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Is fantasy football getting more and more luck based?

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Luck plays a part, but I'd say after the draft the biggest decisions are who to play and who to sit. I've lost two games this season on boneheaded decisions in close match ups. Of course if the rest of my team showed up it wouldn't have been an issue. But those are the decisions that end up haunting me. Might miss the playoffs by 1 or 2 wins now.

Someone in my IDP dynasty dropped Chark during the rookie/FA draft, so I drafted him after the first couple rounds of rookies. I've had him in my lineup since week 2 in that league. Saving my a** and I'm the #1 or #2 seed with an overall weak roster at RB/WR. I hesitated on picking him up in my 10-team standard league week 2 or 3. Someone else went and grabbed him. I've been suffering with WR injury and poor play from my top-4 all season (Tyreek, Hilton, Boyd, and Sanders). They either can't stay healthy or suck (Boyd). It was luck that I drafted Chark and he is doing awesome. It was bad luck that I didn't pick him up as my 5th receiver in a league with roster limits of 5 at RB/WR. Another luck decision haunting me.

I'm starting to think I should try and align on the players I have in my dynasty and redraft leagues each season now.

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55 minutes ago, LostAtSea said:

In a 10 team league you would have a 10% chance to win a luck based drawing.

 

There have been studies that were used as evidence in state and federal proceedings around fantasy football/gambling/legality questions. Those studies aren’t perfect, but they concluded that fantasy is roughly 60% skill and 40% luck in paid leagues, the exact same ratio the literal same attorneys had argued for poker a few decades earlier when trying to keep online poker legal in the US. 
 

what that basically meant was that the spread of likelihood of winning could be changed by as much as roughly 5+-% for any one player. So what they observed over tens of thousands of leagues of data was that in a 10 team league, the spread of likelihood of winning based on skill ranges from basically 5-15%. So if you were really good, like the best at fantasy “skill wise,” you could win at a rate of 15%. If you were really bad, 5%. 
 

I think that perfectly jives with most of our experiences playing in competitive leagues. You can be literally 3x as good as several other players in your league, 2x as good as several more, and roughly equal to or even still slightly better than the remaining owners in your league, and still you’d win an average of 1.5 times every 10 years. People that win 2x in a row or more think that they are some extreme outlier in brilliance and ability but they are just delusional and narcissistic and lack awareness and basic perspective.


hilarious!  Thanks for the giggle.   As if the true measure of luck/skill split is simply “winning it all”?   That would mean getting to the title game and walking with 2x your buy- in is considered the same degree of failure as coming in last.   No wonder you came to this conclusion.    
 

It’s very simple: on any given Sunday...luck plays a far greater role than skill.   With years of sample size...better players make better evaluations, trades, and roster decisions.   They win MORE GAMES.    The true measure of success or failure.   

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I've found that playing in deeper formats mitigates luck quite a bit.  I don't play competitively in shallow formats for that reason...with my largest platform being 20 team.  

 

Smaller leagues tend to have less separation amongst rosters, with every team, for the most part, being littered with quality talent throughout.  They also provide a more robust FA pool, so its easy to remedy holes as they present.  The combination of a larger volume of free assets (FA, in conjunction with teams being separated by an eye lash begs to reason that luck will play a much larger role.  

 

Analyzing data and being able to make in-season adjustments will of course result in better owners having a higher probability of success over a long sample size, however deeper leagues tend to (imo) reward those that are more skilled...thus eliminating some of the luck element.  More emphasis on the owners ability to identify trade targets, while having to proactively discover gems on the wire (before they get helium).  Harder to mask weak owners inadequacies overall.

 

Just my own personal opinion 

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1 hour ago, devaster said:

Luck plays a part, but I'd say after the draft the biggest decisions are who to play and who to sit. I've lost two games this season on boneheaded decisions in close match ups. Of course if the rest of my team showed up it wouldn't have been an issue. But those are the decisions that end up haunting me. Might miss the playoffs by 1 or 2 wins now.

Someone in my IDP dynasty dropped Chark during the rookie/FA draft, so I drafted him after the first couple rounds of rookies. I've had him in my lineup since week 2 in that league. Saving my a** and I'm the #1 or #2 seed with an overall weak roster at RB/WR. I hesitated on picking him up in my 10-team standard league week 2 or 3. Someone else went and grabbed him. I've been suffering with WR injury and poor play from my top-4 all season (Tyreek, Hilton, Boyd, and Sanders). They either can't stay healthy or suck (Boyd). It was luck that I drafted Chark and he is doing awesome. It was bad luck that I didn't pick him up as my 5th receiver in a league with roster limits of 5 at RB/WR. Another luck decision haunting me.

