Fantasy Football – Should You Use Your Opponent’s Starting Lineup When Making Your Own?

While surfing the fantasy football chat boards, I came around a question that was causing quite a debate between the analyst and the readers. The reader basically asked, should he sit his QB in place of a different QB because his opponents had that team’s star WR. His feeling was that if the star WR had a great game, it would wipe out the QB’s stats or even go above his QB’s stats (since a touchdown to a WR is worth more than a touchdown thrown by a QB). So his hopes were to start his alternate quarterback, root against his main QB’s team, and hope for the “maximum difference” between his opponents WR and his alternate QB.

This strategy caused an argument with the analyst, who believed that you start your best possible lineup every week, no matter what your opponent has or is starting. Your opponents lineup is unimportant until the games start, and you should never base your lineup around what your opponent has. If your starting QB is just that, your starter, it’s probably because he’s overall a better player (at least on paper) than the alternative. Yes, the star receiver will probably get a lot of touches, but that doesn’t mean that the QB can’t throw to his other receivers, or his running backs. Or for that matter, we don’t know if the star receiver will end up getting hurt early in the game. Thus, since we as the viewers have no direct outcome on how a fantasy football game turns out, we have to start the best possible lineup to hope for the best.

Although both sides of the argument have their good points, I would have to side with the analyst for the most part. I will show you a few examples of why I believe this is true, but I will also put forth an argument of when it might be worth making your lineup based on your opponents.

Argument 1 – Start the Best Possible Team

Example 1 – Week 7 in the NFL – Team A has Peyton Manning (IND) and Brett Favre (MIN) as their QB’s. Team B has Reggie Wayne (IND) as a WR. Team A’s opinion is that he should start Brett Favre instead of Peyton Manning because Manning will likely throw the Wayne a lot. Logic and the analysts argue, however, that the Indianapolis matchup is a much better one, because it’s against the winless (at that time) Rams, whereas the Vikings are playing a good defense in the Steelers. Thus, the analysts believe Manning should be started over Favre.

The stats from the game were: บ้านผลบอล

Manning – 23/35, 235 yards, 3 TDs
Wayne – 7 catches, 83 yards, 1 TD
Favre – 33/50, 334 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT

Using a standard fantasy football scoring system (such as ESPN’s), the week’s points would be as such:

Manning = 21 points
Wayne = 14 points
Favre = 11 points

Had Team A started Favre, they would’ve been down 3 points, whereas if they had started Manning, they would be up 7 points.

In this case, by starting Manning (who had the better matchup and had been a higher ranked QB to this point in the season) proved to be a better start. True, there will always be exceptions. The better ranked QB will not always play better. But again, since we as the viewer have no outcome in how the player plays, you have to start the best QB in the best matchup to give yourself the best chance to win. In a case like this, your opponents lineup was unimportant because you would’ve scored more points than your opponent by going with what logic told you to.


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