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A break down of each of rickmilitar's picks, and the strategy that brought him $1,000,000 at the DFFC.
Well, it's all said and done. Deep down, we all wonder if weekly fantasy football games come down to luck, or skill. But when a guy who tops the leader boards every single week at daily fantasy sports sites across the world takes home a million bucks at this year's Draftstreet Fantasy Football Championship, we've all got to take a close, hard look, and see what it can teach us about weekly fantasy football games. And the man didn't just win. He came in 1st, AND 4th place. And he beat the field by 17%. 17%! Absolutely amazing. But enough marveling. Let's break this thing down, blow by blow. First, and image of the carnage - published from Draftstreet's twitter feed:
First - we see some interesting QB plays. Matt Cassel against the woeful Eagles Pass Defense was a relatively popular play, as his price was still depressed after having only 2 weeks under center as the starting QB. The Eagles can score, they can't defend the pass -- lots of possessions, lots of points. Fairly straightforward. rickmilitar makes a similar play with Matt Flynn - another relatively cheap quarterback against a defense that gives up a ton of passing yards. Seeing a theme here? It's always tough to predict touchdowns, but passing yards are relatively constant. In a format like the Draftstreet Fantasy Football Championship, you're going to need some luck no matter what. rickmilitar bet on the safety of yards, and got plenty lucky with touchdowns. He took a risk on some lesser known quarterbacks, figuring that if there were any time they'd pay off, it'd be today. And he was right. You're always going to need to take risks in weekly fantasy football games, especially in huge formats - but these risks were spot on.
DFSR lesson from the DFFC #1: When trying trying to get separation from a huge pack, take the safety of a terrible passing defense, and gamble on the touchdowns.
As we move on to the running backs, we see a little more divergence from the field. As everyone now knows, Jamaal Charles went a little crazy on the poor raiders, and 45% of the field was able to sniff out this reasonable price for a premier player. More interesting to me is the Marshawn Lynch play. The Giants have been great against the run all year in spite of their general horrificness, but it appears rickmilitar was attempting to sniff out a potential blowout and a garbage time run-up for the Seattle ball carrier. He got his blow out, and while rickmilitar couldn't have been fist-pumping the relatively low multiplier, the thinking still looks sound to me. Demarco Murray was another chalk play - a 45% start against a pretty bad Packer's rushing defense. Lynch is the only interesting play here, and it didn't completely pay off. It looks as though the running back strategy for rickmilitar was to just take the safety (and perceived safety of Lynch with the spread in the Seattle game), put the points on the board, and go for homeruns elsewhere. Remember - getting 55 points from one RB is great, but when 45% of the field has him, you need to make your hay elsewhere.
DFSR lesson from the DFFC #2: Sometimes plays are the chalk for a reason - separation from the field is important (see rickmilitar's quarterbacks), but you CAN'T miss the play of the week because you don't want to follow the field. Follow the field when it's the best play, and only use separation as a tie-breaker.
As we move to wide receivers, a clear trend emerges. DeSean Jackson was a relatively common pick at 20% (Minnesota is horrendous against the pass). But Greg Jennings? A beauty. At just a 10% start, rickmilitar plugs in Greg Jennings after 2 weeks of a bounce back in targets. The difference? Matt Cassel. Ever since Cassel became the starter, Jennings has been targeted more and more. Even rickmilitar himself couldn't have projected Jennings to go off for more than 150 yards, but the logic here is clear. Two teams that can't defend the pass (the Eagles and Vikings). Two teams that CAN pass the ball a little bit. rickmilitar gambled on a high possession game where teams would need to keep pace with one another, and made a brilliant connection with Cassel and Jennings. If Cassel was going to go off, it was likely going to feature a game where Jennings paid his depressed $7k price. He made a similar pairing stab with James Jones and Matt Flynn - and while it didn't pay as handsomely as the Cassel-Jennings combo, Jones wound up doubling up on his price (12 points for $6k) - a fine payoff to fill that lineup spot with $6k of filler.
Daily Fantasy Sports Rankings' lesson from the DFFC #3: When you're trying to beat a huge field - you're going for touchdowns, not field goals. Pairing WRs with their QBs is the way to go boom or bust, and boy did it ever pay for rickmilitar in the DFFC.
Jordan Cameron at tight end was a totally reasonable play. Coming off his best week against a Chicago team that isn't great against tight ends, one wouldn't have expected Cameron to see his fewest targets in 5 weeks. But that's fantasy football. Just a miracle that rickmilitar could crush the field so thoroughly even after such a stinker from an $8k player.
As for the Seattle pick, we see another case of just going with something reliable - a team that doesn't give up many yards against a team that doesn't gain many yards. A beautiful play, and while it wasn't a bargain basement defense, I suppose the upside of the pick was too much to ignore.
So have I really peered inside the brain of the inimitable rickmilitar? You tell me. I suppose his brain is feeling a little fuzzy at the moment, the way many freshly minted millionaires must feel. But a year from now we'll all have another shot at the big bucks.. and it's up to us to learn our lessons.
Please - tell me where I screwed this up - I want my name atop those rankings next year!