What happened to this once illustrious blog?

March 21, 2007

That was the question posed in a recent comment.

The answer is: I got a new job, one that leaves me a lot less time to research the stats and do analysis to come up with the kind of posts I did earlier in the year. In the meantime, I still suggest suscribing to the RotoPoll Top Games feed, which is updated daily and I find to be quite useful and interesting.

Hopefully I’ll find the time to get back to this soon.

By the way, baseball season is coming up… would something like this for baseball be interesting to anyone out there?

A Quick Note About Stats

January 1, 2007

Some people have asked where RotoPoll gets its stats. The answer is Doug, a guy who has set up a site providing all kinds of stats, apparently out of the goodness of his heart. I don’t know where Doug, in turn, gets the stats—based on a disclaimer on his site, he may very well enter them by hand every day. Either way, we’re thankful for Doug and his stats, which make a site like RotoPoll possible.

You may have noticed the stats are a little behind. You also may find a slight inaccuracy from time to time. We rely on the stats from Doug and his hard work, which he generously provides free of charge (Thanks, Doug!). But let me know if you see problems and I’ll do what I can to fix them.

The Fantasy All-star Teams

December 26, 2006
NBA All-star

In the real world, Lebron and Yao lead the NBA All-star voting. But let’s take a look at the 2006 fantasy all-stars for the season so far, and how they’d stack up against the “real” ones.

If you took the early All-star voting returns and put together a a starting five for each conference, they would look like this:

East West
G Dwyane Wade Kobe Bryant
G Vince Carter Tracy McGrady
F Lebron James Kevin Garnett
F Chris Bosh Tim Duncan
C Shaquille O’Neal Yao Ming

(Note: Allen Iverson was the leading vote-getter among guards in the East, but would only rank third in the West.)

But if we take the top producers at each position, in each conference, from the RotoPoll rankings, our starting fives look like this:

East West
G Dwyane Wade Steve Nash
G Gilbert Arenas Allen Iverson
F Paul Pierce Kevin Garnett
F Lebron James Shawn Marion
C Jermaine O’Neal Yao Ming

So actually, there are some significant changes, but overall it’s not that different. Gilbert gets the All-star nod he’s deserved (and been overlooked for) for so long, one O’Neal gets replaced with another, and AI narrowly beats out Kobe in his new conference.

Granted, I’m biased, but I think the RotoPoll starting lineups are better, and more representative of who deserves to be playing in Las Vegas.

As seen on Deadspin!

December 24, 2006

You probably know about Deadspin, one of the web’s leading sports blogs (in fact, it’s probably how you found this site).

In the spirit of giving thanks, I’d like to just take a second and thanks the good folks at Deadspin for showing us some love lately. A few recent posts have made it onto their site:

Thanks, Deadspin. And if you don’t read Deadspin already, go check it out.

Free Throws: How Important Are They?

December 19, 2006

When I started diving into the first batches of RotoPoll rankings, I was amazed by the influence of free throw shooting on a player’s value (perhaps this is why my teams always rank near the bottom in free throw percentage). I saw that a player like Allen Iverson (currently #1 in FT value, by a mile) contributes incredible value from his FT shooting alone. I always knew he was a good shooter, but I figured his poor FG% kind of canceled out his good FT%.


While his FG% is pretty poor (-1.67), his FT% score (2.58) is nearly double it in the positive direction.

For perhaps a better illustration, let’s consult the RotoPoll “Rater Creator” (I’m struggling to find a good name for this feature).

Let’s plug in some fairly modest numbers for a game: 12 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal, a block, a three, 5/11 field goal shooting, and 2/2 from the line. (We’ll call this hypothetical player “Shane Battier”.) The Rater tells us that this game is good for a RotoPoll score of -1.08, good enough to be the 62nd-best player in 8-category leagues. Not too bad.

Now what happens if our hero Shane misses two measly free throws, and ends up 2/4 from the line? You’d guess he drops a little, right? But the rest of the line is the same–still 12 points, a block, and so on–so it can’t affect him too much. Well, guess again. He drops all the way down to a -3.80 score, which would rank 131st. All for missing two free throws!

See for yourself:
The 2/2 FT game (rank: 62)
The 2/4 FT game (rank: 131)

I guess it makes sense, if you think about it. 100% FT shooting would be the all-time best, and 50% would be near the all-time worst. And four free throws is a fair number to shoot in a game, slightly above average.

As a final illustration, take the 2/4 FT game and let’s add two blocks to it. Guess what the rank is? 62nd, just like when Shane had only one block but was 2/2 from the line. So every time one of your players misses a free throw, it’s like taking one of your precious blocks off the board.

Think about that next time you see Lebron brick an opportunity for a three-point play.