Article is based on the report of Vladimir Stishenok (DFS champion) at Fantasy Sport. Ukraine Conference.
Vladimir's report was dedicated to the main issues of the proper conduct of fantasy sports game: so that players could not only play, but also win. The speaker told in detail about strategies and tactics, how and when to take a chance in the tournament, what to take into account when making final decision in the FS competitions, as well as about key aspects of victory achieving.
To put it in a nutshell Fantasy Sport is an online game, the idea of which is the ability to choose the best players from all participants of the real championship. In this article we will focus on fantasy football.
Within the period from 2008 to 2016 fantasy sport has evolved significantly. One of the reasons for that is the increase of the game popularity among the Internet users. For example, in 2008 FS was played by only 74 thousand people, while today the number of players has exceeded 3.5 million.
Currently, Internet sites include more tournaments and better functionality; there are many additional options, sources of information were improved and design and graphics were modernized as well.
To start playing fantasy football, you need to go to one of the specialized gaming websites, create an account, pay the entry fee and start to gather football team by buying players. The team includes the chosen players, whose game result is determined by the total number of fantasy points, gained by the team players for their achievements in real matches. Players can get points as the result of various actions on the real playing field within a real match. Points can be added for example due to the assists, saves, goals or shots on target, and deducted for example as the result of missed penalties, getting a card, etc.
There are two types of fantasy sports: seasonal and daily.
Daily Fantasy Sport (DFS) has come to the Eastern European market not so long ago and has already gained immense popularity. This is due to the fact that it allows players to earn good money, by putting their knowledge into practice. Seasonal and daily fantasy games are two completely different things, so that they require absolutely different strategies and approaches. The history of fantasy football began with seasonal games. Now they are taking a back seat regarding popularity, sincedaily games are more dynamic and exciting. In this article, we will mainly talk about DFS.
Information is the most important thing you need to play fantasy football. It is reliable, timely, clearly presented information that helps you to take the best decision.
Today there are many sources of information. The most useful for Russian players are:
- Fantasy Football Scout
- Four FourTwo Stats Zone
- Who Scored
- Time To Draft
What kind of information you'll need and what you can easily find on these resources:
Fantasy Football Scout is a paid channel, subscription costs £ 12.5 per year, but these expenses are justified. The resource offers a complete statistics on both teams and players regarding seven aspects:
- set positions;
Team Statistics includes the most detailed data (over 70 parameters) regarding the number of attacks, crosses, errors in attack and defense, etc. The same statistics is available for each player. All figures can be filtered and sorted according to necessary parameters.
Among the Russian websites Vladimir recommends TimeToDraft.com. Leading Russian-speaking players who have many years of experience and great success in the fantasy football tournament share their experiences and useful tips there. Among the English websites the best one is Fantasy Football Scout. If you want to succeed, you need to study this resource.
It is also important to stay abreast of the latest events: analyze betting line and press conferences of coaches. No one knows better the state of the team and players that the coach.
Let’s take a closer look at the most important data:
Statistical tables can be sorted by any factor, as well as filtered regardingspecific teams or players and period of time. You can also create your own tables and view public ones.
Comparison of players
The main indicators of the comparison are presented in visual form: the average position on the field, shot attempts, chances created, crosses, dribbling attempts, passes,tackles, blocked attempts and away. Such information can be used to compare both players and teams.
Players’ statistics in a particular match
Goals, shots, attempts and blocked attempts – perfect visualization on the websites will not let you get lost in a variety of statistics.
Your task is to focus on the most important aspects and use available data for successful game. The main statistical indicators are attack and defense.
The attack includes all activities of players, which are divided according to the following types:
In the defense all activities of players are divided according to the following types:
But the first thing you should be ruled by is not only statistics, but also your personal experience and observations.
As great players say: “For me, it is more important to watch games. While watching matches I can see how players behave in game scheme, how game style affects their play, and how it all relates to the fantasy. Then I look at statistics (not all) to see if it confirms my observations, and only then make a decision.”
Matthew Martyniak. Champion of Fantasy Premier League (FPL).
Matthew Martyniak. Champion of FPL
“You need to keep track of the Premier League news every other day, if not daily (30 minutes each time is enough), and then to wait for the final information on the state of the players. I devote to FPL about an hour in the evening before the deadline in order to make a final decision.”
Experienced players recommend apportioning the time for playing fantasy sports as follows:
It is known that success of game is based upon details. Let’s considerthe aspects of success formula that should be taken into account.
According to Vladimir Stishenok, there are five main components of success: experience, knowledge, luck, intuition and patience.
“You can not affect the luck, but other elements, even intuition, can be improved”, Vladimir says.
Intuition strongly depends on the experience. Playing fantasy for several years and watching the championships, analyzing features of players and matches, you can develop intuition.
Golden Rule of fantasy sports
Your team should include only those football players, who feature in the starting lineup for sure.
Matthew Martyniak: “Fundamental approach is to buy those players who are more likely to come into the starting lineup. Many managers are chasing very risky options, but I would like to be sure that players of my team will play from the first minute.”
