August 15, 2021, 2:57 pm
Writing up the big research project that is the B150 review, it’s always a bit of a retrospective on all things fantasy hoops, HoopBall the website and even whatever is going on with me.
This year it’s hard because typing was the culprit behind a big ol’ medical ordeal. I’m just now in Month 6 starting to get back to something slightly resembling half-speed and my fight with the dictation software is basically at a standoff. I’m gonna push through these prose in stages but it feels good to have at least some typing ability, so I’ll take that over the stale sentence structures that constantly repeating one’s self will breed over the mic.
So, for yours truly, all of *that* happened in the midst of a pandemic in which none of our key guys over here had anything slightly resembling a break. Myself and others are also doing the full-time daddy day care thing with newborn and toddler stuff going on everywhere. This, of course, played out over a two-year time period in which historians are probably going to have a thing or two to say about it, and ultimately we’re talking about a hobby, endeavor, competition, business or livelihood, and not the loss of life, tragedy and sadness we’ve seen over and over again.
The term whirlwind doesn’t seem to do any of that justice, and we just hope to be doing our small part here in the universe to promote healthy concepts and give all of us some much-needed fun and distraction from the ills of our day.
The amazing news is that between having some extremely good people to work with here, and some really amazing people in my life in general, somehow we’re on the right track.
The site has been taking off and now we’re charged with managing all of the growth right. We have multiple divisions that are starting to reach a critical mass, the universe seems to be extending its hand to us in every way, shape and form. Everything is blossoming at the same time.
Personally on the content side, I handicapped over 500 plays for HoopBall Gaming last season and was actually profitable in my first regular season, which was a thrill, because it was ridiculously hard and not least of which because you have to learn how to hit shots when you’re losing. When you think you can’t pick a winner to save your life, you still gotta line up and shoot the next one. The razor’s edge there is a lot thinner than, say, FANTASY BASKETBALL!
So enough of the interlude let’s stop burying the lede here — we killed it again. 11-of-14 of my NFBKC teams finished in the top-4.
In an industry league (the FBA Alternate) that uses a ranks-based approach to determine the winner, basing salary cap prices on their actual auction draft and then all players count toward stats — no transactions — the B150 absolutely annihilated everybody. This league has a who’s who of high stakes champions including The Athletic editor Eric Wong, and is the toughest league in the world.
This comes off the shortened season in 2019-20 when four out of five NFBKC and big money ringer leagues had top-3 finishes. That said, I hate to say it … I feel like I’ve left money on the table. The previous season saw some real tough-luck rules-based stuff when the season shut down, which took a chunk out of my winnings in strokes of pure bad luck, and then this past year we talked about it in the run up to drafts … it was the craziest race to get prepared that I’ve been a part of. I’m glad we were as prepared as we were and that’s probably why we crushed not just out in the field, but also in the annual head-to-head comparison with my old stomping grounds, Rotoworld.
Still, though, so many times throughout the year I’d notice something and know that had there been more time for prep that we’d have had a better shot at the angle. The interesting part from a process standpoint was that the overall time spent in research and implementation was very similar, but way more condensed, which was what enhanced the challenge.
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The Bruski 150 Evaluation Process
In a truly grueling and inane exercise, we look at the Bruski 150 to find out how we did in a few different lights but ultimately come up with some easy head-to-head analysis of the B150 ranks vs. Rotoworld’s ranks. We also attempt to add some deeper meaning and value to the analysis by weighting ranking wins and losses by the impact they have, which has both qualitative and quantitative evaluations. In each of these ranking analysis I welcome anybody to offer a counterpoint, but the key for making this fair and worthwhile is to be brutally honest with the assessments (which also keeps me well on the side of fair so I can just let this fly and know it’s legit).
What we’re looking to determine is which rank was the smarter rank, accounting for the totality of the situation.
The first and broadest analysis is a rank-by-rank assessment which determines an overall record between the two sites. After all, each of the ranks matter in some context so zooming out to see what the aggregate win-loss records are is a good way to show an overall strength of ranks. It also keeps a few good or bad ranks from swinging the analysis.
