Like all fantasy sports, winning in fantasy Overwatch requires a blend of league knowledge, intuition, and luck. You have to know enough about the Overwatch League to find talented players, be able to intuit which matchups benefit those players, and then get lucky if your players actually outperform your opponent’s. If you’re new to fantasy sports and Overwatch, or even experienced and interested in a refresher, this should cover the basics and lay out some principles to help you compose successful teams. In a future article we will be diving deeper, using fantasy data collected from Overwatch League Season 1 and the Overwatch World Cup, but first we’ll lay down the foundation here. If you intend on joining any of the weeklies for a chance to win a free jersey, please ignore everything that follows — my heart is set on a Hangzhou Spark “GodsB” jersey and I could use less competition.
Winston’s Lab Weekly and Seasonal Format
Unlike Pick ‘Em leagues, OWL weekly and season-long fantasy leagues involve drafting individual players whose match performances gain you points.The format for Winston’s Lab weekly and season leagues are essentially the same: you draft 10 players, with a minimum of 2 DPS, 2 tanks, and 2 supports accompanied by 4 “utility” slots (which you can fill with any role you’d like). In the weeklies, all 10 players start and the team with the most points scored, out of all of that week’s registered teams, wins. In season leagues, you are matched up against another league-member and each choose 6 of your 10 players to start that week. For both, you want to assess the scoring format and pick players that you think will perform highly. Since you want players who will get a lot of playing time, the biggest difference in player assessment is that the players you choose for weeklies need to play heroes that are currently meta. Conversely, for season leagues you can gamble on player talent more and draft players who might not fit the current meta, but could become league-winners if the meta shifts in their favor at a later stage. As in other fantasy sports, the way player performances are scored dictates the impact each role can have.
Each role is scored differently, and full details can be found here. Generally players receive points for eliminations and ultimates (as well as Mercy resurrections), but lose points for deaths. Players also typically receive bonus points for the first elimination of a team fight or lose bonus points for the first death. For balance, each role’s performance is valued slightly different (e.g. while DPS are awarded 2 points per kill, supports are awarded 3). Keeping the scoring format in mind can therefore be a major advantage. For example, tanks receive 4 points for getting the first kill in a fight (2 more than DPS), but only lose 1 point if they are the first death (1 less than DPS) — so aggressive, initiating main tanks like Gesture tend to score a lot of points, especially if the meta favors Winston play. Similarly, supports receive more points than DPS for kills and the first kills of fights while losing the same amount of points for deaths — so flex supports who run Zenyatta or Moira tend to outscore most other roles.
Some Guiding Fantasy Overwatch Principles
Disregarding the differences in scoring format, the basis for player performance remains similar across roles: the highest-scoring players get consistent playing time, boast strong K/D ratios, and play for above-average teams that win a lot of fights while playing a lot of maps. Since each match of Overwatch is a best-of-five, matchups are an even more crucial indicator of performance than in traditional fantasy sports. A great player sweeping a weak team is often outscored by a good player who got to play all five maps against a more evenly-matched opponent. Picking talented players with concrete playing time is important, but you need to assess your players’ matchups each week to optimize your lineup and determine the impact that game script (how a matchup is likely to impact the game’s progress) is likely to have.
Finding talented players and judging matchups should be fairly straightforward, as there are rankings and podcasts aplenty to help your research. The most difficult aspects will be predicting how the meta or map pool impacts playing time for your players and how matchups might affect their performance. Once the season is underway, things like limiting your team’s ceiling by using too many players from the same team or balancing your boom/bust players with consistent performers will be worth keeping in mind. For now, it’s best to understand the roster and scoring formats while researching each team’s likely lineups. In the next piece we’ll use data to dive deeper into role prioritization and the evolving impact of each role.
* Words are by Théo Salaun aka Tepojama who is always happy to exchange Hanzo-based haikus or discuss fantasy on twitter. Featured image credit goes to Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment. *