Math Concepts for Fantasy Sports

While I continue to work on some preliminary analytical research, the easiest way for me to get the blog started is by presenting you alternate fantasy sports strategies and how I use math in fantasy sports. A potential struggle for me in writing this blog is learning how to successfully communicate analytics and statistical probability to my readers. I am very good at intuitively calculating odds and probabilities, and I would like to share some tips on how you can become better at the math side of fantasy sports.

Tip #1 – Optimizing Team Structure: Just like managing a professional sports team, there is a big advantage in fantasy football of drafting, picking up, and trading for undervalued players. There isn’t a foolproof science of putting a value on a player; however, on the most basic level, fantasy managers should draft and add players that give them a net positive in points for (increasing PF) in the short-term and long-term. Progressing in terms of level of thought, fantasy managers should next add players that give their opponents a net positive in terms of points scored (decreasing PA). Fantasy managers should center their focus on creating a team that has the highest point differential. Unless adding that 7th running back takes away a lot of potential from your opponent or handcuffs one of your current star players, maybe it’s best to roster another wide receiver or maybe even another quarterback.

Tip #2 – Drafting Based on Value: Fantasy managers can increase their chances of a title by drafting players in terms of value. My strategy is to draft players based on how much value they give your team over the next best available player at that position, not based on how many points they will score. During a draft, if there is a run of a certain position, draft from another position. If you follow the trends, you are drafting players of a lower quality and allowing your opponents to reap the benefits of getting higher tiered players in other positions. Create the trends, don’t follow them. If there are an abundance of good players at a specific position, wait to draft from that position. The optimal play in this scenario is to capture the value from other positions now and come back to this position later, losing out on less value than you gained.

Tip #3 – Use Variance and Risk to Your Advantage (Optimizing Your Lineup): Fantasy managers should not set their lineups based on the highest average amount of point scored; they should set the lineup with the best odds to win. Most fantasy managers think these lineups are the same, but they’re not. Each player has an average outcome for each game, but averages don’t tell the whole story. A player may be very consistent or have big boom/bust potential. For example, underdog teams may need to start more boom/bust players over consistent performers if they need to reach a certain threshold of points to win. Each scenario is different, making optimizing your lineup, not an exact science but, another math aspect fantasy managers need to take into consideration.

Using these three tips will help you get a head start viewing fantasy sports in a different way. If you understand these tips, you will be better off and have an advantage over your league mates.

– Cody, Founder of Sports Confidant

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Published by Sports Confidant

Sports Analytics and Fantasy Sports Enthusiast

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