The Ups and Downs of Investing
This is an article I was hoping to save for later in the season but things don’t always go as planned. This is the case with any type of investment whether it is stocks or your DFS bankroll and this weekend certainly didn’t go as I planned. Since starting DFS football I hadn’t had a losing weekend. Sure I had losing lineups, lots of them. I have also had a losing day. That was Thanksgiving last year when I rode Matt Flynn heavily. But I hadn’t had a losing weekend through a whole slate of NFL games. What made it worse was I was actually expecting this to be my best weekend yet due to all the new players in Week 1 and the learning curve that comes along with that.
How you react to the down weeks is just as important as how you react to the up weeks. First of all, it is a reminder to stick to a strict bankroll management schedule no matter how hard or easy you expect the week to be. Once you come up with a weekly allocation of your funds if you find yourself starting to deviate from it go back and re-read my article to make sure you aren’t getting too aggressive. It’s better to error on the side of conservatism than it is to be too aggressive on this front. Variance is a tough beast to overcome.
Secondly, if it makes you sick to your stomach if you lose a decent amount of your bet for the week that means you are probably wagering too much. I am the type that is mad if I lose 3 of my 10 regular season fantasy leagues so I expected to be mad whenever I had a losing week. This week didn’t feel much worse than most other weeks so I feel like I wasn’t over wagering. Remember it’s a game that we are supposed to have fun with. If it isn’t fun even when you are losing then you may want to scale back your wagers.
Finally, the most important thing is to take the same approach in determining what you did right and what you did wrong as you would do during a winning week. Being results oriented and changing a correct process is the worst thing you can do.
Let’s look at a poker example for clarity. We are playing a cash game of No Limit Hold’em and you are dealt pocket aces. After raising you are re-raised all in and you call to see your opponent was holding a pair of tens. Unfortunately you get out drawn and lose the hand. Obviously you will be upset with this result but if your take away from this hand is that you will never call someone’s all in with pocket aces you are going to lose a lot of money in the long run. At the time you made the decision it was the right call. You were going to win about 80% of the time and should obviously continue to make this call every time. We need to take this same approach with DFS. If we continue to make the right calls we will win in the long run.
Remember we want to look at both what went right and what went wrong but for now let’s take a quick look at what when wrong for me this week:
First of all, I actually won money on my tournament plays. This was mainly thanks to a lineup that had all the guys I mentioned last week so hopefully you tailed them. However, I lost in head to head games so I am going to focus in on the head to head results. In head to head games I went with basically three lineups with some small wagers in the mini games so I don’t think it was an issue of not diversifying my investments enough. What about specific players that underachieved?
- Shaun Hill was my lineup 2 QB
- Jamaal Charles was a RB on my #1 and #3 team
- Kenny Britt was a WR on my #3 team
- Demaryius Thomas was a WR on my #1 team
- Dez Bryant was a WR on my #2 team
- The Rams were my defense in two leagues
Most of the other players did fine but even guys like Julio Jones who did well still didn’t score a TD and that was pretty common.
There are three takeaways for me.
1) I generally like to go with a studs and scrubs approach in head to head games because I feel like I can identify the best scrub deals and the studs are typically safer, especially at RB. But in doing so you have to pick the right studs. I whiffed on 3 of my most expensive guys and that’s not good. Let’s walk through each of them.
- Thomas nearly scored a TD on the first drive and got 11 targets. I will take 11 targets to a top 5 wide receiver from the # 1 QB any week. This looks like a fluke
- Bryant had only 6 targets but was in and out of the game due to dehydration. The Cowboys passed a lot just like I expected and I think if Bryant was 100% would have been fine
- The real problem was Charles. At $9,800 he needed to score about 19 points and only scored 5. These 14 points alone cost a head to head lineup about 25% chance of a win and devastate your odds in a 50/50. There were only 16 players that provided worse value than this all of last year. Only 2 of them, Jimmy Graham in Week 6 and David Wilson in Week 1, were really considered to be DFS starter quality players that week. That’s a bad game. The game script wasn’t pretty for the Chiefs but why would they drop Alex Smith back 41 times and only run with Charles seven times? At least Andy Reid agreed that this was a mistake by saying “Not giving 25 the ball more than seven times is negligence on my part”. I agree. I am going to chalk this one up to a fluke too but the strength of the Chiefs team and how easily Reid abandoned the run game in Philadelphia is tempering my expectations for Charles slightly.
2) The Rams. I typically like to focus on teams that have favorable over/under scores in Vegas and while the Rams didn’t have this they weren’t terrible either. But I felt like their advantages outweighed that issue. The biggest one of those was Hill and Britt were so cheap for key starters I figured they were pretty safe. The defense was playing a Cassel led team so that seemed reasonable too. After spending $15K on these three players in order to get 2 points I figured out this wasn’t the best plan. It was just too much money for a total that low. But the real problem was…
3) Relying on players we aren’t really sure about. Hill and Britt made for great tournament players because their upside vs cost were pretty solid but really we had no idea what to expect with these two guys. That’s not a good plan for head to head lineups. A lot of people were saying that Hill was one of the better backups in the league. But really Hill hadn’t played meaningful time in the NFL since 2010. How did we really know what he could still do? Britt on the other hand was coming off a season with a total of 96 receiving yards and was on a brand new team. Why should I really expect him to come up with 9 points safely?
As I looked back at a couple of my other losing lineups from last year it was normally bombs by guys I hadn’t been able to watch recently like Matt Flynn and Nate Burleson. I am going to add Hill and Britt to this list and make sure I take this extra risk more into consideration when setting my head to head lineups in the future.
Fanduel GPP plays
Below are my weekly GPP plays at Fanduel. Throughout the season I will be employing strategies mentioned in Week 1 about contrarian plays as well my preseason article about the best approach to allocating money in my lineups. In this article, I showed that in general it was best to spend on studs at wide receiver and to a lesser extent quarterback and save your money at running back and tight end.
Andrew Luck ($9,200) 11% owned – Luck scored 28.7 points last week and finished #2 in scoring against the Broncos. This week’s game against the Eagles should follow a similar game script in the highest projected game of the week. If the Colts are going to keep up with the Eagles it’s going to be through the air. Luck should be able to pass for 2 TD’s and 270 yards without much trouble and if things go as planned he could be in line for much more. Pairing him with either Reggie Wayne (10% owned) or a preferred T.Y. Hilton (5%) make for a great stack.
Montee Ball ($8,100) 7% – The Broncos are 12 point favorites over the Chiefs this week. We saw last week that the Broncos aren’t afraid to let Ball carry the load with a lead as witnessed by his 23 carries last week. I see the game following a similar script this week as the Broncos build the lead and ice it away with Ball on the ground where he ends up with 25 carries 100 yards and a TD as a base output. All he needs to do is get in for a second TD to be great value.
A.J. Green ($8,500) 13% – The Falcons allowed 333 passing yards to the Saints last week on 42 pass attempts. The Bengals are still without Marvin Jones Jr and now Tyler Eifert has landed on the IR. The Bengals are running out of targets and Andy Dalton is going to be zeroing in on Green. If Green goes under a hundred yards it would be a surprise and if things go well he could easily push for one of those games where he gets 150 yards and 2 TDs
Greg Olsen ($6,400) 7% – I have been high on Olsen all offseason because of the lack of receiving options in Carolina. He rewarded that faith with 8 receptions in week one. Typically I like to spend less on tight end in GPPs because of how TD dependent they are but with Olsen getting more targets in the passing game we can reach up and spend a little more for him.
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