NFL / fantasy sports
The Fantasy Sports Machine: Behind What Fuels My Fantasy Fire!
The NFL season is not far removed and the Patriots glory is still fresh in our minds but already we are shifting towards the future. The NFL combine has finished and the NFL draft is just around the corner. It has already been an exciting offseason and we are just getting started. With Antonio Brown on the Market and OBJ potentially on the move, not to mention the possible end to the Le'veon Bell saga, it has the potential to be one of the most active and exciting offseason and training camp in many years. Teams have already been making changes and on March 24th the rumours can be put to rest as teams start acquiring new players and personnel in hopes that this upcoming year will be the one. My interest in what is happening in the offseason goes beyond my love for football. My passion stems from my heavy involvement in Fantasy Sports. The offseason is when teams are able to make moves to improve their roster and chances of winning and it is no different for the owner of a Fantasy Football team. Source I have always been a huge sports fan and a diehard football fan. I have been playing and watching sports ever since I was a kid. There was no limit to the sports that I would play and watch. My passion for sports, however, has become bigger than just the game itself. Sports has become an obsession and a way of life. I am more than just a casual onlooker in sports. I have become knowledgable about players and stats. I am keen to scoring tendencies and the ebbs and flows of a players season. Over the years the landscape of the sports industry has changed and the way fans interact with the game has evolved. For me and many other fans there comes a point when just watching sports is no longer enough to keep us watching for hours on end. We want to feel like we are part of what is happening on the screen. We wanted to be more engaged in the game. I want to feel like I have something riding on the game. A more intrinsic motivation. I want to share in the players successes and feel like I am part of the team. Enter Fantasy Sports! Source Fantasy sports provide a unique opportunity for fans to interact with sports on a whole new level. The basic idea is that you draft a team of players and use those players to compete against other teams in your league. This means that you get to take on the role of coach and general manager. You get to be in of what players are in your line-up and you manage your roster just like a real coach would. You are also able to trade players and make roster moves like a GM would make. Fantasy sports give the fan the power to make all those decisions that they think the real teams should be making each week. How many times have you been watching a game and said how the coach or manager is doing a terrible job? How many times have you said you could have pulled off a better deal? Fantasy sports gives you the chance to put your money where your mouth is and puts you in charge, for better or worse. Source Fantasy sports takes watching games and following a sport to a whole new level. Now, the games have much more meaning than just the result and who wins or loses. I am actively engaged in every single play and every bit of action during the game. I am watching the players more closely and eagerly following statistics that are being achieved in the game. Every scoring opportunity or defensive play or body check and even saves can be the statistical difference in your weekly matchup. My connection to sports has gone so much further than just my favourite teams and cheering for the players on those teams. Fantasy sports allows me to draft and become the owner of players from all over the league and we cheer for these players to do well every game. This leads to becoming fans of specific players as much as teams. I know that I personally cheer for players that I might never have paid much attention to if it wasn't for fantasy sports. Those players are not only doing well for their teams, but they are also doing well for my team. I even cheer for individual players form teams that I have traditionally disliked. The only conundrum is when my fantasy players are playing against my favourite teams. It is hard to cheer for an opposing player to do well when it could hurt your favourite team. Source I started playing fantasy sports back in the early 1990’s when I was still in high school. We never really called it fantasy sports back then. We used the term "pool" more often than not. We would have football and hockey drafts and keep track of the points in using the newspaper. It was a massive job for the person who was running these pools. I remember spending hours each Monday going through the Sunday box Scores to calculate and add up all the points. Each week the entire scoring for all teams in the NHL would be posted in the Newspaper we would spend forever finding each player and adding up points. The face of fantasy sports has evolved so much since then. The internet was a game changer for the growth and explosion of fantasy sports. Gone were the days of having to keep track of point by hand. Online tools for drafting and tracking the leagues have made it incredibly easy to get involved in fantasy sports and to run your own league. You are able to watch the results of your players in real time and enjoy the thrill of the action as it happens rather than a few days or a week later. Source With such ease of entry, the number of people playing fantasy sports has grown exponentially over the past decade and the number of sports you can participate has grown as well. Now you can participate in a fantasy league for pretty much any sport now. There are even fantasy leagues for cricket, tennis and golf. are no longer limited to playing with your close buddies and competing locally. You can play in leagues with people from all over the world. This year I was personally in a fantasy football league with people from all over North America. There were managers from Ontario and Quebec as well as Indiana, Florida and California. Not only can you now play online but you are able to play fantasy sports on your device using a variety of apps. Fantasy sports have become so popular that there are even a great number of podcasts dedicated to fantasy sports information and news. Source This evolution of the fantasy sports world online has made running a league much easier in some ways and more complex in others. There is a plethora of setting and options when