By 90Min
August 24, 2018

DraftKings is not your typical fantasy sports site. Based in Boston, Massachusetts, the website allows users the chance to get their fantasy fix as often as they wish, providing daily and weekly contests for players to test their sporting knowledge, and even earn cash for their acumen. 

Though, being a US company, the majority of these sports come under the Star-Spangled Banner adorned category, they also have platforms for golf, tennis, several miscellaneous international competitions - as well as - ahem - soccer. This encompasses all of Europe's major leagues, as well as the Champions League and Europa League.

Accordingly, we spoke to DraftKings' resident soccer analyst Jordan Cooper about how the site works, how it differentiates from other outlets, as well as getting some hot tips for the upcoming third gameweek.

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In terms of how it works, Cooper explained the system via a comparison with the Premier League's official fantasy platform: "In Fantasy Premier League your planning it [your team] out for a 38 game season. In DraftKings, you're kind of doing the same thing - building your roster under a salary cap - but you're competing against everyone just on that day." 

The team layout itself is different, however, with only eight picks available to each player. You are obliged to choose two forwards, two midfielders, two defenders, a goalkeeper and a substitute - which can come from any of the first three positions. 

It is perhaps the one-day only aspect that is most intriguing, and possibly confusing, for fans. Cooper outlines: "If you're playing a Saturday Premier League [edition] it's going to be just those games, and once those games are done, you're golden - your team's done. 

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"[For] Sunday's games, you're building a new team. And if you don't want to play on Sunday, you don't have to."

The format also adjusts depending on the schedule. If there is just the one game planned for that day, then the 'Classic' aforementioned format which uses multiple games, morphs into a 'Showdown'. 

For these head-to-head battles, you are allowed just six players, with a maximum ratio of five to one in terms of players from each team. You can also decide to utilise this 'Showdown' system for any particular game on any given day, should you wish.

Another distinguishing factor of DraftKings is its scoring system. In the UK we are used to receiving points predominantly for goals and assists, but that's far too simplistic for our stat obsessed American cousins - they account for measures such as crosses completed, tackles won, fouls drawn, interceptions and so on. 

How you choose to play, and how much you choose to stake on it, is also more diversified: "You can play with three of your friends, you can play against 10 random strangers...or you can play in one of the big field 10,000 player contests, where first prize could be $10,000, $20,000 or even $50,000." 

Obviously, considering its game-by-game format, how you assess a player's value is also different. And yet, as with Fantasy Premier League, you are constantly on the look-out for undervalued stars. Two names Jordan picked out for the current season are James Maddison and Gylfi Sigurdsson, though this will obviously change as the games rack up and their values increase.

One man he considered a stay-away was Richarlison, on account of his lofty evaluation following an excellent start to the season.

Another necessary consideration is how a team plays. Ironically, according to Cooper: "The more the team plays British style football, the better they are for fantasy." This is because direct, cross-heavy football is a great points accumulator, as is defensive fortitude. 

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For this weekend's clash between Manchester City and Wolves, such a style will evidently be absent, but Cooper's hot pick perhaps still shouldn't have come as a surprise, considering the parameters. When prompted for a selection, he replied: "Riyad Mahrez - only because for DraftKings' scoring, [if he starts] he's going to be over most set-pieces, and that could accumulate a lot of points."  

We'll find out if he's right come Saturday lunchtime.

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