Fantasy Esports: CS:GO Takes Center Stage At DraftKings With Real-Money Contests

Posted By Josh Lander on March 28, 2020 - Last Updated on March 31, 2020

The vast underground community of Counter Strike gamblers is finally making its way to the light. DraftKings launched new Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) contests this week, adding some much-needed variety to a fantasy menu that is lacking sports.

This news came just days after a revolutionary new law passed in Nevada. The state’s gambling board approved sports betting outlets in the state to accept esports wagers for established CS:GO leagues. Up until now, regulators had only approved gambling on esports events, not entire leagues.

Not coincidentally, the changes come right on the heels of the COVID-19 outbreak and ensuing ban on large gatherings, including all live sports. Considering the seeds of professional CS:GO leagues were sowed in online competition, leaders and officials have been prepared to react to a crisis of this sort since the game’s inception and were able to keep their seasons alive despite regulations worldwide forcing people to isolate.

With the path cleared for legal US betting on CS:GO leagues and the recent announcement that DraftKings is offering DFS for these leagues, we’re here to provide an introduction to the rules of the game itself, the structure and format of its accompanying leagues, and strategies and tips on how to successfully create the best possible DraftKings’ DFS lineups with ESL and Flashpoint players.

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How to play CS:GO

Counter Strike: Global Offensive is a game between two teams: five Terrorists (T) vs. five Counter Terrorists (CT). The first team to win 16 rounds wins the game and depending on the stage of the season, the first team to win two or three games wins the match. A round ends when one side has killed all five opponents, the bomb is detonated or defused, or the clock (set to 01:55) runs out. If the bomb has not been detonated or defused in that time, the defensive side wins the round.

There are two main leagues: The ESL Pro League, currently in the midst of its 11th season, and Flashpoint which just began its first season March 13. DraftKings allows you to add players from either league to your lineup depending on that day’s schedule.

For a list of every ESL match on Twitch and YouTube, head to the ESL’s “How To Watch” page and watch every Flashpoint match on the league’s Twitch channel.

CS:GO DFS: How it works

Lineups contain six players – one captain and five flex spots – with a maximum of three players allowed from any one team. The player you select as Captain will score 1.5x the standard fantasy point value for each statistic, but your Captain will also cost more salary than if you drafted him at a flex position. To keep your lineup valid, you must select players from at least two different CS:GO games on the schedule.

CS:GO scoring at DraftKings

  • Kills: +1.5
  • Assists: +1
  • Deaths: -1
  • Entry Kill: +.5 (First Kill of the round)
  • 1v2 Clutch: +1 (Winning the round after being the last remaining player against 2 remaining enemies)
  • 1v3 Clutch: +2 (Winning the round after being the last remaining player against 3 remaining enemies)
  • 1v4 Clutch: +3 (Winning the round after being the last remaining player against 4 remaining enemies)
  • 1v5 Clutch: +5 (Winning the round after being the last remaining player against 5 remaining enemies)
  • Quad Kill: +3 (4 kills in a single round)
  • Ace: +5 (5 kills in a single round)
  • Game Length Adjustment: At the end of each game, a player’s score is multiplied by 30 and divided by the number of rounds he or she played to compensate for the maximum of 30 total rounds.

DraftKings contests

DraftKings offers the usual variety of contests and tournaments for DFS, including options solely for beginners and casual users. These contests usually consist of $0.10 – $5 entry fees, ranging from $3-$50 in winnings for those with less than 50 contests under their belt (beginner) or anyone looking to keep their entry fees low (casual). 

Tournaments vary in entry fees, number of participants, total prize money, amount of positions paid and first place payout. The chart below contains real examples from recent CS:GO DFS contests on DK.

ENTRY FEE PARTICIPANTS TOTAL PRIZE $ POSITIONS PAID FIRST PLACE 
$0.10 2,972 $250 698 $25
$33 106 $3,000 24 $500
$109 3 $300 1 $300
$530 3 $1,500 1 $1,500

Sign up and play today

For those brand new to DraftKings, sign up for an account and receive $20 free when you make your first deposit. After adding a few bucks, head to the lobby and select the tab labeled “CS:GO” for Counter Strike: Global Offensive contests. You can toggle between the different types of contests offered on the left side of the page where you’ll see the options for Beginner, Casual, Tournaments, Head-To-Head, 50/50 & Double Ups, Multipliers, and Satellites and Qualifiers.

Once you select the contest you’d like, fill in your team’s lineup and click “Enter” to finalize your lineup submission and submit your money. You have until the start of the first matchup to swap players in and out of your lineup.

CS:GO fantasy games are not available in New York or Iowa.

Strategies and tips

Online Play

Players and coaches will remain where they are in shelter for the entirety of this season, forcing them to compete on dedicated servers either from home, team houses or in suitable boot camp locations. As a result, remember to rely more heavily on a player’s online stats when looking for value. There’s a reason the names at the top of the leaderboards change when you toggle between LAN and online matches: some players thrive on the added pressure and energy of a live crowd, while others are prone to buckling underneath it.

Player Stats

Although DraftKings doesn’t base their DFS scoring on all of the stats kept by the ESL’s website or HLTV.org, you should still revert back to league leaderboards when evaluating player selections. For example, a low Deaths Per Round percentage will always be valuable when making lineup decisions; deaths lose your player one point and conversely, the longer a player stays alive, the more likely he is to pull off other point-garnering moves like a Quad Kill or clutch points.

Player Tendencies

Other pro league stats tell us about a player’s tendencies and how well those tendencies translate into DFS success. A good example here would be a player’s Opening Duel Success percentage. Due to the commonly used “Buddy System” (teammates traveling in groups of two or more) a good opening duel percentage usually means a player has recorded a trade, killing an opponent right after the opponent has killed their teammate. Trades are huge in CS:GO and especially big in DFS considering they also get you 1.5 points for the kill (2.25 points if it’s your captain). They’re even more noteworthy when committed by an offensive player as there is now one less defender trying to fend off the trader from detonating/defusing the bomb. Hence why you’ll find the offensive team’s win percentage skyrockets after an early trade and players with high Opening Duel Success percentages often have low Death Rate percentages as well.

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