3 Players to Fade in Guillotine Leagues for 2019

Now that I have participated in a number of Fanball guillotine league drafts and spent some time thinking about draft tactics, I’ve developed a sense of which players I want to elevate and which players I want to fade in these leagues.

In this article, I identify three players to avoid, or at least fade. I am resisting the temptation to weigh in on what I think of them as players, because I want this to be strictly about the guillotine league format. These are players who should be downgraded in the guillotine format, specifically in Fanball, compared to conventional leagues.

In other words, I am not at all saying I think these players are overvalued in general. I am saying that because of factors that are especially important in guillotine leagues, such as volatility, bye weeks, or the fact that they are stashes – they deserve to be downgraded.

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Guillotine League Strategy: Two Player Endgame

In this article, we start to look at strategic bidding in guillotine leagues when there is a 2-player endgame, by which I mean a situation where only two players have FAAB money left and there is still bidding to be done. This article looks at strategies for the player with more FAAB money. A future article will look at strategies for the FAAB-poorer player.

The main question that this article addresses is how a team can maximize its FAAB based on how much money it has vs. how much money the competitor has. That is why I’m limiting this article to situations with 2 players. We start with a relatively simple situation with a limited number of moves in order to see the basic dynamic. From there, we can build an understanding of more complicated situations with more players, which I expect will be future article topics.

Strategy 1: Getting All the Top Players

This is simple. If your opponent has, say, 60 in FAAB, and you want to be guaranteed to outbid her on your top player, you need to have 61 FAAB. If you want to outbid her on the top two players, you need 122 FAAB. In general, to outbid you opponent, who has x FAAB, on the top n players, you need y = n(x+1) in FAAB.

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Guillotine League: Week 10 Recap and Week 11 Preview

Guillotine league story for Week 10/11, including discussion of bidding strategy.

In this series, I track weekly progress in my guillotine league. For the main post, covering the league’s details and my overall Bid Low, Bid Late strategy, click here.

I came close to elimination in Week 10. Very, very close. It was Barkley’s big catch in the Giants’ final drive on Monday night that got me to survive. I ended up with a 125.3 points, just ahead of the runner up at 124.4 and this week’s victim at 123.

I got disappointing performances from Cam Newton, Saquon Barkley with a season low, Alshon Jeffery, Jarvis Landry, and Cooper Kupp. I got great performances from Corey Davis at 25.5 points and Mike Davis at 18, but didn’t start either of them. It was David Johnson and Tyler Lockett that saved the team.

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Guillotine League Strategy: Rely on Probability, Not Spending, to Survive Early

In my first article on guillotine leagues, which set out the Bid Late, Bid Low strategy, I justified the “bid late” part of the strategy, in part, based on the fact that competition is laxer early in the season and intensifies as the season goes on. In this post I go into more detail.

Early on in the season, a bad team is more likely to survive by sheer luck than late in the season, because when there are more teams, there are more chances that at least one of them will have a low outlying score that is lower than the bad team in question. This reduces the disadvantage of having a bad team but also reduces the advantage of having a good team. In a guillotine league, it makes no difference if you are the highest scoring team or the second-lowest scoring team, until Week 16.

This suggests that all else being equal, player acquisition should wait until later in the season. This fits nicely with other dynamics favoring late season acquisition, including that the later it is in the season, the better you understand which players will be healthy and perform well in the important matches at the end of the season; that more top players become available; and that FAAB deflation increases the value of your FAAB dollars as the season proceeds.

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Guillotine Leagues: It Helps to Reason Backwards

Guillotine leagues have something in common with the 21 Flags game from Survivor: reasoning backwards from the last move to the present is an important part of winning. In 21 Flags, each team has an optimal strategy that can be discovered by picturing the winning move at the end of the game, and working backwards to figure out how to get there.

For those who are interested in 21 Flags, here are two videos about it. The first one shows the game as it was played on Survivor. The second one is from a Youtube math channel, showing the optimal strategy for winning the game.


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