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Fantasy Football Strategy Ideas from the Guru
Money Isn't Everything
Many Smallworld managers have set out to accumulate the highest franchise value possible. The best players, they reason, are the most expensive, and "the more we can afford, the greater will be our reward."
To an extent, this is a valid assessment. Certainly, there is strong overall tendency for better players to cost more than average players. But just how tight is this relationship between value and point production?
I've taken a look at this question several different ways. The first - and perhaps least consequential - is to determine the best possible roster each week (i.e., the roster which would have produced the most points for the week). After 8 weeks of the season, the average price (using the appropriate price for each week) of these eight rosters is only $63.5 million. The most expensive of these hypothetical rosters was $74.8 million in week 2. (Yeah, I know no one could afford that roster, since all teams were still worth $50 million at the time. That's not the point.) The least expensive roster was the week 3 roster, which would only have cost a very affordable $48.4 million. When you consider that some teams will likely pass the $100 million threshold in value this week, the cost of weekly superiority doesn't seem excessive.
But how about the price of consistent excellence? A lot of cheap players have one or two monster games, but it's unrealistic to be able to pick these in advance, and even if you could, there aren't enough trades to get the job done. A better measure of performance should consider production over a period of weeks, not just single-game flashes of brilliance.
To get a better feel for this, I graphed price vs. average SWP/game. The graph which appears below is based upon the first 7 weeks of the season, and excludes kickers, team defenses, and players who appeared in less than four games. The four positions are color coded, to help you see the patterns by position.
What does this graph tell you? I think there are several interesting points:
Finally, let's look at actual SW team results through the first seven weeks. I've been tracking the progress of a sampling of slightly more than 500 teams. If I look at the relationship between cumulative SWP and current franchise value, the correlation coefficient is about 65%. This suggests a strong positive relationship between value and performance when applied to a broad universe of teams. But if I narrow this field to just those teams ranked in the top 10% (by points) of all teams worldwide, the correlation coefficient drops to 21%. The range of franchise values for this sample of top-decile teams ranges from $59-$97 million. And if I look at the official worldwide leaderboard, the correlation between points and value is insignificant. So while extra value is certainly helpful in bringing your ranking up to a certain level, it is neither a necessary nor a sufficient criteria to ensure your success.
It is possible that the relationship between points and value will increase as the season wears on. Teams which have built up a mother lode by now should have a decided advantage over the second half of the season. Still, the football season is only 17 weeks long, and all sorts of unusual statistical results can be expected to occur over such a small number of games. So, if you feel like you're lagging the field in value, don't despair. Money isn't everything!
RotoGuru is produced by Dave Hall (a.k.a. the Guru), an avid fantasy sports player. He is not employed by any of the fantasy sports games discussed within this site, and all opinions expressed are solely his own. Questions or comments are welcome, and should be emailed toGuru<firstname.lastname@example.org>.
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