The Life in Zugzwang Fantasy Football Preview!

That wraps up the player evaluations; I will now be doing some evaluations on how each team in my league played. I used a formula to calculate this as well. I calculated the maximum points you would have scored had you played your “best” lineup. The downside to this is that often players on the bench are usually the worst players on the team. This punishes owners unfairly for not playing “worse” bench players over their “studs”. There is a certain amount of “luck” involved in choosing your lineup but from week to week, an owner should be able to offset it with intelligent decision-making. I also took a standard deviation of all the teams in our league from the minimum, maximum and actual points you scored.

We should take this time to review what a standard deviation is (from Wikipedia):

The Standard Deviation (SD) measures the amount of variation or dispersion from the average. A low standard deviation indicates that the data points tend to be very close to the mean (or expected value); a high standard deviation indicates that the data points are spread out over a large range of values.

So what does this mean for fantasy? If your standard deviation is low, you don’t have to be that great of an owner. The rationale here is that because your players are all scoring around the same amount of points it doesn’t matter who you start. If your deviation is high, it means that there’s a great variance between your starters and your bench. A high standard deviation means that you need to have more fantasy knowledge. To maximize your team’s performance you need to estimate who will have the better game. Sometimes the reason you don’t play someone involves other factors (bye’s, injury, domestic violence, etc). I ignored these factors when I computed the standard deviations or the minimum point values. It’s possible to play someone with an injury who doesn’t play and therefore scores no points. The minimum value is the lowest theoretical points that your team could have scored in a given week*.

[table id=5 /]

There are many ways to interpret this data. One could argue that the owner of YHWH was the “best” manager this week. The second highest scoring team was “DIRT” who also had the second highest SD and had the third highest bench points. It’s a bit too early to make predictions without more data. I believe that in some time I’ll be able to fit a model to this data. Using this model, I should be able to predict the outcome of each match.

Any comments or insights are welcome and encouraged; please leave them in the comments section below or shoot me an email at

*I assume that the other owners aren’t complete morons and indeed play someone in each spot each week. Otherwise, yes, I understand that they could put up zero or negative points if they were truly lucky.

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