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A New Way to Look at the Cowboys, NFL, and Fantasy Football

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100 Fantasy Football Tips in 100 Days, Day 77: Buying Low After Week 3

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At FOX Sports, I wrote an article on how to find value on underachieiving players.

RANDOMNESS VS. EARLY TRENDS

The reason that buying low on underperforming players can be advantageous in weekly fantasy football is because there’s so much variance involved with the sport on a week-to-week basis. Even over the first month of the season, players will have just four opportunities to produce for you. Imagine grading a baseball player on his production just four games into the season.

When we go away from the crowd on players who aren’t producing – €”when we’re greedy when others are fearful€ – we’re basically saying, “Okay, it looks like there’s something here, but there’s so much randomness inherent to these early results that I’m guessing things will get better in the future.”

The same is true for bypassing players who have overachieved early, too. A player like Julius Thomas might seem like a must-start right now, but that’s only the case if his cost – €”in terms of his DraftKings salary – €”doesn’t exceed his worth. If it does—if the market has overcorrected due to factors that are at least somewhat random (like three second-quarter touchdowns in one game) and not entirely repeatable – €”then he’s not going to offer value.

Remember, we’re not looking solely at production, but production minus cost. When the market is quick to correct and costs are very much influenced by randomness, we need to be bullish on players who haven’t actually produced at a high level thus far (assuming we have good reason to believe that’s going to happen in the future).

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