By: Colin Buesser
It is quite possible that you had no idea that MLS was even on DraftKings, especially since every game that I find myself in consists of the same sets of usernames (so are we just trading our money back and forth between a couple guys?). But it is real! You can play fantasy MLS for money every day! I do not promote betting, but due to the lack of internet presence I want to shed some light on something that is more or less in the dark of the MLS community.
DraftKings does not treat MLS with anywhere near the respect that it does the Premier League, and for good reason. The number of users playing MLS games are a pitiful fraction of those doing so for the Prem. Thus, games tend to only open the night before MLS as opposed to the week you have to plan your lineup if you are betting on the league across the pond.
If you are asking about FanDuel and other DFS (Daily Fantasy Sports) betting sites, the quick answer is that MLS has an exclusive deal with DraftKings to be the sole conduit for MLS in DFS.
Unlike the other top sports in America on DFS, there is a complete wasteland of silence if you wish to search for information on MLS DraftKings. You may find a video from 2015 by Major League Soccer's youtube channel, which can be considered a little outdated. There are no dominant (or existent) advice websites on the matter, so clearly there is lots of room for growth in the game. I am not going to pretend to be a guru in the sport on DFS and deliver "advice", as I am on my inaugural MLS season of DFS and am no prodigy.
Additionally I will not speak in high or low regard for the service, but because it is the only DFS provider on the market for your MLS needs, I can provide a basic rundown. Classic Mode offers you the ability to make a salary capped lineup from an 8 man squad featuring GK, Def, Def, Mid, Mid, F, F, and Utility (which can be anything but GK). Games can vary in buy in price, number of participants, number of lineups you can enter, and a lot more. The lowest risk and lowest reward game is 50/50's or Double ups, which essentially reward the top half of the contestants with double their entry in money, and the rest go home empty handed. There is also a Showdown mode which allows you to make a lineup from single games, and this rewards players on a greater diversity of stats including passes. Classic Mode, unlike standard MLS fantasy awards 10 pts for a goal, and 6 for an assist. Passing is not tracked, while crosses (complete or not) award .75. Stats matter way more in DFS than standard MLS fantasy, thus CDM's and CB's are virtually unused. CB's have an incredibly cheap price, so taking that hit to boost salary elsewhere is a common strategy. Fullbacks are the more point driven defenders as they take more shots and crosses.
There are both many similarities and differences between standard fantasy leagues and DFS, so make sure to read up on all the point rewards. I do not advocate for spending money gambling on sports, but there is a huge potential market for this as the league continues to grow. There is no community discussing it, and many people are unaware of its existence. It will be interesting to see where it goes in the future as the league shifts into a more marketable entity.