Game theory simply relates to using mathematical models to examine and make decisions.
It is typically used in politics, psychology, computer science and poker, but game theory is also increasingly being utilised by fantasy football players in a bid to get ahead of their rivals. Essentially, game theory in fantasy football means zigging when others are zagging.
While it is always important to remember that no daily fantasy football strategy is ever guaranteed to work 100 per cent of the time, it is obvious that having a clear, well-researched formula can ensure a player wins much more often than they lose.
Using game theory to generate a strategy and related formula for selecting players can therefore be beneficial for anyone who wants to take their fantasy football career extremely seriously.
Game theory is only useful to a certain degree in fantasy football due to the inherent unpredictability of sport – which is, after all, why sport is so captivating in the first place. While it may seem inevitable that one thing is going to happen in football, there are never any guarantees.
Fantasy players may even be using game theory without even realising they are doing it.
For example, a common strategy is to pick a striker from an in-form team if they are up against a struggling side at the bottom of the table. That may be a very basic example of game theory in action, but it is still using mathematical predictions to make decisions for a fantasy team.
Game theory also involves predicting what your opponents might do and this is key in fantasy football. You might want to avoid making picks that the majority of other players go for, or in some cases you might want to stick with the crowd and select those footballers too, depending on the type of fantasy football contest you are entering.