Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Measuring Skill of Different Formats

I've sometimes gotten into debates with people about which formats of fantasy baseball involve the most skill. Or even, which types of fantasy sports involve the most skill. Before providing a few ways of 'measuring' the amount of skill in each format, its worth defining what I mean by "skill", because its not the same as how others define it. The degree of skill (in my opinion) is the degree to which the same strategies will produce the same results from one contest to the next. It is NOT how complicated a game is...unless that influences how consistently the same results repeat themselves. If a different person wins your 10 team league each year, you probably aren't playing what I would consider a 'high skill' format...even if you have 50 man minor league rosters and incredibly complicated keeper rules.

There are lots of ways to measure the kind of skill I'm talking about in a format. One that does not work especially well is simply looking at how consistent the results are from year to year. The problem is that peoples' strategies change over time. I'm definitely not doing everything the same this year that I did last year...and neither are you, most likely.

So instead, one crude measure of skill is to look at how many 'decision points' there are. The crudest measure of this would be taking the number of roster spots and multiplying by the number of transaction periods. So 18 man rosters with weekly transactions would be 468 (18*26) decision points. 10 man rosters for a one day contest would be just 10 decision points. 25 man rosters with daily transactions would be 4,500 (25 * 180) decision points.

Tomorrow I'll talk about what's wrong with this approach, and how to address its deficiencies.


Schruender said...

It's funny that you mention skill. So much of the way things work out are associated with luck. The year that Ryan Braun came up, most people were higher on Yovani Gallardo. So putting in a waiver claim on Braun would have yielded you the cheapest source of first round numbers that you would find all season. Chances are that the person who wound up with Braun also wanted Gallardo. With the injection of Braun on any roster, all things being equal that team had an awesome chance of winning the league. I guess the point I'm making is sometimes luck plays a part too.

Alex said...

I agree. But my point is also that all formats are not created equally when it comes to how strong the influence of luck is.

Anonymous said...

...please where can I buy a unicorn?