Roundup 3/09

The Fantasy Football Librarian ranks the purveyors of 2008 fantasy football projections. One thing I noticed is that no one set of rankings appeared consistently near the top of the lists for the various positions. This tells me that none of these services really know anything more than the others. It's almost certainly dominated by luck.

What I'd look for is a projection system to consistently rank above-average (not necessarily #1 or near #1) in multiple positions and in multiple years. Then I'd believe that someone actually knows anything about projecting fantasy performance. I'll have more to say about this in the near future.

Cold Hard Football Facts trumpets the success of its Defensive Hog Index, which is a compilation of defensive line-related stats.

If you missed it, a few weeks ago Michael Lewis wrote a great article about advanced basketball stats. Here's Phil Birnbaum's take. Here's The Numbers Guy's take. Here's another post from Numbers Guy Carl Bialik discussing the plus/minus player statistic used in basketball and hockey. Here is Dave Berri's take.

Plus/minus is a form of the "With Or Without You" (WOWY) type of stat. Could plus/minus be useful in measuring individual player value? Probably not directly, but some form of WOWY might be interesting. It's tricky, though. Consider platooning RBs. They probably specialize in different situations, so a WOWY would need to account for that. has put together a series on all-time rankings of wide receivers. They also have a thought-provoking article on penalty types.

Football Outsiders has a couple articles worth reading. The first is a quick study on how combine studs rarely pan out as NFL players. The second is an article measuring how bad each team was hurt by injuries.

Smart Football has a mathematical explanation of why aggressive, risky gameplans are good for underdogs and conservative gameplans are better for favorites.

This post from Tom Tango made me think about the escalating athlete salaries. I don't begrudge anyone making as much money as he can, but there's something going on here that doesn't get a lot of attention. Most stadiums and arenas are built with public tax dollars, and even the privately built ones are built with very heavy subsidies and tax breaks. Teams then lease these facilities for zero dollars or fractions of what they would pay in the open market. Team owners are able to do this because of the not so thinly veiled threat of moving to another city. So the operating expenses of these teams are millions and millions of dollars less than they otherwise should be.

Money is always fungible, but I would suspect that most of this money is freed to be used in team payroll. If cities weren't giving billion dollar stadiums to teams for free, the teams wouldn't have $25 million/year lying around to pay someone to swat at a ball with a stick. Star athletes would be willing to play for far less. Alex Rodriguez would be perfectly willing to play baseball for $100,000/year if he had no better offers. What else would he do, be a personal trainer? The other $24,900,000 is what's known as "economic rent." So if you're troubled by skyrocketing athlete salaries, look no further than your city council or state legislature.

Kotite's Corner suggests a new QB rating system that considers essentially the same things as the NFL's but adds rushing, and improves the weighting by using how well each stat correlates with winning.

A few great posts on the Community site:

Jason Winter of Defensive Indifference has his own passer rating system.

'Delta Whiskey' takes a very thorough look at the RB overuse issue.

Dennis O'Regan looks at home field advantage in NFL divisional games.

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4 Responses to “Roundup 3/09”

  1. Jon says:

    I'm not surprised that FO had the #3 ranking at QB. I've used their KUBIAK system since they rolled it out and it seems to do better at that position than any of the other ones.

  2. Jon says:

    PS - Did Tango invent the acronym WOWY? I swear that there was an academic term for WOWY that we used in economics class but that was years ago.

  3. Brian Burke says:

    I don't know. I bet I probably read it on his blog. It's hard to come up with a better acronym than that.

  4. Brian Burke says:

    Added a link above to Dave Berri's post on the Michael Lewis Battier article. Somehow left it out originally.

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