Tale of Two Fictitious Players
The Fantasy Football world on Twitter is full of many different opinions on how to win at this game we love. These opinions from professional and amateur analysts alike. While I continue to try to convert more and more analysts and players to the cult of the “Fantasy Football is a weekly game” world, I am still accepting of MOST opinions on how to outsmart people in this crazy game. However, there is one pet peeve of mine that I will explain today in my tale of two fictitious players.
Hyperventilating Over Comparison Polls
How often do you see a Fantasy Football analyst show two somewhat comparable statistical lines for players without telling us who the players are? Do you think it is because name bias exists in the industry? Yes, name bias DOES exist! Certain players can get over hyped based on a great highlight reel on ESPN from one game last year. A player can get over hyped he buried your team last year in the Fantasy Football Finals. Let’s take a look at a very simple player comparison right now.
Player X Scored 260 Points
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Player Z Scored 240 Points
Which player do you want on your Fantasy Football team for 2019?
If your answer was “You didn’t give me enough information” then you move to the head of the class!
Fantasy Football is a Weekly Game
Unless you are playing in some weird Roto style league that gives you credit for year end points in deciding a champion, then you need to know how statistics are accumulated. Why you ask? So you know who is the best value. In an absurd example; say a WR that goes off for 10 catches for 200 yards and 3 touchdowns in each of 5 games. But say he gets shut out the rest of the year and ends up with 1000 yards and 15 touchdowns. That translates into 240 Fantasy Points in a PPR format. In five games, he would help you win but in 10 other games he would kill you.
Comparing With More Information
Now let’s suppose this data is provided for you on our fictitious Player X and Player Z would this change which guy you want?
Player X: 45, 40, 35, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 35, 30, 25, 5, 5, 5, 5 for 260 Points
Player Z: 15, 15, 15, 15, 15, 15, 15, 10, 10, 15, 15, 15, 15, 15, 15, 25 for 240 Points
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If your answer was “You STILL didn’t give me enough information”, then you have just been elected Class President!
What Else Matters
Let’s look at this somewhat absurd hypothetical. Before I can make a decision between two players, I not only want to know what their weekly breakdown in points was, but I also need much more information. While the amount of information could also hypothetically be endless, I will give you the type of information needed and how it would impact your decision.
What type of league is this? If this is BEST BALL, I might take the big weekly upside guy over Mr. Consistency. This depends on other issues such as how many players I need to start at each position. In BEST BALL, I don’t have to figure out which weeks are going to be his super weeks.
How many teams in the league? If this is an 8 team league, then everyone has super stars. I just might want that huge week guy more than I would in a 12 team league, where consistency can pay off more. The quality of my fellow Fantasy Football players in a league matters too.
Was this a one year wonder? I base all of my Fantasy Football statistics on a two year sample size, but I always look at the longer history of every player. Was this the only year Mr. Big Points stayed healthy? Has Mr. Consistency always been this consistent?
How did a player’s role or team change since last year? Too often when a player who had a career year last year in a potent offense, signs as a free agent with a woeful offense. We tend to still over rate this guy. If you go from Captain America at QB to Mister Magoo, your Fantasy value will plummet.
How old is each player? While my Dynasty teams will be sprinkled with some cagey old veterans (usually in my Best Ball and Redraft leagues), I tend to draft younger. It’s almost impossible to catch that first bad year for an aging player, so I usually invest in the younger guys if all other things are equal.
The next time you see a blind player statistic comparison on Twitter, ask for more information! Context matters in Fantasy Football and unless you understand more than the statistics, you will not thrive in this game. I learned this simple fact when looking at final running speed times for horses while I was handicapping harness racing. Just because a horse with the best driver ran a 1:55.1 last week against a bunch of $10,000 nags, doesn’t mean he is going to repeat that performance against $30,000 horses this week with a one-eyed driver, who has never won. Ask for more information and also scream “Fantasy Football is a Weekly Game!”, when you see the tale of two fictitious players on Twitter next week.