DFS 101: How To Play DraftKings CFL Contests

DFS 101: How To Play DraftKings CFL Contests

This article is part of our DraftKings CFL DFS Picks series.

The Canadian Football League (CFL) and DraftKings (DK) will kick off a fourth consecutive year of DFS contests based on the league's games beginning with Week 1 of the upcoming 2019 season in June.

CFL contests on DraftKings provide pro football fans with a DFS sweat beginning several weeks before NFL preseason courtesy of a full array of contests based on the league's exciting, fast-paced brand of the sport. For the first three seasons of the partnership agreement between the league and the DFS industry leader, DK has offered a robust selection of CFL cash games and guaranteed prize pools (GPPs) in each of the 20 weeks of the regular season, the two weeks of the postseason and the Grey Cup championship game. 

The CFL emulates the stateside version of the game in many ways, but there are key differences that do impact DFS strategy. Some of the most relevant include:

  • Three downs, as opposed to the NFL's four.
  • Field dimensions are 110 yards in length by 65 yards wide, compared to the NFL's 100 x 53.3 measurements.
  • There are 12 players on the field for each team, as opposed to 11.
  • There are no tight ends in the CFL. Rather, two "slotbacks", extra wide receivers that are split out closest to the offensive line, are utilized.
  • Any ball kicked into the end zone that isn't a successful field goal or a ball that hits the goal posts is considered a live ball in the CFL.
  • A one-point play, the "rouge", can occur under specific circumstances in the kicking game, which will be elaborated on further within this article.
  • Punt returners are given a five-yard "safe zone" when fielding a kick, as there is no fair catch rule in the CFL. This means that no player except for the kicker or any player that was behind him at the time of the kick may be within five yards of the ball until it has been touched by the returning team. The rule helps increase the chances of successful returns.

Roster construction and salary cap

DraftKings CFL DFS contests feature the same $50,000 salary cap that DFS players are already familiar with from the site's offerings for other sports. Contest participants must construct a roster of players whose salaries do not exceed that amount in order to create a valid lineup.

CFL DK rosters are comprised of seven lineup spots:

  • 1 Quarterback
  • 1 Running Back
  • 2 Wide Receivers
  • 2 Flex Spots
  • 1 Team Defense

The flex spot may be filled by any non-quarterback skill player, which can be a running back, wide receiver, or slotback.

DraftKings CFL scoring

Avid NFL DFS players on DK will find the site's scoring for CFL contests familiar. As outlined below, the bonuses for 300-yard passing games and 100-yard rushing or receiving performances are part of CFL contests. The one major difference between NFL and CFL scoring on DK is naturally the one point awarded for a rouge. 

Passing TD+4 Pts
25 Passing Yards+1 Pt (+0.04 Pts/ Yards)
300+ Yard Passing Game+3 Pts
Interception-1 Pt
Rushing TD+6 Pts
10 Rushing Yards+1 Pt (+0.1 Pts/Yard)
100+ Yard Rushing Game+3 Pts
Receiving TD+6 Pts
10 Receiving Yards+1 Pt (+0.1 Pts/Yard)
100+ Receiving Yard Game+3 Pts
Reception+1 Pt
Punt/Kickoff/FG Return for TD+6 Pts
20 Punt/Kickoff/FG Return Yards+1 Pt (+0.05 Pts/Yard)
Fumble Lost-1 Pt
2 Pt Conversion (Pass, Run, or Catch)+2 Pts
Team Defense (DST)
Sack+1 Pt
Interception+2 Pts
Fumble Recovery+2 Pts
Rouge Scored+1 Pt
Punt/Kickoff/FG Return for TD+6 Pts
Interception Return TD+6 Pts
Fumble Recovery TD+6 Pts
Blocked Punt or FG Return TD+6 Pts
Safety+2 Pts
0 Points Allowed+10 Pts
1 – 6 Points Allowed+7 Pts
7 – 13 Points Allowed+4 Pts
14 – 20 Points Allowed+1 Pt
21 – 27 Points Allowed+0 Pts
28 – 34 Points Allowed-1 Pt
35+ Points Allowed-4 Pts

CFL-specific lineup-building tips and strategies to consider:

  • Due to there only being three downs, passing if often more voluminous in the CFL.
  • Quarterbacks therefore hold the greatest value overall, given that 300-yard passing performances are still more commonplace than even in today's pass-happy NFL.
  • Additionally, the wider field and the fact that all offensive skill players are allowed to go in motion toward the line of scrimmage prior to the snap often significantly boosts passing game-centered fantasy production. This is particularly true because it allows wide receivers and slotbacks to get a running start against the defense.
  • Due to the pass-heavy tendencies of the CFL game and the high number of possessions each team often sees, the pairing of a quarterback with up to two or even three of his receivers or slotbacks is much more of a viable strategy in CFL DFS when utilized selectively than it is in the NFL.
  • The three-down format lends itself to plenty of extra possessions over the course of a game, which also equates to more return opportunities. As such, even return specialists, which are typically priced down, can be valuable punt plays in flex spots.
  • The extra return opportunities naturally mean extra chances for return touchdowns, which are tacked onto your defense's tally when they occur.
  • Rouges, although rare, are also another way to supplement the score of one's defense. Any kick that goes into the end zone in a CFL game is a live ball, except for successful field goals or point-after attempts, or if the goalposts are hit while the ball is in flight. If the player receiving the kick fails to return it out of the end zone, or (except on a kickoff) if the ball was kicked through the end zone, then the kicking team is awarded a rouge, which in DK contests results in one point being awarded to your team defense.
  • With all kicks in the end zone being considered live and teams trying to avoid having a rouge scored against them, missed field-goal returns are a frequent occurrence in the CFL. As such, many speedy receivers, slotbacks and even running backs often have a chance to supplement their fantasy production with missed field-goal return touchdowns.
  • Because position players who double as returners have the chance to considerably augment their fantasy production, they carry extra value.

CFL-specific player usage/depth chart quirks to keep in mind:

  • CFL depth charts tend to be much more fluid than those in the NFL. It isn't unusual to see a player who's the starting running back one week slide down to the third option the next, or be declared a healthy inactive altogether.
  • As with the NFL, there are players of a certain talent level that are immune from such instability with respect to their role. That applies first and foremost to quarterbacks, but certainly to the top players at each skill position as well.
  • Each team typically publishes their depth chart ahead of each game on their official websites, but RotoWire is an excellent source for all of the latest personnel-related moves from week to week during the season.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Juan Carlos Blanco plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: jcblanco22, FanDuel: jc_blanco22, DraftPot: jc_blanco22, FantasyDraft: jc_blanco22, OwnThePlay: jcblanco22.
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Juan Carlos Blanco
Winner of the FSWA 2016 Newcomer of the Year Award, Juan Carlos Blanco has been playing fantasy sports for over 20 years and covers NBA, MLB, NFL, CFL and Arena Football for Rotowire.com, including serving as the beat writer for teams in multiple sports. He has previously written for KFFL.com and remains an avid season-long and daily fantasy player in multiple sports as well.
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