My name is Isaac and I’m an assistant professor with a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Why am I writing about fantasy football and data analysis? Because fantasy football involves the intersection of two things I love: sports and statistics. With this site, I hope to demonstrate the relevance of statistics for improving your performance in fantasy football. In particular, I use a statistical software package called R.
R is free and open source, and has great flexibility for advanced statistical techniques and graphics. You can download it here. I strongly recommend the RStudio text editor for working with R scripts. R scripts and data files for this website are located in our GitHub repository. For info on how to download and run our data and R scripts, see here. For reasons why R is better than Excel, see here.
How Can I Learn R?
For info on how to learn R, see here.
Everyone has biases. For full disclosure, here are mine.
|I tend not to believe in||Instead, I prefer|
|The “Hot Hand“||Previous performance does not affect future performance, yet our brains perceive order out of randomness and streaks out of nothing (known as cognitive biases)|
|Momentum in the context of player or team performance (also see here)||Random variation around the central tendency (e.g., mean)|
|The Madden, ESPN, or Sports Illustrated curse (also see here)||Regression to the mean|
|Picking players by judgment alone||Statistical methods|
However, I am willing to change my stance if sufficient evidence emerges!
Note: crowd projections are more accurate than individuals’ judgments. People often like to “go with their gut” when picking players. That’s fine—fantasy football is a game. Do what is fun for you. But, crowd projections are the most reliably accurate of any source. Do with that what you will!
I am a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.
These assumptions serve as an important conceptual building block for the analytical approaches that I discuss. In these posts, I show how to download and calculate fantasy projections, determine the riskiness of a player, identify sleepers, examine historical accuracy of projections, and pick the best possible players to pick in an auction and snake draft to maximize your team’s chances of winning your league championship. Thanks for reading, and I would appreciate your ideas, comments, thoughts, and suggestions in the comments below!
Do Stats Help in Fantasy Football?
In the Media
Learn more about Fantasy Football Analytics by listening to this Rotoviz interview with Isaac (segment starts about 25 minutes in—click the play button on the top of the page):
If you want to know more about my background, here is my CV:
If you have questions best suited for the community, please ask them in the site’s comments section below an article (so I can answer other people if they have the same question). To contact us about FFA Insider, see here. To contact me personally, email me at: [email protected] Serious inquiries only!
- Dawes, R. M., Faust, D., & Meehl, P. E. (1989). Clinical versus actuarial judgment. Science, 234, 1668-1674.
- Gilovich, T., Vallone, R., & Tversky, A. (1985). The hot hand in basketball: On the misperception of random sequences. Cognitive Psychology, 17, 295-314. doi: 10.1016/0010-0285(85)90010-6