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Luck vs Skill in a FFL League (1 Viewer)

What number of teams in a league increases the level of skill and decreases the level of luck


  • Total voters
    48

Keith R

The Don
Is there a correlation of luck vs skill in regards to the number of teams in a FFL league? If so, what amount of teams between 12 and 16 most reduces luck and rewards skill?

 

SSOG

Moderator
Typically, if you want to reduce luck, you will want to maximize the number of data points (i.e. deep starting lineups) and minimize the impact of injuries (huge depth). For that reason, I think large leagues start to increase the luck factor, because when teams only have one stud each, a single injury can wreck your chances.

For what it's worth, I think the best league format if you want to completely eliminate the role of luck would be a 2 person league with MASSIVE starting lineups (say 12 QBs, 18 RBs, 24 WRs, 12 TEs, and 6 superflex spots). Total points instead of head-to-head, natch. Of the options you gave, though... assuming all else is equal, I'd go with the 12-teamer.

Edit: Also, assuming the league allows trades, the more teams there are the more likely it is that there'll be a lopsided trade in which you are not involved, which ramps up the luck factor (your team's chances of winning would be dramatically affected by decisions over which you have no control). No worries about that in a two-teamer- if the other guy benefits from a lopsided trade, it's nobody's fault but your own.

 
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[icon]

Insoxicated
16 team deep leagues IMO.

To consistently win a 2 team league you've to to overcome a 50pct chance for your opponents..... To consistently win a 4 team league you've got to overcome a 75pct opponent edge.... Etc.

IMO 16 team leagues are about as big as you can get reasonably... Therefore presents the biggest challenge without position scarcity becoming too great a factor.

I also prefer depth. Leagues starting 3wr and 2rb will generally reward better players more than leagues starting 2wr and 1 rb

 
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flc735

Footballguy
I feel like I have a larger advantage over average owners in 16 team leagues over 12 team leagues. I can listen to any podcast/message board/article and figure out what to do in a 12 team league. That information is scarce in a 16 team league.

 

SSOG

Moderator
16 team deep leagues IMO.To consistently win a 2 team league you've to to overcome a 50pct chance for your opponents..... To consistently win a 4 team league you've got to overcome a 75pct opponent edge.... Etc. IMO 16 team leagues are about as big as you can get reasonably... Therefore presents the biggest challenge without position scarcity becoming too great a factor. I also prefer depth. Leagues starting 3wr and 2rb will generally reward better players more than leagues starting 2wr and 1 rb
Who is more likely to be lucky, someone who was in 100 2-team leagues and won 75, or someone who was in 100 16-teamers and won 9? Both over performed, getting 50% more championships than you'd expect from chance alone, but statistically, the former is more likely to be a meaningful indicator, while the latter is more likely to be random chance.
 

Rhythmdoctor

Footballguy
16 team deep leagues IMO.

To consistently win a 2 team league you've to to overcome a 50pct chance for your opponents..... To consistently win a 4 team league you've got to overcome a 75pct opponent edge.... Etc.

IMO 16 team leagues are about as big as you can get reasonably... Therefore presents the biggest challenge without position scarcity becoming too great a factor.

I also prefer depth. Leagues starting 3wr and 2rb will generally reward better players more than leagues starting 2wr and 1 rb
Who is more likely to be lucky, someone who was in 100 2-team leagues and won 75, or someone who was in 100 16-teamers and won 9? Both over performed, getting 50% more championships than you'd expect from chance alone, but statistically, the former is more likely to be a meaningful indicator, while the latter is more likely to be random chance.
:no: That's not a good comparison. 2 man league. Really? 12 starting QBs, 18 starting RBs.... that lessens the probability of variance and increases the luck factor immensely. You're one of the few on here who I routinely agree with but not this time.Generally, the deeper the league, the more skill required to be consistently dominant. This is basic probability.

E2A: to the bolded above... Wha?? You have that exactly backwards.

 
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Lott's Fingertip

Footballguy
It is a pretty complicated question, there are a lot of variables. I do feel that as you increase the league size, you increase the impact of injuries... and that is simply luck.

I voted no difference, though. Bad luck can sometimes be mitigated by skilled moves.

