When most people play in fantasy sports leagues, they play for fun. When I began playing fantasy sports in 2004, I was the run of the mill player who didn’t care much, but enjoyed the analysis of the sports. It did not take very long for me to start taking it seriously and begin playing in cash leagues. The problem early on was I would always find loopholes in the formula and exploit them to my benefit. Anyone that knows me will tell you that my defining trait is my intense sense of competition. In exploiting those loopholes, I quickly grew bored with playing in these leagues because they lacked a key aspect of playing anything, which is true competition. So how do we create true competition in fantasy football, fantasy baseball, or any other fantasy sport for that matter? The answer is decision-making, risk, depth, and a scoring formula that is sound without loopholes. There are many different aspects that make up a complex formula to meet those criteria. Another big criticism is that most of the results are based solely on luck. This is far from the truth. I would agree with that statement if you played in a run of the mill league with basic settings and little structure. How you eliminate most of the blind luck is with significant depth appropriate to keep activity consistent, along with a very sound mathematical structure in regards to scoring and roster settings. Without those two aspects you will find that the winners tend to trend on the luck side, and you have stat cheats winning your leagues. That is not competition, that is negative manipulation of the model. I firmly believe that there is both positive and negative manipulation in fantasy sports. For example, if I simply go and pick up a specific player that fills a stat hole, that can be adjusted up just for picking up a random player, that is a negative manipulation. This is assuming that this player will not have a negative effect. I think most fantasy nerds know what I am talking about there. For those who do not, leave a comment and I will explain further. If I am forced to make a match up play and I base that move on analysis and logical choice, whether the results of that choice are positive or negative for my team, that would be a positive manipulation. These positive manipulations create the risk and decision-making on a day-to-day basis. This is where the true expertise comes into play, and luck will play in both directions. There is another key aspect to creating a truly competitive league, and that’s the positive or negative effect on decision-making. This means the formula created MUST have a positive AND negative effect. When making match up plays, there must be a give and take to make the choice a risk. Without risk, you have a simulation and not a competition. In order for fantasy sports to make it to the next level, all the key components I mentioned have to be there. These core concepts are what separates Major League Fantasy Sports from the majority of other leagues going.
Lets make something very clear: having money in the leagues is important, because it changes the dynamics of your decisions. Transaction leagues create a whole new dynamic in the decision-making process, especially when there is a budget involved. When you have real money you must spend on certain players or trades, it removes the knee jerk reactions, and the non-sense moves that equate to monopolizing players. It adds a brake pedal for our heavy footed friends in the fantasy world. The money for a true competitor is a bonus to winning, not the goal. The money must also be dispersed properly to give all owners an open opportunity to recoup their investment. That concept will keep the activity level as high as practically possible in the formula created. For example, having a consolation payout equivalent to the buy-in next year, will keep activity level to a max for 95% of the season. This is a critical point; without this you have just half the league active, which changes the results for everyone else.
Why are some of the things I have stated important? Simply put, parity. Without parity, you will be forced to replace numerous owners on a yearly basis. I can tell you from much experience, that finding the right people to replace an owner is an enormous headache. You cannot just take the first people who come along, for a lot of reasons. The people who join your league must be like-minded. The concepts and principles in this article are why I do not like dynasty or keeper leagues in which you keep more than a handful of guys. These type of leagues tend to get top-heavy, so you have plenty of turnover. This creates a major time commitment from the commissioner. In reality, everyone wants to win, and most people are not willing to invest 2 or 3 years worth of time and money to be able to compete. Maybe if there were a nationally recognized fantasy sports network that was like the NFL or M.L.B., then it could work for some people. This is the perfect segue to my vision. I am in the process of forming a fantasy network that will change the way people talk about and play all fantasy sports. I already started the social network in early 2012, and I will make more strides this year to achieve my goal. I have a ton of business and fantasy ideas that will revolutionize the fantasy world. I am looking for people who are willing to join us in this push for a new, great experience. That help can come from participating in our leagues, being a blog author, helping us recruit like-minded individuals, subscribing to our blog, following our Twitter page, liking us on Facebook, and subscribing to our YouTube channel. I am looking for two more blog authors to go with our current team. We plan on really kicking the blog into full gear soon. We tested it the first quarter of last year, and we had about 70 views per day with minimal participation. With the help of other passionate fantasy sports players and sports nuts, we will make it to our goal.
To all those that read the article, please leave a comment that expresses what you think. Thank you for taking your time to read this article. Contact me directly if you would like to participate in a league or contribute to the blog.
Keep your eyes on us.
Corey D. Roberts