Intro to League of Legends (LoL) DFS
Hi all @bad_elip here to give you some background on League of Legends for DFS purposes. First a little background on the game and the international competitions. League is a highly competitive Multiplayer Online Battle Arena or MOBA. Two teams of five players battle for supremacy on a symmetrical map with the end goal being destruction of the enemy base or nexus. As players accumulate kills, assists, and destroy enemy creeps and jungle monsters they accumulate gold and exp just like a role playing game. They use this to level up, learn new spells, and buy better items for their characters. The nexus is defended by three rings of defensive towers and inhibitors which keep enemy minions and champions at bay. The Nexus spawns the minions for each team which dutifully tromp down the lanes to the enemy towers and eventually the enemy nexus. Destroying an enemy inhibitor turret in one lane will cause the nexus to spawn superminons which are tougher an deal more damage. The map is made up of three main lanes and the in between area known as the jungle. The jungle is filled with small camps of neutral monsters that players can kill for added exp and gold. The river running thru the very middle of the map is home to the main neutral monster objectives the dragons and the baron Nashor. These objectives grant boosts to player stats and force teams to battle for control of them lest the enemy secure all the benefits.
The teams begin the game by drafting a squad of champions that each player will control during the match. Each champion has special abilities that the teams and players will weave together to accomplish their goals. As DFS players it’s our job to choose the players who will score the most points from the following positions. Ive tried to outline the position.
Toplaners are champions (or the players of those champions) that tend to spend the lane phase farming in the top lane. Toplaners tend to be self-sufficient champions during the lane phase, not needing significant help from another champion to stay alive. There are two main styles of toplane champions: tanks and carries. Tank toplane champions generally try to soak damage from the enemy back line while their own back line kills the enemy front line. Carry toplane champions generally try either to splitpush or to carry fights for their team as if they were a midlane mage. Top laners are usually lower priority in DFS with a few exceptions as tank champions typically don’t score well. Any position can “go off” in any given game or series but typically these guys are lower scoring. Top lane DFS values vary by player but also by the draft phase. Draft phase you can’t predict but after watching a few games or combing some game logs you can get a good grasp which tops are more likely to carry for their team. Kt Rolster’s Smeb is a top scoring top laner that can dominate on both tanks and carry champions.
Junglers are champions (or the players of those champions) that spend the early game in the jungle clearing camps and/or ganking. Junglers will always run the smite summoner spell, allowing them to clear their jungle faster and also to secure last-hits on dragon and baron for their team. Junglers usually don’t get as much gold as toplaners, midlaners, or AD carries, and so they tend to build more support-oriented items that help their team. Junglers frequently function as the primary initiator of fights, though that is not always the case. Jungle is another lower priority position in DFS. Some junglers have a lot of burst damage and function as assassins for their teams making them DFS studs but that role varies from game to game depending on the draft phase. Jungle for DFS purposes is much like top lane. They can vary based on drafts and from game to game the role they are placed in. Snake esports youngster Sofm is a jungler that takes the lead in teamfights and excels at pressuring the enemy jungle to the point of breaking.
Midlaners are champions (or the players of those champions) that spend the early game in the middle lane. There are three classes of midlaners: mages, assassins, and utility champions. Mages and assassins rely primarily on their spells to do damage, but mages are geared more towards teamfighting, while assassins want to pick someone off and instantly kill them. Utility midlaners behave similarly to supports and will usually try to help their team survive in fights. Midlaners will often be seen roaming to the side lanes or even into the jungle once they hit level 6 and have a point in their ultimate, but they will typically prioritize farming for the most part. As such, midlaners tend to have fairly high waveclear, though that is not always the case. These guys are the WR1 of league DFS. As the tip of the spear for each team the usually accumulate the most stats and points. A star midlaner such as SKT T1’s Faker or OMG’s Icon can score well even in a loss.
Attack Damage Carry
Frequently abbreviated “ADC,” are sometimes referred to as “marksmen.” AD carries are champions (or the players of those champions) that do damage primarily with their auto attacks. They tend to spend lane phase in the bottom lane with a support helping them secure farm and stay alive. AD Carries are very fragile and easy to kill if caught alone, and so usually at least one member of the team will be devoted to keeping enemies away from the AD Carry in fights; this is referred to as peeling for the ADC. Different AD Carries have different power curves, but nearly every ADC is extremely strong upon reaching a 6-item build in the late game, while most also have a power spike after building their core two or three items. This is the other highest priority position in league DFS. Much like mid when a team has a superstar in this position they will set up the whole team to protect and enable the carry. RNG’s Uzi is a farm monster who can break a slate as his team funnels resources into him and lets him singlehandedly dispose of the enemy team.
