Ask The Shark: Paying Up For Certainty

It has been well documented on my podcast and Twitter stream how much I despise playing high-priced, goal-dependent forwards in cash contests. It must have come as quite a shock then to many who saw a $10K Diego Costa sitting in one of my forward slots on this past Saturday’s Premier League slate. Did I have a change of heart? Did I hit the wrong button? Was I on drugs at the time?

The answer to all of these questions is “no.” The reason I chose Costa was because the texture of that specific slate allowed for that type of player selection to be reasonably safer than other options. While six-to-eight-game slates typically favor rostering “accumulators” over goal-dependent scorers (as opposed to small slates where this may not be the case), sometimes the player pool includes enough underpriced value and you can splurge on one of these forwards and still be in good shape even if he doesn’t score.

Be aware, though, that splurging for forwards with high goal-scoring odds in cash contests is not done to capitalize on the player’s upside, but rather as a probabilistic advantage, or what I call “paying up for certainty.” You’re essentially betting that this forward has more of a chance to earn 12 fantasy points with a goal than a similarly priced less goal-dependent player has to accumulate the same points via peripherals. On slates that don’t feature many top midfield options in positive matchups, this can end up being the case.

While this situation may not come up as often for larger slates as it regularly does for smaller ones, it’s definitely something to consider when there’s a slate with forwards at 60%+ goal-scoring odds, and especially when the player pool has several excellent value plays at other positions.

Onto this week’s question!

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