They are just lucky
I have just read through an interesting discussion on the FISO forums on the role of luck in Fantasy football. Some even maintaining that even those at the top of the FFS hall of fame are just lucky.
The theory is that with three million players, statistically it is to be expected that a handful of players would have had good luck for as many as five seasons on the trot. 200 odd Gameweeks isnt enough time for luck to even out. Poker studies show it can take a 1000 or more hands before a true statistical measure of skill can be made.
According to this theory the game is simple enough that these lucky players, once they gain a good rank, put more effort in, seek out information from places like this blog and are thus able to maintain a good rank given their extra slice of luck. This theory also explains why many who read all the articles at FFS and do things properly do not receive a good rank, they have simply been unlucky.
Those at the top of the hall of fame, have merely been more lucky than their contemporaries, and there is no point studying or learning from them as they know no more than the average player.
They are better
As i am currently number two on the hall of fame i found the above theory of particular interest. Especially as i often wonder myself what it is that separates those at the very top from the rest. Every season i expect the bubble to burst, but even this season where i feel i have not played particularly well i have fallen into the top thousand almost by default.
I can’t believe its luck, most of my 50/50 decisions this season seem to have gone against me. I know this because it is all recorded in black and white in this blog. More weeks than not when i had coin toss type decisions , i chose the wrong one.
So if it isn’t luck what is it? Because like the proponents of the luck theory say, it is a fairly simple game that probably 20,000-50,000 play to a decent standard. I have been racking my brains looking for something i do differently than other good players, The ones who finish in the 5000-10000 range.
Looking back through this seasons transfers , something dawned on me today, maybe it’s partly the answer
The forgotten statistic
When most people make their transfers, their primary goal i suspect is points, immediate points. They are greatly influenced by the players score the last week, and the opponent this week. They may use comparison tool and player statistics to give themselves even more educated opinions on the best alternative. They believe they are picking the player that is most likely to bring them points.
There is nothing wrong with the above, we all select this way, or so i thought. However looking back through my seasons transfers it turned out there was something more powerful, more important that was driving the majority of my decisions. That something was ownership. I am talking about the front eight here, the midfielders and strikers
It turns out that my prime motive wasnt to gain points , it was to cover the moves of others, reduce risks and ensure that any red arrows would be small ones. Often of course, it resulted in the same transfer as others were making, but for different reasons.
My transfer in the last week is a perfect illustration of my modus operandi
While others were bringing in the likes of Walcott , Mata and Lukaku (to gain points). I bought John Terry, it wasnt for points, i wasnt too worried whether he made points or not. The only reason i bought him was because he was the highest owned player that wasnt in my squad. He was the player who could hurt me the most. It was a purely defensive play.
Indeed , despite him only scoring two points and others having Walcott who scored a hattrick, i still received a green arrow. The reason , ownership. Having Terry score two points didnt hurt because so many others, also had Terry and two points. While Walcott and his hattrick didn’t hurt because his ownership was low. It was a low risk play. However if i had bought Walcott and he blanked while Terry scored and kept a clean sheet , then i wouldnt have finished in 592nd place, it would be more like 2000
This pattern of transfer was repeated time and again throughout my season, given a choice i would invariably go for the high ownership option, covering other people points rather than going for the player i felt could score the most points.
What does it all mean
This clearly indicates a very cautious, risk adverse strategy more concerned with what those around me are doing, rather than trying to use superior picking skills. I dont have superior picking skills, and be honest, neither do most of you.
None of us know who will score on a particular week, but what we do know is what percentage of the top 10k own particular players. This is vital information and can be used to great advantage as a means of reducing risk of a really bad week. So maybe its better to stop trying to be clever, by picking who you think will score (you dont know) and instead concentrate more on what will hurt you the least
Buy quality high ownership players, and hold them until their declining ownership means they can be safely removed without them hurting you. That is basically what i do. Combine this with the other factors which i outlined in my previous post and maybe there is a plug and play solution to high finishes. A computer could probably be programed to finish consistantly in the top 1k
The strategy basically relies on others beating themselves, chasing points, taking punts , wasting transfers, being impatient, forgetting to change captain etc etc.
To me the luck theory just does not stack up, look at most mini leagues and each season it tends to be the same players at the top and the same at the bottom, its difficult to put that down to luck.
Or maybe its just down to hard work. How many others spend two days analysing their season transfers, and recording the thoughts that led to them. Not what the proponents of the luck theory want to hear, no doubt
(Ownership = ownership in top 10k not overall fpl population)