Finally, it’s here! Football season has officially begun with the start of preseason games this week. Over the next five months, the most magnificent season on the fantasy calendar should bring plenty of thrills. Football is by far the most popular fantasy sport, with enormous prize pools on daily sites to match.
Predictability vs. Volatility
This is a portion that was discussed in the How to Beat MLB essay and is worth repeating. MLB, as said in that article, is a turbulent yet predictable market. The NFL is both volatile and unexpected which makes it one of the toughest sports to win routinely. The sheer amount of new and inexperienced players that make NFL lineups is a saving grace, but forecasting results in the NFL Fanduel optimizer is on the more difficult end of the scale.
Different positions might experience more volatility than others in terms of volatility. In terms of opportunity, the running back position, for example, is consistent. Most starting running backs receive 20+ carries each game, and most people know who will get the carries near the goal line. Consider all of the elements that come together to decide the success of every single NFL play, despite the steady volume. When a running back is handed the ball, at least five players attempt to block for him while another five attempt to cover the holes. There are eleven players that might potentially influence the outcome of a single rush, none of them is the running back himself. Even if you have the finest running back in the world, a variety of external circumstances might affect his performance. Baseball, on the other hand, is an individual activity disguised as a team sport. One hitter vs. one pitcher.
Unlike other sports, having a huge game does not require a lot of opportunities. People speak about opportunity being the gold standard in fantasy sports, which is certainly great, but football players aren’t nearly as reliant on it as other athletes. It is nearly hard for an NBA player to have a fantasy effect if he just plays five minutes each night. In the NFL, though, this isn’t always the case. A third-string wide receiver can catch three receptions for 100 yards and a touchdown, and he’s suddenly worth a lot to his owner. You could say, “Well, that’s rare,” but it’s not as uncommon as you might imagine.
Finally, the amount of data accessible in Fantasy Football is staggering. In the NFL, there are no mysteries. There are few possibilities for “secrets” with continual press coverage, Twitter, and a week between games. Every injury, every sleeper, every stud, and everything else is covered by a slew of media sites.