Dare to Win: Playing 16 Games Is Overrated in Fantasy Football

June 14, 2018 | insideinjuries | No Comments

*A special from Dare Maybury at Creative Sports

Heading into the 2018 season it is important that you draft as many high upside players as you can. It’s a fact that riskier or injury prone picks come at a draft day discount. The problem is, often times people fall in love with the idea of “health.” They tend to value health over a players production by putting more weight into the security of a 16 game season over the points a player provides your team on a per game basis. We can’t head into the season predicting injuries and avoiding risky picks is what we would call “drafting scared.” Drafting scared is the quickest way to lose your draft.

Playing 16 games is simply overrated. A season ending injury is a different story but a player missing a few games throughout the season is not a reason to avoid that draft target. Examples of players that fall into that category are Carlos Hyde, Stefon Diggs and Rob Gronkowski. The truth is, as long as you have that player starting for you in the playoffs, then missing a couple games in the season isn’t a major factor.

A common mistake in fantasy football is focusing too much on the players themselves and not enough about the construction of your starting roster. Yes, players do create the points that you gain on a weekly basis but the only way to gain those points is if they are in your starting lineup. Bench points are worthless, so the true value of a player is only gained when placing them into the starting lineup. Typically leagues start 1QB, 2RBs, 2WRs 1Flex, 1DST and a Kicker. The standard lineup will be as shown below:

To make this example more realistic let’s put some player names in there and their total points from 2017.

On average, this team scored 115.2 fantasy points per week. That is assuming they started this exact lineup for all 16 games. Undeniably this is a strong roster. Now let me ask you this. Last year, during the season would you have rather owned Brandin Cooks or Stefon Diggs? Most sane fantasy owners would instantly say Brandin Cooks. Diggs missed two games and was also playing injured in three additional games. Overall that was a headache and most fantasy owners would opt to avoid that situation all together. Would it surprise you if you were told that when both players were on the field, Stefon Diggs was a better fantasy producer than Brandin Cooks? See below.

Clearly you can see that although Brandin Cooks played in more games and scored more points… Diggs had a better per game average. That means Diggs would be the guy that you should have wanted to own and START. So the next thought would be “Okay, well what am supposed to do for those two games that Diggs was injured?”. The answer is simple… Replace him with the next best available player on your bench. For this example we will use DeSean Jackson.

So, although Jackson did not play at the same level of performance Stefon Diggs did. At the end of the season, the starting wide receiver position on Team 1 was beat out by the starting wide receiver combination of Team 2. While the points are obviously negligible these are the types of moves that if made consistently can really set you apart from your opponents. This is just one example of many on how playing a full 16 game season is overrated. The bench is there for a reason and when these injury prone players go down, there is always a serviceable replacement. Don’t settle for a lower upside player because he is guaranteed to start in all 16 games. Feel confident in your ability to control your roster!

Follow Dare @DareMaybury and Fantasy Football Advice.