League of Legends is a castle defense game where two teams of five try to gather resources and destroy the opposing team’s base. Each player picks a champion to control of 148 options, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Players can gain resources three ways – killing neutral monsters known as minions or creeps, killing enemy champions, and destroying parts of the enemy base. As they gain experience points they can learn new skills and as they gain more gold they can buy more powerful items to battle with. Once one team gets a lead in resources they can out-fight the opposing team, unless they’re out-maneuvered.
Games usually have a snowball effect where if one team gets ahead they have an advantage in continuing to gain ground over their opponents. But the time at which this lead is established varies from game to game, which results in a good amount of variance in how long games last. The longer the game lasts, the more fantasy points are accrued for both teams as each gets credit for minions killed, champions killed, and assists on champion kills. But it’s more unlikely for champions to be high scoring in a loss, because there’s too much synergy with an individual champion’s strength and overall team performance. Fantasy LoL is more analogous in strategy to one on one sports like MMA and tennis than team sports like football and basketball because the success of one team inhibits the fantasy scoring of the opponent.
There are four streams of minions in the game, which dictates how players disperse across the map. Three travel through the top, middle and bottom parts of the map, and there’s another group that stand still in the jungle. Each champion has talents that better suit them to one of those four areas and that’s why the first three positions are called TOP, MID, and JNG. Teams usually start off with two champions on the bottom lane, which are called ADC and SUP.
TOP – Top lane champion tends to be further away from the action. Because the top lane is easily flanked and there’s little backup from the team, the best top lane champions are more defensive. They tend to do well in killing minions but don’t get as many kills and assists.
JNG – This player kills minions in the middle of the map but the creeps in the jungle are more formidable so the best jungler champions can take more damage at the expense of firepower. They are close to the action and are the first to join in team fights. This position tends to perform below average in killing minions and is average in kills and assists.
MID – Mid-laners have less area to defend because they fight so close to the home base. The best mid-lane champions are more offensive, and the area is closer to any action that could occur. Mid-laners are above average in both minions and kills, so they make great captain/stars.
ADC/SUP – There are only four streams of minions so two players tag team the bottom of the map. Teams choose two champions that have complementary skill sets. ADC champions tend to be very heavily weighted to offensive ability while SUP champions are relatively ineffective on their own but have great synergy with the team. ADC characters kill most of the minions in the bottom lane while SUP champions must be effective without gold. Support tends to get few minions which puts them in the hole compared to other players on the team, but they excel at assists. ADC tends to get lots of minions and kills, so along with MID tend to make the best captain/stars.
The way E-athletes rack up high fantasy scores is by getting lots of kills and assists, while creep score provides a steady stream of fantasy points in both wins and losses. Because team skirmishes are relatively uncommon in the early/mid game, the total amount of kills tends to vary a lot from game to game. Assists are awarded whenever a player inflicts damage on a killed enemy – thus you could see up to four assists per team kill. That makes player performances heavily correlated within each team. FanDuel and DraftKings have the same scoring except there is no bonus for 10 K/A on FanDuel.
In fantasy, you also pick a team and get fantasy points when they achieve objectives in the game. There are 10 turrets per team, 5 dragons over the course of a game, 3 possible barons, giving a maximum team score of 35, but most winning teams score 20-30 points. FanDuel and DraftKings have the same scoring for the TEAM position. In many winning games, teams might get one Baron and skip turrets because they have enough of an advantage to close it out. Teams lack much upside so it’s not a great strategy to put them in the captain spot.
Basic DFS Strategy
League of Legends is a game where players become stronger and score more fantasy points as they build up an advantage over the other team, so to build a winning lineup it’s important to pick several players from the same team and avoid players from the other squad. If you have a player in your lineup that’s on a losing team, it’ll be hard for you to win a tournament.
The American and European leagues (LCS and LEC) play one game matches while China and Korea (LPL and LCK) play best of three. In a best-of-three game it’s possible to get more fantasy scoring from the losing team. Each lineup spot also gets bonus points (20 for each player and 15 for the team) if they win the best of three in two games.
The best players to put in your 1.5x multiplier spot are MID and ADC players. The champions players pick for these positions tend to be more focused on damage dealing than defensive ability, making them ideal to get high numbers of kills and assists.
With high correlation between players on the same team with several players potentially getting assists on each kill, taking the maximum of four players from one team in each lineup is a strong strategy. The team slot is less correlated with the other spots, so it’s not essential to stack up the team spot but it improves your odds of having each player in the lineup be on a winning team.
When you combine these rules of thumb with my projections, you’ll have a great chance of success in fantasy LoL. For more LoL strategy read Jeremy Schritt’s article “How to Play and Win at League of Legends DFS”. Good luck!