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What % of winning fantasy baseball is luck and skill?

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What % of winning fantasy baseball is luck and skill?

Postby OBPlover » Sat Mar 09, 2013 3:10 am

Title says it all... Wha, in your opinion, is the relative importance of luck or skill when it comes to winning a fantasy baseball league?

Let's call it a 12 team 5X5 Mixed league Roto for simplicity. The % difference could change if you have more teams, deeper rosters, H2H etc.

Since I created this topic, I will start off.

I think it's around 60% skill and 40% luck. The thing is, just about everyone has access to the internet. If they do even a bit of research they can instantly find the rankings of seasoned fantasy players. So the days where there were "true sleepers" are probably long gone.

That being said..some skills are undervalued. I truly believe trading is an skill. Creating trades that help your team and negotiating with other people are skills. Monitoring the baseball world for fantasy news isn't exactly a "skill" as opposed to a "characteristic (persistence) but it's extremely helpful when acting on a waiver wire. Finally I do believe that intuition, though unprovable mathematically is a skill that just gets developed over time.
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Re: What % of winning fantasy baseball is luck and skill?

Postby J35J » Sat Mar 09, 2013 10:48 am

If it's a Public league, then probably 75% skill(though even public leagues these days are much better than they were 10 years ago, for the reasons you mentioned with the internet, etc). If it's a NFBC or Cafe league or something similar then it's probably 50/50 and that might be generous to the skill side.
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Re: What % of winning fantasy baseball is luck and skill?

Postby J35J » Sat Mar 09, 2013 10:49 am

The better, more realistic question, might be what % of finishing top 3 or top 5 year in and year out is skill vs luck...this would have a much higher % of skill since luck might knock you off from winning it all but your skill will keep you in the top 3-5 far more consistently.
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Re: What % of winning fantasy baseball is luck and skill?

Postby Grounded Polo » Sat Mar 09, 2013 11:44 am

J35J wrote:The better, more realistic question, might be what % of finishing top 3 or top 5 year in and year out is skill vs luck...this would have a much higher % of skill since luck might knock you off from winning it all but your skill will keep you in the top 3-5 far more consistently.


Agree that finishing in the top 3-5 consistently is heavily skill based, would go 75% skill as far as always being in the top half year in year out. Winning leagues is basically 50/50 because it not only involves solid research on who will break out and bust, it also involves your top picks staying healthy and in years like 2012, being the guy who was bullish enough on Trout to stash him and then get rewarded with a once every 5 years rookie season. If you're consistently in the top 5, it means that you're drafting well every year and reacting to the inevitable injuries to top players or guys who pass every possible saber metric exam but still fall flat on their faces. It only gets harder every year since the online resources continue to grow exponentially.
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Re: What % of winning fantasy baseball is luck and skill?

Postby TheRock » Sat Mar 09, 2013 1:48 pm

Let's not sell ourselves short gentlemen, there's a lot of skill involved in this game. A successful season begins with countless hours of preparation to know the players and their situations, injuries, position battles, etc. Drafting in itself is a skill. Ever seen a complete noob draft? Like maybe someone's girlfriend who agreed to play to fill out a league? You can give an unseasoned player all your prep materials and they will still manage to have a lackluster draft. Knowing who to pick when, which positions you can wait on, who you need to pounce on, whether to participate in a run or skip it, or even recognize a run, who to reach for, who to avoid entirely even though their name is right there in black and white in the rankings. There are all skills that honestly take years to craft. Can a new player still luck into some great players? Sure, but a good player will come out on top most of the time.

That being said, if you are playing in a league full of very skilled players, then luck starts to play much more of a role. A great recent example is Trout. It would interesting to see how many teams last year had Trout and managed to still somehow not win. The best player in baseball who was typically drafted in round 20 or picked up for a buck or two at auction? That's nothing but luck. Nobody projected a rookie to have that kind of a year, and if they did, they were talking about Harper.
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Re: What % of winning fantasy baseball is luck and skill?