it comes to how you want to run your league. You can choose specific positions to be included, you can adjust and tweak the scoring of your league in almost any way you want. In football, there is always a debate about what is better, PPR (points per reception) leagues or nor PPR. The leagues allow owners to make transactions quickly. In the past, you would need to contact the commish of your league in order to make any adjustments. Now you can do it with a click of a button. League commissioners are now able to communicate more effectively with the rest of the league and this allows changes and decisions to be made more quickly and effectively. Being the commish of a league is a big undertaking and one that should not be taken lightly. Unfortunately, you might take the brunt of any disgruntled owners when issues pop up. Source There are different ways that you might engage with the fantasy sports world. The most common is to join a season-long draft league and run a team for an entire season. This provides a significant amount of engagement with your players and the other members of your league. These leagues make it feel like you are part of the real thing with playoffs and championships. There are also the old school season long pools where you just add up totals at the end. They are updated and tracked daily for you through the fantasy sites. Then there is the most recent evolution in fantasy sports, Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS). This is the option where you can choose different players every day and compete with new teams daily. This option allows you to compete with a wide range of players whereas in a season-long league you have players for a longer term. Source Fantasy Sports has become a multi-billion dollar industry and that is not just the fees that people pay to be in leagues. Most players wager money in their leagues and have a chance to win a pot if they can come out as champs but gambling is not necessary. You can play in leagues completely for fun and bragging rights with no money involved at all. The introduction of daily leagues has contributed significantly to this growth in spending. Approximately 59.3 million users played fantasy sports in North America in 2017 with 39% using smartphones to play. The DFS market was US$3.26B in 2016 and is estimated to reach $5.6 billion by 2021. Average user spending on FanDuel and DraftKings was US$41.70 per month and expected to increase. Source This continues to grow all the time as new sports are introduced and more people flood into the market. The number of users has grown rapidly ever since the internet became the place to play fantasy. The revenue leader in North America is NFL football by a landslide. Soccer dominates the European market. Fantasy football—It’s a growing industry, estimated to be worth more than $7 billion a year in the US and Canada and to have 59 million players, according to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association. Source Source An evolution that has further engaged fans in fantasy sports is the development of keeper and dynasty leagues. Now you get to manage your team year round and make decisions that will not only impact your team this season but for several seasons to come. Fans now have the ability to make trades based on their current needs of future prospects. It gives an element of realism to your fantasy league. It also adds a level of excitement to the league. The year I finished last in my fantasy hockey league should have been an extreme disappointment but it meant that I had the first overall pick in the draft and that landed me Connor McDavid. Teams can go through ups and downs and rebuilds just like in the real world. Ever since I started participating in dynasty or keeper leagues I have a hard time getting as excited about regular single-season leagues. Two years ago in my dynasty football league, I was having a pretty unlucky season and was going to miss the playoffs. I was able to trade away a couple of the strong players to a couple of teams that were trying to make a run for the championship. In the deals, I was able to get a couple of young prospects plus Aaron Rodgers who was hurt at the time. I also picked up a couple of good draft picks. I was able to go from last place one season all the way to a fantasy championship the following season because of some savvy moves I made before the trade deadline. Trade deadline day in fantasy can be oh so fun. The action never ends and that is why I am so keenly interested in the NFL combine and draft. Scouting out the next best NFL stud or sleeper pick is key to long term success. The season never truly ends in a keeper or dynasty league. Source I would have to say that my favourite parts of fantasy sports are the draft and trading. The draft is always a great time. It is usually the only time that we are all able to get together and shoot the breeze about football and get in some of that good ole trash talking that makes fantasy sports so fun. It is the night when you put all your research and planning to the test. If you are lucky you will get the players you hope will be studs. It can be a race to get certain players and everyone knows it. My big leagues have very experienced players and everyone does their homework before the draft. I love seeing who people think is going to be a sleeper pick and trying to grab them late. The look on another guy's face when you snag the guy he wanted before him can be priceless. After that, trading and player movement become my focal point. The season has many twists and turns and player success does as well. Trying to sell high or buy low on a player can be the difference maker when it comes to winning a league. The owner that can maximize player performance is going to see more success. The only issue with trading a lot is that you have less connection to your players and if you make enough trades, you are going to lose some. Source At this point of the year, fantasy hockey is starting to get to the crucial moments with only a few weeks of regular season games. Major league baseball is less than a month away from kicking off. If you are looking for a fantasy league that is very statistical then baseball might right up your ally. For me, I just can't get enough of the action. I mostly play in money leagues but to be perfectly honest, the money is an added bonus. Winning in our fantasy leagues is about bragging rights and having ownership of the fantasy trophy or even belt until the next season.
