Each week this NFL season, top MME player // Milly Maker winner SonicLibrarian will help you orient your GPP mind in Above The Field.
The more time I spend hurling through space on our lovely planet, the more I come to believe that the Buddha had it right all along. The one thing that causes the most suffering and discontent is attachment. Being too attached to the outcome of any event, including the performance of a football player (over which you have no control), is unhealthy. So, recite the serenity prayer every day in shower like me, or steal a moment in your day to accept your own mortality as well as the fragility and impermanence of everything around you. Do whatever feels right to avoid the main pitfall of attachment – worry.
“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.”
– Elbert Hubbard
Sometimes we must courageously leap into the unknown and accept the fact that sometimes the right play is to not play our favorite play. Mind-blowing, right?
– *Attributed to many, including Beavis, Butthead and every character Keanu Reeves ever played. Also spelled “Woah” and “Whoa,” amongst others.
This brings us to the all-important and often misunderstood – Fade. I’ll cover the basics of fading ahead but let’s first get our minds right.
There is no reason to feel bad about losing, provided you’ve made the right plays, from the right place. Once you’ve thought through your angles for the slate and bravely faded or over-weighted plays based on your research and intuition, you must simply let go and allow the day to unfold mysteriously and unpredictably per usual. Cheering and reveling in the glory of a long touchdown is healthy, joyous, and very much encouraged. Worrying about whether you’ve made the right move or if a human being is going to perform to your expectation, is a waste of precious energy that could be redirected elsewhere. The biggest challenge when fading a player is FOMO. The fear of missing out on a huge day by someone you decided not to roster is real. I’ve let it affect my play detrimentally and I’ll bet a number of you have as well. For me, it was always a matter of fun. Being alive in the Milly with even the most remote chance of actually winning is the most exciting part of any given Sunday. For everyone who didn’t roster Joe Mixon in Week 4, your worst fears were realized. Once he went apeshit, there was no fun for anyone who faded him…or only had him on rosters with Brandin Cooks. *Insert puke emoji here
But rostering everyone with a pulse isn’t the answer either. We need to make sound decisions with the information available to us and then let nature takes its course. Live with the results and if we’re wrong…it’s on to Cincinnati.
If you believe that feeling bad or worrying long enough will change a past or future event, then you are residing on another planet with a different reality system.
– William James
We’re not usually concerned with fading quarterbacks because quarterbacks are rarely owned at a high enough clip to make fading them actually provide substantial leverage. They’re also are easier to predict than other positions, making the fade of a highly projected QB more of a suicidal venture than one that is merely risky. That’s not to say there isn’t merit in deleting certain highly owned QBs from your player pool on a given week. It’s just not as common of a play or as dramatic as other spots. Running backs are topics of fade consideration a bit more but not quite as much as the more volatile positions of wide receiver and tight end. We can establish a pretty good floor for a RB based on expected volume but pass catchers, especially those with a higher depth of target, have a much wider range of outcomes. Your expensive running back that is projected to be 35% owned is both expensive and owned for a reason. The floor is high and the risk of failure is negligible. Your WR/TE in the same 35% ownership range is much more dependent on things that are out of his control. Weather, game script, defensive game plan and most importantly, quarterback play, can swing a pass catcher’s result dramatically and somewhat unpredictably.
It isn’t enough to decide to simply omit a popular player from your lineups because “it’s good game theory.” Decide why you think this player may underperform and more importantly, what will happen in the game while he’s underperforming. If you fade Davante Adams, then you must feel that someone else in that game will be doing the scoring (or perhaps you think no one will be scoring, putting the DSTs in play). If you feel Adams will be bracketed all day and the passes will be going deep downfield instead, then Marquez Valdez-Scantling would be your leverage.
Don’t forget the all-important pivot. Utilizing a lesser-owned player, at a similar price point, unlocks the full potential of the fade.
Forgive me for rehashing the basics here but the fundamentals deserve repetition!
This week we focus on “Seamonster1866” who didn’t take down first place but put himself in position to succeed with a specific game plan and near-flawless execution.
He (or she) cashed in 76 out of 150 entries including 4th, 5th 6th and 89th. Just a sick, catch-lightning-in-a-bottle week and it wasn’t just good fortune. Seamonster1866 played his ass off.
Letting go of any fear of missing out (FOMO!) on an explosion by Russell Wilson, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Lamar Jackson and others, “Sea” focused his QB allocations on just 3 players. He rode Dak Prescott, Deshaun Watson and Joe Burrow. Only the former “got there” but having 55 Dak lineups had to feel good as that game started going berserk.
Interesting that there was no usage of the opponent QBs in this situation. If I feel a game is going to shootout, I’ll often include a few lineups from the other QB in case he keeps pace or even exceeds the more popular QB’s output. This sometimes makes the most sense because these opposing QBs will often be cheaper and come with less ownership. In week 4, however, I’m comfortable feeling “Sea” was in the right by leaving Kirk Cousins, Baker Mayfield and Gardner Minshew alone. These lesser-volume passers would only detract from the desired massive exposure to his main guys.
Seamonster1866 spread the love around at RB which is understandable, as there were plenty of enticing options on the table. Ignoring the reports of Joe Mixon’s “chest injury” was paramount in placing high on leaderboards in Week 4. Sea’s allocation of only 24% to Alvin Kamara leads me to another point about fading. A fade is commonly misconstrued as playing exactly 0% of a player. To me, that is better termed a “full fade.” Sea’s 24% Kamara this week when AK was at 51.7% ownership is still underweight enough to be classified as a fade. By playing roughly half of what the field was playing, Sea had both leverage on the field if Kamara underwhelmed and enough lineups with Kamara to give himself plenty of opportunity to reap the rewards of a potential “AK without Michael Thomas blowup game.”
The rest of Seamonster1688’s ownership is mostly reflective of the quarterbacks he played. Nothing extraordinary to report at TE or DST. Overall, an amazing and well-played Sunday. We’ll be keeping an eye on him for sure!
That’s all for Week 5 of Above the Field.
Don’t worry. Be happy.
Go forth and be awesome.
An excellent, highly-recommended read!
This week, Sonic (ElmerHelmet on Twitter!) answered a Q&A for us. This is awesome stuff if you’re looking to keep improving your DFS game!