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Daily Fantasy Football Analysis: Why We Lost The 50/50

Losing is the sad side of any competitive game that we’d all rather skip discussing, and with Daily Fantasy Football this is no exception. However, if you have lost a game or two (or three) – swallow your pride! Stand up and dust yourself off! For every winner there is also a loser, and all we can do is try and learn from our losses and put better strategies in place next time.

We entered a 50/50 English Premier League game for Saturday 16th April’s fixtures, and we came a magnificent… 8th, meaning we didn’t make the upper 50% cut.

Instead of tearfully reaching for the tissues then trying to forget the loss ever happened, we decided to dig deep into why we lost by comparing our choices and results to those who did make the cut.

Here’s what we found…

First place: blenderhd (166 points)

100 points ahead of our rather paltry 66, blenderhd put together a victorious daily fantasy football team of consistently strong players – here’s the rundown on the team and why we think they did well.

Results table for competitor blenderhd in an EPL daily fantasy football 50/50 game.

Click image to enlarge.


Manchester United’s De Gea was a solid choice for goalkeeper, fetching in 12 points mainly through achieving a Clean Sheet (+5) and a Win (+5) as Man United won their match 1-0 against Aston Villa.

Having a dependable goalie is essential for a good 50/50 score, and those who tend to get a Clean Sheet often are golden finds, as conceded goals cost 2 points.

DraftKings profile for goalkeeper David De Gea

This competitor rostered Everton’s Bryan Oviedo, Chelsea’s Baba Rahman and Man United’s Antonio Valencia as Defenders for that day’s matches.

Valencia delivered a solid performance, gaining 14 points across multiple categories including an Assist (+6). Versatile players are always useful in 50/50 games as there are more ways for them to score points. This is far above his 5.5 average and follows a long term injury, so it seems Valencia was a Value player who performed better than expected.

Oviedo and Rahman scored 6.5 and 10 points respectively. These two choices were safer and more consistent than Valencia, which is perhaps the better strategy for 50/50s overall.

This daily fantasy football team rostered strong Midfielders, including:

  • Newcastle player Andros Townsend,
  • Swansea’s Gylfi Sigurdsson,
  • Norwich City player Robbie Brady,
  • West Bromwich Albion player James McClean, and
  • Swansea’s Jefferson Montero in Utility slots.

Newcastle United’s Townsend was on fire against Swansea in their 3-0 game, with a goal and an assist boosting up his points to a staggering 35. His draft rate stood at 60%—something that could be bad for a GPP match where players are looking to get into the top 10-20%, but doesn’t affect 50/50 choices quite as much. Overall, his FPTS are on the rise, so Townsend looks like a good player to bookmark for later games.

Brady and Sigurdsson both fetched in reasonable point scores (7.5 and 8), but below predictions. DraftKings FC listed him as a strong ‘Stud’ player for ‘almost single-handedly dragging Swansea out of the relegation mire’. Sigurdsson’s score came as a surprise given his average of 22.5 points over the previous 5 matches. But then again he was up against Townsend. Similarly, Brady underperformed in comparison to his 13.4 point average and fairly hefty fantasy salary. He gained 50% draft and was playing at home but didn’t quite deliver on this match.

blenderhd didn’t miss out on the better Midfielder results by rostering McClean and Montero in Utility. McClean scored an impressive 24.5, mainly by stacking up 19 crossovers which score 1 point apiece.

Football Player James McClean

Midfielder James McClean fetched in 26 points.

The forwards for this daily fantasy football team were Southampton’s Shane Long and Fabio Borini for Sunderland. Long only pulled in 10 points as he didn’t score any goals or assists, but he did put in a few crossovers for a small point boost.

Borini performed far better, raking in 25.5. This was mainly thanks to 1 goal (+10) and 1 assist (+6) but racking up points across the board is what made Borini shine in terms of fantasy points.

Forward position footballer Fabio Borini.

Forward footballer, Fabio Borini

Crossover is an important thing to look out for in Midfielders more so even than Goals – as this is usually a Forward’s territory.

Consistent players with versatile scoring capabilities are fantastic choices for 50/50 daily fantasy football games, as can be seen with blenderhd’s top 3 players: Borini, Townsend and McClean.

Fourth place: Shaunkc92 (135 points)

In a 50/50 daily fantasy football game, it’s of course not all about placing first.

Let’s take a look at the roster from the fourth place fantasy manager Shaunkc92. This team included 6 of the players on blenderhd’s team: De Gea in goal, Defenders Oviedo and Valencia, and Midfielders McClean, Montero and Townsend.

Results table for shaunkc92 in the daily fantasy football contest.

Click image to enlarge.


All in all, it’s clear that De Gea was a great choice for goalie, with a 60% draft rate across the board for that day’s competition and a 12 point result. Players could have also rostered Ben Foster, who only brought in 4 points that day and has a rather varied record.

Oviedo and Valencia were both on the team roster, fetching in 6.5 and 14 points respectively, but this competitor fancied the chances of Everton’s Seamus Coleman (30% draft rate) over Rahman.

It turns out Coleman was an unfortunate choice, given his 9.9 point average and a match record that looks fairly even in terms of variance. Coleman was a starter but became injured in the 55th minute and was replaced. The contestant couldn’t have anticipated this before the match began, so we can chalk this up to bad luck!

Everton football club defender Seamus Coleman.

Everton defender Coleman suffered an injury mid-match.

Midfielder choices were the same as three of blenderhd’s: McClean (26 points), Montero (12.5 points) and Townsend (35 points), though blenderhd rostered McClean and Montero as Utility slots.

