23 March 2009

Skill vs Luck

Do you play Fantasy Football? - I do, and I love it

Think me sad all you will, but this year I have a little problem - they have introduced a head-to-head league format, run in conjunction with the normal league format (ie. where your players get points and whoever has more wins)

You are put in a league with 19 other teams and play one per gameweek - whoever 'scores' the most wins the match - sounds great doesn't it?

Well yes, but I have come to realise that it's little more than randomisation

Take my league - I am 7th, 10 points off the top (so I'm Arsenal...yay) - but I have the highest amount of points, ie. goals - well what's wrong with that you may ask? GD doesn't really matter in a league

But it does in this league - remember you are drawn against a team at random each week and whoever scores more wins, so even if you score really highly - you may lose to someone who isn't doing so well but does well one week

Obviously scoring the most pretty much guarantees you will be top ten or so - but winner - no, that is decided by who you play and when - you probably think this is sour grapes on my part, but think about it - you have no control over how much you concede

I have conceded 1385 points - this is in fact the second highest amount conceded (the guy with highest is in 12th with 1461) and guess who has conceded least? - yup, number 1 with 1176

A solid defence is a worthy attribute in football you may say - but that's just it - you have no say in how much your opponent scores - I have conceded the most through no fault of my own, simply when I have played each team has determined what I had to beat

This gives me a moral victory! But regardless it shows that this whole idea is flawed - you have to build a fantasy team to last over a whole season, that's the point of it - the head-to-head system is anathema to this - it requires you to change tactics each week, which you can't do because you only get one transfer per week (without penalties) - some weeks you have to suffer for the long-term glory

You cannot have both in the same system because they work differently - placing your virtually unchangeable squad against a different team each week is essentially creating a random result - obviously if you're useless then you won't do well, but if you do well you aren't guaranteed success

Take my current traditional league - me and the leader are within 5 points of each other - I am second, and have been for a while, but I have clawed back from a bigger deficit - meaning I have 'won' regularly for the past few weeks - looking at weekly results I've won 20, he has won 10 (indicating I'm consistent, and he's erratic) - but he has that five point lead - and that is right, because this game is all about the points - you can't simply translate those points into goals in a 'match'

The head-to-head league is basically whichever of the good teams gets the most favourable draws across the season - it's daft

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