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Is fantasy football getting more and more luck based?

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Get a group of simpleminded guys in a league together who take this game seriously six guys who thinks this game is skill based and six guys who think this is luck and we will see those guys who think this game is skill based screaming that they were robbed, crying for their mother. 

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3 minutes ago, shakestreet said:

I have believed this for years it doesn’t matter whether you play football, baseball or basketball if you are playing head to head (H2H) it is 100% luck. On reddit a couple of years ago there was a thread specifically about how lucky things can get when you play head to head. He brought up players who scored a ton of points one week the week before those same players were absolutely dreadful. 

 

This is true for short term thinking, not long term fantasy success.

Yes, if you play in one league for one year there is a chance you can score the most points yet not make playoffs.  But over the course of 100 season, or 100 teams during one season there is no way you will go 0/100 if you score the most points in the league.  It all equals out eventually. 

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2 minutes ago, FitzMagic said:

For example, I'm 4-6, going on 4-7, and have the 4th most points, while in 7th place

I have the MOST points scored in my Yahoo keeper league (10 man) and I’m about to be 4-7 and in 6th place. 

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13 minutes ago, Flynfiesta6 said:

In my longest running league (8 years)  there are 4 owners that have made the playoffs 80%+ over the years, that shows me that "skill" is a big factor. 

The problem I see it is the same people year in and year out. The balance of power is skewed. Kinda like playing with a loaded deck 

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1 minute ago, FitzMagic said:

You are correct, but that's likely just being luckier than others. This is by far the worst season I've ever had in any fantasy game. And I put the same amount of time into it because I'm very competitive. For example, I'm 4-6, going on 4-7, and have the 4th most points, while in 7th place. A team that is terrible and doesn't do much of anything is 3-7, second from last in standings, and dead last in points in a 10-teamer.

 

I mean, I guess you could be right but it seems pretty unlikely that these 4 teams make the playoffs because they are lucky vs. these 4 teams make the playoffs because they draft well, put more time into research, know when to apply pressure through trades, are more active ect.

I'm very competitive as well and i can 100% agree with you that there are seasons where no matter your what your team runs into a buzz-saw every week and despite all your efforts you aren't making playoffs, I've had those too.  But it was one season, not every season.  Everyone can probably point to a team that they had and say that they got unlucky but if its happening every year over and over, that's more on the owners skill than luck imo. 

 

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A huge part of it is just keeping up with it. How many people had Robert Woods in their lineups last night because they were not paying attention when they announced he was inactive?

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It was always about luck. Sometimes your educated guesses pay off, other times it doesnt. 

Edited by Broncos132
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I think the luck aspect of fantasy football has become greater in recent years but that doesn't remove the skill. Basically because we have no control over the game what you have to do is put yourself in the best position possible to minimize your need for good luck. It's not about skill, really, more just about dedication. I play in two leagues, one that is like 14 people who are obsessive and read every article, do research, trade, work the waivers, etc. I make the playoffs maybe 50 percent of the time in that one. In my other it's really only a few of us that are like on top of everything, while the rest of the people just draft and then set a lineup with some small waiver moves throughout. I haven't missed the playoffs in that league except for once. 

 

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Just now, shakestreet said:

The problem I see it is the same people year in and year out. The balance of power is skewed. Kinda like playing with a loaded deck 

Also, making the playoffs is more predictive, because you're talking about analyzing trends over the course of 13 weeks.

Winning in the playoffs is an entirely different proposition.  Other sports, you have a crap day, a guy misses a game because his tummy hurts, or goes 0-4 from the plate or shoots 3-21 from the field, well, you've got six more to make it up, and usually more players to dilute the blow.

Your RB gets concussed in week 15 in the first Q, you're making draft plans.

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4 minutes ago, shakestreet said:

The problem I see it is the same people year in and year out. The balance of power is skewed. Kinda like playing with a loaded deck 

 

There's have been different players over the years but i see what you are saying.  I can only speak for my fantasy experience and I have been playing FF since 2007 and would field 2-3 teams per year and I've only missed playoffs 2 times.  So roughly 30-2 for a record of successful season vs not, i cant look at that and say I'm just lucky.  

I will agree that actually winning the league is more luck than skill, come playoff time there's little that can be done to sway your match-up.  But getting to the playoffs is where the more "skillful" players have more success imo. 

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Also the premise of MORE luck based vs the past doesnt make sense. Luck is an outcome of success or failure

What fundamental element of fantasy was changed that would affect the randomness of luck?

Fantasy is a numerical product  based off of  NFL production. 