I'm starting to think I should try and align on the players I have in my dynasty and redraft leagues each season now.

What makes a valid start sit?

Lets say last week it was between Marvin Jones and Edelman.

Marvin Jones was playing with a backup QB while facing one of the best pass defenses in the league. Edelman was going up against one of the worst defenses in the NFL. An easy decision.

Jones outscored Edelman by a decent margin. 

Start sit is a total crapshoot. 

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1 hour ago, devaster said:

Luck plays a part, but I'd say after the draft the biggest decisions are who to play and who to sit. I've lost two games this season on boneheaded decisions in close match ups. Of course if the rest of my team showed up it wouldn't have been an issue. But those are the decisions that end up haunting me. Might miss the playoffs by 1 or 2 wins now.

Someone in my IDP dynasty dropped Chark during the rookie/FA draft, so I drafted him after the first couple rounds of rookies. I've had him in my lineup since week 2 in that league. Saving my a** and I'm the #1 or #2 seed with an overall weak roster at RB/WR. I hesitated on picking him up in my 10-team standard league week 2 or 3. Someone else went and grabbed him. I've been suffering with WR injury and poor play from my top-4 all season (Tyreek, Hilton, Boyd, and Sanders). They either can't stay healthy or suck (Boyd). It was luck that I drafted Chark and he is doing awesome. It was bad luck that I didn't pick him up as my 5th receiver in a league with roster limits of 5 at RB/WR. Another luck decision haunting me.

I'm starting to think I should try and align on the players I have in my dynasty and redraft leagues each season now.

Luck has a huge role!

Week 1 before we knew what Lamar Jackson was I started Winston in a what we thought was a good matchup over him. Lost

another week had Ravens defense with a good matchup they got -1 I lost by 2 points

another week had 49ers defense got 3 points lost by a few with Steelers on my bench with more than 10

another week scared off 49ers so start hot steelers defense against browns as 49ers against cards again, lost as 49ers got 14 to steelers 1

That doesn't include the randomness of weekly scoring. When Robinson with cake matchup against Eagles gets 1 catch for 6 yards and I lose not starting a bench receiver. A different week I bench Robinson as everyone talks about the Lattimore treatment so he goes off for like 25 points on my bench and I lose.

If I made one different lineup choice each week with a bench player I would be 10 and 1 instead of 5 and 6.

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41 minutes ago, F@ndemonium said:

I've found that playing in deeper formats mitigates luck quite a bit.  I don't play competitively in shallow formats for that reason...with my largest platform being 20 team.  

 

Smaller leagues tend to have less separation amongst rosters, with every team, for the most part, being littered with quality talent throughout.  They also provide a more robust FA pool, so its easy to remedy holes as they present.  The combination of a larger volume of free assets (FA, in conjunction with teams being separated by an eye lash begs to reason that luck will play a much larger role.  

 

Analyzing data and being able to make in-season adjustments will of course result in better owners having a higher probability of success over a long sample size, however deeper leagues tend to (imo) reward those that are more skilled...thus eliminating some of the luck element.  More emphasis on the owners ability to identify trade targets, while having to proactively discover gems on the wire (before they get helium).  Harder to mask weak owners inadequacies overall.

 

Just my own personal opinion 


Great point- couldn’t agree more.  The more you get away from mainstream formats...the less mediocre owners can rely on commercially available data.  Redrafts are fun,  but Devy dynasty is my new ❤️ 

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Haven't read the whole thread so apologize....

But yes, very luck based and I think it's gotten worse due to the committee approaches taking place at RB and WR through out the league.  It just feels like you're throwing darts a lot and many times a players usage depends on how the game goes.

It really is a lot like playing cards.  Yeah, there's a little skill involved in trying to identify talent and just keeping up on information in order to maybe swing the odds a little bit.  But there is a huge amount of luck involved in this game for sure.  I mean, last week was a perfect example for me.  I was down 2 points in a PPR league heading into last Mondays Chargers/Chiefs game and had Tyreek Hill going.  I'd have probably bet the ranch that I would've won that game....And we know what happened after Hill got hurt and laid an egg.  That's just terrible luck in a high percentage situation that should've went my way.

