Practice bankroll management. Only enter tournaments with money you're comfortable losing; hence, we recommended bonuses and promotions earlier. The high-variance nature of DFS tournaments means wins can be sporadic, so managing your bankroll is crucial to long-term success.

If you're looking to play DFS on a pro level, you have to have some strategy behind your lineups. Thousands, if not millions, of casual DFS players will set their lineup without much thought. However, only a handful of pros are out there making the big bucks, and they're using strategies like these to get the edge.

Pick a DFS Tournament Format and Dominate It

DFS tournaments offer a thrilling and potentially lucrative experience, but success requires more than just sports knowledge. If you've played even a handful of DFS tournaments, then you know you have to go deeper than simply surface-level stats.

Players can significantly improve their chances of cashing in by understanding the unique formats and strategies effective on platforms like Underdog Fantasy, DraftKings, and OwnersBox.

DFS success lies in preparation, strategy, and adaptability. Whether you're drafting a sleeper in the Best Ball tournament or identifying an undervalued gem for your salary cap lineup, the right approach can lead to DFS glory and, ultimately, you are becoming a DFS pro.

Matt Brown

Matt Brown

Head of DFS

Matt's deep-rooted enthusiasm for sports betting and daily fantasy sports infuses the EatWatchDraft team with valuable expertise in football, hockey, and baseball. His forward-thinking perspectives are grounded in a solid academic foundation, including a B.S. in Aeronautical Computer Science and an M.S. in Project Management. This combination of sports passion and technical knowledge fuels Matt's innovative input to the platform.