About the Season at StatDance.com
The plan for the upcoming NBA season is to post something useful or interesting most days. With my work schedule, the update rate might not be regular, but I'll try my best. I'm also not planning on posting long articles every day, so it should be maintainable and entertaining (hopefully at least the latter!).
I have a schedule in mind, but until things start rolling I'm not going to post it. I plan on pointing out waiver wire pickups. This column will run weekly, most likely on Mondays. Another possible feature would be reader questions, if there are enough interesting questions.
Starting today, I'm posting my Ray Guy Memorial All-Stars, a ranking of top players to target for punting certain categories. The feature I'm most excited about though is my trade value ranking. Similar to what ESPN has run in the past, with their top 130 players ranked by rest-of-season trade value, I will run an algorithm-based top 200 value ranking. Based on their average stats over varying time periods, their ADP, and their per-minute stats, I will compute their rank and equivalent auction value. By having auction value, you can more easily determine if the #10 ranked player is worth trading for the #15 and #20 ranked players.
And obviously, I should probably post my rankings finally, after promising to do it last year and never finishing the product. That will be done by the two-week point of the season, once we have enough average stats to actually have reasonable ranks.
Besides introducing my plans for the website this NBA season, I should probably introduce myself. I'm an avid NBA fan with a Chemical Engineering degree (currently happily employed in a technical field outside of Chemical Engineering) and a love for data analysis and Computer Science. I recently moved to Boston, which is convenient for me as a Celtics fan originally from the Midwest. I love reading Grantland, fivethirtyeight, and listening to the Starters podcasts (although I preferred TBJ) and I spend a lot of my time online on reddit, on /r/nba and /r/fantasybball.
My fantasy bball philosophy revolves around my ranking system, MRiS (Modified Rarity Index Scoring). The basic premise behind rarity scoring is that if there are 100 points scored and 50 rebounds recorded, each rebound is worh twice that of a point. The "Modified Index" part of the name is from the idea that you should only count the stats that are above what you would expect the worst player to have, setting a baseline "true zero" for each stat category based on league size and categories. You can read all about MRiS, in entertaining detail (if you like math, I suppose!), in my Fantasy Basketball Manifesto, posted here on StatDance.com. I also explain how it compares to more traditional metrics.
Since it would seem disingenuous to leave you with no opinions or strategy in the inaugural issue of StratPinion, I'll leave you with some thoughts about punting. While I usually try to use a punting strategy in my own teams, that's mostly because there is more strategy involved in building a team that is punting some categories, so I naturally gravitate towards punting. I don't think every team should punt categories, but it is a lot of fun to discuss and think about, so I will be spending a lot of time talking about different strategies relating to punting. Just please don't get the impression I think all teams should punt, a quality balanced team can win leagues too, and I know it.
By collecting players who share a weakness, you can sacrifice the categories that these players are harmful in, and build upon the strengths that these players do have. Instead of these "toxic" players hurting you in a category you want to compete in, you can resolve your team to losing that category (or categories), and concentrate your team's value in enough categories to win the matchup overall.
Why Not Punt?
In roto leagues, losing isn't a black-and-white proposition. There is a huge difference between being ranked 6th of 10, and being ranked 10th of 10. This makes punting very difficult, and not as recommended. Obviously, if you are first in 8 categories, and last in 1 category, you are still going to win the league, but that's a difficult proposition.
Punting positive counting stats is also difficult, because not accumulating these stats doesn't hurt a team, so there simply isn't as much added value to acquiring a lot of teams that don't produce in a certain counting stat.
As an example, if Roy Hibbert doesn't score any points one night, its not inconceivable that you could still win the points category in your matchup that week. On the other hand, if Dwight Howard goes 0/20 from the free throw line, winning FT% that week would take a miracle. For most cases, this idea is why I recommend punting turnovers and percentages before you punt counting stats. The other side of this coin, of course, is that even if you "punt" a simple counting statistic, you still might win a few matchups against someone else who shares it as a weakness, or just hits the injuries at the right time. Less reward, less risk.
What To Punt
Ideally, you want to punt categories that collect strengths. Punting FT% will generally get you a lot of big men who are good at rebounding, FG%, and blocked shots. Punting FG% will get you guards who make a lot of threes and get a lot of assists and steals. However, if you combine these two, you will get an appropriate mix of players that compile all of the stats, and who might be undervalued because other players are worried about the negative impact on their percentages.
I have calculated the most attractive players for all of the above strategies. The listings are as follows (for 10 team, 13 player 9-cat leagues): Player, rank with the punting strategy, rank in standard leagues, and the "added value" in an auction for the punting strategy.
Note: All stats were generated using my MRiS scoring system, based on Rotowire's projected stats. They have the best projections of anyone I've seen, and highly recommend them.
Here are the inaugural Ray Guy Memorial All-Stars:
|Punting: FG%||Rank Punting||Standard Rank||Added Value|
|Punting: FT%||Rank Punting||Standard Rank||Added Value|
|Punting: TO||Rank Punting||Standard Rank||Added Value|
|Punting: FG% TO||Rank Punting||Standard Rank||Added Value|
|Punting: FG% FT%||Rank Punting||Standard Rank||Added Value|
|Punting: FG% FT% TO||Rank Punting||Standard Rank||Added Value|