 

heidbrink

Footballguy
Typically, if you want to reduce luck, you will want to maximize the number of data points (i.e. deep starting lineups) and minimize the impact of injuries (huge depth). For that reason, I think large leagues start to increase the luck factor, because when teams only have one stud each, a single injury can wreck your chances.For what it's worth, I think the best league format if you want to completely eliminate the role of luck would be a 2 person league with MASSIVE starting lineups (say 12 QBs, 18 RBs, 24 WRs, 12 TEs, and 6 superflex spots). Total points instead of head-to-head, natch. Of the options you gave, though... assuming all else is equal, I'd go with the 12-teamer.Edit: Also, assuming the league allows trades, the more teams there are the more likely it is that there'll be a lopsided trade in which you are not involved, which ramps up the luck factor (your team's chances of winning would be dramatically affected by decisions over which you have no control). No worries about that in a two-teamer- if the other guy benefits from a lopsided trade, it's nobody's fault but your own.
 

heidbrink

Footballguy
You make some very interesting points. I've always said that fantasy football is more luck then the winners will admit and more skill than the losers will admit. It's both and we all know that. People will argue that a10 team league is easier but you seem to be saying that a 10 team league requires more skills to win. Especially if there is no trading. Seems to be shark counterintuitive but it might be true.... Technically speaking.

 

coolnerd

Footballguy
There was an in-season thread where the OP started out by saying fantasy football was all luck. he and his premise were pretty flawed, but in the midst of that mess was some of the best luck vs skill debate that this board has had. If somebody could separate the goodness from the trash of that thing it is a worthwhile read. I have not had any luck (yes, i did) finding it. Think it was eventually locked and i don't know if it went to the dead thread graveyard.

 

ghostguy123

Footballguy
First of all, your chances of winning would be directly related to your competition.

Second, of course it is easier to win a 10 team league than a 12, 14, or 16 team league. The more teams, the less your chances. Simple odds.

Now the only way that wouldnt be true is if your league was filled with all idiots. In which case, a 16 team league would be easier to win if you are really good at fantasy football, and the other 15 guys are idiots.

In a 10 team league even players with limited skill and put together a good lineup every week.

Also, leagues with playoffs tend to see some crazy good/bad luck at times. Ask anyone who owns Foster last year when he had basically no scoring week 15 I think due to his heart thing.

For total points leagues, winning the league would take more skill than a league with playoffs.

However like I said, with so many league types, and so many skill levels, you would have to give me two very specific league examples (league type, skill level of the owners), and then I would try to pick which league would require more skill than the other to win it.

Otherwise, just pissin in the wind.

But yes, there is luck involved. A lot of luck actually. Probably more luck than poker, but less than a casino. Somewhere in the middle I would say.

 
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SSOG

Moderator
You make some very interesting points. I've always said that fantasy football is more luck then the winners will admit and more skill than the losers will admit. It's both and we all know that. People will argue that a10 team league is easier but you seem to be saying that a 10 team league requires more skills to win. Especially if there is no trading. Seems to be shark counterintuitive but it might be true.... Technically speaking.
Well, it is easier to win- you'd have a 10% chance vs a 6% chance in a 16-teamer. Obviously even a crummy player will win a 2-team league at least 20% of the time, which makes it even easier still to win. What I'm saying is that consistently over performing in a small league is probably more indicative than consistently over performing in a larger league, due to the sample sizes involved. In my hypothetical 2-teamer where you start 12 QBs (with 6 superflex), in order to beat the other guy, you can't just make one good call- you have to consistently and repeatedly outperform him in QB valuations up and down your entire roster. Ditto that at RB, WR, and TE. Random chance says both parties will sneak some wins, but if you're winning 60 or 70% of the time in that format, you're just plain better than your competition, no two ways about it.
 

Dr. Octopus

Footballguy
For what it's worth, I think the best league format if you want to completely eliminate the role of luck would be a 2 person league with MASSIVE starting lineups (say 12 QBs, 18 RBs, 24 WRs, 12 TEs, and 6 superflex spots). Total points instead of head-to-head, natch.
Wouldn't total points and HtH be virtually the same thing in a 2 person league?
 

