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#SPORTS: DAILY FANTASY 'WAY BETTER' THAN TRADITIONAL FANTASY FOOTBALL (2021-02-07)

WARNING: THE FOLLOWING OPINION SHOULD IN NO WAY BE TAKEN AS AN ENDORSEMENT FOR ANYTHING, NOR AS ADVICE AND, JUST TO BE CLEAR ... SHOULD DEFINITELY NOT BE TAKEN AS ADVICE!

Said opinion is that playing daily fantasy sports (DFS) is WAY better than playing in traditional fantasy football leagues.

There, I said it.

Actually, I have no idea if that’s an unpopular opinion or not. I know a lot of people play each. I just know that I see a heck of a lot of people posting for advice on their weekly league lineup, and just as many people either bragging about their big win over their niece, or how JuJu screwed them over in their match-up against the receptionist’s husband.

For those that are unaware of what DFS is ... no, that’s not right. Every other commercial on TV is for either DraftKings or FanDuel. Everyone knows what it is.

For those that haven’t tried daily fantasy, here’s a quick rundown: it’s exactly the same as your weekly league, except it’s more fun than frustrating. It’s less irritating. And you get to choose any players from any team playing that week, as opposed to being limited to picking from your roster of 15 guys you picked before the season started.

For the purposes of this opinion, I’m only discussing fantasy football. But there are literally hundreds, thousands of games running every day on these sites, in every sport imaginable. There are hundreds of thousands of players, who pay anywhere from 10 cents to play in a game, up to $20,000.

For football alone, you can choose a game where you only draft players from a single game, or from two games on a Thursday night.

Or just ones that play the early games on Sundays, or the late games. It’s really not as confusing as I’m making it sound.

The point is, not being stuck with the same team for an entire season is what drew me to DFS in the first place. For anyone that drafted Christian McCaffery or Saquon Barkley this season, you feel me.

In DFS, injured players just aren’t available. You aren’t locked in to having them take up a spot on your roster. And, you don’t have to hope you’re at the top of your league’s waiver list so you can try and pick up a fill-in starter for the rest of the year.

The lack of frustration DFS provides doesn’t end there. Anyone else draft DeAndre Hopkins the last few years? Particularly in 2016? Or Brandon Marshall in seemingly ANY season?!?  I’m sure there are other highly-drafted players that underperformed as much as these two, but I suffered through seasons with both of them. I’m a little bitter.

It usually went like this: start him, because he was the #1 wide receiver on your roster, he ends up with two catches for nine yards.

Stick with him the next week, because he’s your #1 ... one catch for four yards.

Bench him the next week ... 12 catches for 165 yards and two touchdowns.

Rinse, repeat.

There may be nothing more embarrassing in fantasy football than to have your bench outscore your starting roster. Really shows your genius! The whole reason “fantasy” sports are legal is because they’ve been determined to be ‘games of SKILL,’ instead of ‘chance’. That’s accurate, technically. Even if you were to auto draft your team (let a computer decide who you get), as long as you made ONE decision on who to start or bench, that’d be considered skill.

My drafting of Hopkins showed skill, apparently. He was the third or fourth rated receiver in the league ... and I can read. Great job, coach! Me benching him, because his quarterback was Brock Osweiler, and the two of them were causing me unhealthy levels of stress and frustration, was also apparently a skill.

Nonetheless, in DFS, that frustration is at least limited to a day, instead of an entire season.
A starting lineup is chosen, based on value of each player, and by staying under a certain total ‘price’ for your entire lineup. The professional sites are actually very good at keeping up with injury reports, and they go out of their way to give players fair values, I feel.

As someone who does not like to spend hours and hours researching who the Seahawks third-down back is, and how he has historically performed against NFC teams, in domed stadiums, while wearing Adidas cleats on Monday nights, I appreciate that.

There are players who make their living knowing and researching that stuff, then playing DFS. Just like there are professional gamblers. I’m sure, even in the little $1 and $3 games I play on Draftkings, (again, not an endorsement. I made accounts with both and forgot my password with FanDuel), that I’m competing against pros. I just don’t care.

At least I don’t have to listen to a pro go on and on about how he just KNEW that Miami’s kicker would somehow make a 54-yarder in the snow against the Jets, because he’s used to the cold because he went to ... blah blah blah. Yeah, you’re a football mastermind. Must be the two years of Pop Warner you coached and all the time you spend playing Madden.

I put $25 into my account when the season starts. That’s it. I play two or three games per week, usually with the same lineup. Sometimes, just for fun, I’ll fill my entire lineup with Steelers players and play a $1 contest. Again, just for fun. I’ve never won a nickel using that brilliant strategy. But, it’s a buck.

I’ve never played a contest for more than $5, and the most I’ve ever won in a week was $10.  I’m not very good at it, which is why I don’t play the higher-priced games. I play week after week, until my account hits zero, then I’m done until the next season. I usually make it the entire season on that $25 investment. It gives me enjoyment for four months, and cost me $25. If I manage to be in the positive after the season ends, I throw the last few dollars into an NBA lineup ... and immediately lose it. Skills.

The last time I played regular fantasy football, I was actually in three separate leagues, which cost me $25, $40 and $75 to enter. I won money back in all of them, because I’m so ‘skilled’, so I actually made $185.  Did that make me a ‘pro’? I don’t know. But I do know that the $12 a week I won was not worth the frustration. Having three lineups meant having  a player in one league while playing against that player in another league.

‘Well, I need Brady to score exactly 23 points for me in THIS league and then it won’t kill me in my OTHER league, where my opponent has him. As long as he throws a pick to the defense I have in this other league, and ... ‘

It was awful.

Usually, you play in leagues with friends, or co-workers. Unfortunately, friendship doesn’t always keep some people from being ... let’s say, shady.

Some guys will only trade with other guys. There’s usually one player who never changes his lineup. He basically donated his money to join and cares nothing about it. But since the commissioner controls everything, miraculously that absent player’s team gets a different starting lineup submitted the one week you play them. It was that kind of stuff that drove me away from fantasy leagues and led me to DFS.

I’ve got exactly $10.85 in my account going into the big game, and I spent $10.80 to enter five lineups in six different contests. I don’t anticipate any winnings. But that’s OK!

At least I didn’t have to choose between starting Hopkins or Marshall, and I won’t hear from Coach Lombardi down the street about why I chose wrong!

——————

Lance Larcom is a former Canton varsity boys basketball coach, and frequent contributor to Northern Tier Sports Report, Valley Sports Report, and Tioga County Sports Report.


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