The Rundown: FantasyScore Week 4

A weekly guide to FantasyScore's Draft-and-Go contests.

Last week, I laid out an experimental case for why, in most cases, you shouldn't use a zero running back strategy (0RB) when playing Fantasy Score's 5-person Draft-N-Go's (DNGs). This week, I'm going to do the same experiment for 8-person DNGs.

By definition, there are more people in an 8-person DNG than in a 5-person DNG, and therefore more NFL players being selected, so it stands to reason that the draft is going to be more "random." Also, the break-even probability of cashing in a 5-person DNG is 36.0%, and so you're more of an underdog to cash in an 8-person DNG, where you only have a 33.8% chance. Both of these realities suggest that higher-variance strategies like 0RB are more likely to be profitable.

Once again, I'm going to make the following experimental assumptions:

  1. Everyone's using the same draft list.
  2. Everyone's using a wide receiver as their flex starter.
  3. Everyone else selects the best player available unless they've already filled that player's position in their lineup.
  4. Except us. We're using the 0RB strategy, and so we're taking four wide receivers in the first four rounds regardless of "best player available."
 

week 4 draft lists

Like last week, because of that first assumption, I need to give you my value-based drafting (VBD) lists for this week before we dive into the experiment:

2-Person DNGs  5-Person DNGs  8-Person DNGs  
PlayerPosTmPlayerPosTmPlayerPosTm
Julio Jones WR ATL Julio Jones WR ATL Julio Jones WR ATL
Randall Cobb WR GNB Randall Cobb WR GNB Randall Cobb WR GNB
Jamaal Charles RB KAN Odell Beckham Jr WR NYG Odell Beckham Jr WR NYG
Odell Beckham Jr WR NYG Jamaal Charles RB KAN Larry Fitzgerald WR ARI
Larry Fitzgerald WR ARI Larry Fitzgerald WR ARI Jamaal Charles RB KAN
Aaron Rodgers QB GNB Keenan Allen WR SDG Keenan Allen WR SDG
Matt Forte RB CHI Aaron Rodgers QB GNB Demaryius Thomas WR DEN
Seattle Seahawks DEF SEA Demaryius Thomas WR DEN Amari Cooper WR OAK
Keenan Allen WR SDG Matt Forte RB CHI Matt Forte RB CHI
Demaryius Thomas WR DEN Amari Cooper WR OAK Emmanuel Sanders WR DEN
Amari Cooper WR OAK Emmanuel Sanders WR DEN A.J. Green WR CIN
Greg Olsen TE CAR A.J. Green WR CIN DeAndre Hopkins WR HOU
Eddie Lacy RB GNB Eddie Lacy RB GNB Calvin Johnson WR DET
Andrew Luck QB IND DeAndre Hopkins WR HOU Aaron Rodgers QB GNB
Emmanuel Sanders WR DEN Latavius Murray RB OAK Mike Evans WR TAM
Latavius Murray RB OAK Calvin Johnson WR DET Eddie Lacy RB GNB
Travis Kelce TE KAN Mike Evans WR TAM Latavius Murray RB OAK
Denver Broncos DEF DEN Andrew Luck QB IND James Jones WR GNB
      James Jones WR GNB Brandon Marshall WR NYJ
      Brandon Marshall WR NYJ Jordan Matthews WR PHI
      Seattle Seahawks DEF SEA T.Y. Hilton WR IND
      Jordan Matthews WR PHI Adrian Peterson RB MIN
      Adrian Peterson RB MIN Karlos Williams RB BUF
      Karlos Williams RB BUF Jarvis Landry WR MIA
      Greg Olsen TE CAR Donte Moncrief WR IND
      Cam Newton QB CAR Mark Ingram RB NOR
      T.Y. Hilton WR IND Devonta Freeman RB ATL
      Travis Kelce TE KAN Jeremy Maclin WR KAN
      Mark Ingram RB NOR Andrew Luck QB IND
      Devonta Freeman RB ATL Allen Robinson WR JAC
      Denver Broncos DEF DEN Cam Newton QB CAR
      Jarvis Landry WR MIA Alshon Jeffery WR CHI
      Carolina Panthers DEF CAR Seattle Seahawks DEF SEA
      Donte Moncrief WR IND Greg Olsen TE CAR
      Jordan Reed TE WAS Danny Woodhead RB SDG
      Jeremy Maclin WR KAN Brandin Cooks WR NOR
      Arizona Cardinals DEF ARI Frank Gore RB IND
      Danny Woodhead RB SDG Travis Kelce TE KAN
      Martellus Bennett TE CHI Joseph Randle RB DAL
      Russell Wilson QB SEA Giovani Bernard RB CIN
      Carson Palmer QB ARI Carlos Hyde RB SFO
      Allen Robinson WR JAC Arian Foster RB HOU
      Frank Gore RB IND Jordan Reed TE WAS
      Jason Witten TE DAL Denver Broncos DEF DEN
      Cincinnati Bengals DEF CIN Carolina Panthers DEF CAR
            Michael Crabtree WR OAK
            Russell Wilson QB SEA
            Carson Palmer QB ARI
            Steve Johnson WR SDG
            Martellus Bennett TE CHI
            Arizona Cardinals DEF ARI
            Jason Witten TE DAL
            Percy Harvin WR BUF
            John Brown WR ARI
            Jimmy Graham TE SEA
            Cincinnati Bengals DEF CIN
            NY Jets DEF NYJ
            Matt Ryan QB ATL
            Green Bay Packers DEF GNB
            Allen Hurns WR JAC
            Travis Benjamin WR CLE
            Marvin Jones WR CIN
            Derek Carr QB OAK
            Marshawn Lynch RB SEA
            Ted Ginn WR CAR
            Rishard Matthews WR MIA
            Kyle Rudolph TE MIN
            Andy Dalton QB CIN
            Tyler Eifert TE CIN
            Golden Tate WR DET
            C.J. Anderson RB DEN
            Indianapolis Colts DEF IND