Supports are champions (or the players of those champions) that generally aren’t allocated team resources and instead provide team utility with a very limited income. They tend to have multiple forms of crowd control or other utility as their spells, and so are able to be effective without building expensive items to make their spells do more damage or to make themselves harder to kill. Instead, supports typically buy an item that gives them additional gold income and frequently several items that have activatible effects that provide utility. Supports are responsible for a large portion of their team’s vision control. In teamfights, a support’s goal is usually either to peel for their ADC, to lock down the enemy backline, or a combination of the two. Think Rajon Rondo; these guys often engage the enemy team and set up assist for everyone else without getting many kills on their own. That’s why they are to be had at a dfs discount. BBQ Olivers import support Ignar and Team Liquid’s Olleh are two guys who excel at initiating fights and shot calling from the support position.
So now that you have a the basics of the actual game we can discuss a bit the differences in the international competitions and how that relates to the varios Dfs slates we see throughout the week.
The North American league championship series competes on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the season. These slates will typically see the largest contests from Draftkings. The league has recently switched formats from a soccer style promotions/relegation system to a franchise system like the other major US sports. Along with this change they also adopted a best of one game format for the regular season. Several of the teams are backed by NBA franchises and owners. The EULCS does operate with a promotion/relegation system. Their contests run on Friday and Saturday mornings. The biggest thing with LCS contests on Draftkings is the best of one. Just like march madness the possibility of any team being able to pull out a win on any given day is totally a thing. In a best of three or five Duke beats Mercer nearly every time, but in a one game set literally anything can happen. These make for good beginner contests for that reason. Even if you don’t know whats up you can still come away with a win. Another bonus to those leagues is that the rosters are fairly set without many backups. It’s hard to find someone that wont play.
These are the top two international leagues. They play contests in the middle of the night to us but are prime time TV in Korea (LCK) and China (LPL). That is great for those of us who are insomniacs or just like to wake up to green in our inboxes. The problem with that is Korean and especially Chinese teams often carry a full roster of back ups at important positions. Sometimes these contest can be won or lost on Draftkings simply by avoiding a zero or taking a risk others might not. These roster swaps and starting lineups are nearly impossible to find ahead of time. Following all the teams, casters, leagues, and esports news agencies on twitter can rarely yield results. Unfortunately it’s often educated or just straight up guesses. These matches are best of three and will, as such, typically be decided with the truly better team winning. Just like other sports some teams just match up well with others. Even though these are the top two international competitions the DK contests for them are lacking.
With these positions and competitions in mind we can proceed to roster construction and stats.
There are several places to gather stats on line for DFS purposes. Games of Legends, Oracle’s Elixir (my fav), and LOL Esports are three of the top sites for stats. Stats for teams and players are equally important. Using the team stats plus what I know from watching live matches or VODs from LoL Esports on youtube (I recommend 2x speed). The first thing i do is try to determine who is going to win the match. Simple right, if a team loses by rights they probably die a fair amount and if you are dying you ain’t killing and if you aint killing or assisting you aint scoring for shit. There are instances when one team makes a big comeback or steals a game they were supposed to lose that the losing team will outscore the winning team. Or along those lines one of the losers can outscore a few of the winners. These are outcomes you might end up wishing for but not ones you can depend on. Simply put first determine the winning team then pick the right players from the teams that will win.
What stats help you determine which team will win. Often a match up features a clear winner and a clear loser. KSV esports (formerly Samsung the reigning world champions) vs MVP in the LCK is a good example. Literally no one will roster players from or MVP as a team. They have very little chance to win and score well. Obvious right? Its when the match is closer that you will need to dig into the stats and what you know of the teams to try to determine who will win.
Jinn Air vs Kong Doo Monster. Both teams are 2-2 on the season so they should be evenly matched. First and easiest use your dk app to see who they have played and how they did pull up the game log and get a quick look at strength of schedule. Both teams have beaten MVP probably the worst team in the league. Both have lost to BBQ Olivers an up and comin team that is also 2-2. Both have lost to Rox Tigers a team struggling to find their identity over the last two years after the loss of big stars. KDM holds a win over KSV quite the upset and Jinn Air upset former world champions SKT T1. So off of strength of schedule I’d come into it with a slight lean to KDM.
