With the regular season edging towards a conclusion, it’s important to make the most of those last few weeks of the season. This stage of the season is potentially your most profitable, as you’ll now have more information to go on than in the early part of the year, so the smart player should gain more of an edge. Here is a checklist of ten factors you should take into account when picking any player in the NFL.
1. Season Form
This is probably the most important factor in choosing a player – simply ask how good the player has been over the season. There are plenty of stats to go on at this stage of the season, so you’ll know exactly who is getting the job done in their position. Then ask yourself what type of contest this player is suited to. Is he consistent week in, week out? These are great players to have in the head to heads and the 50/50 events. Is the player inconsistent, but have the ability to throw in a ‘great’ performance? These players pose a risk but could be ideal picks in the big entry tournaments.
2. Last Game Form
The way a player played last time out can have a big effect on the next game, however this can be good or bad. Some players hit a run of form at a particular stage of the season and will put in a string of good performances. These streaky players are ideal picks after having a great game. Conversely, some players go the opposite way and have an off week after a great performance – these players should be avoided. You can also use the same logic after a particularly bad week. Some players come out more determined than ever the next week, while others have their confidence shot. Look up to see how a player has done in these situations in the past and you’ll gain a good feel. Consider that many Daily Fantasy Sports players will be very predictable in picking the players who did great last time out, and dropping those who had a nightmare – you might find a huge edge going the other ways on occasions.
3. Home Advantage
There have been many studies over the years as to why home advantage is a factor in football and there has never been a real clear answer. However, it is a fact, and should be taken into consideration. Some players will thrive in familiar surroundings and in some cases they’ll be much better at home than on the road. Check out those home/away splits and find out who those home players are. Then it’s simple – pick them at home and avoid them like the plague on the road!
4. Overall Opposition
When making a pick, you’ll want that player to score as many points as possible for you in a week. To do this, the player will need to have the opportunity to score points, which means he’ll need to spend time on the field. If playing against a decent team who like to run the ball, this may not be the case, as this team will eat up time, especially if they get ahead early. In general you want to pick a player who is playing in a game that they’ll probably win – a dominant team will spend more time on offense and give your player those opportunities.
5. Specific Opposition
If picking a running back check to see how the defense fares against the run. If picking a quarterback or wide receiver see how the defense fares against the pass. This will probably seem obvious, but not all of your fellow contestants will be considering this. However you can go one step further – look at the specific player match up. Maybe a quality cornerback is out injured which might lead to a wide receiver having a better chance to rack up big numbers. Or a key defensive lineman is out, meaning that a quarterback has more time to find those passes as he won’t be rushed so much.
Is the game being played in a dome where the quarterback will get to play in perfect conditions – then yeah, pick that QB, wide receiver or tight end this week. Is the game being played in driving wind and rain? Rest assured, the coach is putting the ball into the hands of the running backs more often. Weather forecasts are pretty accurate at least a couple of days ahead, so use them!
How many days rest has the player had going into a game? The Monday night players have a disadvantage in this area if playing the next Sunday, whilst the Thursday night players have a whole ten days to recover and obviously those coming off a bye week will have a couple of weeks off. In most cases, the longer rest a player has, the better off they will be – the only time it would worry me is if a player is bang in form and has a bye week which causes the momentum to stop.
Is the player coming off an injury or carrying an injury? If a player is going into a game where he is doubtful, you might find he is only involved in a handful of plays, so try to avoid these players. Players should also be avoided the first week back off an injury, they won’t be as sharp as they need to be, so might not perform. However, you can use this to your advantage. If a good player had a bad performance the first week back off an injury, many DFS players will avoid the player the following week. This could be your time to strike, by picking the player at a decent salary, who will be much better for having that one game back.
9. Match Up History
Does a player always perform well against a certain team, or in a particular stadium? Divisional rivals will play twice a year (possibly more) so look for players in these annual match-ups that always perform in these games. This is particularly important in the second meeting of the year – a player who performed well in the first game will feel confident going up against the same defense.
10. Own Team Changes
Consider the impact that any changes around the player will have. Maybe a particular wide receiver works better with one starting quarterback over another, so if the QB does change you might want to drop/pick that player. Maybe the star offensive tackle might have picked up an injury, so the QB has nowhere near as much protection as he has enjoyed for the rest of the year. Maybe a running back has returned from injury, meaning that the cheap salary running back you picked last week won’t see anywhere near as much of the ball as he was.
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