Before moving on to the 8-person DNG experiment, it's worth noting that these draft lists further confirm that wide receiver is the most valuable position in FantasyScore's DNGs. On the 2-person list, both first-round picks are wide receivers. On the 5-person list, four first-round picks are wide receivers. On the 8-person list, seven first-round picks are wide receivers.

the zero-rb experiment

Alright, so once again keeping constant as many variables as possible via a) everyone using the above 8-person draft list, b) everyone selecting four wide receivers, and c) everyone except us picking the best player available, we can now experiment with how using the 0RB strategy affects our projected points depending on which of the eight draft slots to which we've been randomly assigned.

As was the case last week, let's first set establish the baseline draft wherein  no one uses the 0RB strategy, including us:

RdPick 1Pick 2Pick 3Pick 4Pick 5Pick 6Pick 7Pick 8
1 Julio Jones Randall Cobb Odell Beckham Jr Larry Fitzgerald Jamaal Charles Keenan Allen Demaryius Thomas Amari Cooper
2 Eddie Lacy Mike Evans Aaron Rodgers Calvin Johnson DeAndre Hopkins A.J. Green Emmanuel Sanders Matt Forte
3 Latavius Murray James Jones Brandon Marshall Jordan Matthews T.Y. Hilton Adrian Peterson Karlos Williams Jarvis Landry
4 Alshon Jeffery Cam Newton Allen Robinson Andrew Luck Jeremy Maclin Devonta Freeman Mark Ingram Donte Moncrief
5 Seattle Seahawks Greg Olsen Danny Woodhead Brandin Cooks Frank Gore Travis Kelce Jordan Reed Joseph Randle
6 Carson Palmer Arian Foster Carlos Hyde Giovani Bernard Russell Wilson Michael Crabtree Carolina Panthers Denver Broncos
7 Steve Johnson Arizona Cardinals Martellus Bennett Jason Witten Percy Harvin John Brown Matt Ryan Jimmy Graham
8 Ted Ginn Marshawn Lynch Marvin Jones Green Bay Packers NY Jets Cincinnati Bengals Travis Benjamin Allen Hurns
9 Kyle Rudolph Rishard Matthews Indianapolis Colts C.J. Anderson Tyler Eifert Derek Carr Golden Tate Andy Dalton
Proj Pts 145.2 141.5 140.6 140.4 139.2 139.1 137.7 138.2

Lo and behold, just like in the 5-person DNG, the No. 1 pick will tend to win the 8-person DNG (and by a wider margin). The reason why is something I didn't mention last week, but which applies to both DNGs and redrafts alike. It's often overlooked, but an odd number of rounds in a snaking draft means the No. 1 pick gets the first pick of the last round, while an even number of rounds means they get the last pick of the last round. Put simply, the No. 1 pick's advantage is enhanced in all DNGs because FantasyScore's lineup requires nine players, which means nine rounds, which means an extra top-of-the-round pick for whoever's lucky enough to get No. 1.

