There’s yet another new DFS site in town! Superdraft was around last NFL season and they were super small, but this year they’re starting to really take off. To me, that smells like soft competition and money, money, money. If you were around the OWS community during the most recent NBA season, you probably saw us putting out some Superdraft content, and it was a great opportunity for easy money. This NFL season looks like it’s going to be even bigger as they have a $250k GPP posted for Week 1.
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Let’s dig more into #2 above because that’s the big thing we have to adjust to if we want to be successful on Superdraft. The scoring is fairly straightforward and similar to NBA, it’s a mishmash of Draftkings and Fanduel. Superdraft uses half-point PPR (like Fanduel), but it has 100-yard rushing/receiving bonuses, and a 300-yard passing bonus (like Draftkings). The roster format is straightforward as well, as it’s the same as FD/DK except with no defense so 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 FLEX. But where we get tricky is that on Superdraft there are no salaries. You can put whatever players you want on your roster. Instead of salaries, Superdraft uses a scoring multiplier, and this multiplier is applied to a player’s raw score to get their actual points; this is, by far, the most meaningful difference in Superdraft contests. The multiplier is also the biggest source of edge because while optimizers can be adjusted to provide projections for Superdraft’s scoring format, there are strategic implications that an optimizer cannot account for.
For Week 1, Christian McCaffrey has a 1x multiplier so there’s no bonus for CMC, the best running back in the league. Joe Mixon, on the other hand, has a 1.4x multiplier, so his raw score is multiplied by 1.4 to get his Superdraft score. This is where the strategy element that makes Superdraft so different from other sites comes into play. If a player is building for Superdraft with median projections, it’s true that low-multiplier players with high raw projections will “look good” to a projection system. But we don’t care about median outcomes in tournaments, we’re playing for ceiling. If CMC has a huge game and scores 40 raw points, you get 40 points. If Mixon has a huge game and scores 40 raw points (as he did last year vs. the Jags), you get 56 points – a massive difference!
Does the CMC example mean we shouldn’t play low-multiplier players? Not necessarily! What we need to do is build strong rosters that give us a robust floor AND ceiling. It’s okay to play a low-multiplier guy like CMC (after all, Mixon only had one game like that last year!), but you also want to weave in enough variance on your roster to be able to take advantage of big ceiling outcomes on higher-multiplier players without needing to “hit” on a whole bunch of longshot plays in order to have a shot at taking down a tourney. Based on what I saw in NBA on Superdraft, I believe we will see low-multiplier studs frequently be over owned on Superdraft relative to their chances of putting up a “must-have” score. I think this will be even more pronounced in NFL contests. In the NBA, we have backup players with high multipliers who will never be able to match the raw score of a high-minute, high-usage stud like Giannis or Doncic. In the NFL, so much of fantasy scoring is tied to big plays, and anyone can hit one of those. For NBA contests, a really strong raw score is 40-50 points for most players outside of the top studs, but you very rarely see backup guys or lower-usage players have games in that range. In the NFL, a very strong raw score is 20-30 points for most players, and we see players all across the spectrum post scores like that every week because a single long touchdown can be ~15 points all by itself. Superdraft tourney strategy is very much built around “embrace variance.”
The Superdraft format demands strong consideration of tournament size. If you’re chasing the big flagship tourney in Week 1 with 14,375 entries, you need to be embracing more variance on your rosters and targeting more guys with high multipliers. If you decide instead to play the $100 buy-in, 275 entry tournament, you should consider reducing your variance – guys with extremely robust floors like CMC, Davante Adams, and Travis Kelce are more valuable in that type of format (because of the weakness of the TE position, I would argue that the few elite TEs are always viable, even in bigger tourneys).
In tournaments, my Superdraft strategy is to be underweight the low-multiplier, high-raw-projection studs; and overweight on the higher variance, higher multiplier plays. If building multiple lineups using an optimizer, I would also set rules to limit my exposure to lower-multiplier players. What constitutes a low or high multiplier has a fair bit of subjectivity in it, but I would say anything at 1.2x or under is generally in the “low” category. You should also consider positions: at wide receiver, with an enormous pool to choose from, and at a very high variance position (and a need of three per roster), I probably want to max 1 of the low-multiplier studs. WR is the position where I most want to embrace variance.
One of the things I’m going to pay very, very close attention to in the early part of the season is ownership. During the NBA season, we saw the chalk plays on each slate end up being FAR more owned on Superdraft vs. the chalk plays on other sites (after all, with no salary restriction, you can just plug in whoever you want). I imagine we’ll see the same effect in NFL, but we need to pay attention in the early part of the season to see if this holds true. I’ll be writing a weekly Superdraft piece for OWS, which will be found in The Scroll, and I’ll be watching and talking about ownership as we see how it shakes out.
Superdraft is a new niche site with meaningful differences to how the game is structured, and you can’t just use your same projection system as you do to build rosters on other sites. That creates an absolutely massive edge for anyone who wants to play there. I’ve always been a fan of playing on smaller sites, because the competition is softer, and Superdraft is my new favorite. I don’t want to say it’s “free money,” because we still have to contend with the volatility of the sport that is football, but it’s the most +EV place to play in the DFS space and if you haven’t signed up, go give it a try!