There's definitely some skill involved the longer window you're looking at.  People can get lucky for a week....Or even a season sometimes.  But if you're getting managers doing well year after year, that's not luck.

 

 

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16 hours ago, DemOrioles said:

 

Lol, OK.  I have the most points scored in one of my 3 leagues and I’m 4-7.  And the last 3 weeks I’ve faced the team that scored the highest points for the week.  Soooo, what’s that called?  Because I obviously drafted good players and made the right waiver moves to have the most points, right?

 

You are having bad luck this season sure. But on a longer timeline, people with more skill will win most of the time.

 

 

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On 11/18/2019 at 12:31 PM, WayneFontes said:

93% luck, 7% skill.

undefeated dude in my league has Lamar, Patriots D, Josh Jacobs, and Mike Evans. He aggressively drafted all three, with intention. 

oh wait that dude is me. 

93% skill, 7% luck.  But I'm sure that's what you meant. 

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1 minute ago, ChicksDigTheOPS said:

undefeated dude in my league has Lamar, Patriots D, Josh Jacobs, and Mike Evans. He aggressively drafted all three, with intention. 

oh wait that dude is me. 

93% skill, 7% luck.  But I'm sure that's what you meant. 


this is just as flawed as the guys using anecdotal examples from a particular week.   Not that I doubt you make good calls usually...but even the best gamblers are only hitting 60-65% of the time.    Which does add up over time. 

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Luck based game that takes skill to put you in the best situations (especially when the chips are down).

As Aaron Eckhart Harvey Dent once said, "I make my own luck".

 

Edit: I have made the playoffs every year in my big money league, but I've never won. Am I skillfully unlucky?

Edited by HandSchaub
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This whole argument has a ton of layers. At the most basic level the way I look at it is if you’re playing H2H over the long term (multiple seasons) it’s a pretty even split of luck and skill. However, looking at H2H once the playoffs starts, luck becomes way more prevalent. You could have a team of studs that dominated the regular season, get a first round bye, and then have your team lay an egg in the 2nd round. Pretty sure we’ve all been there. Like the saying goes, Any Given Sunday. 

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1 hour ago, F@ndemonium said:

I've found that playing in deeper formats mitigates luck quite a bit.  I don't play competitively in shallow formats for that reason...with my largest platform being 20 team.  

 

Smaller leagues tend to have less separation amongst rosters, with every team, for the most part, being littered with quality talent throughout.  They also provide a more robust FA pool, so its easy to remedy holes as they present.  The combination of a larger volume of free assets (FA, in conjunction with teams being separated by an eye lash begs to reason that luck will play a much larger role.  

 

Analyzing data and being able to make in-season adjustments will of course result in better owners having a higher probability of success over a long sample size, however deeper leagues tend to (imo) reward those that are more skilled...thus eliminating some of the luck element.  More emphasis on the owners ability to identify trade targets, while having to proactively discover gems on the wire (before they get helium).  Harder to mask weak owners inadequacies overall.

 

Just my own personal opinion 

 

See, I think the opposite. I fee like luck is a bigger factor in my 14/18 team leagues than the 10 team leagues. SKILL of the players may be higher, but injuries won't decimate you in a 10 team league like deeper league. At a certain point in a deep league, your skill just flat out doesn't matter, the wire and lack of trade assets won't allow you to take advantage of it. Drafting and injury luck ends up much more important in the deeper leagues I've been in. 

Edited by kball09
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2 hours ago, F@ndemonium said:

I've found that playing in deeper formats mitigates luck quite a bit.  I don't play competitively in shallow formats for that reason...with my largest platform being 20 team.  

 

Smaller leagues tend to have less separation amongst rosters, with every team, for the most part, being littered with quality talent throughout.  They also provide a more robust FA pool, so its easy to remedy holes as they present.  The combination of a larger volume of free assets (FA, in conjunction with teams being separated by an eye lash begs to reason that luck will play a much larger role.  

 

Analyzing data and being able to make in-season adjustments will of course result in better owners having a higher probability of success over a long sample size, however deeper leagues tend to (imo) reward those that are more skilled...thus eliminating some of the luck element.  More emphasis on the owners ability to identify trade targets, while having to proactively discover gems on the wire (before they get helium).  Harder to mask weak owners inadequacies overall.