The other thing you'll notice in the baseline 8-person draft result is that no pick employs the 0RB strategy, which is even better for our experiment. Of the eight teams, the position breakdown for Rounds 1 to 4 looks like this:

  • Three chose 3 wide receivers and 1 quarterback
  • Two chose 3 wide receivers and 1 running back
  • Three chose 2 wide receivers and 2 running backs

As is to be expected (and of which I've stressed ad nauseum by now), there's a clear bias towards wide receivers. Most noteworthy, however, is that there's a clear bias towards specifically selecting three wide receivers in your first four picks.

OK, so now that we've established the baseline score for a given pick in an 8-person DNG, let's move on to experimenting with the 0RB strategy at each pick. This time, however, I'm going to move skip detailing the eight different drafts and go directly to the results summary, which is in the table below:

ScenarioPick 1Pick 2Pick 3Pick 4Pick 5Pick 6Pick 7Pick 8
Baseline 145.2 141.5 140.6 140.4 139.2 139.1 137.7 138.2
Pick 1 0RB +0.4 +0.1 -0.5 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Pick 2 0RB +0.1 -0.2 +0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Pick 3 0RB +0.1 +0.1 -0.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Pick 4 0RB -0.1 -0.2 -0.2 -0.4 +1.2 -0.6 0.0 +0.2
Pick 5 0RB -0.1 -0.2 -0.4 +0.3 -0.5 +0.8 0.0 0.0
Pick 6 0RB 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 +0.1 +0.1 +0.4 -0.6
Pick 7 0RB 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 +0.1 -0.8 +1.3 -0.6
Pick 8 0RB 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 +0.1 -0.8 +0.2 +0.5

This table might look a bit confusing, so let me make sure we're all on the same page in terms of how to read it. The first row displays the same projected point totals in the previous table. The remaining rows display the increase or decrease in projected points for each team based on which team is the one employing the 0RB strategy. For instance, when Pick 1 goes 0RB, Pick 3 has a projected score that's 0.5 points less than their score when no player goes 0RB, and Picks 4-8 see no change in their projected score.

Also in the table, you'll notice cells highlighted in green and cells highlighted in yellow. The green cells are what happens to a team's score compared to baseline when they're the one employing the 0RB strategy. The yellow cells signify situations in which a team benefits from someone else going 0RB.

Starting with the green cells on the diagonal, we can immediately see that, overall, the 8-person DNG is friendlier to the person going 0RB than was the 5-person DNG. In the 5-person game, only Pick 1 increased their projected points. Here, Picks 6, 7, and 8 also did. Furthermore, in an 8-person DNG, Pick 7 and Pick 8 actually benefit from the 0RB strategy more than Pick 1 does, with the former benefitting the most of anyone.

The yellow cells in the table also tell an interesting tale. Namely, it's far more likely that you'll benefit from someone else going 0RB in an 8-person DNG than in a 5-person DNG. You'll recall that the majority of my experimental results for 5-person DNGs saw only the "nearest neighbor" being affected by the 0RB strategy, and that effect was predominately negative. Here, however, we see that nearest neighbors tend to benefit, and sometimes considerably so. The most extreme example is when Pick 4 goes 0RB, which hurts Pick 4's projection the second-most of any player in any scenario, but helps Pick 5 the second-most of any player in any scenario.

bottom line

Based on the results of my experiment investigating whether or not to adopt a zero running back (0RB) strategy in FantasyScore's 8-player DNGs, I've come to the following conclusions:

  • If you're assigned Pick 1, use the 0RB strategy. It will increase your chances of winning.
  • If you're assigned Pick 4, don't use the 0RB strategy. It will decrease your chances of winning.
  • If you're assigned Pick 5, don't use the 0RB strategy and pray to your god that Pick 4 does use the 0RB strategy. That combination will vastly increase your chances of winning.
  • If you're assigned Pick 7, definitely use the 0RB strategy. It will vastly increase your chances of winning.
  • If you're assigned Pick 8, use the 0RB strategy. It will increase your chances of winning.
  • If you're assigned Picks 2, 3, or 6, it doesn't matter whether you use the 0RB strategy or not.