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Fantasy Games Won (FGW): CeeDee Lamb, Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, Joe Burrow

Fantasy Games Won (FGW): CeeDee Lamb, Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, Joe Burrow

Joe Burrow started the season off by giving his fantasy managers an 18% chance of winning their Week 1 fantasy matchups.

It didn’t get much better from there. From Weeks 1 through 7, Burrow’s 2023 was cumulatively worse than any other player in fantasy football. That finally changed in Week 8. A 30+ point outing, where Burrow was started fairly frequently, means Burrow managers benefitted from having him on their teams.

As a result, for the first time in 2023, your leading candidate for Least Valuable Player is not Burrow. It’s Najee Harris, and I have the Fantasy Games Won data to prove it.

Fantasy Games Won (FGW)

Overview

If this is the first time you’re hearing the term “Fantasy Games Won,” here’s a quick primer:

  • Fantasy Games Won (FGW) is a stat that converts fantasy points scored in the corresponding change in a fantasy team’s win percentage.
  • The stat assumes all else is equal, thus starting with a 50% chance of winning. A score of +0.5 (+50%) is the maximum possible FGW in a week, and -0.5 is the minimum. Generally, +0.15 is a very good week, and -0.15 is a very bad week.
  • Scoring the average starter for a position is 0.0 FGW. Variance from the average is plotted against a normal curve of expected outcomes for an opposing fantasy team. Obviously, not all leagues have the same scoring system, so a roughly average league (12 teams, half-ppr, 1-QB) is used for averages/team standard deviation.
  • Percent started matters. For example, a player that scores enough to improve your chances of winning by 40% and is started 100% of the time gets 0.40 FGW. If he’s only started 50% of the time, the number gets chopped by 50%, down to 0.20 FGW.
  • This is not equivalent to Wins Above Replacement, though it’s similar. I go into the stat in a few posts on my personal blog, such as this one here.

Here’s how Burrow and Harris have measured up in their race to the bottom of the Fantasy Games Won leaderboard:

WEEK
PTS % STARTED FGW TOTAL PTS $ STARTED FGW TOTAL
1 3 92% -0.32 -0.32 4.3 90% -0.18 -0.18
2 17.4 85% -0.07 -0.39 4.8 81% -0.15 -0.32
3 8.2 31% -0.08 -0.47 6.5 74% -0.11 -0.44
4 4.7 61% -0.2 -0.67 10.8 70% -0.04 -0.47
5 26.4 14% 0.02 -0.66 4.5 68% -0.13 -0.6
6 15.8 74% -0.09 -0.74 0 0% 0 -0.6
7 0 0% 0 -0.74 14.3 65% 0.02 -0.59
8 30.6 64% 0.13 -0.61 8 56% -0.07 -0.65

There’s an interesting takeaway here. Compared to positional average scoring, Burrow has actually done worse (7.8 PPG lower than the 21.1 average for starting fantasy QBs under this scoring system) than Harris (6.7 PPG lower than 13.3, the starting RB average). But Burrow has scored slightly better than Najee overall, primarily because his terrible Week 3 was mostly experienced on fantasy football team benches. With being only 31% started that week, Burrow managers largely avoided that particular dud.

Harris passing Burrow on the Least Valuable Player leaderboard wasn’t the only thing that happened in Week 8. Let’s take a look around the league:

Who Won Week 8?

# PLAYER POS PTS % STARTED FGW
1 WR 35 92% 0.37
2 WR 29 100% 0.33
3 RB 26.8 100% 0.28
4 RB 27.4 90% 0.26
5 RB 25 98% 0.24
6 RB 24.4 99% 0.23
7 QB 31.4 98% 0.23
8 QB 31.1 97% 0.21
9 TE 19.4 92% 0.21
10 WR 21.2 100% 0.2
11 TE 17.8 96% 0.18
12 WR 21.6 89% 0.18
13 WR 20.2 97% 0.17
14 RB 19.8 99% 0.14
15 WR 19.4 84% 0.14
  • CeeDee Lamb was the big ticket of Week 8. Unfortunately, about 8% of his fantasy managers did not start him. The raw data showed 88% started, though his weekly rankings slot indicated it was probably more like 92% of active teams putting him in their starting lineups. If you had CeeDee on your bench, either your WRs are great, or you’ve left your team on autopilot and are only reading this article to moonlight about what could have been.
  • This was the best week of the year for RBs regarding net FGW across the board, at +0.07. It was especially good for RBs who remember 2018 fondly (Christian McCaffrey, Alvin Kamara and Travis Etienne had a nice year at Clemson, winning a national title).
  • I’ve been waiting for the opportunity to call Jahmyr GibbsJahmyr Gibbs Racing” (after Joe Gibbs Racing, Joe Gibbs’ NASCAR team). Now might be that time.
  • Tyreek Hill has now had a better FGW number than Jaylen Waddle in every single game this season, still edging him out this week because Waddle was only 89% started.
  • It was the second-best week of the year for Kittle (Week 5 being the best) and the best week of the year for Hockenson (Week 2 was his best). If you’re wondering why Sam LaPorta missed the TE party this week, he’s in 18th due to a 77% started.

