June 10, 2012; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles players pile up in celebration at the end of game two of the Tallahassee super regional at Dick Howser Stadium. Florida State won, 18-7. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Why Fantasy Baseball Experts are Dead Wrong


I’m about to write a post that does nothing but ramble while I attempt to justify my bad jokes. I’ll also try to convince you that you shouldn’t listen to fantasy baseball experts.

I wouldn’t blame you if you stop reading right now, but I certainly hope you’ll carry on, because at the end I will tell all Crackerjack readers how much I love them. It will be a moment you’ll not want to miss. Salvador Perez

Justifying my bad jokes will be difficult as I once wrote a posts which:

To add insult to injury, I shamelessly used Dora the Explorer to justify these bad jokes.

Really, there is no justification for bad jokes and I take full responsibility for that. But through a parkour-like leap of logic (I don’t like to let logic get in the way of my arguments. It really slows down my writing process.) I’m going to use them to tell you NOT to trust fantasy baseball experts!

 

We can’t be trusted!

I’m a huge fan of Baseball Prospectus and although it’s behind a paywall, I think it’s worth every penny to a baseball fan. I also deeply respect their fantasy writers.

But…

One of their writers can’t be trusted (named withheld to protect the guilty). I don’t know him personally, so I can’t speak to if he can be trusted to pick up his share of the tip, I’m only speaking to the fact that you can’t trust his fantasy advice (and there are many more like him!).

All of his player valuation advice comes from the small sample of expert leagues he’s involved in. Now being the stringent mathematician I am, I did some back of the napkin math and estimated that 99.432% of all fantasy baseball players do NOT play in expert leagues and instead play in casual leagues with an old high school buddy or a couple of bros they know from work.

So if the world is full of Regular Joe fantasy baseball players, then why does a disproportionate amount of fantasy baseball writing pull data and examples only from expert leagues like Tout Wars or LABR?

It all feels so “Ivory Tower”, you know? Too many fantasy baseball writers give fantasy owners data that certainly might work well “in the lab”, but when it comes to the real world it ain’t applicable.

Consider these real examples:

  • The fantasy expert says that Yasiel Puig is worth $32 in an auction, but you are playing with your brother-in-law who is a hard-core Los Angeles Dodgers fan and jacks up his price to 50 bucks.
  • You have a new guy in your league that proceeds to trade a fast-start Chris Colabello for a slow-starting Edwin Encarnacion, simply because he didn’t know any better.
  • What if a guy had the 8th pick in the draft and took Matt Carpenter because of his breakout season last year?

On paper, these things shouldn’t happen, but they do. We’ve all been in leagues where you simply have to roll your eyes at something that was completely illogical and directly contrary to what a fantasy baseball expert writer would advise. (Who said fan fiction needed to make sense?)

Every year, and in every league, fantasy baseball owners have to play the hand they are dealt and not manage according to a set of theoretical ideals outlier by an expert. 

Every year, and in every league, fantasy baseball owners have to play the hand they are dealt and not manage according to a set of theoretical ideals outlier by an expert.

And this point my insecurieties dictate that I need to prove my expert credentials. During my earlier career at the FBI, I made a name for myself by using Excel to do deep statistical analysis for sub-contractors. I know how WAR is calculated (two versions), I love advanced metrics, I know prospects down to the Low A level, and I’ve won more fantasy titles than I can keep track of.

But who the heck cares?

 

So where should I turn?

If I (or any other Crackerjack) gives you “expert” advice that is only works on paper and doesn’t connect to your particular league – which may or may not have a team named Sipping on Gin Andrus that is managed by an old college roommate you nicknamed Dirty Trash – then what good is it?

I make fart jokes because I think fantasy baseball should be fun and I want owners to have fun reading about it. I also think I can speak for all Crackerjacks writers when I say that we love our readers and want to become better fantasy baseball players, but more than that we want you all to have fun playing fantasy baseball.

We promise to do our best to give smart advice that is genuinely as helpful as it can be. (Let’s assume that was a typo there and that shouldn’t been “smert” advice. No, “smert” is not a word, but it makes more sense in the context of this article than the word “smart.”) What we say might not work in your league, and that’s fine. Take what works and forget about the rest. Then give us feedback on what we could do to help you in the future.

The moral of the story? Ignore us fantasy experts and, above all, have fun!

 

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