Then we look at the ranks while accounting for how important a given prediction was. First we do this by assigning an impact rating. Then when looking at the ranks in relation to ADP, we’re looking for how likely or unlikely was a site’s followers to get the good (or bad) pick, which we end displaying on the graphic below by color (it’s just easier to read that way). Therefore, we call that the color rating.
We multiply the impact rating with the color rating to create a spectrum of outcomes that are a dart throw at emulating year-long profit and loss scenarios, which are the essence of preseason rankings.
So in summary:
• Head-to-Head win/loss totals for the aggregate picture
• Impact Ratings give a more quantitative weighting for predictions and Color Ratings allow for ADP, rank differences and common sense to create a qualitative rating for predictions.
• To create this Impact Score we have a simple scoring system that multiplies these two ratings together and then aggregates the data set
I’m sure we can all poke holes in this approach the more we get away from aggregate, easy-to-parse individual projections. Together, all of the methods bring us closer to understanding if the B150 continues to outpace Rotoworld, who is by-and-large the go-to site for folks (at least for now) that aren’t simply showing up on draft day and using the site’s default ranks.
B150 Results for 2020-21
We did it again! We ran the score up to a perfect 6-0 record over the last six years, beating Rotoworld 80-62 in 9-cat at a 56.3 percent clip with an outstanding 73-62 run in 9-cat leagues for a 54.1 percent mark.
Then, when we looked at the Impact Score that’s when things got a little nuts. In this methodology if you weighted the predictions that 55-ish percent win clip plays more like 82-83 percent. That means we quite literally demolished them and to see where that happened you’ll want to look for the DARK GREEN boxes. We also had way less disastrous plays that either left you without value, or kept you from getting value that was easy and there for the pickings. Of course both sites demolished ADP.
Again, does this mean HB teams would beat RW teams 82-83% of the time? That seems high but who knows, this is a cutthroat game and having 11 to 9 odds means more chances at the movers and shakers, who are naturally worth 2, 3, 5 or even 8x more than gaining a round or two of value somewhere in the bottom half of the draft. Maybe we just hit a disproportionate amount of big ones. Maybe the Impact Score needs better calibration.
Regardless, anytime one can have that type of an advantage against some of the best in the industry, it’s a great year, and for fantasy players who are looking to pair their own thoughts with the best in the business, there’s only so much room for voices. So hopefully this helps inform some of your choices in that regard.
Diving Deeper Into the Evaluation
RANKING VS. RANKING (COLOR RATING)
The color schemes are:
• Dark Green (massive win involving a player that performed very well relative to ADP and/or the other site, easily had opportunity to draft that player)
• Green (a general rankings win, better positioned to draft or miss a player who over/under performed, when evaluating both sites and ADP)
• Yellow (painful loss, rankings prediction put drafters in likely position to move the needle backward with their team)
• Red (brutal loss, rankings prediction hurt drafters in significant ways, missing the mark badly when chance wasn’t a factor)
Another way to look at it might be:
• Dark Green (you did a real good thing)
• Green (you beat the other site/ADP in a way that wasn’t totally negligible)
• Yellow (your rank moved the needle backwards for squads)
• Red (you did a real bad thing)
Not all prediction wins are created equally. Some are dumb luck and have massive impact, which isn’t the sign of a good prediction, and other great predictions have smaller impacts but deserve more credit. If there was an uncontrollable event not tied to obvious injury risk, that’s probably not getting an assessment.
From there we want to look at the nature of injuries. Were they something that we could have known about? Were they factored into the draft situation as a risk-reward play? If a player got extremely lucky due to unforeseen injuries ahead of him, we’re not trying to reward or punish predictions as much as we would a prediction that’s based on known variables — one that reflects greater understanding of stat sets, usage rates and the like.
Mix that all up and then everything gets weighed out in context.
Each rank and evaluation is given the type of scrutiny you’d want to have if you could turn back time and do it all over again.
As we go further down in the draft, when player values start to bunch up, the grading loosens up a tiny bit and color grades won’t reward mild differences. At the same time a sleeper that can crawl up into early round value would get rated as a high impact.
Again, the key to this is to be brutally harsh with myself and give my competition benefit of the doubt when evaluating these predictions.
