The Secret Sauce of Fantasy Football
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Although still in a nascent growth phase, Fantasy Football is no longer a fledgeling industry. It is increasingly becoming a high-engagement channel to entice football fans and online gaming enthusiasts alike. The craze and obsession bred by this blend of sports & gaming fanaticism and thrill-seeking are unparalleled.
So, what exactly is fantasy football and what is the elusive roadmap to conquer this game?
The Perfect Analogy
Let's say a group of friends are given ₹100cr each (the budget to create the fantasy team) and are asked to select 11 stocks (11 players) to invest the money in. The idea is to reward the person who gives the best return on investment. But, there are some guidelines to be followed. For instance, you can’t select all stocks from the same industry (can’t select all players from the same team), or can’t choose all large-cap stocks or all small-cap stocks (can’t choose all attackers, or all defenders), etc.
Finally, and the most significant bit, the returns are not calculated based on capital appreciation (increase in the value of players) but the accumulated dividends (points scored by the players in each match).
Let's Talk Fantasy
Alright then, let us clear the air first, you are not a football manager trying to create the most balanced team that will win an actual match. What you are trying to do is select 11 players that will maximize your points total through their individual performances in a game.
As conveyed through the analogy above, the aim is to beat the market. Because all participants have the same pool of assets (players) to choose from and the same budget, what differentiates each investor is his/her strategy of selecting the assets. The same ideology is applicable in fantasy football as well.
Choosing Your Risk Profile
Approach to a problem starts with defining a strategy. A Fantasy manager might want to do the same by dividing his team portfolio broadly into two parts:
1. Stable and relatively risk-free
2. Risky, lucrative and high-potential
And then go out and pick a team that would suffice his/her strategy.
Managers depending on their appetite, decide the proportion of their team portfolio. Maybe 50/50, 70/30 or 80/10. The risky part of the team is what might help the managers get an edge above all others and prove to be a positive differential. However, the same could also be their reason for doom.
The Low-Risk Path
What is a template team? In fantasy football, the template team is usually the most balanced team with most of the obvious picks incorporated into the squad. Basically, a combination of players with the highest in-game popularity and ownership.
It is advisable to follow the template, especially at season start, because of the involvement of high ownership assets. Not including them when you don't have any relevant statistics to analyse and compare is like almost taking a big hit before the game has even started. This theory helps you to avoid a fall as the game (market) is infamous for being unpredictable.
Effective Budget Utilization
As a fantasy manager, you're supposed to measure the value of player's return rather than the player's value.
Fantasy Football is not about finding players who offer the highest value for money per position. Following that strategy, you will end up with a team that provides the most return on the amount spent but not a team optimized to maximize your total points. And congratulations! You might get to keep 25-30cr from the fund given to you.
But well, saving money in the bank will not lead you anywhere or win you anything. Remember, dividends (points) are the holy grail.
Staying Ahead of the Curve
Past performance is not a guarantee of future success; it's merely a tool to predict trends and identify patterns. And that's what we must do, combined with research based on the previous statistics and minimizing the factor of risk. Good? Not yet. In this world, there are two types of people-
Unlike the experienced professionals, what the casual fantasy managers don't know is that for advantage in fantasy football, you must consider a lot of things- player fatigue, injuries, the team's playing style, fixture difficulty, squad rotation, etc. So, which group would you want to be part of?
It is no wonder that the latest research highlights a steep spike in content consumption by football fans once they start playing fantasy football. The level of engagement and immersion that is brought about by playing fantasy football is much higher than just watching a football match.