So I don't understand the premise that luck has been changed in the NFL or fantasy,

it just sounds like many are not as good as they thought they were playing fantasy football or not acknowledging that others are better than them. 😂

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6 minutes ago, mulhollandvelvet said:

I think the luck aspect of fantasy football has become greater in recent years but that doesn't remove the skill. Basically because we have no control over the game what you have to do is put yourself in the best position possible to minimize your need for good luck. It's not about skill, really, more just about dedication. I play in two leagues, one that is like 14 people who are obsessive and read every article, do research, trade, work the waivers, etc. I make the playoffs maybe 50 percent of the time in that one. In my other it's really only a few of us that are like on top of everything, while the rest of the people just draft and then set a lineup with some small waiver moves throughout. I haven't missed the playoffs in that league except for once. 

 

 

This. 

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You can also get lucky in the sense that your childhood friends/work colleagues, etc are all "Tacos" and you are the only one chewing your fingernails at 3 AM waiting for the waiver wire to open up and have every beat writer on your twitter feed 🤣

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9 minutes ago, JE7HorseGod said:

Also, making the playoffs is more predictive, because you're talking about analyzing trends over the course of 13 weeks.

Winning in the playoffs is an entirely different proposition.  Other sports, you have a crap day, a guy misses a game because his tummy hurts, or goes 0-4 from the plate or shoots 3-21 from the field, well, you've got six more to make it up, and usually more players to dilute the blow.

Your RB gets concussed in week 15 in the first Q, you're making draft plans.

Yupppp literally this. Alvin Kamara week 14 2017 I’ll never forget. Waiver pick up for the year, carried my sorry team to the playoffs on a 6 game win streak to end the season, knocked out of game on his first carry. Lost by 9 points in the first round. 

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Players in fantasy football have more access to resources than ever before. Fantasy platforms have more accurate predraft rankings, weekly projections, telling owners who is getting added and who is being dropped, and all of that type of information. The content available before drafts, during drafts, and throughout the season is more thorough and more readily available making it easier for those owners who in the past showed up to the draft with one magazine and would just wing it. All of this had reduced the edge that those skilled players held over their competition. Podcasts are everywhere now. Content is everywhere now. Even the laziest of owners don't have to put any effort into setting their lineups as the projections do all of that for them. Collectively this has evened the pack more so now than ever before making luck and variance now have a greater role in how the season plays out and reducing the skill element.

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To the OP's topic, I do think that with the NFL pushing for more offense and protecting players that the luck factor has probably increased vs 10 years ago.

Today a hit to the head or laying out a defenseless receiver is going to extend a drive and lead to more points being score

3 minutes ago, JE7HorseGod said:

You can also get lucky in the sense that your childhood friends/work colleagues, etc are all "Tacos" and you are the only one chewing your fingernails at 3 AM waiting for the waiver wire to open up and have every beat writer on your twitter feed 🤣

 

Lol, so true!  But getting up at 3 AM to snag guys off of the wire is a "skill" that other owners don't have/want to do.  That would separate you from the tacos and bean burritos of your league and give you a better chance of making playoffs in doing so. 

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3 minutes ago, Ryansm11 said:

Yupppp literally this. Alvin Kamara week 14 2017 I’ll never forget. Waiver pick up for the year, carried my sorry team to the playoffs on a 6 game win streak to end the season, knocked out of game on his first carry. Lost by 9 points in the first round. 

 

Didn't know others were as salty as me over Kamara getting concussed in the fantasy playoffs in '17.  Screwed me out of a championship 

 

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Fantasy football is a game of skill (projection) with an element of luck (weekly variance). It is not much different than poker. Like poker, fantasy football is in the midst of an information boom. Never has it been easier in both games to obtain the information required to play, in turn, reducing profit margins and increasing variance. Like poker, it's not as easy to create an informational advantage over your opponents than in the past, but there are still many players with suboptimal strategy, allowing for profitable play.

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7 minutes ago, DerrickHenrysCleats said:

 

Didn't know others were as salty as me over Kamara getting concussed in the fantasy playoffs in '17.  Screwed me out of a championship 

 

 

This is why you play best ball. I could be wrong, but I don’t think the Saints played without a RB the rest of that game. 

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54 minutes ago, cbsholy said:

I generally agree, and as someone who used to love fantasy in high school and college, I can say it's becoming less fun and more of a time-suck and more stressful. Theres also definitely a certain point of diminishing returns on the amount of research done. Maybe I'm only speaking for myself, but its becoming a lot less fun than it used to be. This is especially true when a few guys in your league act like they genuinely think they are geniuses when they benefitted from something so outlandishly lucky that itd have to happen for/against you for you to believe it. 

