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You Can’t Change Your Luck…

Tony Holm should have won the 2006 Great White Shark League.

 He had the 2nd best offense in the regular season, and his team put up big totals in the playoffs.

 

 

In the record books, Tony finished in 8th place with a 6-7 record.

 

 

What happened to our benevolent site owner?

 As I’ll demonstrate, Tony was on the receiving end of some very bad luck.

 

Before we crunch any numbers, let’s address the bigger issue of why fantasy football players should care about luck at all.

 There are many ways to improve your fantasy football skills.

 You can read articles written by successful players to try to pick up some tips.

 You can participate in a forum like the Shark Tank to bounce your ideas off other players.

 You can even ensure there is plenty of beer on hand during your draft to “influence” your opponents’ picks.

 

To go beyond the standard preparations, the key to improving your game is

constantly assessing your own performance.

 Why did you succeed last year?

 Why did you fail?

 What did you do well, and how can you repeat it next year?

 What did you do wrong, and how can you avoid it next year? These are tough questions to answer, partly because they require you to be brutally honest with yourself, and partly because all of the data is influenced by luck.

 

Let’s imagine that Tony tried out a new draft strategy in the 2006 Great White Shark League.

Maybe he decided to be more aggressive in acquiring running backs, or he avoided players with high injury risk.

 When preparing for 2007, he would look back at his 8th place finish, and conclude that his new strategy was a big waste of time.

 However, after removing the distortions caused by luck, he would instead realize that his strategy was right on target!

 

 

Correctly assessing your performance in 2006 might be the difference between success and failure in 2007.

 You can’t change your luck, but your luck can change you!

 Don’t let it cloud your evaluation of your own performance.

 

Let’s figure out how Tony’s season

should have turned out, in the absence of luck. Using a simple framework, Tony should have

expected to win when he scored above the league median score.

 Beating the median gives you at least a better-than-50% shot at winning.

 

If you list the 2006 GWS weekly scores from highest to lowest, the median value (or the number right in the middle of the list) is 104 points.

 If Tony could beat 104 in any given contest, he should have expected to win.

 

Here’s a list of Tony’s weekly scores:

 

Week 1: 113

Week 2: 105

Week 3: 103

Week 4: 104

Week 5: 108

Week 6: 125

Week 7: 116

Week 8: 126

Week 9: 112

Week 10: 149

Week 11: 115

Week 12: 140

Week 13: 101

 

Based on these score, we would expect a record around 10-2-1.

 (The tie comes from Week 4, when Tony scored exactly the median of 104 points.)

 

 

Now to see the effects of luck, let’s add the results of each week’s performance.

 

Week 1: 113

  W

Week 2: 105

  L

Week 3: 103

  L

Week 4: 104

  L

Week 5: 108

  L

Week 6: 125

  W

Week 7: 116

  L

Week 8: 126

  W

Week 9: 112

  W

Week 10: 149

  W

Week 11: 115

  L

Week 12: 140

  W

Week 13: 101

  L

 

I’ve bolded the worst losses in Weeks 7 and 11, with scores of 116 and 115.

 Also worth noting is that Tony lost all five “close” games of the season, with totals of 101, 103, 104, 105, and 108.

 Since these totals are all near the median, he should have won about half of these games.

 Tony only missed the playoffs by one game, so every one of these losses hurt badly.

 

There’s nothing Tony could have done to improve this kind of luck.

 On average, his opponents scored 114 points when playing against him.

  That’s just a cruel twist of fate.

 But what Tony can do is realize the huge role that luck played in his performance, and not let it cloud his judgment as he prepares for 2007.

 

I encourage everyone interested in improving this year to look back at 2006 and figure out

why you won and lost.

 Try to see how luck influenced your record.

 In this article I focused mainly on bad luck, but you can have good luck too (namely, winning with a low point total). Once you’ve isolated the luck out of your record, you can make an honest assessment of your performance as you head into next season.

 

Thanks for reading, and if you have a comment, I look forward to reading it in the Article Discussions forum.

About Fantasy Sharks

FantasySharks.com began in 2003, disseminating fantasy football content on the web for free. It is, or has been, home to some of the most talented and best known fantasy writers on the planet. Owned and operated by Tony Holm (5 time Fantasy Sports Writer Association Hall-of-Fame nominee,) Tony started writing fantasy content in 1993 for the only three fantasy football web sites in existence at the time.