Draft Day Secrets Revealed–The Model

25 03 2009

For years I’ve alluded to a mysterious fantasy sports model in conversations with my friends.  Today I reveal how I build it.  I’ve found the model to work very well for fantasy basketball and hockey, decently for baseball–although I don’t use it for pitching because of the Kawasaki Konjecture–and terrible for football.

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Fantasy TV Network

18 03 2009

I remember Bill Simmons linking to a draft where four guys from ESPN drafted all the TV Networks.  I’d be interested in setting up a draft where each participant, acting as a TV Network, drafts individual series, special events, etc.  It would have to be continuous, with a new draft each time another batch of shows gets released.  Categories would include comedy, episodic drama, serial drama, and reality TV series and scoring could include total viewership, prime-time viewership, key demographics, and number of montages (hint: pick CSI:Miami and Cold Case)

I know that hollywood stock exchange already exists, but it occurs to me that fantasy leagues really are quite like TV networks.  Most shows pitch to all the networks, and there’s essentially an auction to see who gets which shows.  Each season, networks cut the shows that are underperforming to speculate on new ones.  The only difference is that shows almost never get canceled and then picked up by another network, or canceled and then uncanceled.

From my perspective, NBC’s decision to give Jay Leno 5 hours a week of prime time looks like they realized they weren’t getting anywhere by speculating (compare to CBS, ABC, FOX) and just plugged in a whole lot of Jon Barry.

Is Jon Barry responsible for the recession?

13 03 2009

In thinking and writing about Jon Barry, and how he’s influenced my views of fantasy sports, I thought of the following:

As unemployment rises, the quality of the best available replacement workers improves.  This reduces the incentive for firms to retain marginal employees, since the firm can more easily hire someone good if and when conditions improve.  Thus, unemployment increases further.

By analogy, suppose that the best available player in your fantasy basketball league was not Jon Barry-like James Posey, but rather, the considerably better Stephen Jackson.  Now suppose that your team didn’t have a fixed size, but rather, you pay per player, and that you’re losing money.  Now, if you have Grant Hill or Jason Richardson, you’d be more likely to drop them, given that you always re-add them or pick up Jackson, as opposed to having to add Posey.  But by dropping Hill or Richardson, you add the list of strong available players, and make it more likely someone drops someone even better, like Andre Iguodala.

Of course, the flip-side is that when conditions to improve, there’s a run on the best available replacement players, where suddenly everyone’s rushing to add good talent…Iguodala, Hill, Richardson, Jackson all get added, and so do James Posey and maybe even Jon Barry himself.

Hopefully, this is where the economy’s heading.

Why Jon Barry matters

4 03 2009

I’ve typed the name Jon Barry a ton recently.  I’m tempted to change the name of this blog to youlikeadajonbarry.com.  I envision Jon Barry’s mom googling him and stumbling onto this site, and being very confused, though perhaps somewhat amused.

The reason I’m interested in Jon Barry, and in Matt Bonner and James Posey, who look like this year’s Jon Barry MVPs for my league, is that they illustrate an interesting concept for fantasy purposes: they’re the best available replacement player (BARP).  There are a number of interesting observations to make about BARPs:

  • They tend to outperform a lot of owned players.  Bonner and Posey are ranked 67th and 91st in my league, in which 144 players are owned.
  • Presumably then, most managers would be well-served by adding them and dropping someone off their team.
  • Managers generally don’t do so, and the same players appear near the top of the waiver wire all season long.

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The Jon Barry All-Stars, Jan. 26

26 01 2009

Current TV analyst Jon Barry is famous for four things.

  1. Son of Rick Barry, the guy who shot free-throws underhanded.
  2. Brother of Brent Barry, the only white guy to win the slam-dunk contest.
  3. Looks suspiciously like Sasha Baron Cohen, enough so to make me think there may some day be a Jon Barry movie where he does fake interviews with NBA players.
  4. For years, he was always the best player to not get picked up in my fantasy leagues.  Whenever I’d search for players to add, he’d always be there, but I’d never pick him up.  He’d end the year as a top 125 player, which should be good enough for a roster spot in a 12-team league with 14 players per team, but no one would make the move, because he was, well, Jon Barry.

Barry’s retired now, so it’s time to find a suitable heir.  Each week I’ll post the top 5 players available in my hoops league; at the end of the year, the player appearing most often will win the Jon Barry fantasy MVP award.

Here’s today’s top 5:

Delonte West, James Posey, Matt Bonner, Steve Blake, Ronny Turiaf

West and Blake are recent injury-related drops and are likely to win the Jon Barry MVP.  If they stay hurt, they drop in value and fall off the list; if they recover, someone will add them.  Posey has chance, though he could get picked up.  Turiaf is a blocks specialist (2.1 per game) and may get picked up by a team desperate for blocks, such as mine.  If I had to guess, I’d say right now Matt Bonner is the player most likely to become the Jon  Barry MVP.