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Mike Davis | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

Post-Season Action for Non-Playoff Teams

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 games.

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 being made.

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 the season.
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 more enjoyable.

No one wrote in to complain that DFS was dampening their enthusiasm for traditional FF, but I did receive one interesting question from Troy:

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?

If anyone out there has devised a way of incorporating DFS into their traditional leagues, I hope to get the details from them.

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.

Survivor Pool Picks - Week 11 (Courtesy of Matthew Schiff)

#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.