It’s entirely possible I have screwed up on a piece of logic in an example in an attempt to be expedient. I’m pretty sure any shifting results will be within a reasonable margin of error and not take away from the findings.
If you see anything hugely off, just let me know and I’m happy to make adjustments.
The impact analysis seeks to determine whether the prediction put the drafter in the position for a gain, avoid a loss and to what degree — and then it aggregates that for the entire prediction set.
As for the impact analysis itself, it is also qualitative to some degree but it does trend toward ‘just the facts.’ It’s qualitative in the sense that if a prediction win didn’t beat ADP, that’s not a very impactful play, which happens when ADP actually wins out (it happens!). From there, we’re measuring how much distance was there between the predictions and the results.
That scale from 1-5 — it’s really just 1-4 as a grade of 5 is for Hall of Fame level needle-movers that occur maybe once in a season if they occur at all. Let’s look at the scale:
5: Historical result
4: Prediction leads to extremely important high-end production, or a large number of rounds in the ballpark of a half-draft or greater of increased (or decreased) value for their fantasy GM
3: Prediction leads (or loses) very important high-end production, or results in gaining or losing a significant number of rounds of value (in the 4-8 range depending on how early or late the player in question was drafted)
2: Prediction secures substantial increased (or decreased) value for their fantasy GM (2-4 rounds worth of value dependent upon the facts)
1: A basic head-to-head win that doesn’t meet the criteria above is a 1
No players from the last two years received the fabled ‘5.’ Only one player got a 5 in the prior season and that was James Harden who nearly lapped the entire field in 8-cat. Kawhi Leonard got a 5 the season before that for being the worst fantasy pick of all time, perhaps, as he was a first round pick that nobody could even drop because he strung everybody out in a lost season.
The Big Movers and Shakers
*These are players that did well, not necessarily with respect to the B150, but in general
Nikola Jokic was a runaway freight train that I didn’t get in on nearly enough and ADP actually won out with him, but also shout out to any rankers or drafters out there that made the move. I can say for sure I blew that one. Stephen Curry hit for us and locked down the No. 2 finish in both 8- and 9-cat leagues, and Damian Lillard was right behind him in 9-cat leagues powering us along to wins. Jayson Tatum hit for RW and from there it was steamroll city for Hoobers as Chris Paul paid off again, Zach LaVine and Khris Middleton were strong, HB6er Dejounte Murray did what we said he’d do, so did Collin Sexton, we got an edge on Domantas Sabonis and Tobias Harris. Old man Draymond Green went nuts for us.
The fun didn’t stop there as Mikal Bridges cashed for us heavy, as did Terry Rozier and Nerlens Noel, and Norman Powell was just easy money for us bringing back a top-40 finish. We stole Jarrett Allen everywhere. Just ripped everybody off. P.J. Washington was a top-60 win for us at a late round price. Jakob Poeltl was one of the easiest HB6 calls I’ve made in a while and he crushed all season long. Another HB6er, Donte DiVincenzo was steadily exactly what we projected him to be, a top-100 guy with upside beyond that. Joe Ingles gave us a top-75 number at an early-late round price. Did we have all of the Jordan Clarkson? I’m pretty sure we did as the top-65 value floated us all year. Time Lord and Thadditude were on our side. Hell, we brought you T.J. MCCONNELL and his top-35 finish and it wasn’t fluky because we’ve been talking about that dude forever.
I think some of these later picks really accentuate the research that goes into this. We’ve been waiting for his breakout and saw signs the season prior that he was getting to be a bit of a handful. Kelly Olynyk went nuts and he’s been a mainstay of these ranks the past few years. Danny Green had another good Danny Green season and just by being competent we had all of that in deep leagues. We didn’t miss on Kyle Anderson.
In the end, it was a crazy and slippery year in terms of assessment but landing so many big shots throughout the rank-set was pretty much a tidal wave. If I did a bit better in 8-cat in the first and second rounds I think it could have been a chance at 11-of-14 teams in the top-2 or 3 rather than the top-4.