I use team stats first to try to piece together how I feel a match will go. Team stats are also useful for trying to determine the type of victory and amount of fantasy points. Average game time will tell you how fast a team plays and how dominant or how bad they are. Putting this together with CKpM combined kills and deaths per minute allows you to gauge relatively how bloody and therefore how high/low scoring a match will be. This is very useful for NA\EULCS slates with 5 games and the overnight LPL\LCK slates with 4 games to let you know which games to pick from and which to avoid. Slow playing low kill games are to be avoided. An example is MVP they are the worst team in LCK they also have the highest combined kills deaths per minutes at .48 protip its mostly deaths. That would place them dead last in the LPL in terms of CKpM. In general LPL teams play a more action packed type of league.
OK back to my example KDM vs Jinn Air. Jinn plays slow 48 minutes per game this is skewed upwards by a record setting 94 minute game with SKT. Kongdoo plays about 40 minutes per game. So I can reasonably assume that any games these two teams play will go to at least 40 minutes. Both teams are right around .45 CKDM so I’m looking at 18 kills total in these games. Simple stat for league KDA simply how many kills you get per death. +\- for league so to speak. Jinn 1.13 KDM .99. Advantage Jinn. You can’t simply go off of this to determine outcomes due to strength of schedule and other factors. GD@15 gold differential at 15 minutes of game time this stat lets you know who starts out quicker. Jinn is +266 while KDM is – 225 this lets me know that Jinn should have a slight advantage coming out of laning phase. Jinn also has a slightly high baron control rate as well as placing and clearing more wards per minute than KDM. At oracle’s elixir they also have an early game rating and a mid to late game rating. These are not posted yet i would assume from lack of data points as its early in the season. Looking at the baron control and ward stats i feel like Jinn has the better late game set up around neutral monster objective and are slightly better at playing the vision/information game. Combine that with the KDA and my general feeling from watching the teams that Jinn is the slightly better team. Now on to who and how to pick individual team members.
Oracle’s Elixir is my favorite because you can isolate by teams and players rather than searching through a long list. So I can easily sort LCK player stats by the two teams toplaners. K/D goes to SoHwan from Jinn 4.9 to 1.9. Kill participation is a big deal. KP% lets you know how many of the teams kills this player in involved in. Both are right around 62%. Next just like with teams is the individual GD@15 and EXP@15. Who starts faster? SoHwan again takes the lead in these stats. Now onto DPM damage per minute dealt to champions. Who puts the most hurt on the enemy team. Roach surprisingly takes this stat handily over SoHwan. He also outputs a higher percentage of his teams total damage dealt to champions aka DMG%. In addition he receives a higher percentage of his teams gold. These stats tell me that KDM plays around and through their toplaner more than Jinn Air. So even though I expect Jinn to win I may avoid rostering SoHwan.
Jungle matchup is next. There is some excitement in this particular jungle match up. KDM has two junglers. Uh oh who to chose? Who will start? Raise is 5600$ on DK usually the higher priced player at a position is the starter and plays the most games. This is correct here as well. He has played 9 of the 10 games that KDM have played as a team with the exception of 1 where the backup U Jun played one game in a losing effort to ROX. Why the swap? I didn’t watch that particular match so i couldn’t say for sure. It could have to do with U Jun’s particular champion pool. That is the amount of different champion picks he plays well with. It could be his play style. Maybe he is more or less aggressive than Raise and the team felt that’s what was needed in this instance. What I can gather here is that if I thought KDM would win I would avoid their jungle in cash games and possibly target it in GPP. In cash i can’t afford that possibility of a swap but in a GPP this could be a way to differentiate my line up in a spot others should look to avoid the uncertainty. Even with the possibility of a swap from kondoo this is a good spot for Umti based on the stats. He leads both KDM junglers in gold and exp @10 and outputs significantly more damage than either of them.
In the mid lane It is Jinn Air that has the swap effect going on alternating between justice and grace. This again makes it a spot i would avoid in cash games but look to target in GPP. In the last week of games prior to this set grace played 2 games in a victory over MVP and they split games in a loss to BBQ. This could be a spot to roll with grace. You will be assuming the risk of him not playing at all but on a four game slate with many possible ties looming having someone at 10% ownership is a huge thing. Statistically speaking this looks like it is a stronger spot for KDM actually with neither Jinn air Mid being able to distinguish themselves.