Draftkings Week 16 Bargain Plays
Last Week's Picks Dak Prescott 7.24 David Johnson 19.10 Tevin Coleman 23.50 Allen Robinson 8.40 Dante Pettis 13.30 Taylor Gabriel 6.30 Cameron Brate 1.90 Washington 12.00 On to the week 16 slate QB - Dak Prescott $5700 vs Tampa Bay Dak let a lot of DFS and season long players down last week. In my opinion he was a lock of the week considering Dallas was most likely going to be down most of the game and their run defense has played very well. Those factors were in play but unfortunately the results just weren't there. It's football and shit happens. I wouldn't let this weeks result cloud your judgement too much. Dak was still able to complete 62% of his passes with decent volume and exceed 200 yards. What hurt the most was his lack of rushing attempts. It was his first goose egg in that area this year and his first game since week 1 without a TD at all. For a lot of the reasons I listed last week I'd consider Dak a great start facing one of the leagues worst defenses at home. RB - Saquon Barkley $7900 @ Indianapolis Not exactly a super cheap bargain but a bargain nonetheless. I'm not trying to be lazy listing a guy that has only gone under 20 points 2 times all season including last week. With his bad week and what appears to be a bad matchup this week, Draftkings has graciously reduced his price. He should be in all cash and gpp lineups this week. RB - Tevin Coleman $4800 @ Carolina After smashing last week Coleman gets a slight bump in price. I wouldn't consider playing him 2 weeks in a row based on his lack of consistent strong play, but with Ito Smith going to IR I think it's reasonable to expect his opportunities to increase and possibly out play his price range again. He's still fairly risky given that he hasn't seen a huge workload all season and even when he has he's rarely been able to take advantage. On the plus side he hadn't had the worst floor all year either though. If you aren't comfortable playing Coleman you could pivot to Brian Hill at 3k. Both are gpp plays though. WR - Jarvis Landry $6200 vs Cincinnati Personally I'm not a huge Jarvis Landry fan. His entire career thus far has been pretty lackluster considering the amount of volume he's seen and if not for his flukey 9 TDs last year he would've had a pretty embarrassing season with 112 catches but unable to eclipse 1000 yards or 10 yards per reception. He's a volume driven compiler who is starting to show his true colors consistently doing the least with the most. While he has improved in some areas he is nowhere near a WR 1 caliber talent for any team. He currently is in the top 10 in targets (8th), target share (7th) , and red zone targets (3rd) at the position and only has 72 receptions (15th), 827 yards (20th), 191 yards after catch (48th), and 4 touchdowns (45th). While you could try to contribute some of this to QB Baker Mayfield I'd consider that a stretch. Baker has shown some inconsistent play but he's already better than half the QBs in the NFL. Enough ranting about Landry and his real football production. He's still a decent fantasy asset based his target share alone. He's been seeing a Nukish (Hopkins) like amount of targets which keeps his floor great for cash games and facing a beat up Bengals team he may be worth considering in gpp too but for me I'd go for a higher upside cheaper play for that. Perhaps like a Dante Pettis who should have low ownership based on his matchup vs the Bears. WR - Alshon Jeffery $5300 vs Houston There isn't a large sample size this season of a Foles and Jeffery connection but if you consider last year's playoff run with last week's game @ LA, Foles seems to have some decent chemistry with Jeffery. From the start of last year's playoffs to last week, Jeffery saw 5, 5, 8 and 8 targets with Foles. In those 26 targets Jeffery was able to haul in 20 of them for an 80% catch rate. Although the End of offense has been terrible as of late I still view Alshon as an elite receiver. We've also seen that if Foles can get hot he's able to elevate his play to an elite type level. There's certainly some risk though since we've also seen Foles go through extreme cold streaks where he can be gun shy and extra conservative. But based on their past rapport Id be willing to take the risk in cash games and with some chance of high