Raybon's Review: What We Learned From Wild Card Round DFS on FanDuel & DraftKings
Analyzing the prior week's results is one of the most valuable investments of your time as a DFS player. In this space, I will deconstruct the winning lineups from FanDuel and DraftKings' biggest GPPs. In this week's intro, I will discuss how defying logic can lead to better investment -- or in our case, DFS -- decisions This discussion will take the place of the "Quick Hitters" section which normally appears at the end.
Adam Robinson, co-founder of The Princeton Review and the trusted outside global macro advisor to the heads of some of the world's largest hedge funds, stated a theory on episode 210 of The Tim Ferriss Show that really resonated with me. I believe we can apply his theory to our tournament lineup building strategies. (Quote starts at 29:15 and has been lightly edited for clarity):
"And one of the key things with investing . . . I think this is a life truism is . . . to be aware when you a hear voice in your heard that says . . . 'doesn't make sense.' . . . that's always a sign of something really powerful.
So if somebody says to me 'it doesn't make any sense why gold keeps going lower,' I know that it's got a lot lower to go. Because what that person just said in saying it doesn't make sense is: that person has a dozen logical reasons why gold ought to be going higher, and it's going lower. And he says that doesn't make sense. But the world always makes sense. What doesn't make sense is his model."
Before the Wild Card round started, what if I told you that:
- Randall Cobb, who averages 46 yards and has scored one TD since Week 8, will be the highest-scoring player on the slate in his first game back from injury.
- Thomas Rawls, who averaged 1.51 yards per carry over his last 39 attempts, will rush for more yards than Marshawn Lynch ever has in a playoff game for the Seahawks.
- Brock Osweiler, who hasn't hit 270 yards all season and was benched two weeks ago for Tom Savage, will outscore every QB but Aaron Rodgers.
I'm going to go out on a limb and say 99.5% of you would have said "that doesn't make sense".
And that's the point.
In the aftermath of Cobb going nuclear, I saw some analysts claim that rostering Cobb would have been "bad process", especially since we didn't know Jordy would get hurt.
Sure, rostering Cobb would have been bad process if the goal of your process was to identify what is most likely to happen. In other words, rostering Cobb would have been bad process in cash games -- him returning even cash game value was unlikely.
But you win tournaments by capitalizing off things that are not likely to happen, yet happen anyway.
Your process in tournaments should not be to merely identify what is most likely to happen. Sure, that's part of it -- that's how you arrive at plays like LeVeon Bell, Doug Baldwin, and Jarvis Landry. But the next step in your process should be to identify what is unlikely to happen -- and how you can profit if one or more of those things (inevitably) happen anyway.
No matter what process you follow, you'll be wrong a fair amount -- the majority of entrants don't cash in a tournaments, after all. The difference is, when you're right about plays that didn't make sense according to the traditional process of the masses, you have much more upside because the players in your lineup are not going to be on many other rosters.
I've found that the best way to put this theory into practice is to allow yourself to play a player as long as you can identify just a single reason why he's a candidate for a big game. This as opposed to weighing the pros and cons and letting logic inevitably deter you like it will do for the masses.
With that in mind, here are some reasons that could have gotten you on the three players I mentioned above. Note that I didn't include "low-owned player that will play a decent amount of snaps," which can be a good reason in itself, especially on a small slate. Remember, you would have only needed one of these reasons per player.
- Randall Cobb: Playing with a high-upside QB, had a season-high 108 yards against the Giants in Week 5, had three games of 11+ targets this season, targets may be available with Jordy Nelson being covered by Janoris Jenkins, even if he doesn't hurt, you can late swap in Geronimo Allison, whose rise in opportunities directly correlated with Cobb's absence.
- Thomas Rawls: Had a 15-106-2 game against Carolina in Week 13 with the same poor offensive line, large home favorite RB, facing a defense ranked 18th in RB aFPA.
- Brock Osweiler: Home favorite QB, facing a defense that allowed third-most yards per attempt (7.89) in the league, even a 250-2 game could provide one of the better $/point values at the position given his cheap price.
One final thing I want to point out about each of these players: they were all on the low end of the salary spectrum. Taking risks with small amounts of salary is a high-upside move where the reward tends to outweigh the risk.
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