Sometimes you forget to overlook the forest because you’re occupied picking the right tree. But to win in DFS you need to view the whole picture.
We’re one-third into the season. It’s a good time to review the basics.
If you play cash games the goal is to pick solid value picks, and shy away from variance.
If you, on the other hand, play tournaments you should embrace high variance because you need to get lucky if you want to win.
Variance is the span of possible outcomes if you run it an infinity amount of times, and how often the different outcomes occur.
If you roll a dice the outcome of each number is the same. The expected value is 3,5. For a fantasy player a certain week the expected value can be 10 points. The expected value is all different outcomes times the likelihood divided by the number of outcomes.
Sometimes he gets 0 points, and for every point there is a bigger probability until it maxes out on a number (10 points in our example) and the likelihood for every point over that decreases. After a while the probability becomes quite low.
But the variance can very different.
Let’s say one player gives you 10 fantasy points every time. He’s the player you want in cash games, because the result is low variance.
Let’s say you have another player that finish with 0 points four out of five times, but finish with 50 points the fifth time. He has the same expected value – 10 points – but the variance is much bigger. That’s the guy you want in your lineup in tournaments.
Variance is measured in something called Standard Deviation, but more importantly is to know what you want depending on if you play cash games or tournaments, and what to look for of course.
Look at a players earlier fantasy production on a weekly basis to see if has a solid production or if it greatly differs from week to week.
Here are the things to look for when trying to find player with high variance:
1. His role is uncertain due to the team’s injury situation.
Miami Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi has had a very disappointing season, but last week against Steelers was the first time he had the whole O-line healthy to block for him. The stats have been good when they’ve been healthy earlier and Jay Ajayi was a perfect gamble for GPP’s. He greatly outperformed his cheap price tag and racked up 33.7 points.
This week both Eddie Lacy and James Stark are out for Green Bay Packers. Who will get the carries? The newly acquired and former Chiefs running back Knile Davis is a very intriguing lottery ticket this week. Yes he can be rusty, yes he doesn’t know the system and yes the Packers might opt to pass all Thursday Night long against Chicago Bears. On the other hand he can get a lot of touches and greatly outscore his price tag. Davis is high variance, but perfect lottery ticket this week.
2. His role varies significantly from week to week based on game script.
Buffalo Bills want to run the ball. San Francisco 49ers have a bad run defense. It was not a big surprise that Bills RB LeSean McCoy had a great match and scored three TD’s and 33,2 points at home last week.
This week Bills plays away against Miami Dolphins have a good D-line and can defend the run. LeSean McCoy has injury issues with his hip and there is a significant chance he will be used a lot less this Sunday. Everybody else will have him on his or her team so it’s a perfect contrarian bet to stay away.
With Sammy Watkins on the injury list the passes need to find another target. TE Charles Clay is a very talented player who used to play for Dolphins. He should feel right at home in south Florida and could se a lot of passes coming his way, especially in the red zone. He could be a very nice piece on your team at a very modest price tag.
3. He does not get a lot of targets, but is a goal-line specialist.
New England Patriots have a great 2 TE-system. Rob Gronkowski was injured, but got back on the field week 5 against Cleveland Browns. The defense focused on him and Martellus Bennett got three TD’s and 30,7 points. Pittsburgh Steelers have a bad defense and Bennet is a good high variance, high ceiling player this week.
4. He is a complimentary player that plays in a team that’s expected to score a lot of points.
Atlanta Falcons is expected to score the most points this week. If your bookie doesn’t have team totals up yet calculate like this:
Take the match total, take away the handicap, and divide it by two and then add the handicap again for the expected number. In this case: 53-6 = 47; 47/2 = 23,5; 23,5+6=29,5.
A team expected to score 29,5 points will produce a lot of fantasy points. Not all will go to WR Julio Jones. Especially since San Diego Chargers has a sneaky good secondary.
RB Devonte Freeman is considered RB 1, but RB Tevin Coleman is the better fantasy play in tournaments. He is overlooked and has a cheaper price tag. He is the perfect boom-or-bust player.
Week 3: 29,9 points, week 4: 6,3 points, week 5: 26,3 points and week 6 2,7 points. The stats say Tevin Coleman goes off this week again.