I do agree though that it seems to have gotten even more luck dependent. I also noticed that the first handful of years that I played fantasy, I focused mainly on stats. I won most of my leagues. After starting actually watching the games more, I actually got progressively worse at fantasy. 

Not sure if I went off on a tangent but this is just my 2 cents. I was close to quitting before this season because I couldnt take the bad luck and everything surrounding it but my league couldn't find a replacement as the season drew closer, so I said meh what the hell I'll give it another go.

Being an adult with a full time job and actual responsibilities, instead of a young adult, I feel like I'm choosing to torture myself by playing at this point. I'm one of those guys who cant play fantasy just for fun, I'm too competitive. When I get screwed because of bad luck it pisses me off. I can't be one of those guys who pays the buy in and sets a lineup once a week and lives with the results. I'm on top of everything, sometimes too much, and some amazingly bad breaks always seem to happen to screw you over or help someone you're against. I'd honestly say most of the reason I play fantasy is to maintain relationships with friends and such. But the time commitment and stress as someone who's too competitive to play simply for fun is getting to be too much. 

 

Amen brother.

I am playing three leagues this year.

League #1 - I take very seriously.  Live in-person draft.  Great competitors.  Won it twice out of the past 8 years with two second place finishes.  I do all sorts of investigation, spreadsheet work, and analytics to go into this league.  This year - middle of the road and probably will be mathematically eliminated from the playoffs tonight.  Team is kind of a joke but I'm battling - some reason I still care.

League #2 - Not so serious.  Assistant Commissioner but I basically run it.  Our pool money goes into bitcoin and whereever the investment is at the end of the season - it is broken up there.  Three bench spots.  No K.  No Defense.  10 Teams.  Always lots of waiver wire options week to week which keeps it entertaining.  Tied for first but don't care anymore.

League #3 - Use to be a regular in this league.  Didn't play last year.  Was asked to come back to fill in a hole while I was playing rummikub and drinking cocktails with my parents.  Drafted my team tipsy, focused on rummikub, and not really giving a s---.  I have the highest scoring team and my team is absolutely ******** stacked - don't care anymore.

Next year - I will still do research.  But, like my League #3....I will draft what comes to me.  I am going to mix and match and not really have any predisposition because the whole thing is luck.  This all begs the question - why don't I just use the $300 I spend on league long fantasy leagues and just play DFS?  Or, why don't I just play a Pick'ems?  I don't know.  I take fantasy too seriously and I love being right.  

I literally keep falling behind in my chores at home and at my job.  I am up past midnight and waking up at 5am on the reg to just semi keep up.  This is not all fantasy football related.  It is just how s--- is.  Do I need to do this?  Is this adding stress or is it adding some color to my life?  Is my wife happy that I stare at my phone on Sundays constantly waiting to see points add up or not?  

If I do quit.  It has to be cold turkey.  It is the only way.  To be honest, I won't have a hard time with it because the only reason I actually watch football games is to track the fantasy.  I think this is a stupid sport with a bunch of egomaniacs - once Brady and BB are done....I'm done with the game and going to stick with the Bruins. 

/rant

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The biggest change is that over the last 10 years good info has gradually been spreading to the masses.  It used to be mostly restricted to diehards.

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36 minutes ago, Flynfiesta6 said:

 

It would only be all luck if you play in a best ball league IMO.  Yes, if you go up against that top scoring team each week that's unlucky but you have to make decisions over a 16 week period, that's a ton of variables that show the "skill" of a fantasy owner.  

Planning, sit/start, trades, waivers, budgeting (fab), research ect. are all skill-sets that an owner can be evaluated on.   

I suppose you can call it skill, but for myself I don't see anything I do by googling something about a player and then taking a chance on a player because he performed well the week before skill. As for picking up those players that is pure luck in where your waiver pick stands. I do have to agree that there is some skill when it comes to drafting or draft strategy, although there has been just as many busts as many sleeper picks making it. Just look at David Johnson this season. How many people do you think picked him in the 1st round? Is that bad skill or bad luck? Then look at all the undrafted WW players that get snagged up in Week 2 like Terry McLaurin. Where was the skill in finding him? It is pure luck for the person who has the #1 WW  in week 2 to get him for the rest of the season. So maybe we are both correct, it isn't completely luck but it sure is a whole lot of it.

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6 minutes ago, Sonny_D said:

 

This is why you play best ball. I could be wrong, but I don’t think the Saints played without a RB the rest of that game. 

 

Best ball is a just niche format thats fun to play on the side. 

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