volatility I'd consider him a lock for gpp. WR - Dede Westbrook $4900 @ Miami Dede is a strong gpp option. I'm not going to lie though. I'm not crazy about his price especially given the bad play of Cody Kessler. He does have a lot going for him though. He has yet to see less than 4 targets in any game this year and no less than 2 receptions so we have a floor that isn't 0. And going back to targets, since Kessler took over in week 13 Westbrook has had 20 in the last 3 games. Now the bad part. All season the Jags have not been able to push the ball down field so unless their skill positions bust off big plays or get a red zone look which seems to rarely happen in this offense, then you could see a stat line like 3 receptions for 20 yards. And with that also comes low completion rates. Westbrook could get 8 targets but there's a chance he could only bring in 3 to 5 of them for 20 total yards. He's probably the most capable WR on the team to be able to break one off to the house or creating other big plays like a punt return for a TD like last week, and with a floor of non zero all season it's definitely worth it to have him in some tournament lineups. If you wanted to go a few hundred cheaper, Robbie Anderson shares a lot of the same qualities as Dede and is at $4500. His price and recent success may drive his ownership up though. TE - David Njoku $3800 vs Cincinnati Njoku is a very young and highly talented player still trying to make his mark in the league. This year has been a huge growing year for him but with his doubled snap share he should be gaining the experience he needs to be a true breakout for next season. He's had his ups and downs all year in the box score but he's been consistently worked into their game plans and has been able to put up decent production vs teams that aren't great vs the tight end. I personally would have loved to see stronger outings in the past 2 weeks but considering the landscape of the position in fantasy his 6.5, and 6 point games won't kill you in a matchup. Over the last 4 weeks he's had no less than 4 targets and 3 receptions with 1 touchdown. He's also facing one of the NFL's worst defenses against the position and the last time both teams met Njoku had 5 receptions on 5 targets for 63 yards and a touchdown. While Njoku hasn't been lighting up the stat sheet he also hasn't been terrible outside of 2 games this entire year. With the Bengals being beat up with injuries on both sides of the ball there could be a chance Cleveland jumps out to an early big lead and pounds Chubb down the middle but even if that happens I expect Njoku to be a very safe play. May not have a super high ceiling but the floor is definitely good for cash games. Defense - New England $2500 vs Buffalo Buffalo has been a decent matchup for most fantasy defenses all year. And while Josh Allen has been a real threat as a rusher I don't think he's as great of an asset as a passer. The bills also give up a ton of sacks and have a hard time scoring generally. Lock in New England
Week 14 Bargain Plays DK
Last Week's Picks Cousins 10.04 Lindsay 31.90 Edwards 8.20 Coutee N/A Sutton 18.50 Ellington 10.50 Uzomah 8.30 Miami 9.00 Last week wasn't the worst with some of my picks but as a whole could've been a lot better. Edwards and Cousins had to be the massive pile of shit in people's turd sandwiches in cash this week. I'm sure a lot of people like myself expected Edwards to be a free square cash play with his matchup. It's football, shit happens. On to week 14…...just an FYI I won't be doing a week 17 blog. QB - Lamar Jackson $5700 @ Kansas City If he's still the starter next week plug him in, in cash games. Fumbles, interceptions, it just doesn't matter. Jackson has been displaying the craziest rushing floor we've seen in a long time nearly giving you 2 TDs worth of points in rushing yardage, and this week he faces another soft defense in Kansas City. If the Ravens can keep pace at all on the road they'll have to put up tons of points, and if the raiders could do it last week why not Baltimore with Lamar Jackson? RB - Aaron Jones $7400 vs Atlanta The Falcons are taking the leagues 7th worst run defense on the road to face the Packers who have finally taken the training wheels off midway through this year and letting their man smash. He hasn't seen under 14 