SSOG

Moderator
For what it's worth, I think the best league format if you want to completely eliminate the role of luck would be a 2 person league with MASSIVE starting lineups (say 12 QBs, 18 RBs, 24 WRs, 12 TEs, and 6 superflex spots). Total points instead of head-to-head, natch.
Wouldn't total points and HtH be virtually the same thing in a 2 person league?
It wouldn't be a huge difference, but it'd help ease the luck factor a tiny bit more. If you're face rolling the guy by 80 points a week over the first 8 weeks, and then you lose Griffin, Gronk, Harvin, et al. and he starts beating you by 10 points a game over the last 9 weeks, total points would recognize that you still had the better team. 8 blowout wins and 9 close losses indicates a better team than 9 close wins and 8 blowout losses.
 

daveR

Footballguy
By it's very definition, luck is out of your control. Anything you can influence comes under the skill heading. The size of a league, number of players on a roster, etc., cannot change your luck. Using planning abilities and depth of knowledge are skill factors. They are best utilized when rosters are large and leagues are deep.

 

SSOG

Moderator
By it's very definition, luck is out of your control. Anything you can influence comes under the skill heading. The size of a league, number of players on a roster, etc., cannot change your luck. Using planning abilities and depth of knowledge are skill factors. They are best utilized when rosters are large and leagues are deep.
Those things can absolutely change your luck. You can absolutely reduce the number of things that are out of your control. As an extreme example- say your league decided to designate teams as "home" or "away" every week and give a 3-point bonus to home teams to represent home field advantage. Wouldn't you think such a change would influence luck? Imagine your league split into two divisions, and you didn't play any games between the two divisions until the SB, when the two division champions met. If the 6 best owners got put in one division and the 6 worst in another, that would have a huge impact on your chances of winning despite being completely out of your control. And, again, injuries are perhaps the biggest luck factor of all. The larger the percentage of your roster's total VBD that comes from your top players, the larger the role injury luck plays in the outcome- which suggests that the more studs you have (smaller leagues, bigger starting lineups), the smaller the role of injury in deciding outcomes.
 

jvdesigns2002

Footballguy
In a vacuum--I would venture to say that luck would play a bigger role in a larger league. When I say vacuum--I am speaking in regards to certain variables--and one of the main ones is assuming that the skill level of the fantasy players within "said" league is balanced. I play in a few leagues--and I'd be lying if I told you that they all contained opponents of equal skill level. There are team owners in my work league who pretty much draft players on their favorite teams--regardless of their fantasy value..etc. The idea is similar to that of poker. If you get a tournament of 1500 professional poker players versus a tournament of 10000 professional poker players---make no mistake--the winner of the 10000 person tournament most likely had to get lucky more times than the winner of a 1500 person poker tournament--assuming all of the players are professionals. Also--if you look at a larger league--there are more draft picks--and the talent is more spread out--so you are banking on your main guys staying healthy--and are hoping that the guys that you "reach" for pan out to be something special. In a 8-10 team league--most teams are going to have pretty solid starting lineups--and most likely moderately deep benches--which means there is typically less "reaching" for guys in hopes of catching lightning in a bottle.

 

Stinkin Ref

IBL Representative
The larger the league the more skill involved.

I think starting lineup requirements and flex options are the biggest factor.

Most drafts look the same in rounds 1-5. Nowadays even a newb can't really screw these rounds up with all the info out there.

Later in the draft and particularly in rounds about 6-12 (where you are filling out your starting lineup) is where you butter your bread.

Knowing whether your flex can be either a RB/WR/TE is very important. While WRX may seem like the BPA at the time, if my starting lineups allow me to play RBY instead of WRX, RBY may be the best option. There is some skill in VBD that decreases the luck factor.

Finding the Cecil Shorts while others are focused on the Randy Moss's also takes some skill.

But for me, it is often having my focus on what my starting lineup can look like each week and dominating/abusing my opponents in the flex positions. I think many leagues are won or lost in the flex positions. Positioning yourself during the draft and throughout the season at the flex spot(s) takes some skill and is where you can gain an advantage over your competition.

