Loss Aversion in Fantasy Baseball (continued)

8 04 2010

I was already planning to follow up yesterday’s post with some reasons why loss aversion might exist in fantasy sports, when reader Joe makes the following comment:

The goals of fantasy sports isn’t just winning; there are two: winning and maximizing bragging rights.

Picking up some new dudes and saying, “I KNEW that Whosthat McRandom was going to be awesome” is much more awesome than bragging, “I KNEW that Oldnewsy von Fartington still had another year in him.”

This is a decent summary of a casual attitude towards fantasy sports. “I probably won’t win anyway, so I might as well have some fun along the way.” It’s not my attitude, but I’m not a casual player–I’m an extremely competitive one. In my view, there’s no point in bragging if you’re losing. If you want to brag, play a strategy most likely to win, then brag when you win. Find creative ways to brag if need be. Back in 2003-2004, I KNEW that Kerry Kittles still had another year in him when he helped me win a 20 team fantasy basketball league.*

*I didn’t actually know this, so much as strongly suspect. The following season, Kittles played 11 games off the bench, then retired.

However, there actually is a case to made for picking cagey veterans over hotshot sleepers, from a bragging perspective, which is that no one else is doing it. Over at Baseball Analysts, Sky Andrecheck argues that experts should make recommendations based on how their opinions set them apart from other experts. It’s not hard to find an expert who’s big on Jason Heyward or Gordon Beckham; it is hard to find an expert who likes Johnny Damon and Chipper Jones over those two.

Throughout the season, I’ll check in on the veterans I praised and prospects I questioned in yesterday’s post and compare their stats. If my picks pan out, no doubt I’ll brag relentlessly.

Finally, I’d like to generalize the point I’m trying to make about young and old, and, just for fun, I’ll do it in the form of a delta-epsilon definition:

In fantasy baseball or basketball, for every set of players without proven track records ε, there exists a set of players δ who play the same positions, are older, and are deemed worse by fantasy experts, such that the expected value of δ exceeds the expected value of ε.

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One response

11 04 2010
Co-manager

How about the Stone-Weistrauss theorem as an alternative analogy? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stone-Weierstrass_theorem)
(learned that in functional analysis, and I had no clue what it meant)

“For every epsilon>0 and a “high-risk high-return prospect”, there exists an proven old timer (drafted much later and etc.) such that the difference in their production is bounded by epsilon.”

Also, you also forgot Magglio Ordonez in our old-timer outfield crew.

Does that mean you want me to pick up Jamie Moyer (47) despite his pitiful perfomance today?

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