League Winners: Finding Undervalued Running Backs

Terrance West Jonathan Bales is the author of the Fantasy Football for Smart People book series and the founder of RotoAcademy—a new fantasy football training school. The degree to which we can attribute success to skill in any field is inversely proportional to the amount of randomness inherent to it. That is, when luck doesn’t play a significant role in outcomes, we can be confident that results are a reflection of talent. If I compete against a professional poker player for a few hands, I have a decent chance to beat him because there’s so much variance there. We couldn’t be confident that the results would reflect our relative talent. If we were to play 1,000 hands, however, there would be far less luck involved, meaning we could be fairly confident the better player would win out. Football is filled with randomness. On the season-long level, there’s more variance than in every other major sport because there are only 16 games. Even if the best teams win the majority of the time, lots of weird things can occur when your season is less than 10 percent as long as that in baseball. There’s lots of variance in team results, but there can be just as much for individual players as well. Further, that luck which so strongly defines the path of certain players differs on the positional level, too; some positions are just more susceptible to randomness than others. One of my main goals in launching RotoAcademy is to help people identify and exploit that volatility.

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By Jonathan Bales | @BalesFootball | Archive