touches since the Packers bye week(7) and has 7 touchdowns through those weeks. With Aaron Rodgers still most likely feeling the effects of his knee injury earlier on in the season, and Green Bay no longer pretending their other backs (J. Williams, Ty Montgomery traded) are skilled Jones is primed to smash for the rest of the season but especially this week at home. RB - Phillip Lindsay $6300 @ San Francisco YOU PLAY LINDSAY UNTIL DK DECIDES TO PRICE HIM CORRECTLY!!! Game Script doesn't matter. Ahead or losing Lindsay is their man and 2nd rounder Royce Freeman is strictly at goal line duty. No need to elaborate a ton Don't hesitate vs San Francisco. WR - Emmanuel Sanders $6200 @ San Francisco Sanders was most likely a let down for many people last week but he should be a regular plug and play still if you've been relying on him. He's got awesome chemistry with Case Keenum only logging under 6 targets in just 2 games this season. His fantasy outing of 5.9 points was nearly half of his previous low prior to last week's game. I'd expect a positive regression this week as long as Keenum is able to have an average game. And given they are playing the 9ers on the road it may not be a terrible idea to stack Lindsay, Keenum, and Sanders together. Fuck it, if you're gonna play a tournament play Sutton and the Broncos D while you are at it! WR - Larry Fitzgerald $4900 vs Detroit With Christian Kirk headed to IR they're completely void of many options there. That gives around 6+ targets a game to go around to the 2 viable weapons they have Larry Fitz and David Johnson. I can't really see Seals Jones getting anymore targets than he already is especially since he's done squat with the nearly 20% target share he's had all season. Also factor in that Fitz plays on the inside so he won't be shadowed by shutdown corner Darius Slay. Somebody has to catch the ball and it should be one of the league all time greats. WR - Dante Pettis $4400 vs Denver This game is setup to be a smashfest for running back Matt Breida against Denver's beatable rush defense but it's hard not to expect another decent outing from Pettis whose role should be continuing to grow at this point. Injuries and other issues to fellow wide receivers Marquise Goodwin, and Pierre Garcon have opened the floodgates for the rookie from Washington and he's made the most of every opportunity in the past 2 weeks racking up 9 receptions, and 3 touchdowns on 14 targets. Even in week 10 when he logged half the snaps he was beginning to draw targets (6) from QB Nick Mullens. If both receivers are still out for Sunday's game he could be a sneaky cash play, but he's a strong consideration for tournaments either way. TE - Ian Thomas $2700 @ Cleveland After Greg Olsen Exited last week's game Ian Thomas was very productive vs a Tampa Defense that has struggled all year posting 5 receptions on 5 targets for 46 yards. When it comes to rookie tight end production it's hard to expect a ton and while he's not blowing up the stat sheet when given opportunities he's been able to draw a lot of targets from Cam Newton. Earlier in the year when Olsen was out Thomas was able to get 16 looks in 4 games seeing a steady increase each game over that time. And while he wasn't able to completely take advantage of the bad defenses they faced just seeing that his workload, and yards per reception increase over that span shows a lot of promise for an inexperienced player, playing one of the toughest skill positions in the game. He's had a little more time to learn the ropes and with Olsen expected to miss extended time and a decent matchup vs a Browns defense that gives up around 6 receptions and 60 yards per game, Thomas looks to be an excellent cash and tournament play at his price. In my opinion the only options this week aren't going for Kelce then pay all the way down for Thomas. Defense - NY Jets $2700 @ Buffalo Similar to last weeks pick with Miami this should be a shit show of a game with a relatively low score and decent upside for sacks and turnovers so that makes the Bills D a viable option as well. Normally I'd favor the home defense in these situations but at $800 less gimme the Jets. The downside here could be that the Bills actually have a good defense and I wouldn't at all be surprised to see a pick 6 or fumble recovery for a TD.