One of the toughest things for me in daily fantasy is thinking differently. Sure, fantasy is fantasy, but a daily league is a completely different animal than a season long league is. In a season long league you are thinking not just of the current week, or even the next couple, but you are thinking about weeks from now and the nebulous playoffs — which could be months from now. In daily fantasy, the only thing that matters is the current game. That might not seem like that much of a difference, but it is. It is sort of comparable to “regular” stock trading and the “micro-trading” that is completely automated and run by computers. The computers buy a stock and sell it milliseconds later for a slight profit. In daily fantasy you are buying a guy for one game — or week. You occasional will do that in a season long league, but more often you are also thinking long-term when making moves.
In a season long league chances are you would not grab Mark Sanchez to be you only quarterback for the rest of the season. You might add him as a second quarterback or spot starter, but you cannot risk your entire season on a guy who was not good enough to stick with the Jets. In a daily league, Sanchez is much more valuable. He provides the potential to save money at a premium position while also the possibility of a huge profit since he will be starting in an offense very favorable for quarterbacks. If he is a bust, it only costs you one week; if he is your only QB in a season long league and is a bust, he can wreck your season. While there are many difference between the two types of fantasy there is also a lot of synergy.
All the time you spent doing research for your season long drafts was applicable to your daily teams. All the research you do for your daily teams will help you make better lineups in your yearly leagues. I also think that playing daily fantasy can help you spot trends sooner than you might notice them in season long leagues. It is through the daily research that I have noticed that rookie wide receivers are no longer guys to avoid when drafting season long teams. As of October 12th, there were six rookie wide receivers — Kelvin Benjamin, Sammy Watkins, Brandin Cooks, Mike Evans, Allen Robinson, and Jordan Matthews — who ranked in the top-30 in terms of fantasy points scored in PPR leagues.
If I were not playing in daily leagues, I probably would not have noticed so many fantasy-relevant rookie wide receivers this season. Sure, none of them have been all that consistent, but you can say that about any wide receiver. All are options for daily fantasy leagues in a favorable matchup, and possible trade targets even in single season leagues. More important, I might have to reevaluate rookie wide receivers for season long leagues next year. More and more colleges are running pass oriented offenses, more NFL teams are adopting college style offenses. It could be that receivers coming into the NFL are much more NFL-ready than in the past, because they are coming from offenses very similar to what is being run in the NFL now.
You might be asking what does all of this have to do with how I build my teams each week? Good question. It is really just a continuation of what I have been writing all season. You need to be open minded, and willing to use information from one type of league for another when applicable. In this case, daily fantasy will help me be a better season long fantasy owner. But, there is information you will notice from a season long league that you can apply to your daily fantasy selections too. One of the columns I write each week is the “Tight End Break Down“. While you probably only look at the opponent ranking each week, I have seen the tight end matchups all season. I know that while Atlanta and San Diego rank highly against TE this season, they have also faced a very favorable schedule — played a lot of teams with bad TE. In other words, you should not automatically rule out a tight end just because he is facing one of those teams.
To be the best owner possible, you always have to be thinking about how to be a better manager. When you see a stat, you need to think about how that might help you make better roster decisions. Even if it does not seem to be something that will help you right now, it might well come in handy in a week, or two or even next month. Be open to all the information you can get, be critical of all the information you get, try to learn something new every day. Sure, it would be great to find some earthshaking algorithm that allows you to finish in the money each week, but chances are slim that will happen. What can happen, is you become a much better owner because you have learned a lot of small things that help you find an extra few points for your teams each week.
That is all for this week. You can catch me on Twitter @STCDub.