On one of my first visits to America, some of my colleagues had aside a day to pick their Fantasy Football teams. This was a strange occurrence for me because, in England, all our Fantasy Leagues didn’t restrict one player to only one team.
Eight of us have just completed our first draft at draft.premierleague.com and it was an interesting experience.
I took the opportunity to geek out on spreadsheets. I downloaded all the data I could and, by that, I mean I cut and pasted it 15 rows at a time. I wish you could just download it.
I selected my first picks in each position, and then my second, third and fourth.
Goalkeepers and defenders had to be picked together. I’ve always figured that it’s worth splitting the risk of conceding goals so don’t want two players from the same team on my 7 person defensive roster. Therefore, if I failed my top picks in defence, I would pick a goalkeeper from one of those teams. If the goalkeeper came from a good team, I would pick the reserve keeper of that team as my reserve too, or else I’d have to go looking for a solid shot stopper in a lower team.
Midfielders are never worth picking for their defensive capabilities. Goals, assists and creativity were the order of the day, along with those I could remember taking corners and free kicks. The top midfielders are also, on average, the highest points scorers of any position, so they would be my first picks.
Forwards were based solely on goals scored, but with midfield being my primary focus, I had to be a bit imaginative with where I went here.
So… How’d it go?
Really hard! Not helped by the interface, but it was hard to keep track on where everyone was going with their picks.
I’d planned a strategy for the order at which I needed to go after my targets based on average points from each of my positionally prioritised groups. This relied in me needing to note who picked which player as and when it happened, but that wasn’t entirely possible.
It turns out that I was only able to pick 4 out of my 25 top priority players. Despite this, around 80% of the top ranked players were picked across all 8 teams, which leads me to believe that you probably can do reasonably well in a Fantasy League while not knowing anything about the particular sport.
I’ve done some analysis on the teams, based on last season’s scores and some manual adjustments to take in to account new players. My team is ranked second out of 8, only 2% off the leader. Eighth place is 20% off the leaders. Some teams seem to really lack goals while others have loads in their forwards but none anywhere else. Some are playing the long game and waiting for injured players to come back and some don’t appear to have noticed that some players are never going to play anyway.
Which brings me to what I actually learnt.
- However much preparation you do, sometimes the actual event appears to be a bit of a mess. But…
- When you review it, it’s maybe not as bad you thought.
- You just need to balance everything out and view it as a whole.