The Art of Drafting: Interpreting and utilizing results

The Super Weeks were of a hectic persuasion for ESL Fantasy. With so many unknowns due to preseason changes, it was hard to confidently designate favorites. The accuracy of the public prediction polls demonstrated this: ten out of sixteen games in Europe were wrongly predicted. North America appeared more calculable. There, only four predictions proved incorrect. What does this mean for your ESL Fantasy lineup? What should you be looking at? I try to give some insight into what a more deductive approach to the future could be.

Points of consideration

We've gone over the impact the results have had on our Fantasy league. How to go further is a matter of personal preference. One can argue that a statistical approach is the most reliable way to get optimal results. After all, numbers don't lie, right? I feel numbers can be deceptive, especially in an environment like League of Legends. As numerous analysts and commentators have pointed out, it's often a matter of which teams happens to play well on that particular day. League of Legends is difficult to predict. Single mistakes can cost games even if a team's overall performance was 'better'.

Going for complete consistency is impossible in ESL Fantasy. The eventual Fantasy winners will be those who correctly managed to spot the players who would secure their Fantasy objectives. Make no mistake, it's hard - real hard. A lot of different factors play a role in a player's eventual Fantasy score. Does the team funnel a particularly large amount of gold to this player? What kind of strategies does this team generally employ? How strong are the teams this player's team will have to play against this week? Is there a new patch coming out this week and, if so, whose signature champions are getting the nerf bat?

Quite a few of these questions can be answered by observing the data available. The game changes, however, and formerly successful strategies can have a massive impact on what the numbers look like. Season 4 is a season of rotations and macro strategy, something not every team has found as easy to transition into.

Hindsight is king

Take a look at Europe's last week - no one could see these results coming. Millenium was universally hailed as the worst team in the European LCS but managed to come out on top. Were there clear reasons for this? In hindsight, one can easily claim that Gambit's lineup changes were quite impactful and that ROCCAT is 'clearly' in a slump. As such, Millenium had an easy week and was bound to perform well. Obviously, hindsight is 20/20. Very few people actually ended up investing in Millenium. Kev1n was moderately popular due to his historically strong stats and affordable price, but that's about it. Kerp ending at the top of the Fantasy point charts was something no one could have reasonably anticipated.

However, with the showings we have seen now, it's possible to make more educated guesses on what's going to happen next. From Dignitas's play, we can distill whether or not they still deal with shotcalling issues. Evil Geniuses and compLexity have shown their potential which, albeit limited, still gives us something to work with.

Things to note

When exactly to go for Fantasy points is a tough call to make. There is still room to expand your budget in order to get to the more reliable picks but so far the top scoring players have been among the more affordable ones. Supa Hot Crew is a good example of this. The total team value has gone up by no less than $555, and even now all individual members are below the base value of $1100. They showed generally impressive play during the week, and despite going 2-2 they still made a pretty decent amount of Fantasy points. In week two, they'll arguably have the easiest week of all teams in facing Copenhagen Wolves and Gambit Gaming.

These are the kinds of weeks you need to keep an eye on. Similarly, Team Curse's week six will be similarly predictable if they keep up their level of play as they have to play Evil Geniuses and compLexity. In matches like these, average Fantasy points garnered over the course of the split are relatively trivial.

At the beginning of the split, Cloud 9 and Team SoloMid members were still at highly inflated prices. However, things have balanced out now. Naturally, it would've been a stretch for them to pull off repeats of last split's performances. Their performances this week, as well as the unpopularity in ESL Fantasy, have led to steep price drops. Now, they're actually affordable and no longer completely unattractive. However, with the overall strength of the North American LCS increased, the teams' members have lost their status as reliable investments.

Overall, ESL Fantasy has just got a lot more exciting. With another eleven weeks to go, we're looking forward to an interesting race to the top. Which players will you be replacing and why?

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