 

Just my own personal opinion 


might be your opinion but mathematically deeper leagues are FAR more luck based than shallower leagues

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I don't see how people can view 1 decision/dud in 1 week as luck. what about the rest of ur roster and their roster. what about all that luck where you are competitive for this week because ur def and kicker got you 25-30 pts vs ur opponents 7? or there stud 1st rder dropping a dud?

 

I do like the idea of eliminating def and kicker as I see that as a lot less skilled based. 

 

difference between 10 and 14 team has similar luck just differently. 10 team every team is usually very good and is coinflip everyweek. 14 team is still luck based when it comes to innj. inj in 14 teamer will really hurt. 12 teams is perfect. 12 team auction  with customize deeper roster, superflex, with custom auction dollars, ppr, bonus pts, 6 pt pass td, is the way to go. 

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41 minutes ago, LostAtSea said:


might be your opinion but mathematically deeper leagues are FAR more luck based than shallower leagues

 

I disagree. In my deep leagues you have to plan weeks ahead. Rostering two D/ST or QBs that have correlating good matchups because you know they won't survive waivers the week of. Bye weeks are more problematic. Don't even consider them in my shallower leagues. Oh, my QB1s' on bye...I'll pick up the QB ranked 11th after the waivers clear. My WRs injured, no worries I'll pick up this WR that's targeted 6 times a week (Cobb, Humphries etc)

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I'd be curious if fantasy football players with good results would fare as well in fantasy baseball. I think the patience and mathematical decision making there is much more indicative of skill in fantasy football with 16/17 games and really simple decision making for the most part.

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1 minute ago, this guy right here said:

 

I disagree. In my deep leagues you have to plan weeks ahead. Rostering two D/ST or QBs that have correlating good matchups because you know they won't survive waivers the week of. Bye weeks are more problematic. Don't even consider them in my shallower leagues. Oh, my QB1s' on bye...I'll pick up the QB ranked 11th after the waivers clear. My WRs injured, no worries I'll pick up this WR that's targeted 6 times a week (Cobb, Humphries etc)

 

You can say that and not be wrong, but the teams you're going against also have a higher talent level and the same luxury to pick up those players, so the skill in matchups and looking ahead applies there also. Just because you can pick up a higher or lower quality player off the wire has nothing to do with relative competition.

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3 hours ago, kball09 said:

 

See, I think the opposite. I fee like luck is a bigger factor in my 14/18 team leagues than the 10 team leagues. SKILL of the players may be higher, but injuries won't decimate you in a 10 team league like deeper league. At a certain point in a deep league, your skill just flat out doesn't matter, the wire and lack of trade assets won't allow you to take advantage of it. Drafting and injury luck ends up much more important in the deeper leagues I've been in. 

No disrespect, but I feel like this is not necessarily accurate.  As a good owner, you navigate through injuries, rather than throwing in the towel when a season isn't the perfect storm.   Drafting handcuffs for your top players, limits the liability of injury.  Also being able to creatively construct offers, whether moving top assets for solid depth should you get bit by the injury bug, or using areas of strength to obtain starting lineup upgrades are all good ownership behaviors.    

 

Anyone knowledgable, and actively competitive will win regardless of format, however having to have a deeper knowledge of the subject matter certainly portrays a more solid skill set.  We all know that Dalvin Cook and Zeke Elliott are good...that goes without saying, same for countless other surface level players.  However having the savviness to add the Bo Scarborough's of the world to the end of a bench, upon being signed to the practice squad 3 weeks ago (not just after they demonstrate it on the field), is more impressive from a "skill" standpoint.

 

We all have our preferences...just how I feel

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5 minutes ago, F@ndemonium said:

No disrespect, but I feel like this is not necessarily accurate.  As a good owner, you navigate through injuries, rather than throwing in the towel when a season isn't the perfect storm.   Drafting handcuffs for your top players, limits the liability of injury.  Also being able to creatively construct offers, whether moving top assets for solid depth should you get bit by the injury bug, or using areas of strength to obtain starting lineup upgrades are all good ownership behaviors.    

