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The Art of Drafting: Which support to pick for your Fantasy team?

Johannes Schiefer's picture
Johannes Schiefer
Director of Branding & Publishing
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The choices and potential strategies for building an ESL Fantasy team are near limitless. Everything from team match-ups, average game length and new champions entering the meta can influence the points which players generate. One especially tough decision everyone faces is how to distribute the $5,500 budget over the five in-game positions. Do you go for a relatively even distribution (five all-around average players) or do you go for a mixture of star performers and undervalued potentials? If so, in which positions do you put your stars and where do you save money?

In order to make your decision-making a little easier, we’ve had a look at each of the in-game positions and their corresponding LCS players. The following is an overview to help you choose which support player to pick for your Fantasy Team (other roles will follow!).

While support players aren’t the ones whose main role it is to collect champion and minion kills, they can still be an integral part for your Fantasy roster. Three of the top ten Fantasy-earners from last season were support players, highlighting that there is definitely a lot of scoring potential - especially when choosing LCS support players who play assist-heavy champions and/or are given farm by their teams.

Scoring as a support

As the support’s main job is to protect the carry and aid him in killing opponents, supports gain more points for assists than any other role and lose the least points for deaths: the system understands that support players will often leave kills to other players on their team and regularly sacrifice themselves for their teams. For their role in helping to securing objectives, they earn more points than is average for their in-game gold per minute (GPM), which significantly helps to boost their overall Fantasy League score.
 
 

Is it worth investing in one of the high-tier supports?

There are currently six supports which cost more than the Fantasy League average cost of $1,100. Of these, the top three also rank in the top ten highest (average) Fantasy League point earners for last season: Xpecial, LemonNation and Aphromoo. But are they worth the money? Let’s take a look at the top two contenders:

Xpecial ($1700): topping the charts with an impressive 1.18 average kills, 10.93 average assists and an above average 28.93 creep score (per match), he certainly seems worth the investment on paper. However, these feats were accumulated during his time playing for TSM. His recent switch to Curse (where AD Carry, Cop, averages only 3.21 kills per game compared to Wildturtle’s 5.14 and Bjergsen’s 7.05) mean that this season may play out very differently.

LemonNation ($1690): boasting the most assists per match (11.18) places him in second in terms of the ‘most expensive support’. One of the main reasons behind this is the aggressiveness of the games played out in the North American LCS (and especially by Cloud 9 HyperX). To illustrate let’s compare LemonNation with Vander (a cheaper alternative from a solid European team): 
 
 

Average Assists

Kills and Assists

Average Kills for Team

Participation

LemonNation

11.18

12.22

17.68

69.12%

Vander

6.25

6.93

10.82

64.05%


As you can see, although there are massive differences between the Fantasy Point earnings and values of the players (Vander costs $795 while LemonNation costs $1,690) they both perform at a very similar level in regards to involvement in kills. The major difference between the two players is that Cloud 9 averaged nearly 7 more kills per game than ROCCAT did. But will this trend extend throughout the Summer Season? With an increasingly aggressive meta establishing itself in Europe, it could be argued that we are standing before a shift.
Eight most expensive support players (Click to enlarge)
 

Investing in the Mid Tier

Having already established that support players can be extremely important for Fantasy Point generation (with the highest density of top point earners from any role), let's look at some of the players in the $1000-$1200 price bracket. Two options stand out in my opinion, which says a lot considering that at $1205, a player like Yell0wStaR is definitely an excellent pick-up:

Gleebglarbu ($1200): Although new to the LCS and therefore without stats for the previous season, Gleebglarbu has incredible potential as a Fantasy Player due to playing alongside Bjergsen and Wildturtle, who are #1 and #3 respectively in average kills per match. The aggressive play of TSM allows Gleebglarbu to potentially fill the shoes of Xpecial, who is currently the highest valued support based on his Spring Split results.

nRated ($1075): coming off an impressive Spring Split, nRated is not only a solid support, but also facing a relatively good first week of play.  Although the match against Fnatic will be tough, there is a high potential for action packed games - just as against Gambit Gaming, Copenhagen Wolves and SUPA HOT CREW. For $1075, nRated is a solid investment if one believes in SK Gaming's ability to continue their strong performances from the previous split.

The lowest valued support players (Click to enlarge)
 

Saving money while investing in the future

Although there are amazing deals in the mid-tier, some of the best bargains might actually be found at the very bottom of the current support rankings. Especially when looking at the past performances of their squads and their upcoming matches.
 

Gambit

ROCCAT

Millenium

EG

compLexity

Alliance

Edward

VandeR

Jree

Krepo

Bubbadub

Nyph

$750

$795

$855

$875

$880

$950


Although Edward, the Thresh Prince at $750 is basically a present, I've decided to highlight one of the potentially best drafts in the league: VandeR

VandeR ($795): Costing $300 less than average, VandeR has the potential to drastically increase in value over the course of the next weeks. Especially in the first days of play where ROCCAT faces Millenium and Gambit Gaming (who have undergone a serious roster change) there is a lot of potential for strong performance. Even with the tougher match against Fnatic later in the week, I don't think anyone is making a mistake by adding VandeR to their line-up - an opinion me and Joe Miller seem to share.

Draft your own Team!

Which player do you have in your support role and why?