Fantasy Philosophy

Joe Bussell talks fantasy philosophy and breaks down the pillars of skill, matchup, and opportunity.

| 3 years ago

Joe Bussell talks fantasy philosophy and breaks down the pillars of skill, matchup, and opportunity.

Fantasy Philosophy


Keenan-Allen-San-Diego-Chargers2Every working mechanism has a system to it. To everything that moves, turns, or lives, there is an underlying operational procedure that makes that particular instrument, motor, or organism, function.

Football – real or fantasy – lives and breathes in this same manner. There is a fundamental basis for building a process that produces the best possible outcome. The ability to be successful lies in a manager’s ability to identify the process, come into a deep understanding of that process, and then implement it in the most effective way possible.

Fantasy sports are driven solely by statistical output. Catches, yards, and touchdowns are all that really matter. Fantasy players don’t receive points for skill sets. The problem is that the predictability of statistical outputs can vary greatly from week to week. But just like every other system, there is a backbone to how it functions, and ways to manipulate it.

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  • M-C-G

    So based on this article (which I whole-heartedly) agree with…how do we account for players such as Mike Wallace? Eye test tells me skills are there, opportunity is there in targets and basically has no value at this point in the season? By low candidate or has the skill set deteriorated, or just an anomaly of bad chemistry?

    • [email protected]

      Wallace never caught more than 72 passes, in a single season, in Pittsburgh (skill). His perceived value was his speed/ability to stretch the field (skill). In his first 4 years, he caught 32 total TDs, many of them being of the longer 20+yds variety (see his career 16.8 ypc average). TDs aren’t a ‘skill’ though. They are much more arbitrary-just see Calvin Johnson and Marviin Johnson this past week. Last year, Wallace received the 26th most targets in the NFL (opportunity), with one of the 7 best QBs in the game (match up). Many of his TDs came on Ben’s ablity to extend the play and make a big play down the field (opportunity and match up). I’m not sure Tannehill, in his 2nd year, could be counted on for that skill (opportunity and match up). Also, Philbin’s offense is much more precise, and timing based, than the one Wallace was in, in Pittsburgh (match up), so Wallace is likely not seeing as many broken play, downfiled opportunites, as he did last year. Add that Brian Hartline had 12 more targets than Wallace did last year (even with Pittsburgh running 32 more offensive snaps than Miami), and it’s safe to assume he had developed into Tannehill’s ‘go to guy’ (match up). 7 games into this season, Wallace has 64 targets, to Hartline’s 58. So, while he came in with the big $ contract, it hasn’t resulted in an increase of opportunities, and I didn’t think it would (chemistry just doesn’t ‘happen’). His match up, with Tannehill, isn’t as good as it was with Ben, and, at present, his existing skills were a better fit for his role, in Pittsburgh. Again, TDs are random, so if he has 1 week, where he catches 3 long TDs, his numbers will look much better. However, I don’t think you can bet on that probability. If someone likes Wallace, as a buy low, I think you use him in, as a throw in, in a bigger trade to get someone who has a higher probability, based on these factors, of being consistent performer, for you, here on out.

      • Sampo

        @TheeLidman:disqus

        That is one well constructed argument. Thanks for building it.

  • [email protected]

    Keenan Allen went to Cal-Berkeley.