Thursday, February 19, 2015

Creating a Lineup - The Basics

Often times you will hear people mention that a player is better fit for cash games or GPP's and what is important to know is how you want to set your risk/reward tolerance level.  I often will label players a tag of "hit or miss" and others have tagged it "boom or bust."  These kind of players are better to take when you need a miracle.  To win a field of hundreds or even multiple thousands requires a lot of luck and the hit or miss style players often fit this category very well.  In regular fantasy leagues I often times played these kinds of players in a week where I am a decent underdog and focused on a players ceiling mainly, but in games where I am favored then taking safe picks is fine with me and looking at players floors being high.  These boom or bust players are great for every kind of game in daily fantasy but 50/50's, heads up or even 3x multipliers.

In daily fantasy you must pick at least one lower cost player, and usually two or three are needed.  You need to fill around nine slots for your team with a 50,000 cap, that gives you around 5,555 average salary per position.  Highest cost players should be between 9,000 and 11,000 with the lower cost ones between 2,000 and 3,500.  I will start every lineup looking to find two or three punt picks to tart my roster.  Punt selections are the low cost guys and take a chance for a big play.  If you pick two players at 3,000 each  your remaining cap would be 44,000 and with seven positions to go equals an average of  6,285.  That is still a low average limiting the amount stud players you can add to your team, but it makes it easy to fill the rest of your lineup with quality players.  If you have three punt players that cost 9,000 you would have an average of 6,833 left.  Four punt players gives you a 7,600 average to finish a lineup and there you can go for major studs.  I'll explain more on this when analyzing the math behind picking a player within' their salary.

I will look for players who have been in backup roles and now start usually because of injury to a regular starter.  When you find out the likes of any starting player is not active, then sometimes the backup is minimum cost or close to it and good enough to start at the cost.  If a player like Arian Foster is injured then you maybe able to get his backup for minimum cost.  In 2014 that was the case in a week and Alfred Blue came in for a good score.  After I place my two or three punt plays the next thing I do is I plug in any Must Starts (if any) and follow up with the best value pick I can.  My next player will be someone well below the remaining average as it is required to have at least one player below this cost anyway.  If my remaining average is 6,800 at this point then I will look for someone in the low 5,000 cost range as the most expensive.  The final step is starting the top players with your large remaining cap.   The goal is to choose the lineup that generates the largest Expected value.  I'll talk more about this when I post an article on how to predict expected value.

Lets assume that the day is Wednesday and there is an NFL game coming up on Thursday.  You are looking at the previous boxscores of the two teams that are playing and see that one running back that you never heard of before had a stat sheet of (6 car, 44 yds, 3 rec 21 yds).  This is a home game for the team and this player has been getting first team reps in practice from a source that is very reliable.  With this information what is the next steps to take as a fantasy player?  The answer is to first verify the first team reps to be true.  After verifying this you want to then research the player to find out how good he may be.  You search his name on the internet and look for videos and articles.  Lets assume you seen a tape from a preseason game and you seen this player was pretty good.  He was fighting for extra yards well and often with great moves showing styles of a Demarco Murray.  Next you need to view the players matchup and determine if it is good, bad or neutral and to what degree.  The opponent through eleven games has allowed 4.8 yards per carry and zero touchdowns allowed to running backs and ranked 3rd best in fantasy points allowed to RBs.  Not allowing touchdowns does help the rankings, but 4.8 yards is very high making it very good with the home game.  You then notice that this player is minimum cost making him a must play.  This will give you a head start for the week as well.

If this player does great then you got eight positions to manage Fri-Sun with a larger cap to work with.  You may want to consider playing safer players.  If he does poor than you are forced to taking chances with your lineup and maybe even consider joining new leagues that start on Sunday.  What is important when playing the entire week that starts Thursday is to play on a site that allows you to edit your lineup to the selected games kickoff.  If your league locks Thursday at kickoff, then you are forced to play safe guys and that sucks as often times the injury statuses come into play.<br><br>This event was in play during the 2014 NFL season when Latavius Murray took the field for the Raiders versus the Chiefs.  Oakland started by playing McFadden who was terrible.  The next series Murray ran the ball for about seven yards.  A few plays later he runs a counter sweep for a 20 yard touchdown and is close to ten fantasy points which is the amount you are looking for at minimum cost.  Next series he runs 80 yards for a touchdown and is now well over twenty fantasy points and lots of time still left with three quarters to play.  His next carry is about ten  yards which ended his day with an injury of a concussion.  He had 26 fantasy points which then set me up for a major advantage going into Sunday.  When the 2015 NFL standard fantasy drafts take place he is on my radar for every league.

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