Eriq Gardner Looks at Player Raters

THT Fantasy Focus

My April prices will finally get posted here, later today. They are like a primitive version of a player rater like those found at ESPN, Yahoo, CBS and Rototimes, the kind Eriq Gardner writes about at Hardball Times today. Primitive in the sense that the sophisticated big-media versions calculate their values automatically, plugging the stats into a formula and spitting it forth, while I cut and paste stats into a rather elaborate spreadsheet, make some adjustments because of the number of samples, and then generate a report.

Gardner’s point about what the player raters are actually measuring is a good one. Head to head values are a lot less useful to a classic Rotisserie player than straight 4×4 values. And vice versa. And, it doesn’t need to be repeated, values generated from current stats measure what has happened, not what will happen. But I think Eriq misses the main point with the raters and why they’re of value: they synthesize (or should synthesize) the fantasy categories into one score.

Looking at the stats of two players with different profiles, it can be hard to judge which is more valuable. A player rater that properly reflects the values of your league (or at least lets you know what it is measuring) let’s you assess the aggregated value of a player in all the categories. That Jason Frasor is more valuable than Felix Hernandez thus far tells us something about the teams these guys are on, and it tells us something about their stability in the standings.

The player rater also tells us which players are running ahead of pace, and which are running behind. If we know that Ian Kinsler is currently earning $52, we can judge that he is likely to earn relatively less for his team the rest of the way than he has thus far. If we know that Big Papi is earning $2 right now, we can hope that his contribution is going to increase dramatically the rest of the way (though, if we expected him to earn $20 on the year, and he’s earning $2 now, he needs to earn about $23 each of the remaining five months to get back on par). 

I don’t think you could tell the difference between a set of $20 and $23 stats, unless they were side by side.

Player Raters are overrated and underrated, too, it seems. Like most tools, it depends on what you do with them.

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