It’s been one and a half weeks of LCS and we are almost done with two matches of Fantasy LCS. Hopefully you started off on the right foot and you are now 2-0 this season. If not, don’t worry too much because you can easily come back off of a poor draft to earn your title as Fantasy Champion.
I have been playing fantasy sports for 7 years, and I actually won the very first time I played fantasy football due to faith in my favorite team (drafted LT in 2006). That year I piggy-backed on the success of the greatest single-season performance for a running back ever, but over these 7 years, I have learned strategies that allow you to succeed even when you don’t draft a player like XiaoWeiXiao.
Week 1-2 Recap
An important part of Fantasy is to know how the teams in general are doing as better teams increase the values of players.
As expected from before the season, Fnatic is a very risky team. This was looked at by many people beforehand noting their streaky performances in the spring split, but still many people are fans of the team and will draft soaz over a player like Wickd or Dyrus. I would personally avoid all of FNC except for Rekkles and xPeke.
The biggest surprise to most people is that Millenium is a very strong team. They have two weeks in LCS and they were shut down this most recent week by an inconsistent Fnatic and the best of EU Alliance. The best asset of Millenium is that many of their games run very late. As people have discussed on reddit, the longer a game goes, the more fantasy points you get. This is why SHC (even though they are weaker) is also a strong team to have on fantasy. All of Mil is a must-buy and MrRallez, Wewillfailer, and SELFIE are for SHC. Just make sure to sit them if they play a hard schedule of SK and Alliance.
Choo-Choo! Hear that? That’s the sound of the LMQ hype-train and it is rolling out of station number 4 and 2. A lot of people weren’t sure about how LMQ will do, but with xwx and Vasilii playing out of their minds, the team will keep winning. Take any player you can from LMQ because we all know that players get more points because their team wins a lot (See: Dig Kiwikid to prove that point or GMB Diamond for the counterpoint).
EG is not faring well and with the new “starved-top” meta, Innox is doing worse than before. Unless the meta becomes more like solo-queue favoring carries in each lane, I don’t see any of EG being a worthy addition to a team except for the new addition of Altec. Altec will manage to always be positive in every game with a lot of farm, and if EG wins, expect him to contribute a lot of points.
Team DigniCoast is also playing outstandingly with Zion and Shiphtur really carrying Dig to victory. Crumbzz has also been playing out of his mind. For once though, Dig’s bot lane is actually their weak point.
Obviously, there was more learned about teams and players in the first and second week than just that (avoid Gambit), but the key to winning fantasy is your core composition. I’ll base this off of a team in my 8 man league and discuss what the summoner should be doing for each role and what each LCS player should mean to that summoner.
This team consists of the players: Fredy122, Dexter, Hai, Candypanda, Nyph, Jesiz, and SK Gaming. I do not know who is on this team’s subs because you can’t look at them (Riot please!) but that is his current roster. First off, 4 out of his 7 players are part of the SK gaming organization. In most cases that is a big no-no. The only time I would ever start 3+ players from the same team is when that team has an “easy” week against the likes of: Col, EG, GMB, and CW. Even then, no game is a guarantee (See: C9 vs Col) and you could easily lose a quarter of your potential points from an upset.
Now, to discuss the team and each player’s role on the team. There are 3 types of players in fantasy sports. The first is the most obvious. “Consistent standout” players. These are the players that everybody tried grabbing in the first round. The Bjergsen’s, the Meteos’s, the Rekkles’s, etc. Nobody will ever fill-in for these players if you have them on your roster due to them always being near the top of points-standings no matter the week. This team has 3 clear consistent standouts. Those are: Hai, Dexter, and Nyph. Very few junglers beat out Dexter in points, and he was even competed with some junglers when CLG had 2 losses in week 1. Hai is in the same boat as Dexter, he hardly ever does poorly, and when C9 wins (and they win a lot) he nets many fantasy points. People may question Nyph, but only supports can fill the support slot on your fantasy team, and Nyph is one of the better supports, especially since he is on what looks like what will be the best team in EU.
The other 4 players starting for this team (which coincidentally are all of his SK players) are what I would call “solid” players. They will not put up numbers like the standouts do, they will not always do well even in losing situations, but if you have a team of “consistent standouts” and “solids” you can afk for the rest of the season and probably come out in the upper half of the league. But that’s not why you are reading this, you are reading this because you want to be number 1. It’s the bragging rights that you will hold over your friends or the internet randoms. So, the point of these solid players is that they will always get you through a week but should be replaced by somebody in the next group of the opportunity arises.
“Week-by-week” players are the core to winning any fantasy sport. “Week-by-week”s are what separate the good fantasy players from the great ones. As the name suggests, this is where you take the gambles. You take a player from the Add/Drop section with the only intention to be that you will use this player for only this week for some reason. Usually that reason is that they are playing an “easy” team that week while one of your “solid” players will be playing much more difficult opponents. For our example: Jesiz is on this team’s flex position and SK Gaming played against Roccat and Alliance this week, two fairly strong teams and the games could easily go either way. Currently available in Add/Drop are two players that could have had some breakout games: RobertxLee and Snoopeh. Innox is also available, but I hesitate to put a top laner in flex in this current “starved-top” meta. RobertxLee played EG and CLG this weekend while Snoopeh played Col and Curse this weekend. Even though both these players are worse than Jesiz overall, they will probably both do better than Jesiz this weekend due to scheduling and the level of competition they will be playing against. Typically, your 3 alternates will be all “week-by-week” players and you will be exchanging them with your “solid” players in order to get the best matchups and the most possible points.
The 4/6/8 Debate
In my honest opinion, I think a fantasy league with 6 teams is the best/most fun way to play Fantasy LCS. 8 teams have very little players available to trade in “week-by-week” because there will end up being a pile of “untouchables” who nobody wants even on their best days (See: XDG Spring Split). This gets even worse since Riot does not have a trading system set up at the moment, and now you end up being stuck with the roster you drafted. 4 team leagues are in the same boat for the opposite reason. There are not enough teams in the league that “consistent standouts” were drafted well into the 7/8th rounds. There is almost no reason to ever swap out your team now because you drafted: Dyrus, NoName, Froggen, Rekkles, Lemonnation, XiaoWeiXiao, and C9. That’s not an unreasonable team for to come out of a 4-player league. I personally think 6 player leagues are just right because they leave enough players open from middling teams in order to allow for realistic and interesting swaps. There is a good amount of focus on drafting, but drafting a successful team in only about 2/3 of most fantasy sports while roster swaps are the 1/3 that give the edge over many opponents. I like 6 teams because it stays close to that original formula, but many players like to draft and forget, or they just want to have the most OP team possible.
Overall, I think Fantasy LCS is a great way to engage the audience, and make LCS even more enjoyable for the viewer. I am glad Riot has implemented it, and I hope it can get better as it progresses.