Simple Strategy To Win In The Scott Fish Bowl #SFBX
Starting on Monday, July 6th, the tenth annual Scott Fish Bowl will be kicking off ! As always, the luminaries of the fantasy football world will be competing against fans, celebrities, and other fantasy football analysts. This year, the field is full of 1,200 players with each division consisting of 12 teams and then breaking off in a larger tournament format for the playoffs much like the FFPC Main Event or NFC Primetime Championship.
#SFBX has unique scoring wrinkles, the same way the Scott Fish Bowl always does. Every team can start one QB, two RB, three WR, one TE and four flexes with one SuperFlex position. The scoring rules this season are going to punish bad QB performances spectacularly.
The biggest wrinkles compared to a normal league are clearly the negative elements for QBs (reduced points for incompletions and pick-sixes are going to create some horrible weeks for mediocre QBs). and points per first down for RB/WR/TE. You’ll notice that tight ends get even more bonus points for first downs and receptions. Hasan Rahim did a great job on Rotoviz exploring the way these rules impact scoring and provided some specific targets.
The idea in this space today is not to get too far into the weeds with player projections but rather put forth some strategical ideas that can guide all drafters to build robust rosters to win both their division and compete for overall first place. Something I have found over the last few months as I have delved more into game theory as a result of extra time on my hands due to CoVid-19 is that using a properly balanced strategy (regardless of the form of speculating you are undertaking) tends to be more profitable than “picking the right players” (or buying the right stocks or trying to make the nuts in poker, etc).
Quarterbacks Are Even More Important Than You Think
Generally speaking, the gamble in SuperFlex/2QB formats is how long you can wait on selecting quarterbacks relative to your peers. Average quarterbacks like Ben Roethlisberger or Kirk Cousins get pushed into fourth and fifth-round selections in this format and it feels disgusting to select a hard-capped QB instead of a top-12 wide receiver but this is not the year to play that game. Players like Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson project pretty comfortably for over 350 points in this format but that isn’t even where QB gets interesting in terms of decisions. If CMC is off the board, you’re likely best off just taking Mahomes/Lamar/Kyler/Dak in the first round but the TYPES of QB you select in the mid-rounds is more important than ever.
The general thinking in 2QB formats is that just getting a relatively productive second starter is all that matters but with the harsh penalties for interceptions, sacks, and incompletions it actually makes more sense to take the lower variance QBs in SFBX. Daniel Jones, Cam Newton, and Josh Allen all make great targets in regular SuperFlex leagues but with their lower projected completion % and propensity for turnovers, they are just as liable to lose you a week as win a week.
As a result, vanilla QBs like Kirk Cousins, Jimmy Garrapolo, and Teddy Bridgewater are actually appealing in SFBX. The formula for your second quarterback (assuming you are able to secure one of Mahomes/Jackson/Russell Wilson/Kyler/Dak/DeShaun Watson) should be a high completion %, low volatility starter with little intra-team competition. It is even possible that the Derek Carr/Marcus Mariota tandem is a viable target this year due to the West Coast Offense that the Raiders run.
You Can Gain More Points At Tight End Than Anywhere Else
This point is true for a few reasons. The first is that as teams are using more wide receivers and less tight ends in their base personnel, there are just less tight ends earning meaningful shares of their team targets. Only four tight ends saw more than 100 targets last season and only eight tight ends score more than 160 PPR points in 2019 (10 or more FPPG).
While available SFBX projections are not too-the-decimal perfect because of the first-down scoring, these projections from PFN will give a great illustration to gap of the top scorers down to the middle of the position.
Travis Kelce is essentially worth the TE11 and TE12 COMBINED. Even Mark Andrews, Zach Ertz, and Darren Waller who in the second-tier of TEs are twice as valuable as the backend of the top-12 tight ends. For our purposes, the instruction of this analysis should be pretty clear. It is going to behoove us to target the elite grouping of tight ends as opposed to the top-tier wide receivers. While of course, a breakout season is in the range of outcomes for the Noah Fant’s, Gesicki’s, and Henry’s of the league, you are giving more in projections at tight end than any other position if you wait to draft one.
Stack Both Of Your Quarterbacks
If you were going to take even one thing away from this article, it should be that your plan in #SFBX would be stack both of your weekly starting QBs with at least one WR/TE. The benefits of this should be obvious and it is an accepted strategy in DFS and when we still had the DRAFT Best Ball championship, all the winning players were using stacks in their drafts. It is far less common as a strategy in seasonal fantasy football and most SFB strategy articles do not touch on this. In a top-heavy contest where literally all we care about is coming first out of 1,200 contestants, stacking should be our top priority with pass-catchers.
The logic should be pretty easy to follow. When you stack a QB with his pass-catchers, their upsides will be correlated so you have to get fewer overall decisions right. If your third-round QB has a great season (or week), it should obviously follow that his WRs are likely to have above-expectation seasons (or weeks) as well. This deep dive article on Establish The Run explores the math behind stacking and why it is optimal in tournament formats.
For our purposes in #SFBX, it should be obvious why we want to stack. Not only are playoff spots awarded for win-loss records but for total points. The easiest way to balloon your total points tally is to have your roster spots correlate with one another so that players are achieving their spiked weeks at the same time. You’d rather have Teddy Bridgewater with Curtis Samuel than Kirk Cousins even if Cousins projects slightly better because your good Samuel weeks are likely to be great Bridgewater weeks.
The macro reason for stacking be clear: by making a selection, you are betting that the pick you are making is “correct”, i.e that it will provide surplus value. By correlating your limited capital, you create a greater number of potential points on your roster. Stack your quarterbacks with WR/TE and reap the benefits.
Value Ceilings Over Floors In Running Backs
This sounds incredibly obvious, right? We all pretty much accept that we should be targeting high upside players with almost every pick, especially after we get past the top fifty or so consensus players when reasonable people can disagree on player value. In practice, that tends to not be how people draft especially at the running back position. Players like David Montgomery or Le’Veon Bell who play for bad offenses with questionable-at-best quarterback play and will be losing passing down work to other running backs get overvalued just because they project to get a lot of mostly-useless carries.
We also make this mistake later in drafts as well. In some leagues, players like James White or Nyheim Hines do have a place. In 16-team leagues or even regular 12-team PPR leagues that are self-contained and not part of a larger tournament, your rosters will sometimes need a player who can go out and get 8 PPR points during the bye weeks. In #SFBX specifically, we need to be targeting running backs who have the ability to become workhorses in season. With full PPR, yardage bonuses and points per first down, the value in becoming a 20+ touch running back is almost incalculably value.
Players like Ronald Jones, Tony Pollard, Chase Edmonds, Latavius Murray, Boston Scott, and Darrytnon Evans, who can become true lead running backs with only one injury should be our primary running back targets. We should largely be passing on James White, Jordan Howard, Derrius Guice style players who might offer us some weekly point floor but are drawing thin to be on tournament-winning style teams.
Again, this really isn’t rocket science (just like stacking) and something that you should largely already be practicing as you compile teams this offseason. When drafting running backs in the latter half of your #SFBX draft you should be asking yourself if it is even possible for that RB to play 70% or more of his teams’ running back snaps in individual games and if not, it is likely you should not be targeting that player.