Who Lost Week 8?

# PLAYER POS PTS % STARTED FGW
15 RB 4.6 56% -0.11
14 WR 4.4 65% -0.11
13 QB 13.7 68% -0.11
12 RB 7.5 89% -0.11
11 RB 6 74% -0.12
10 WR 5.8 90% -0.12
9 Philadelphia Eagles DEF 2 100% -0.12
8 WR 2.4 70% -0.14
7 TE 0.9 82% -0.15
6 RB 6 94% -0.15
5 RB 5.2 90% -0.16
4 WR 4.1 96% -0.17
3 QB 13 96% -0.17
2 WR 1.6 97% -0.22
1 QB 5.6 100% -0.31
  • Dameon Pierce has only scored as an above-average fantasy start once this season (Week 3, 13.4 pts), yet was still started 56% of the time in Week 8. It probably says more about the RB landscape than it does about any particular hope Pierce managers had for him going into the week.
  • Jakobi Meyers pulled a painful reversal on his managers. He had his highest percent started of the season (he hit 70% in Weeks 7 and 8 after not going above 36% until then) and drops a 2.4-point game. He’s overall negative for FGW for the year (-0.10) despite averaging 12.7 half-PPR PPG, which is above average for WRs.
  • Speaking of reversals, Darren Waller wiped out his good karma from last week (0.18 FGW in Week 7).
  • Davante Adams’ worst week of the season drops his overall FGW to -0.11. Since his huge Week 3, the veteran has averaged -0.12 FGW each week, meaning his managers likely have a win percentage around 38% since then (being generous there, as FGW doesn’t consider draft slot).
  • Hopefully, Patrick Mahomes fantasy managers had an insurance plan in Week 8. Bad QB weeks are especially painful, and here’s why:  Mahomes was 16 points below the typical average score for a starting fantasy QB. No other position has an average score for a starter near 16, so an RB/WR/TE would need to have a game several points in the negative (i.e., multiple fumbles) to have a comparatively detrimental impact on your fantasy team.

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Week 8 Junior Varsity All-Stars

# PLAYER POS PTS % STARTED bFGW*
1 WR 32.8 17% 0.32
2 RB 28.4 15% 0.26
3 QB 35 16% 0.24
4 TE 22 13% 0.23
5 WR 22.8 0% 0.23
6 TE 20.5 8% 0.22
7 QB 30.6 0% 0.21
8 Denver Broncos DEF 17 0% 0.2
9 WR 20.8 7% 0.18
10 WR 19 0% 0.15
11 WR 19.2 11% 0.14
12 K 16 20% 0.14
13 TE 15.7 9% 0.14
14 QB 32.1 43% 0.13
15 Las Vegas Raiders DEF 13 0% 0.12

*bFGW is the FGW total lost due to low percent started numbers. Esentially, points scored on fantasy benches or free-agent lists.

  • Yeah, I didn’t see the huge Will Levis game coming, either. DeAndre Hopkins took advantage.
  • Gus Edwards is on the Junior Varsity All-Stars list for the second week in a row. Expecting a huge bump in percent started now.
  • Fun fact:  My sister recruited my six-year-old daughter to be her “helper” in our family fantasy football league since last year. For Week 8, my sister asked her helper to pick between Sam Howell and Russell Wilson for whom to start at QB. She chose Howell. I’m so proud of her.
  • Taysom Hill and Trey McBride have the second and third-biggest bFGW weeks of the year so far. The best was Cole Kmet‘s 0.31 bFGW in Week 4.
  • After only having one week below 50% started in 2021 and 2022 combined, Dak Prescott now has five weeks below 50% started in 2023.

Leaderboard Updates

Time to Mute Week 8 For Good

I always look forward to Halloween during the football season. Not necessarily because I enjoy the holiday, though. I mainly look forward to Halloween as the end of the “mute button season.” I have young kids, and I want to get them into football (and other sports) by having them on TV – but I don’t want to scare the bejesus out of them with horror movie commercials. I draw the remote control like Clint Eastwood as soon as an off-key piano note starts a TV spot. Now that November’s here, I can finally holster the Vizio trigger.

If your season has had a few too many jump scares, let’s hope that November looks nothing like a few nights at Freddy’s. Good luck in Week 9, and see you back here next Wednesday.

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