Fantasy Stat Master

Carter Hart

For some Daily Fantasy Sports is a casual hobby. Office pools or golf buddies create ways to bet a few bucks here and there to make sporting events more interesting and that can be fantastic. For others, Daily Fantasy Sports is an obsession. Winning is a driven passion. Any edge that can be gained MUST be gained. These are the folks we are speaking to here.

The key to winning at daily fantasy sports or DFS is managing your data. No, you don’t need an IBM Watson computer (although I have a conspiracy theory that some jerk offs from Goldman Sachs do such a thing when it comes to DFS) or run a complex SQL front end on Tableau that humps the Elias Sports Bureau stats database. What you do need to know is how to see a statistical trend and bet on it.

Let me give you an example from the world of DFS Hockey that illustrates my point. The young, upcoming goalie in the Philadelphia Flyers organization is named Carter Hart. As I type, he’s barely old enough to legally buy a beer but he’s the best goal tending prospect for this proud franchise since Pelle Lindbergh, who died in a tragic car crash in the mid-1980s. Carter Hart, in the shortened 2019-20 COVID-19 season, was a total Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. At home Carter Hart put up Vesna Trophy level numbers and won countless games. When on the road, Hart was about as average as you could find. The funny thing is: his and prices didn’t vary that much from start to start. So if the Flyers were at home on a given night, you could expect a far higher chance at winning and getting excellent stats for your DFS investment. If the Flyers were playing Hart (not backup, Brian Elliott) on the road, you had a much lesser chance at anchoring your NHL DFS lineup with a rock solid goalie which is essential to winning DFS hockey.

In the end, you can get into granular statistical analysis and that can yield interesting trends. Keeping with the hockey analytics theme – Corsi and Fenwick are two advanced stats that track a player’s time in good scoring places on the ice versus ones 200 feet away from the opposing goalie. Using another Flyers example: No. 2 overall draft pick and former, multiple 30 goal scoring winger, James Van Riemsdyk, in 2019-20 was getting third line ice time despite his strong resume and big contract. Watching the games showed you a very frustrated player. Looking at the data proved it. JVR wasn’t getting the premium power play time or being rolled over the boards when the puck was in a scoring position as much as the guys on the first two lines in Philly. Even with his DFS price going down, he wasn’t a good pick. Not to the “eye test” or to a statistical analysis. As Kenny Rodgers once said “Know when to hold em. Know when to fold em…” If JVR isn’t getting second or first line looks – he isn’t a good DFS option night in and night out unless he is really affordable despite his (positive) age and proven track record.

In the end, trust your instincts but also look for the statistical trends that will show you places in DFS to find value and attack. Take it from me – the sites will see the trends and raise the prices accordingly. But in that window – you can make a small fortune if you bet right.