Shaunkc92 also filled their Utility slots with Midfielders, the Man City players Kevin de Bruyne and Samir Nasri. Nasri scored a comfortable 13.5 points, including an Assist, and de Bruyne brought in 8.

Where Shaunkc92 ‘fell down’ (though of course still being on the winning list) was in Forward choices. This daily fantasy football manager went for Deulofeu (20% overall draft rate), the Everton striker whose 9.9 average just about justifies a $5,700 fantasy salary, but who hasn’t seen goal action for nine EPL games and has a fairly shaky floor record – he fetched in 3.5 for this match, which isn’t what you’re looking for from a striker in 50/50 games.

The other striker choice was Southampton’s Pelle (10% draft rate), whose FPP record is even more varied and brought in a sad 1.5 points for his $6,000 fantasy salary. Shaunkc92 may have been attracted by a couple of Pelle’s more recent results, standing at an impressive 28 and 32 points apiece, but his results before this are consistently much lower. Pelle could have been a good choice for a daily fantasy football GPP tournament, but seems too risky for a 50/50 game.

Southampton football striker Graziano Pelle.

Southampton forward Graziano Pelle was a risky choice.

Midfielders are great options for Utility if you don’t want to focus solely on Forwards.

Eighth place: Us! (66 points)

From all those winning daily fantasy football choices, let’s now move on to look at where we lost out on the points and why.

Results table for our EPL daily fantasy football team.

Click image to enlarge.


We also went for De Gea, so no complaints in this department!

Our daily fantasy football Defenders were Seamus Coleman, who got that hamstring injury; Southampton’s Jose Fonte; and West Bromwich Albion player Craig Dawson.

Fonte, a value player at $2,400 fantasy salary, was also forced off the pitch, with a concussion. So we were doubly unlucky in our choice of defenders!

Football player Jose Fonte.

Defender Fonte also picked up a mid-match injury.

Dawson, on the other hand, fetched a respectable 11 points, through a combination of saves, crossovers and interceptions. Two conceded fouls put a dent in this score, but only by 1 point.

For Midfielders we had Swansea City’s André Ayew, West Bromwich Albion’s Craig Gardner and Newcastle United’s Georginio Wijnaldum. Midfield is really where we lost out on big points, as we didn’t roster Townsend or McClean.

In hindsight, we should have been more wary about Ayew’s recent return from having a month off with an ankle injury, though he did bring in 5.5 points. Plus he was playing away, which may have had a negative psychological impact.

Gardner and Wijnaldum both did poorly, bringing in 2 and 0.5 points respectively. Gardner’s results are quite varied and he just wasn’t on top performance for the match, which backfires in 50/50 games. Wijnaldum’s poor performance in 2016 has been commented on by Twitter fans in the past, so this would have been good to flag up before picking him!

This is where we committed the cardinal Daily Fantasy sin: not checking for injuries and news before the game started.

Everton Striker Romelu Lukaku picked up an injury in Wednesday’s match against Crystal Palace and was in for some tough matches later on. Management benched him for Saturday’s game against Southampton, with Arouna Kone starting instead. We could have easily gotten 20-30 more points on a different choice of Forward, so more fool us for not checking! He also was our most expensive player, just to add salt to the wound.

Our other forward choice, Man United’s Marcus Rashford, did bring in 13 points thanks to a game-winning goal against Aston Villa. However, that pales in comparison to some of the other players on the table. Rashford doesn’t seem to be a strong all-rounder. This could be disastrous in games where he doesn’t get a goal or assists in. It’s definitely something to think about in 50/50s, where well-rounded high floor players are the best choices.

Football striker Romelu Lukaku

Striker Lukaku was benched before the match began.

What we learned…

A stylised model of the human brain highlighted in colours.

There are a lot of things to take away from the wins and losses here. We’ve boiled it down to the most important bits:

  • Research, research, research. Doing the reading and number crunching is so important to get that edge over other players. This will help ensure you get into the top 50%. DFS websites often have their own information pages and blogs. Plus you can read up on strategy on our very own DailyFantasyUK blog.
  • Check for last minute news. Playing the injured Lukaku on Forward was a real hit to our overall points score. Whether it’s news websites or a team Twitter account or even the weather forecast, keeping updated really is key.
  • Focus on the floor. Players who shoot their scores through the roof in some matches can turn out to be of no use when everyone else has a low ‘floor’ score and performs terribly. This is why for 50/50s you should…
  • Avoid variance. In order to try and get the highest floor score possible. Those consistent averages can translate into better chances for pushing your score above the 50% line.
  • Some things can’t be predicted, like Coleman’s mid-match hamstring injury, or Brady’s lacklustre midfield performance. But that’s just part of the fun of daily fantasy sports!

Our ‘fantasy’ daily fantasy football team!

And what would be the most ideal team of daily fantasy football players we should have gone for? (I added on a couple of other notable players in utility, who weren’t chosen for the three teams analysed).

  1. GK: De Gea (12)
  2. D: Rahman (10)
  3. D: Valencia (14)
  4. D: Dawson (11)
  5. M: Townsend (35)
  6. M: McClean (26)
  7. M: Montero (12.5)
  8. F: Borini (24.5)
  9. F: Rashford (13)
  10. U: Memphis Depay (a Forward who scored a decent 12 points despite no goals).
  11. U: Sadio Mane (a Southampton Midfielder who got 23.5 on this match and has a fair record).

This daily fantasy football team would have racked up 193.5 points – hindsight is a wonderful thing, innit?

For more on how to make the most out of your daily fantasy football players and a host of hints, tips and strategies, visit our Guides section.



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