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What we learned from the 2016 DFS season – vegetables are better than fruit

Well, that went fast. Someone said that time flies when you have fun. Clearly that person has not played Daily Fantasy Sports. If he or her had, the saying would be: Time travels at the speed of light when you have really fun.

If you’re reading this you’re probably already counting the days until the 2017 season begins. Just like me. But I cure the abstinence with a daily dose of NFL.

There have been several big coaching changes, and that have a lot bigger impact than most people realize. Yes, I will do a deep dive on that subject later on, but first let’s analyze last season’s data and see what we can learn from that.

Remember that all rankings and stats are based on PPR (one point extra per pass received). That is the standard for DFS as used by FanDuels and DraftKings.

The NFL has been trending to a more pass-happy environment. All numbers have increased the last seasons: points scored, number of passes, yards earned and TD’s scored.

Needless to say more wide receivers have produced good numbers than before. More quarterbacks also have good production than prior years. This have resulted in running backs running out of fashion, which was really evident when looking at the consensus rankings for 2016.

I’m a contrarian player by heart. It makes sense to shop for bargains where nobody else is looking. As it makes sense to not get carried away with the flow of the pack and pay too much for the flavor of the month. The brain agrees. And so does Warren Buffet. This is how he sums up the principal:


It’s the same principal that have made him one of the most successful investors on the stock exchange of all time. Vegetables are not always sexy, and sometimes do not even taste good. But they are cheap, healthy and very good for you. In other words: good value. If you prepare them right they can taste awesome too. Just add a few selected spices.

A winner always taste better than a loser. And fruit rotten faster than you think.

A popular strategy in 2016 fantasy football was a no-running back strategy. The principal was too stockpiling value at WR, QB and TE. And then spend a few lottery tickets on RB’s. A lot of people used the same strategy for DFS, and I think the trend will continue the upcoming season. Even though the point production shows that it was the wrong way to go.

I’m sure it worked wonders for some people. But that goes for everyone winning the lottery.

A lot more players produced at WR and QB, and only a few at RB. But that actually meant that the RB position was the important one. Because if you hit it there you had a big edge, and if you missed … well, sayonara sucker.

Don’t even get me started with the TE position. A lot of DFS players constantly overpaid for someone that didn’t deliver, when they should have spent on a running back instead.

WR Antonio Brown, Steelers had the number 1 average draft position, WR Odell Beckham Jr., Giants number 2 and WR Julio Jones, Falcons number 3. Nobody lived up to the expectation.

RB David Johnson, Cardinals had the number 5 average draft position. A running back heavily used as a pass-catcher, how sweet. He produced the most fantasy points 2016 by far. Compare his 408 points with QB Aaron Rodgers, Packers 380 points at second, and QB Matt Ryan, Falcons 348 points at third.

We can keep going:

4. QB Drew Brees, Saints 332 points
5. RB Ezekiel Elliot, Cowboys 325 points, ranked 9
6. RB Le’Veon Bell, Steelers, 317 points, ranked 14
7. QB Andrew Luck, Colts, 308 points
8. WR Antonio Brown, Steelers, 307 points

I will dive a lot deeper into the 2016 statistics the coming weeks. But never forget that vegetables are better than fruit. Just ask your mom if you’re still not convinced.

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