ADC this is where i think this matchup is decided and that is through my viewing of games and is backed up by the statistics. Teddy has been having a phenomenal split thus far both in real life and fantasy wise. Ssol has been performing above expectations asa well but looking at the stats i see that Teddy’s damage output is through the roof meaning that he should be able to swing late game team fights in his teams favor and give them the win.
Supports by nature are a less statistically inclined position. No one tracks damage blocked or engage stats which are mostly what these guys do. They don’t output a lot of damage so the only things i look at for supports are their kill participation % the amount of wards they drop per minute and i will usually look to pair them with their ADC. So in my example if i like teddy i must like wraith. With a 71% kill participation i do like wraith.
So now we put it all together. There are three main slates throughout the week on DraftKings. Early Monday, Thursday, and Friday 2 game slates with LPL standing alone on Monday and Friday with LCK by itself on Thursday. Tuesday and Wednesday mornings have a four game LPL\LCK and Saturday and Sunday early am, are 5 game with 3 from the LPL and 2 from the LCK. Friday day and Saturday day are 5 game EU LCS slates. Saturday evening and Sunday day are 5 game NALCS slates. Even as I type this i see DK added a Friday evening 5 game NA academy (minor league league) slate. So there is a lot of LoL action during the week to scratch your DFS itch with. Each slate will have a slightly different way for you to attack it based on the teams involved but the basic set up for each is similar. On most any slate I have found the most success simply finding an underdog with a chance to win and stacking them with the favorite in the game I feel will have the most action.
Two game slates are very difficult to differentiate your line up from others. There are always plenty of ties in league DFS and nowhere is this more evident than on these tight two game slates. I will still stick with the basic construction of one favorite with one dog stacked together because the options are so limited. Favorite #1 with underdog #2; favorite #2 with underdog #1; double dogs; game stack; or hedge are really the only options here. Game stacking can win on these slate but you will need one match to be epic and the other to one lackluster. Double dogs is usually not a viable option as most slates seem to have at least one clear favorite that you probably don’t want to pick against. So you’re right back where we started by having to stack one favorite with one dog. This is the spot where I earlier suggested risking playing someone who may get subbed out. Others will rightly steer away from this position on a team and by targeting it you can set yourself apart for GPP. For cash you can’t afford to take a zero and have to avoid these positions. The final build type is the hedge line up. You pick as many guys from the best favorite you can afford and the back fill your line up with players from both sides of the closer match up. In a sense with this you are trying to have the best losers. Either way that set plays out you will have exposure to both sides. It limits your upside but it also limits your downside as well. The other way to hedge in this scenario is to punt the cheapest team and player to fit the most players from the two winning sides with your remaining cash.
4 and 5 game LCK\LPL
The 4 game and 5 game overnight slates leave you with much more room to experiment with fitting in different combinations of different teams. You can still win with a straight up two game stack but you will want to toy with adding one player from another match to try to differentiate. The old adage keep it simple stupid still applies the more outcomes you need to swing your way the more difficult it becomes to have that happen. Every player from another team you add is another team you need to win. Though sometimes when all the top teams are in action your best bet may be to play the support off of all the best teams in your flex spots punt team with a cheapie and load up on the studs of the slate. With 4 and 5 matches to choose from there is usually at least one underdog that comes through you just have to identify them correctly.
5 games EU\NA
“Horrible horrible freedom” As i mentioned before with the one and done nature of the two LCS anything can happen. Just as the NFL goes on a week to week basis there are upsets but the favorites prevail more often than not. The same general roster constructions apply but you have more options to exploit very good match ups. Similar to UFC DFS these slates are often won in the mid tier. If two closely matched teams are playing the games will go longer and be more competitive. Those are more of the match ups i like to target for tournaments. TSM and G2 are usually big favorites but when they play bottom tier opponents they can control the map and grind out a safe easy low fantasy output wins.
Thats a Wrap
I hope this clears up some of your questions on LOL DFS stats, info, roster construction, and League in general. Easy as pie, pick the winner then pick the best guys off the winning team. I’m not a “pro”, I’m not affiliated with any DFS site, but I have been watching competitive League and playing league DFS since I first stumbled upon it in spring 2016. I am a huge fan of it now from both real life and a DFS perspective. As a passionate advocate for I’m just looking to get more people involved and maybe bump up those prize pools a bit. Join me in CHAT and I’ll see you out there!