Thinking Cap: How Bill Belichick is Actually a DFS Wizard

In my initial blog for a new series of articles I will be writing that analyze management of the salary cap in DFS, we will take a look at one of the greatest coaches in the history of sports in Bill Belichick.

A little over a month removed from one of the greatest Super Bowls we have ever witnessed, it is interesting to look back at the year the Patriots had. How could a season that started without arguably the greatest quarterback ever in Tom Brady, end with New England’s 6th ring? Why is it that the people who end up being the key players for the Pats are always guys you have never heard of? There are many questions that surround this spectacular season as well as those prior, but I think we can all agree that Bill Belichick has had arguably the biggest impact on the success the Pats have enjoyed. Throughout his career at the helm of the New England Patriots, Belichick has implemented a lot of the fundamental thoughts and practices that are used to create any DFS lineup as a means to construct his multiple Super Bowl teams. The cool part about his job though is he makes money everyday, me on the other hand…not so much. Moving on.

At its very core, the NFL is a salary cap sport first and foremost. The salary cap dictates roster management as well as the construction of every team throughout the league. How general managers maneuver and spend their respective team’s cap varies. Fail to make smart, unbiased deals and your franchise could be crippled for years to come. Bill Belichick understands this better than anybody in the league. He does not let things such as a certain player’s past production or even something as simple as their name get in the way of him making the best decision for his team. A particular example of this would be the trading of Jamie Collins. Belichick definitely took heat for trading one of his best defensive players mid season. Sure he was productive and a particularly good player, but at the end of the season he would command big money. Belichick saw it better to get something rather than nothing and therefore made the tough decision. Many thought this could sidetrack the Patriots Super Bowl chances, but low and behold they finished the season with the number one scoring defense and another Lombardi trophy. To him, every role has a price tag. The same is true on a daily basis for DFS. How wisely you spend your cap and how much you designate to certain positions and players on a given night greatly influences your success. I often times make the mistake of letting things influence my decision to roster a certain player which often hinders my chances of creating the best possible lineup.

Every time we decide to construct a lineup for any sport we assume the role of a GM tasked with managing the salary cap. But as we all know, salary cap management is not just fitting players into your lineup so that it does not exceed a given number. It is a much more difficult puzzle than that. The best DFS players, like Bill Belichick does in the NFL, consistently find value to maximize the potential of their lineups. The 2017 Patriots had a number of value guys such as Chris Hogan and James White that before this season were pretty much no names. Each of their respective contracts were rather small, but both of them had a single game performance that were among some of the best we saw this season. One would think that type of production could only come from someone with a big price tag or popular name such as Julio Jones or Adrian Peterson, but the truth is that price does not guarantee production. We often fail to remember that concept while building our lineups. We let someone’s price or name get in the way of what we think their performance will be. Almost every single slate in any sport on a given day, some of the most or close to the most expensive players are outscored by those that are several hundred or several thousand dollars less than them. This may seem like the most obvious and fundamental concept of lineup building, but it is often lost on many of us including myself while we pick the players we want to roster on a given day. In anything, it is of utmost importance to always remember the fundamentals and master them to the best of our ability just as Bill Belichick has in the NFL.

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