In a previous post I wrote about the Cardrunners League I’m playing on, pitting quants vs. so-called fantasy experts. This has become a rather unwieldy mess, in part because the central issues keep erupting into flashes of debate about whether analysis or intuition matters more. The funny thing is that even when there is too much blather in this pissing match, there are interesting issues that come up about what we know and what we don’t know about the game of fantasy baseball itself.
Now, some THTFantasy writers are weighing in at their own site. Derek Carty is also a Cardrunners League competitor, but I like Derek Ambrosino’s take, which makes many of the points I’ve been trying to make, often with more wit. Derek also quotes a Mike Podhorzer piece about what makes an expert, which is a must read. Paul Singman also talks about the problem of identifying which players and which fantasy strategies actually work, which is certainly a huge issue. How do you decide what works if there’s no definitive way to test it?
For my part, I would love a tool that let me test different strategies in thousands of runs, to see what range of possibilities there really are. But I think the Derek defines the nature of the game in a most instructive way when he compares it to chess (a head to head game) and the stock market (a one against many game with many winners and many losers). Roto is a game of one against many with only one winner, which is different. Setting yourself apart would seem to be essential to win, but how is this done? The quants seems to think incrementally, by buying value. I think the so-called experts see more need for radical action, though it is certainly open to debate whether these are genius picks or zagging while others zig. All in all, a fascinating discussion if you have the time.