Postby Pochucker » Sat Mar 09, 2013 2:18 pm

Im not quite sure how to express it so bear with me. Im in agreement that better way to measure skill in fantasy base ball is by your consistency. Im not a big believer in "luck" being a major contributor. Dont want to get into the argument again but my theory (based on 63yrs of life experience) is luck evens out for everyone. Those who make consistently good decisions based on knowledge/experience/intuition obviously get more consistent results than others. Even though there is a plethora of information and statistics available to all, you can have a wide range of opinions about players from so called experts evaluating players let alone your average fantasy player.
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What % of winning fantasy baseball is luck and skill?

Postby RedBullVodka » Sat Mar 09, 2013 4:19 pm

TheRock wrote:Let's not sell ourselves short gentlemen, there's a lot of skill involved in this game. A successful season begins with countless hours of preparation to know the players and their situations, injuries, position battles, etc. Drafting in itself is a skill. Ever seen a complete noob draft? Like maybe someone's girlfriend who agreed to play to fill out a league? You can give an unseasoned player all your prep materials and they will still manage to have a lackluster draft. Knowing who to pick when, which positions you can wait on, who you need to pounce on, whether to participate in a run or skip it, or even recognize a run, who to reach for, who to avoid entirely even though their name is right there in black and white in the rankings. There are all skills that honestly take years to craft. Can a new player still luck into some great players? Sure, but a good player will come out on top most of the time.

That being said, if you are playing in a league full of very skilled players, then luck starts to play much more of a role. A great recent example is Trout. It would interesting to see how many teams last year had Trout and managed to still somehow not win. The best player in baseball who was typically drafted in round 20 or picked up for a buck or two at auction? That's nothing but luck. Nobody projected a rookie to have that kind of a year, and if they did, they were talking about Harper.


Rock: are you saying my win in Leftovers was simply luck?! ;) (of course I also drafted Harper as well as Trout...)
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Re: What % of winning fantasy baseball is luck and skill?

Postby jtsandwich » Sat Mar 09, 2013 4:40 pm

J35J has the better question with top 3-5 finishes. I also think the quality of the league will dictate the %'s and make luck a higher number. If you are asking about your average run of the mill league thats been around 5+ years with the same fellas... I say 80% skill to routinely finish in the top 3-5. To win the league, you will need a bit of luck every time. Or is it that you simply have to avoid bad luck to win? I don't know, chicken/egg, i guess that is just one's opinion. Someone stated that whoever had Trout should have won almost every league and I think there is some truth in that but we had a guy with Trout $1 and Harper $3 and he took 11 out of 13. That being said, he had $170 worth of players on the DL at the same time for over a month. Now that is the worst luck I had ever seen.

In general I really like the question, because the knobs in fantasy will always say it is all generated by the principle of luck, but those of us on the forum that put in a solid effort every year and pay attention to what is happening in baseball in November really know that skill is the basis of what transpires once the season starts.

Not bragging here, but everyone in my 13 team $200 league wants me to take last every year. Now why would that be???? Because I have finished in the top 4 in 10 of 12 season. I love it, they side bet me every year and come loaded for bear. Go ahead a bid an extra $1, I didn't want that guy!!! LOL. Knowing how to auction is almost important as the information you have acquired. Last thing, I have said this for 10 years, Derek Jeter may be a 1st ballot hall of famer, but that doesn't mean he could finish in the top 8 of any 12 team fantasy baseball league!

Good luck to all this season
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Re: What % of winning fantasy baseball is luck and skill?

Postby TheRock » Sat Mar 09, 2013 7:31 pm

RedBullVodka wrote:Rock: are you saying my win in Leftovers was simply luck?! ;) (of course I also drafted Harper as well as Trout...)


I think anyone who ever finishes ahead of me must have just gotten lucky. :^ :-D
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Re: What % of winning fantasy baseball is luck and skill?

Postby bigh0rt » Sun Mar 10, 2013 1:07 am

J35J wrote:The better, more realistic question, might be what % of finishing top 3 or top 5 year in and year out is skill vs luck...this would have a much higher % of skill since luck might knock you off from winning it all but your skill will keep you in the top 3-5 far more consistently.

This. I mean I know for a fact that nobody is better than me at this game so when I don't finish first its clearly poor luck, but my skill does propel me to first with shocking regularity. So, yeah.
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