I’m writing the first part of this article prior to the games taking place, so that I can give an ‘untainted’ view of my thought process when putting together a lineup.
The first thing I look at is the betting lines for the games. While they’re not always right, I’m a fairly strong believer in efficient markets, and expect the lines to give the most accurate view of the likelihood of each team winning.
It’s worth noting that AlphaDraft’s games include both the Saturday (W3D1) and Sunday (W3D2) games in the same contests, while Vulcun (note: use invite code ‘profantasy3’ if you want to try playing on Vulcun) runs a separate set of contests each day.
The teams that are favored both days (odds in parentheses, the lower the better) are: TSM (1.16, 1.38), CLG (1.40, 1.44), TL (1.33, 1.24), C9 (1.31, 1.32). Those are the teams I’ll be focusing on. In addition, it seems as though Cloud 9 are good at winning without a ton of fantasy points, so I will probably target players from the other three teams ahead of them. And since CLG aren’t quite as heavily favored as the others, TSM and Team Liquid players are the ones I’m hoping to build my AlphaDraft teams around.
The way that the match-ups worked out this week, most of the stronger teams seem to have relatively easy match-ups both days. So the favored teams on Saturday (in order of how heavily favored they are) are: TSM (1.16), C9 (1.31), TL (1.33), CLG (1.40), TI (1.77). The TSM odds really stand out. The difference between 1.16 and anything over 1.3 may not look like much, but it’s pretty substantial. The thing is, Vulcun only allows you to pick a maximum of three players per team, so I’m going to have to spread my lineup among at least three teams anyway.
AlphaDraft has the sharpest pricing among the daily fantasy LCS sites so far. I haven’t noticed any huge flaws in their pricing algorithm or process that consistently lead to drastically underpriced players. That said, the guys on Team Liquid all seemed a bit cheap this week. I ended up with a roster with all TL players (Quas, IWillDominate, Fenix, Piglet and Xpecial) plus Bjergsen who I’d consider the best player on the best team. In theory, that’s a great lineup for tournaments with top-heavy prize structures (especially if paired with TL in the Team roster slot), but way too concentrated for head to head, 50/50 or Double Up contests. As a result, I’m actually using Team Solomid as my team pick. If TL doesn’t do well this weekend, it’s not going to be pretty for me!
My Saturday (W3D1) lineup looks very different on Vulcun. First of all, they’ve had a flaw in pricing so far, where they seem to be calculating average fantasy points per game based on the total number of points divided by the total number of games that the team has played. As a result, players who missed some of their team’s games not only are priced too cheap, but the bargains may be somewhat obscured by the artificially low season average points listed for them. I absolutely love when there’s a situation that makes it easy for my opponents to make a costly error. And I think that not picking Piglet or ZionSpartan this week falls into that category.
Next, I want to get the maximum of three TSM players. I would have liked to get even more, but Vulcun has a rule in place to prevent ‘stacking’ of too many players from one team. I go with Bjergsen, WildTurtle and Santorin, who have put up the highest average scores on TSM so far (under Vulcun’s scoring system).
With my remaining space under the salary cap, I take IWillDominate (who looks like a huge bargain at $1076, averaging 17.4 points and with a good match-up) and Link and Aphromoo who are among the highest scoring players remaining from the teams that I’m targeting. Unlike AlphaDraft, my Vulcun lineup looks well suited to either tournaments or contests with more balanced prize structures.
The last twist on Vulcun is that you can specify a ‘shotcaller’ whose points get a 25% bonus. Because of that, you always want to have at least one pick who you think will be among the top scoring players, rather than going for a completely balanced lineup. I’m designating Bjergsen as my shotcaller, although I briefly considered using someone else in tournaments to differentiate my lineup with a less popular pick.
Sunday morning, I checked the latest odds for the Sunday matches. These have the advantage of having incorporated whatever knowledge yesterday’s games revealed. The heaviest favorites are Team Liquid (1.24), Cloud 9 (1.32), TSM (1.38) and CLG (1.40). Winterfox at 1.66 also makes their players playable. When a somewhat weaker team is favored, I don’t necessarily need them to be as heavily favored as the stronger teams. Whatever points their players have accumulated in past games, that’s been accomplished in the context of often playing against teams that are better than themselves. So when they’re favored, that already indicates that they’re facing some pretty weak competition.
Looking at the lower priced players for some mispriced value picks, a few stand out immediately. Piglet at $660 and ZionSpartan at $654 are both still clearly being mispriced due Vulcun’s formula counting all of their teams’ games, regardless of whether they played. In addition, Altec at $632 with a 18.62 average points per game on a team that’s a moderately strong favorite looks like a great pick. With those three as the core of my team, I expect to have enough money left over to create a very strong roster. Among Junglers, Santorin, Zmithie and IWillDominate all have similar scoring averages and good match-ups. I go with IWillDominate because TL is the heaviest favorite among the teams and because I’m hoping his low scoring game in their win on Saturday will scare people off. Link and Bjergsen at Mid both have very high scoring averages and good match-ups, so I take both. At Support, Aphromoo has been the highest scorer by about three points per game. We’re early enough in the split that these numbers could still change pretty drastically, but until that happens, I’m going to take them at face value. I have enough left under my salary cap to select anyone except Sneaky or Doublelift with my last Flex pick, and I settle on WildTurtle. That leaves me with $637 that I can use to ‘upgrade’ one of my value picks. Since Piglet hasn’t been scoring a ton of fantasy points since his return, I settle on Santorin as a replacement. He looks like the best scorer among those who aren’t too expensive, aren’t on CLG (since I already have the maximum of three CLG players) and aren’t on an underdog. Bjergsen will be my shotcaller again.
So, how did things work out? Overall, the weekend was very profitable.
On AlphaDraft, I basically lost everything because of the weak performance by Team Liquid, who had a loss and a very low scoring win. My score was 252.48 for the two game contests. Luckily, I only played about 15-20% of my total volume on AlphaDraft. My score there was extremely low, finishing in the bottom 10% in most contests. I only managed to squeeze out a single head to head victory. That’s fairly typical of what happens when a good tournament lineup goes bad. It’s not designed to put up a pretty good score. It’s either going to win big or lose big. I’m making a resolution not to be lazy about creating separate tournament and head to head lineups in future weeks.
For W3D1 on Vulcun, I scored a 189.29 and was in the money in just about all contests. None of my picks were complete duds, although Piglet and IWillDominate didn’t put up great scores. One interesting note is that Bjergsen was 94% owned. That’s a pretty good indication that although competition on Vulcun seems to be fairly weak at this point, it’s not incompetent.
For W3D2 on Vulcun I scored a 144.03, which was still good enough to be in the money in all contests. Because Vulcun (reminder: invite code ‘profantasy3’) has been running bigger money contests on Sundays than other days, Sunday was my most profitable day for the third straight week. Bjergsen was again 92% owned. This is information that I’m filing away for future reference. His high ownership may have been largely due to his favorable match-ups. But it’s also possible that a lot of people are now picking him blindly. The next time he has a tough match-up, it could be worth ‘fading’ him and leaving him out of some tournament lineups…especially if his price reflects the high scores he’s been putting up so far.
To read a previous Goldper10 article on how to tailor your strategy to contest type, click here.