There was a comment on Jonathan Halket’s “Points vs rotisserie” article that reminded me of a question I always seem to get from readers around this time of year. I was going to post a comment to Jonathan’s article, but it seemed a little too far removed from the discussion, so I’m giving it its own post.
The e-mails I get usually go something like this:
I’m the commissioner of a roto league and would like to make it more representative of real baseball (or use stats that are more reflective of true talent). What categories would you recommend using to achieve this goal?
My answer always comes back, “why?” Why would we, as fantasy owners, want to replace, say, ERA with LIPS ERA as a category? Isn’t the whole purpose of using a stat like LIPS ERA to gain an advantage over the competition? While there are many more followers of sabermetrics than there were even a few years ago, it is still easy to find owners who know nothing about these more advanced statistics and simply go by hunches or surface numbers from past years.
The whole point of LIPS is to estimate ERA while eliminating the luck factor, something our competitors can’t do by looking at ERA itself. We gain a relative advantage by looking at stats like LIPS when our competitors don’t know to look at them. If we make these stats their own category, though, then our simple-minded competition also will be looking at them because that’s what they do. They focus solely on the categories that matter and little on the underlying numbers. How do you predict ERA? With LIPS ERA. How do you predict LIPS ERA? With LIPS ERA (essentially).
Looking at the underlying numbers is what gives us our advantage; if we make those underlying numbers the actual categories, that advantage disappears.
What do you think about this?