It would seem like an exercise in futility to try and predict your fantasy league’s standings before the season even starts, but to me it’s actually worthwhile. Actually, I find it important to do so during the draft, because it can help you see which categories are worth chasing the lead in and which you can ignore for a while. Last night, it helped me see that I was high in the rate stats (batting average, ERA, and WHIP), so I could focus in the later rounds on power categories, maybe steals, or strikeouts. The result is a fairly balanced team with a chance to win pretty much any category except saves, which (as usual) were highly over-valued.
For all this talk about my detailed draft strategy, my team is perhaps not as good as I would like. In years past, I’ve predicted that I would get 80 of a possible 100 points (scoring goes down from 10 to 1 in each category based on team standings), which would destroy the competition in most leagues. This year, I’m predicting just 68 points, but enough for a win in a very close league.
The way I make these predictions is not just by taking the league’s standings based on my player projections, although that is the main idea. I actually take each team’s z-score for a category, which tells me how many standard deviations above or below average each team is in each category. While that means five teams could finish with six points in a category in my estimates (in other words, it’s not going to be accurate in that way), it seems like a better way to get a feel for where each team stands at the start of the season.
Below are my predicted standings using that method:
|1||1||West Coast Fresh||8.3||9.2||7.3||8.0||3.7||36.5|
|3||4||Just Over The Wall||9.1||5.7||7.6||7.0||5.8||35.2|
|2||4||Just Over The Wall||8.1||10.0||6.7||2.0||6.0||32.8|
|9||1||West Coast Fresh||4.4||2.3||1.5||7.8||3.2||19.3|
|1||4||Just Over The Wall||35.2||32.8||68.0|
|5||1||West Coast Fresh||36.5||19.3||55.8|
As you can see, I actually do predict myself to finish first, so the draft wasn’t a total disaster. (Since I’m using my own projections for this analysis, it would be a disaster if I didn’t predict that.) The column for “Order” is the team’s draft position. The draft was “snake-style,” where the teams reverse the selection order for even-numbered rounds.
From these standings, it looks like I’m only slightly above average in power and steals, and actually slightly below average in runs. Saves are a loss for me, unless both Wheeler and Linebrink become their teams’ closers mid-season. Moving up from there, I’m moderately above average in strikeouts. Even though I have seven starters, having a guy like Maddux reduces my potential there. I’m hoping Rich Hill really turns it on, though. Wins, ERA, and batting average show me as about a full standard deviation above average, which is pretty comfortable. Then we have WHIP, where I expect to win the category unless Lieber’s replacement is a very low-end starter. The total of all this comes out to a win for me, and a second place finish for my friend (and #5-picking draft neighbor Doug).
If I can work out the details on a better estimation method than this (I have an idea for one, but I’m not sure it will work), I’ll post those later today.