It’s been a while since I’ve seen so many notable players go down with injuries on a Sunday. Keenan Allen (Kidney), Le’Veon Bell (Knee), Steve Smith, Sr. (Achilles), Matt Forte (Knee), Ryan Fitzpatrick (Hand), Ladarius Green (Ankle), Ricardo Lockette (Neck), Reggie Bush (knee), and Khiry Robinson (leg) all suffered injuries that forced them out of the game at some point in the day. Weeks like this make diversification and game selection important if you want to have a successful week.
Game selection is something I’ve spoken about before. There are cash games and there are tournaments. If you’re not sure of the difference between the two, I’ll quickly explain. Cash games are 50/50’s, head-to-heads, and double ups. In these games, usually 50 percent of the field doubles up their buy in amount. In tournaments there is a guaranteed prize pool and roughly 20 percent of the field places in the money. These usually are top heavy payouts with a large amount of money going to first place. In a week like this if you play tournaments only and rostered one or more of any of the players that went down with an injury, you more than likely had a bad week. However, if you mixed in cash games and tournaments, then you still had a shot at having a decent week as some of the players that went down were highly owned in cash games. In weeks that a stud goes down with an injury, it may not impact you as much in your cash games as it would in your tournaments because since you only have to get through half of the field to make money, and chances are that stud player would be highly owned, the lack of points from him won’t be as harsh to your bottom line as it would be in a tournament where you need to beat out 80 percent of the field. This, along with variance, are the reason why a lot of emphasis is placed in game selection if you want to be a successful DFS player in the long term.
This leads me into the next thing, diversification. If you’re playing multiple tournament lineups, you definitely want to have a variation of different combinations of players you like in those lineups. For example, in Week 8 I was high on Ladarius Green and had nearly 100 percent exposure to him before Antonio Gates was ruled active. Little did I know that this news was going to be a blessing in disguise. Once I found out that Gates was going to play, I reduced my exposure to Green and sprinkled in a couple of the other tight ends I had highly rated into my lineups. This can be said about any player as you never want to put all your eggs in one basket when you’re playing tournaments. For cash games it’s a different story as the chalk plays usually have high ownership, so if they suffer an injury or have a bad game, you still have a chance. This is very similar to those who play in multiple season long leagues and decide not to draft a specific player they are extremely high on in every league to protect themselves from a potential injury or a disappointing season from that player.
I have some friends who have been playing fantasy football for years and are just getting into DFS this season. Something that they have difficulty getting used to, much like I did when I initially started, is adjusting your strategy to player salaries on a weekly basis. This was one thing that took me some time to grasp. I’ve always placed a ton of emphasis on how important the receiver position is in fantasy football nowadays. Even more so in PPR settings like the one we use at DraftKings. In fact, I wasn’t the creator of the zero running back approach, yet I had been using that same strategy in my drafts for a couple of years before it became a thing, but I digress. As I was saying, I always tried to build my lineups around stud receivers only and never paid a ton of attention to running backs. I’d focus on always rostering four receivers and often ignored some great value plays at running back, simply because I was sticking to my strategy.
Since I was accustomed to drafting receivers in my season long leagues, I’d use that same strategy in DFS. However, I’ve now learned that every week is different, and while I still place a ton of emphasis on trying to roster as many receivers as I possibly can, I don’t automatically force four receivers into my starting lineup every week. There are times that it’s worth paying up for running backs or plugging a running back in the FLEX slot instead of a receiver. It’s all relative to salaries and pin pointing great value spots. Understanding how to adjust to salary changes on a weekly basis and the impact it has on creating your rosters is important. Discovering the top value plays each week is what it’s all about. If you’re too focused on needing to play a specific amount of receivers or running backs every week, you could be overlooking some great value and missing a great spot.
That’s all for this week. Best of luck to all in Week 9.