 

Anyone knowledgable, and actively competitive will win regardless of format, however having to have a deeper knowledge of the subject matter certainly portrays a more solid skill set.  We all know that Dalvin Cook and Zeke Elliott are good...that goes without saying, same for countless other surface level players.  However having the savviness to add the Bo Scarborough's of the world to the end of a bench, upon being signed to the practice squad 3 weeks ago (not just after they demonstrate it on the field), is more impressive from a "skill" standpoint.

 

We all have our preferences...just how I feel

 

It's all good, I play in both small and large leagues and think the quality of the owners is more relevant than the depth of the league, the majority of noobs just tend to be in smaller leagues, so they have a softer rep. I'm not saying anything about hanging up towels or not 'navigating through' injuries. You can do all that and still have 2 significant players completely submarine you in a larger league, no matter how prepped you are. At a certain point, you have a much better chance to navigate through a competitive ten team league that faces controversy than a larger league. In your eyes that makes larger leagues more skill based, but in my eyes it shows the exact opposite. When everyone has the ability to not be crippled by only a few major injuries or underperformers, they have a higher likelihood to depend on their skill.

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Some counter arguments for why fantasy is "luck" based according to posters in here:

1. Start/Sit frustration

Target set and forget guys via trade with your depth so you don't have to worry about which WR3 or flex to start. Instead of playing roulette with three similarly rated guys on your bench, package a few of those guys for a stud that's a set and forget.

Too many people get caught up in trying to have the best bench or deepest team, when really the focus should be on maximizing your starting lineup, especially when it gets to later on in the season.

2. Lack of bellcows creating an unfair advantage

You had your option of a bellcow in the first round no matter what your draft position was #1 or #12. CMC, Kamara, and Saquon were going top 3. Cook, Chubb, and Bell were going at the end of round 1. And savvy owners were taking Zeke in round 1 knowing he'd eventually get a deal done. No excuses here.

You also have the option of playing auction to get your guys. 

 

 

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4 hours ago, ChicksDigTheOPS said:

undefeated dude in my league has Lamar, Patriots D, Josh Jacobs, and Mike Evans. He aggressively drafted all three, with intention. 

oh wait that dude is me. 

93% skill, 7% luck.  But I'm sure that's what you meant. 

I really wonder what you thought of Evans after a few weeks...

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Having played for years, it is a lot more luck than it was.

Sammy Watkins and John Ross were big heroes in Week1. Allen Robinson looked unstoppable early on, even with Trubisky at QB. Will Fuller looked pretty good in week 5, but stunk before that.  Are any of those guys carrying your team now? There are not many players that are consistent scorers from one week to the next.

Goal line specialization, Direct snaps/Wild Cat, 5 receiver formations, 3 tight end sets, have all increased the chances any skill position player on the roster can have a big game each week or conversely suck for weeks at a time.

The guys who try and give advice on who to sit/start have a tough job. Last week Kyle Allen was supposed to light up Atlanta. McKissic was the RB to start in Det. Brian Hill was a sure pickup. 

It's a rollercoaster ride with most of the players on your Roster. Good luck maximizing your roster this week.

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There is a lot of luck involved, and I do think its increasing with how the ball is spread around and RBBC.

 

...And yet in every league I'm in its usually the same dudes in the playoff hunt every year. Why is that?

 

Poker has a large element of luck yet the top players are always the same dudes. Same thing with fantasy, except luck has a much bigger role than cards, way more variables.

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3 hours ago, GriffeySwag said:

Some counter arguments for why fantasy is "luck" based according to posters in here:

1. Start/Sit frustration

Target set and forget guys via trade with your depth so you don't have to worry about which WR3 or flex to start. Instead of playing roulette with three similarly rated guys on your bench, package a few of those guys for a stud that's a set and forget.

Too many people get caught up in trying to have the best bench or deepest team, when really the focus should be on maximizing your starting lineup, especially when it gets to later on in the season.

2. Lack of bellcows creating an unfair advantage

You had your option of a bellcow in the first round no matter what your draft position was #1 or #12. CMC, Kamara, and Saquon were going top 3. Cook, Chubb, and Bell were going at the end of round 1. And savvy owners were taking Zeke in round 1 knowing he'd eventually get a deal done. No excuses here.

You also have the option of playing auction to get your guys. 

 

 

You literally name two guys that have missed a large chunk of the season to injury and another that’s sucked for a huge chunk. Then you say “everyone knew” Zeke was getting a deal just like everyone knew Bell was getting one?

Ok buddy...

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