Lineup Strategy Differences in Tournaments vs 50/50s

As you might expect, the payout structure differences between Tournaments and 50/50 contests will impact our strategy. Number of lineups in the contest will likely impact our choices as well. However, the payout structure should be considered more significant. The players we choose to create a lineup will be different depending on what type of contest we are entering.

Both factors will impact our strategy for a similar reason. It all comes down to one main thing: variance.

What is Variance?

If you have taken any statistics courses, you should be familiar with the concept of variance. If not, it can be thought of most simply, as how spread out a set of numbers are. A set of numbers that are generally close to each other will have a lower variance than a set of numbers that are more spread out. This is a bit of a vague oversimplification, but it should be enough to understand why it is important here.

The concept of variance materializes in fantasy points and sports in general as consistency. Consistent players would have a low variance in their fantasy production, and inconsistent players would have a high variance.

You need to be careful here though. Just because you have noticed a player getting 2 hits per game for the last week, or always coming through late in the game, does not mean he is consistent. We need to measure the variance of all his performances to get a ligament measure of how consistent he is.

How to Measure Variance

First, you will need to find a list of fantasy points a player scored in games. This could be any sample of games you want to measure: last week, this season, career, etc. Once you have a list of fantasy points scored over the period you want to consider, you can simply use the variance formula.

Sample variance, often denoted as S^2, can be found by:

$$S^2 = \frac{\Sigma (x_i \ – \ \bar{x})^2}{n-1}$$

S^2 = sample variance
x_i = the value of one fantasy performance
\bar{x} = the mean of fantasy points scored per game
n = the number of game performances in sample

If this type of formula is intimidating to you, do not worry about calculating this with the formula. If you want to try calculating this for a specific player, it can be calculated easily using Microsoft Excel using the VAR.S function.

My main point here is that consistency of a fantasy player can be quantified. In the next post, we will discuss how we can use this measure to decide which players we want in a Tournament lineup vs a 50/50 lineup.

If you want to play along and enter some FanDuel lineups of your own as we conduct this investigation, you can use my FanDuel referral link here to get a deposit bonus. You should just need to deposit at least $15 within 30 days of signing up, and you’ll get a $15 bonus added to your account if you use that link.

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