You will often hear fantasy experts say things like “know your scoring system.” What they mean when they give this advice is that your opinion of players might change depending on the ways different leagues or contests score the action taking place on the field. The most obvious example of this is the oldest and most basic of all fantasy leagues – the “touchdown-only” league. It’s, um, pretty self-explanatory. And it wouldn’t work for daily fantasy football, at all.
You could theoretically make a lot of different systems work in daily fantasy, but there are a couple of obvious choices that DraftKings has made that could impact the way you think about both certain individual players as well as entire positions, in terms of where you are going to allocate your available salary dollars.
The first of these choices is making the contests PPR, and the reasoning is pretty simple: it increases the number of quality, high-scoring players, which is nice when you can start as many as four wide receivers. This makes the game more fun for everyone, making the guys you really love easier to squeeze into your lineup, and it also reduces overlap among the rosters involved in any particular tournament. This is an obvious choice, and it has obvious repercussions: RBs who catch the ball are great, possession wide receivers are elevated, and tight ends who are involved between the twenties are just as valuable as those who serve primarily as red zone targets.
But the second choice made by DraftKings, while just as common, and just as important, is also sometimes overlooked, and has some impacts that are maybe not QUITE so obvious. This choice is the 4-point passing touchdown. The majority of fantasy players are used to this format, having played in it plenty in year-long leagues. And, generally speaking, it doesn’t matter in those leagues much, because it impacts almost every quarterback the same way.
So what impact does this choice have on daily fantasy? Well, for starters, it is an interesting choice, because as opposed to PPR inflating scores and creating more options, this choice suppresses scores. And it DOES impact most QBs the same way… but not all. Generally speaking though, the benefit to daily fantasy is that this principle creates less overlap in lineups, because the best QBs are usually obvious, but less likely to be chosen in this format, because it is hard for them to significantly outscore the top RBs and WRs in any given week (but they cost more). If TDs were worth six, you’d have a lot more Peyton-led squads, to be sure.
An example? Let’s look at a hypothetical game like the one Flacco had last weekend. A QB throws for 350 yards and five touchdowns, and that’s basically a perfect game. But it isn’t even worth 40 points. So, if that’s the top end, even for a guy like Peyton, then what are you paying for? It’s not like anyone “consistently” throws for five touchdowns. So you’re not paying for consistency.
And you’re not paying for upside, because the upside simply isn’t there at the top end – if you pay $9,000 for a QB and they have a good game, you got your money’s worth, not a value. That top QB would need to have a GREAT game to be a value, not a good one. If you pay $8,200 for Murray or Forte and they have a good game, you’re not going to care what you spent, you’re just gonna be happy to see all those points in your lineup. And if they have a GREAT game, all bets are off.
The point? Quarterback seems like a real obvious place to save money. At least until someone like Cam last week, or Wilson a couple weeks back comes along. Cam had 17 carries last week. SEVENTEEN. Russell Wilson had 11 for 122 just a couple of Sundays ago and seemed like the Seahawks’ only legitimate threat to take the corner on a running down. A QB who is going to run, and is priced at a value, might as well be worth his weight in gold in this format. There is a reason Cam’s price jumped more than $2,000 in a single week. You need to know when the running is going to come, but a single rushing TD, or a handful of yards piled up on top of those passing stats, could easily be all the difference.
Cam has the track record to support the lofty salary-cap hit, but he’s not the only QB out there with the potential to carry you with his legs. Choose correctly and every completed pass will just seem like a bonus. Good luck.