Making Realistic Expectations
By Staff Writer John Belaska
Pay very close attention; take notes if you have to. This is the most important piece of advice I can impart on your as you go into the fantasy football season. Make your player expectations realistic. If you think that your players are all going to set records, you are dead wrong. Likewise, if you think a particular player is just going to be terrible, you may find yourself wishing you had picked them up or put them in the starting roster. By setting realistic expectation you are going to save yourself from having a huge headache following game time.
This concept applies to both drafting players and setting a starting lineup. Setting the lineup will be the focus of this article, so we will begin with drafting players because it will lead into the bulk of it. Before the draft you will go through countless stats from the prior year. This will lead you to a general opinion of what certain players will be able to accomplish this season. Those expectations are what you are going to use when you draft your team.
It is highly unrealistic to think that a running back is going to have a 2000 yard season or that your quarterback is going to throw to 50 touchdowns. Try to be honest with yourself and look at history. These types of accomplishments do not come up very often. If you draft players based on these types of high expectations, you very well could end up taking a player way to high or end up not having a well balanced team during the season.
Therefore, make your predictions realistic. If you think a player will do better than another player, come up with reasons why. Be able to logically explain to yourself how much better a player will do. Figure out how high you are willing to draft these players and pick accordingly.
Each week when you are setting your roster, you will need to come up with expectations for both your team and the team you are facing. Last time, we discussed the concept of breaking down your roster by positions. For example, what you are looking to do is figure out your wide receivers can beat the opposing team’s wide receivers.
How you do this is by looking at the player’s performance. Take your players average number of points per week. This is your normal scoring output from that particular player. Then you figure out the opposing team’s normal scoring output from the player of the same position. This way you can compare the averages to see who is better equipped at that position.
It does not end here unfortunately. That would be way too easy. You then want to find out the high end scoring output. This is the highest number of points the players have put up. Those numbers are used to compare the players if they have an excellent game. Then you want to find the low end scoring output just in case they do not perform well.
Ideally, your player’s low end scoring output will be higher than the opposing team’s player’s high end output. This, however, is highly unlikely. More than like you will find that one player will outperform the other on the low end, average, and high end. This is the better player.
Once you have these three scoring outputs from all the players at a certain position, you can see if your position should be able to outperform the opposing team’s position on any given week. If your team does then you are set, if not you will need to tweak the lineup a bit.
Unfortunately, it does not stop there. There are other factors to take into consideration when making your player expectations. Things like whether a player is playing home or away dictates the number of points they can put up. Also injuries; if a player is a bit banged up you cannot reasonable expect them to have a great performance. These and many other factors will be discussed later. They all give you insight on whether to set your expectations high or low.
The best way to always go about setting your lineup is to figure out what your reasonable expect player to do and then think they will underperform. By reasonable expect, I mean you should be able to explain the reasons you think a player will put up a certain number of fantasy points. Then always think they will not hit those expectations. If you aim low you are never going to be disappointed. If they reach your expectations you call it correctly. However, if they highly exceed those expectations, then you look like a genius.
By setting your lineup based on lower expectation than what you actually think is going to happen you are putting in place a sort of damage control. You always need to assume the opposing team is going to reach their high end scoring output. So if your expectations, that are lower than what you think will actually happen, are unable to compare with the high end scoring output of the opposing team, you need to adjust your lineup accordingly. If you are so far off, you may want to consider starting a very high risk, high reward player. This may give you the opportunity to blow out the opposing team. If your lower expectations can beat out the opposing team’s high end scoring output, start as many consistent performers as possible.
The fantasy football game is all about guessing player performance. If you cannot reasonably explain to yourself what you think a player will do, then you do not need to be in the game. The best way to ensure victory is always bet your player will not perform as well as they should. This way you can build a lineup that will be strong enough to outscore the best teams in your league. Best of all, when you think the worst will happen, you may end up being very pleasantly surprised.