 
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daveR

Footballguy
By it's very definition, luck is out of your control. Anything you can influence comes under the skill heading. The size of a league, number of players on a roster, etc., cannot change your luck. Using planning abilities and depth of knowledge are skill factors. They are best utilized when rosters are large and leagues are deep.
Those things can absolutely change your luck. You can absolutely reduce the number of things that are out of your control. As an extreme example- say your league decided to designate teams as "home" or "away" every week and give a 3-point bonus to home teams to represent home field advantage. Wouldn't you think such a change would influence luck? Imagine your league split into two divisions, and you didn't play any games between the two divisions until the SB, when the two division champions met. If the 6 best owners got put in one division and the 6 worst in another, that would have a huge impact on your chances of winning despite being completely out of your control. And, again, injuries are perhaps the biggest luck factor of all. The larger the percentage of your roster's total VBD that comes from your top players, the larger the role injury luck plays in the outcome- which suggests that the more studs you have (smaller leagues, bigger starting lineups), the smaller the role of injury in deciding outcomes.
Agreed. The smaller the league / roster size, the more skill that's taken out. Now, does the same apply to the luck part?
 

wodahSShadow

Footballguy
In a vacuum--I would venture to say that luck would play a bigger role in a larger league. When I say vacuum--I am speaking in regards to certain variables--and one of the main ones is assuming that the skill level of the fantasy players within "said" league is balanced. I play in a few leagues--and I'd be lying if I told you that they all contained opponents of equal skill level. There are team owners in my work league who pretty much draft players on their favorite teams--regardless of their fantasy value..etc. The idea is similar to that of poker. If you get a tournament of 1500 professional poker players versus a tournament of 10000 professional poker players---make no mistake--the winner of the 10000 person tournament most likely had to get lucky more times than the winner of a 1500 person poker tournament--assuming all of the players are professionals. Also--if you look at a larger league--there are more draft picks--and the talent is more spread out--so you are banking on your main guys staying healthy--and are hoping that the guys that you "reach" for pan out to be something special. In a 8-10 team league--most teams are going to have pretty solid starting lineups--and most likely moderately deep benches--which means there is typically less "reaching" for guys in hopes of catching lightning in a bottle.
This, and those who are pimping the deep starting line-ups. Injuries and out-of-nowhere superstars can be major factors in your 12+ teamers as there is just not the depth of quality players, whereas it is minimized in 8-10 team leagues. In a 12+ team league, if you drafted Brady in 08' (or Charles in '11) you were almost guaranteed to miss the playoffs, or, vice-versa, If you "lucked" into Vick in 2010 (and by all means it was luck, as no one saw that coming) you were hands-down making the playoffs, if not the Championship. Albeit the extremely small sample-size, I recovered in an 8-team league in '11 from Charles' injury to win the championship, and, in another 12-team league, I lost in the championship round after picking up Vick in Week 1 in 2010 despite having a weak team.
 
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JOBOOZOSO

Footballguy
Fantasy Football is 15% skill (trades/waiver wire), 25% draft, & 60% luck...

and I'm being generous with the skill/draft percentage.

 

wodahSShadow

Footballguy
<br>

if you drafted Brady in 08' (or Charles in '11) you were almost guaranteed to miss the playoffs, or, vice-versa, <br>
<br>Not if you have deep rosters and drafts, then you just have to be a better owner at getting that quality depth from jump street.  Skill.<br>
<br><br>Brady was going, what, top 3 in 2008?  If you played in a 14 team league and you picked him at #3 (and many, many ppl picked him at #1), your next pick was not until #26. So essentially, you spotted most of the teams in your league 2 picks before you got started.  Your best QB waiver wire option was most likely Garrard/thereabouts- meaning you have to make up at least 100 points elsewhere amongst your lineup just to break-even with the Brady pick, not to mention you are already in the back in the line in the 2nd round, meaning you are missing out an any RB1.   No way you recover from that in a 14 team league. In an 8 team league, you had Romo/thereabout on the waiver- much less of a hit <i>and </i>your next pick was at #14, where a RB1 or top-shelf WR certainly could have been had.
 
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Quibbler

Footballguy
A bigger league might make skill more important in the draft/waiver wire, but it also makes luck in terms of injuries more important. So I'd say 12 vs 16 teams doesn't really matter.

 

CalBear

Footballguy
I don't think league size is as important as league rules. A 16-team H2H league with FBG scoring takes about as much skill as a 12-team H2H league with FBG scoring; mostly, the skill to select undervalued players and play matchups. But, a league with 2 PPR for TE, or starting 2QBs, or 5-slot super-flex, or anything else that's significantly out of the ordinary, takes more skill; in those leagues, the cheatsheet readers who don't know how to properly adjust their rankings for the conditions of their league will get beat by the people who do.

 

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