Merry Boxing Day!

Happy Week 17!


Welcome to week 17 of my NFL General Strategy column. Thanks for reading, I hope that I have helped you at least a little bit this season. I volunteered for a strategy column because I might enjoy thinking about strategy more than playing the actual games. Perhaps I just enjoy mind experiments, but there is something about coming up with a plan for building a team that I find satisfying each week, even if the plan does not work out. I have tried to share some of that thinking with you. Not the actual team building, but the process I use after each week to judge what I did the week before.

As I have mentioned — probably ad nauseam — playing daily fantasy is a process. Yes, you are playing to win money. However, to “consistently” win money, you have to constantly hone your skills, and work on becoming a better owner. You start out with big things — learning how to play the game, making sure your players are playing — then work your way down to smaller things. The longer you play, the more the small things gain in importance. As you improve your skills, and are able to concentrate on smaller things, you should also find that you are winning more often and larger amounts. But winning is only the end result, not the actual goal.

Your goal is to become a better owner. Every week, every month, every season. No matter how small the knowledge gained, you need to learn something every time you play in a contest. You also need to realize that sometimes, what you have previously learned is no longer true. It used to be that to win in fantasy — season long fantasy — you had to have good running backs. Further, wide receivers were not all that important, you needing the good running backs, then a good quarterback, then you worried about wide receivers. That is no longer the case. Finding reliable running backs is very tough, it is much easier to find reliable wide receivers. For me, I have learned that I do better when I avoid spending for elite quarterbacks. That is this season, I might well find out next season that will no longer be applicable.

I hope that in this space this season, I have helped you learn how to evaluate your teams each week in order to become a better owner in the future. What I know I have not done is emphasize that this game is supposed to be fun. Sure, winning money is a nice bonus, but if you are not having fun playing, you should reconsider playing. I play because I enjoy the challenge of building a team each week. It is a new and different challenge than building a season long team. It is a new game with different challenges each week. It forces me to reconsider what I thought I already knew, it helps me look at players different, it helps me become a better season long owner. Getting a few bucks from playing every once in a while is an added bonus. Above all, I hope that you have enjoyed playing daily fantasy, and that I have helped enhance that enjoyment for you.

I know that I do not have all of the answers — I probably do not have all that many. What I am good at, is asking the questions that help me become a better owner. I hope that I have been able to share those questions with you so that you can become a better player, and gain more enjoyment from this hobby. I do not know about you, but I enjoy things more when I improve at them. I have tried to share something that will help you become a better owner each week. Different things to look at after each contest. Different ways of looking at stats, just plain different ways of thinking about your teams. The overriding theme in this space has been improving as an owner, each week has been another strategy to help you be that improving owner. It is my hope that you have found, at least some, of what have written this season useful. Above all, I want to thank you for reading and Draft Kings for letting me write the column each week.

Here is to a prosperous New Year to all. Thanks for reading; you can reach me on Twitter @STCDub.