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Your Hidden Enemy: Accounting for Variation in Fantasy Baseball

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Postby GotowarMissAgnes » Wed Apr 05, 2006 10:52 pm

Apollo wrote:I think this particular bit of analysis only holds water in relatively deep leagues. In that case, when you're basically stuck with the person you pick, variation is a lot more important. But (and I know we're supposed to ignore the example, but it's all I've got to work with), I can pick someone up off the waiver wire in most leagues that is comparable to Green. If Drew flames out again, I still won't be losing much by choosing him over Green.

Player A, however, has the following performance over the prior 4 years (I'll just use OPS for summary): 700, 950, 700, 850

Player B has the following: 800, 800, 800, 800

Which player would you choose?


The info that's missing is the best person on the waiver wire. If that player runs 775, 775, 775, 775, give me player A--he's not really that much of a risk. If, on the other hand, the best player on the waiver wire goes 600, 600, 600, 600, I might be more tempted to take player B.


That's an excellent point, Apollo. My main league is 16 team with 25 roster and 3 DL slots, so it's tough to get good replacement value on the waiver wire. Really, the bottom end production for a player should be based on replacement level, rather than actual production (or some weighted combination of the two, assuming that you'd probably continue to trot Player A out there for a few weeks/months when he was awful before dumping his sorry butt for waiver material.)
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Performance Variation Risk

Postby Bagel Baron » Fri Apr 07, 2006 10:34 am

As has been pointed out in several replies, if the available waiver wire player is not substantially inferior to Green, better to play for the upside.

The other point, which has not been addressed is the fallacy of comparing your team portfolio to a stock portfolio. The goals of these portfolios differ in one critical aspect. A stock portfolio is designed to provide the best risk adjusted return, not to be beat 9-15 other portfolios which must hold other stocks. A fantasy baseball team is designed to beat all of the other teams (who really cares if you come in 5th place or 4th place). There fore you must "swing for the fences" as surely some other teams will get surprising upside performance.

Quite simply, players with upside are more valuable than consistent performers if you have a team of consistent performers you are unlikely to finish first (although you will finish above the midpoint in all likelihood).
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Re: Performance Variation Risk

Postby GotowarMissAgnes » Fri Apr 07, 2006 5:03 pm

Bagel Baron wrote:As has been pointed out in several replies, if the available waiver wire player is not substantially inferior to Green, better to play for the upside.

The other point, which has not been addressed is the fallacy of comparing your team portfolio to a stock portfolio. The goals of these portfolios differ in one critical aspect. A stock portfolio is designed to provide the best risk adjusted return, not to be beat 9-15 other portfolios which must hold other stocks. A fantasy baseball team is designed to beat all of the other teams (who really cares if you come in 5th place or 4th place). There fore you must "swing for the fences" as surely some other teams will get surprising upside performance.

Quite simply, players with upside are more valuable than consistent performers if you have a team of consistent performers you are unlikely to finish first (although you will finish above the midpoint in all likelihood).


I disagree on the latter point. As a fantasy manager, real GM, or financial portfolio manager, the best thing you can do is put yourself in the position to be competitive. If my team is in 4th or 5th in July, then I have the opportunity to make any changes that will win me the crown. Teams with consistent performers may not always win, but they will always be in the hunt for the win. You seem to ignore a fundamental part of the issue. The consistent performer here has the exact same expected level of performance as the inconsistent one.

Your approach argues that it is simply the luckier manager who wins. Whoever is luckier in their swings for the fences, grabs the crown. That's not been my experience, nor is it a very useful strategy.
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Postby bigh0rt » Sat Apr 08, 2006 2:36 am

Real nice article. ;-D
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Postby nuggets » Sat Apr 22, 2006 9:24 pm

Hey just read your article. Good job man, crystal clear.
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