Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Analyzing A Successful Week 1 DraftKings Fantasy Football Lineup

My main lineup in DraftKings for Week 1 Fantasy Football

So week 1 of fantasy football is in the books. If you did well, congratulations! Keep up the great work! If you didn’t do well, it’s ok, it happens. Even the best players will have bad weeks. The most important thing is that you learn from your mistakes and apply that knowledge going forward.

To help you I decided to share with you my main lineup for DraftKings this week. This lineup did very well for me, allowing me to win every game I used this lineup in. My only regret is I wish I would have used it in the free contest I competed in, I would have won a free game with this lineup as well.

So now, let’s talk about the most important question.

How did I come up with a lineup like this and how can you do the same thing next week?

Step #1 – Decide What Type Of Lineup You Want To Create
I create two types of lineups. The first type of lineup is a lineup that I create for cash games. I use this lineup in my head to head games and my 50/50 games. The goal for this lineup is to be better than the average player. The second type of lineup is a lineup that I create for tournaments. The goal with this lineup is to take risks and do things that other players might not necessarily do. The risk is that I am wrong and I usually am. However, when I am right, this lineup can do VERY well and even place at the top of the standings in tournaments.
The lineup that you see above is the lineup that I used for cash games.

Step #2 – Review the Vegas Odds
Later this week I will write an entire post dedicated to the Vegas odds and how to review it. This is the first thing that I do. Here’s why. Vegas makes money by hosting bets on football games. However because in a game one team is favorite to win over the other, they have to create a spread to even things out so that they can get people betting on both teams. If people only bet on one team they lose money.

I review the Vegas odds for three reasons.

#1) To see which team they have favorite to win and what the point spread is. The point spread is how many points the favorite team needs to win by in order to cover the spread and be a winning bet. If the favorite team wins but they don’t win by enough points, the underdog team is the winning bet.

#2) To see what the over/under is on the game. The over/under is how many TOTAL points Vegas expects to be scored in a game. An average scoring game is about 45 points. So a game with a final score of 24 to 21 is a 45 point game. Games with an over/under of LESS than 45 points are games that I consider to be low scoring games. Games with an over/under of MORE than 45 points are games that I consider to be high scoring games.

#3) Injuries/weather concerns. Injuries are important because if a star player is hurt and might not play, you need to know that for two reasons. The first is the obvious reason of making sure you DON’T pick that player. However, the not so obvious reason is that there are other players who might be thrusted into a bigger role than their salary may indicate. Those are players that you can target for cheap, thus leaving you with more money to get the more expensive players.

Step #3 – Select Low Risk Players Based On Vegas Info & Previous Performance
After researching the Vegas odds, I now look at players. In particular I am looking for low risk players who have a previous performance of a consistent track record. A player is considered low risk when he is playing in a game that is projected to be a high scoring game (with the exception of defense/special teams, low risk is low scoring game). That player also has what is known as a high floor. This means that in the past if you take a look at this player’s WORST game, the fantasy points produced is higher than other players WORST games. Finally, also take a look at defense vs position. Some teams give up a lot of points to certain positions. I also look at price in comparison to other players. I want to select players who are likely to have the highest scores and get them for the lowest price possible. Ideally I would like them to score at least 2.5 times the thousand digits in his salary. So if a player has a $5000 salary, I expect that player to score 12.5 fantasy points to be worth drafting.

How I Decided On The Players I Drafted This Week
So here’s how I ended up picking the players that I drafted this week at each position:

QB – Matt Ryan: Played in a game with the HIGHEST over/under Vegas score total. Safer pick than Sam Bradford who also played in that game but hasn’t played since 2013. Top 10 QB in terms of highest floor score last year.

RB – Eddie Lacy: Played in a game with a high over/under Vegas score total. Played for a team that was heavy favorites in that game. Top 10 RB in terms of highest floor score last year.

RB – DeMarco Murray: Played in a game with the HIGHEST over/under Vegas score total. Played for the favorite team. Had the HIGHEST floor score out of any running back last year.

Quarterback and Running Back are the most reliable positions. So these positions I wanted to pick the safest picks possible.

WR – Devante Adams: Played in a game with a high over/under Vegas score total. Played for a team that was heavy favorites in that game. Packers leading receiver Jordy Nelson is out for the year. Adams was expected to get more catches as a result. He also had a really low price compared to the extra opportunities he is expected to get.

WR – Stevie Johnson: Only a medium over/under Vegas score total. However the reason why I targeted Johnson was because he was cheap, the Chargers don’t have a running game and they are weak at the tight end position. That means their points are likely going to come from their wide receivers.

WR – Julio Jones: Played in a game with a high over/under Vegas score total. Top 10 WR in terms of highest floor scored last year. Paired with Matt Ryan to get double points (QB throws to Jones earning QB yards and touchdowns as well as WR yards and touchdowns).
So if you noticed, here I took a top tier wide receiver and filled my other two spots with value picks. A value pick is a guy who can be had at a low salary, but is expected to score higher than his salary for various reasons.

TE – Jordan Cameron: Only a medium over/under Vegas score total. However, the reason why I targeted Cameron is because the Redskins were one of the WORST teams in the league in terms of giving up points to the tight end position.

FLEX – Chris Ivory: Ivory is the only player I selected in a game with a low over/under Vegas score total (actually the lowest over/under of week one). I normally would not do this. However, Ivory had a low price. He is playing in a game with a low Vegas run total. His team is the favorite to win. He is playing with a 2nd string quarterback. He is also playing against a team that has a much better pass defense than run defense. All those thing combined suggest to me the Jets win this game by running the football.

DEF/ST – New York Jets: For offensive players we want to target high Vegas over/under games. For the defense/special teams selection it’s the reverse. You want games with a low run total. The Jets game had the lowest total. The Jets defense is better than the Browns defense. The Jets defense was also priced lower than a number of the top defenses even though it had one of the lowest Vegas run total. That made this pick a no brainer for me.

Hopefully you will see the thought process behind why I picked certain players and you will be able to apply a similar thought process to your selections next week!

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