Last Week's Question: Is DFS good
or bad for traditional fantasy leagues?
My column for week
10 featured the commentary of a reader who felt embittered
by what he perceives as a negative impact on traditional fantasy
leagues by the proliferation of DFS, so I asked readers to weigh
in on the subject.
The most thorough and thoughtful response came from Dan:
I do not believe that DFS actually hurts fantasy. Our league is
thriving this year, despite just about everyone playing some DFS
The problem with DFS comes with setting a lineup along with your
fantasy lineup. I think prejudice and hopeful wishes become more
a part of it when you play both. This often leads to bad choices
Do you really want to start your fantasy opponent's players in
a DFS game? It seems that every time I set a DFS lineup this year,
I go look at my fantasy matchup and see that I have 3 or 4 players
that are on my opponent's team. I then usually replace them because
I don't want to root against my own fantasy team. Then they go
off and I lose both games.
You also have the situation that you overrate DFS players that
are on your own fantasy team, so you stick them in your DFS lineup
and then you lose both again. Of course it works the other way
sometimes, but the reality is that the more you play, the more
mistakes you make as well.
In summary, it very often just becomes too hard to handle both
DFS and fantasy mentally. It can also take a huge amount of time
if you have multiple DFS lineups. Someone’s daddy once said
“study long, study wrong,” and that applies fully
to having too much action. I counteract this by just playing in
DFS games with smaller # of games like the late afternoon, Sunday
night - Monday night and Monday - Thursday night. I very seldom
play the DFS full-slate games. With the renewed focus I am doing
ok. I have a sufficient balance to play the rest of season after
starting with only accumulated bonus points at the beginning of
I can relate to several of Dan's points—especially the one
about the amount of time involved in submitting multiple DFS lineups.
But time is just what makes Charlie believe that DFS improves
his fantasy experience:
DFS makes my regular league more fun for me because it's easier
to justify doing all the research I do. It used to kill me when
I would lose my fantasy game because it meant all those hours
of reading and thinking were wasted. Now if I lose in my league,
I can still hit on some tickets, which makes the whole process
No one wrote in to complain that DFS was dampening their enthusiasm
for traditional FF, but I did receive one interesting question
It looks like I won't make the playoffs in my league this year,
[and I] think it might be fun to do something DFS-related with
the other owners in my league who miss the playoffs. One possibility
is for us to keep submitting our lineups, and whoever scores the
lowest has to buy a DFS ticket for every other owner who isn't
in the playoffs. Have you heard of anything like that? Do you
know of any better ideas?
I haven't heard of anything along those lines, but maybe some
readers have, which brings me to . . .
This Week's Question: Does your league
have post-season action for non-playoff teams?
However, since Troy's question is a bit specific, I want to expand
it to include any kind of wagering (from side bets to goofy contests)
that fantasy leagues rely on to keep the non-playoff owners engaged
as the regular NFL season winds down.
I've collected suggestions on this front in years past, but I
hope to get a few new ideas in 2016. Thanks in advance to anyone
who responds by posting a comment below or emailing
me; and thanks to those who wrote in concerning the impact
of DFS on traditional leagues.
#3: Detroit over Jacksonville: (7-3, JAX,
OAK, DAL, MIN, PIT, NE, CIN, TN, GB, AZ)
Attentive readers may have noticed that I have a special place
in my heart for some of the Jacksonville Jaguars players. Back
in September, I dared hope that the Jaguars could finally contend
in their own division. At this point in the season, however, they
appear to be vying for the second overall pick in the draft (since
Cleveland has the top pick locked up). The Lions, on the other
hand, have stepped into a vacuum created by the implosion of the
two NFC frontrunners (Minnesota and Green Bay). This week, Matthew
Stafford, Golden Tate, and Theo Riddick will try to take advantage
of an improving, 8th-ranked Jaguars defense. While the Jags are
hardly the pushovers that they used to be, they're still dead
last in interceptions this season (with a total of two). Since
Jacksonville is unlikely to take the ball from Detroit and unlikely
to do much with it when they have it (not having scored more than
22 points since Week 4), the Lions should be a viable option for
those who can't use either of my top two picks. But if I'm not
as excited about this pick as you might expect, it's because the
Lions have a tendency to end up in squeakers (such as the anemic
16-15 loss to Tennessee, the middling 24-23 win over Philly, and
the high-octane 39-35 win over Indy).
#2: Pittsburgh over Cleveland: (8-2, HOU, AZ,
CAR, WAS, GB, TN, NE, MN, SEA, NYG)
If you haven’t used Pittsburgh by this point in the season,
this is the week to pull the trigger. The Browns are 0-9, and
while they are at home with the feisty Dawg Pound backing them
up, containing Roethlisberger and company will take a better effort
than this next-to-worst defense has managed so far this season.
Look for a heavy dose of Le’Veon Bell with a smattering
of Roethlisberger and Brown for flavor in this pre-Thanksgiving
divisional rivalry that should be over even earlier than the Browns'
last game against the Ravens. Until the Browns give you reason
to reconsider this strategy, take the team playing Cleveland the
rest of the way.
#1: New York Giants over Chicago Bears: (9-1,
SEA, CAR, MIA, CIN, NE, PIT, GB, DEN, DAL, BAL)
The Giants? Over the Bears? Why? The Giants hardly scare anyone.
Odell Beckham is more of a distraction on the field than off;
the rushing attack is second-to-last in the league; and the defense
only looks opportunistic because it lucked into two pick-sixes
in the last three games. But the Giants won't have to be very
good to beat the Bears, who travel to New York without their top
threat, Alshon Jeffery, who has been suspended for performance
enhancing drugs. You might think the Bears can get along without
Jeffery by relying on Cameron Meredith, but Meredith's only big
games this season came in Weeks 5 and 6 with Brian Hoyer as the
quarterback. Apart from a single 50-yard TD reception last week,
Meredith has been a non-factor with Cutler in the lineup. Maybe
the Bears can figure out how to win without Jeffery before his
4-week suspension is over, but I just can't see them doing it
the first week he's out while playing in a hostile setting against
a team with as much talent as the Giants have. Since I already
used Pittsburgh in this slot in 2016, my top pick for Week 11
is New York.
Mike Davis has been writing about
fantasy football since 1999--and playing video games even longer
than that. His latest novel (concerning a gamer who gets trapped
inside Nethack after eating too many shrooms) can
be found here.