Focus on offensive players
Offensive players – midfielders and forwards – will give you the biggest amount of points. It is they that you should focus on. You can scrimp on other players if you wish.
Matthew Martyniak: “I invest heavily in seven offensive players. They are more likely to score or assist, and provide you with not only point for these actions, but also bonuses. Once I’ve decided to buy goalkeepers and defenders. My performance was awful, so I’ve returned to a tried-and-true pattern and won.”
Positions of football players may be changed right before the match. If you change your fantasy team in time, you have great chances to get good point. Thus, players classified as defenders on the fantasy site, but play in the middle, or those who are midfielders nominally, but taking part in attacks are the must-have in your fantasy team.
Relying on such players, you increase the focus on the attacking potential. As it was already mentioned above, such approach is the best possible decision.
Free kick takers
Football players who perform set shots regularly (penalty kicks, free kicks, corner kicks) have more possibilities to create a chance (for instance - assist), compared to their team mates. In this regard really precious players are defenders: if defensive player performs a lot of free kicks, you should not give him up.
Choosing a skipper is the most important detail of fantasy sport. Captain’s points are doubled. And the idea that you can double the points of any player makes you give aserious thought before making the final decision. You should use absolutely all available information on fantasy football mentioned above. It is necessary to compare options, analyze statistics and prices and listen to press conferences of coaches. Remember that only one player can be the best one.
Sam Peyter, FPL champion: “More than once I woke up in the middle of the night and desperately could not decide who should be my captain: Wayne Rooney or Sergio Aguero. Sometimes it takes too much space in your head.”
Check the team an hour before the match
You can make changes to the starting lineup of your team up to the beginning of the first match of the day. Often the game starts at the moment when starting lineup of 10-12 teams is already know.
Thanks to the team list you can see that someone was not included into the starting lineup (golden rule), someone is going to play on the unusual position (out-of-position), and someone was injured during the pre-match warm-up. The team list becomes known about an hour before the start of the match. Therefore, at this time you definitely need to sit in front of the computer or use smartphone in order to check this information. To form the team without this info means just to leave money on the table.
It is very important to keep an eye on trends in real football that affect fantasy sports.
For example the recent two trends are as follows: the use of spray to indicate the location of a defensive wall, which has resulted in the increase of the number of goals made after a penalty kick; and new rules of the Premier League that have resulted in the significant increase of the number of penalty kicks. Therefore the role of free kick takers has increased greatly. All this has led to the increase of the importance of players, performing penalty or free kicks.
There are three more aspects that may be critical for fantasy sports.
A single error of the referee or a woodwork preventing a goal may frustrate all your efforts. That is why luck always has a huge influence over the final result.
Before talking about risk, we should understand the meaning of “blocking tactics”. For example, there is a player you don’t like for some reasons, but the majority of your competitors have him. If he is present in your team and plays poorly, you, together with your competitors, will lose nothing. On the other hand, if he plays well, but is not a part of your team, theroundwill be failed. If at least 40-50% of your rivals have a certain player, you should definitely have him as well, regardless of your personal preferences. In other words, the blocking tactics means to have the players you are not sure in, but who are included into the teams of every second around you. Sometimes this tactics is necessary in fantasy sports.
Risk in seasonal fantasy, where the season consists of 38 rounds and lasts for 9 months, is not justified. For example, if you try to guess four times and succeed only once, you will lag behind your competitors greatly. You can play the entire season with a Template Team (a team of players the majority have) and you will show good results, because either everyone fails or everyone gains.
Risk in daily fantasy makes sense and is justified, because if you guess one time out of four, you will recoup for the three previous failed attempts. It is very difficult to win a lot of money in DFS without a risk.
When playing seasonal and daily fantasy, the difference in strategies is huge.
A line stacking in seasonal fantasy is quite a strange, hopeless and even utopian strategy, especially regarding the defense. Your defense and attack must be presented in as many teams as possible.
Stacking in daily fantasy can be considered as a type of risk discussed above. By guessing a stacking, you will outstrip most competitors and significantly raise the prospect of success.
Pricing and Scoring
Usually, seasonal fantasy websites have similar rules, including pricing and scoring. Daily fantasy sites may differ greatly in almost all aspects of the game. Prices for the same player may differ by several times; points may be received as the result of not only standard actions, but also special ones, for instance, as the result of successful tackling or kick. All this must be taken into account when forming a team at each site.
No influence of calendar
In seasonal fantasy if you see that after five rounds your team with a prospective newcomer meets with a strong team, for example, with the Liverpool, you will mark this match as a difficult one. In daily fantasy you have to remember that even top clubs at the time of the round may include a defender who plays for two. Forget about calendar and names; just think about what is happening with your team right now.
“The most important thing in fantasy sports is to enjoy it and not to take it too seriously. After all, it's just a game, and when you enjoy something, you succeed muchmore.”
Matthew Martyniak. Champion of FPL