DID NOT DO WELL
*These are players that did not do well, not necessarily with respect to the B150, but in general
In the early parts of drafts Devin Booker took a hit with all of the talent in Phoenix allowing him to take a step back. Perhaps it was more foreseeable than we gave it credit for, but regardless a few rank differences there kind of did you in. Luka Doncic was a huge dud at his top-3 price and didn’t have a weird James Harden-esque season to blame it on. I got dinged pretty bad with Harden’s redshirt season as he played off an extra 10-15 pounds of bad weight. The Karl-Anthony Towns situation was somewhat foreseeable but it’s hard to bang on anybody taking him early. Anthony Davis and LeBron were a total mess and that just was what it was, as most folks generally weren’t going to pass on AD where he was going in drafts and LeBron has always been durable.
For the B150 it was a frustrating year for Pascal Siakam, Paul George and John Collins predictions, each for pretty cracked out reasons. In retrospect, I should have given the Tampa Bay angle more credibility but really the Raptors have had a mini-meltdown inside the walls, so that’s more insider-y than anything. George was doing alright for the most part until injuries and then the Hawks mostly botched the Collins situation all year, but I should have given more credibility to Clint Capela’s role. Collins, for his part, showed his talent all year long and did get going late.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander wiped out everybody who took a reasonable shot at an up-and-coming player, but the lesson there was that Sam Presti could have driven a tank through the league office and they weren’t saying nuthin. Yes, his injury was reportedly legit, but even if you don’t wear the tin foil hat that team wasn’t trying to win at all at unprecedented levels. Bad stuff happens that is hard to account for in draft prep.
Christian Wood just didn’t get it done for fantasy GMs and we didn’t get hit as hard as other folks did there. The Ja Morant, De’Aaron Fox and D’Angelo Russell plays we avoided were also prescient as the risks and stat sets didn’t support the prices on draft day.
As usual I missed out on Rudy Gobert and kudos to him for slimming down and taking the weight of his contract extremely seriously. Previous versions of him looked top-heavy and made him appear to be more likely to lose elite athleticism. I’ve gotten that right a few times but Gobert had the last laugh this year. Mitchell Robinson decided he didn’t want to block shots as a way to stay on the floor and was mostly a disaster for us. Davis Bertans and Lauri Markkanen were hurt and ineffective and along with Wendell Carter Jr. they all cost us in the middle of drafts. At least we didn’t have any Hassan Whiteside this season. I get ranking him as a what if but it was hilarious watching Sacramento try and talk themselves into him. Troy Brown was in my HB6 and the only thing not making me more mad was that all the ringers were after him, too and he was available at the ends of drafts. And I missed out on Chris Boucher, which sucks because we’ve salivated for so long and I basically thought, this guy is going to get pushed around and their centers won’t be historically bad. That didn’t happen and I was forced to read his box scores all season to pay for that.
The Most Impactful Players
Impact Ratings, if you forgot from above, range from 1-5 with 5 being historical and 1-4 being the only scores issued in the past two years. Again, the scale looks like:
5: Historical result
4: Secured (or lost) extremely important high-end production or a large number of rounds of increased (or decreased) value for their fantasy GM
3: To get a 3 the prediction needed to secure (or lose) very important high-end production or significant increased (or decreased) value for their fantasy GM
2: Securing substantial increased (or decreased) value for their fantasy GM
1: A basic head-to-head win that doesn’t meet the criteria above is a 1
We’re looking at the 4s here.
Those were the aforementioned Nikola Jokic, Stephen Curry and Damian Lillard projections. SGA wiped you out in the second round as did the overaggressive on Jusuf Nurkic. Chris Paul checking in at No. 4 was vintage Paul. I was pissed we missed out on Nikola Vucevic after backing him so much last year — he went nuts. Julius Randle was an ADP darling and that’s who we were fighting off to get him, as we didn’t fade him and he may have been the most important player to draft not named Jokic in 8-cat formats. Terry Rozier backed the truck up for us with a top-16 finish in 9-cat at a late-early round price. GTFOH with that. Jakob Poeltl was a game-changer at his price and then you had Kyle Anderson, Kelly Olynyk and T.J. McConnell rewarding those who do the trench-work.
Finally, Here are the Receipts
***CLICK THE IMAGE TO CHECK IT OUT***