March 2, 2013
By

(This article was first published on Fantasy Football Analytics in R, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

My name is Isaac and I’m a Ph.D. student in Clinical Psychology. Why am I writing about fantasy football and data analysis? Because fantasy football involves the intersection of two things I love: sports and statistics. With this blog, I hope to demonstrate the relevance of statistics for improving your performance in fantasy football.  In particular, I will use a statistical software package called R.

## Why R?

R is free and open source, and has great flexibility for advanced statistical techniques and graphics.  You can download it here: http://www.statmethods.net/.  I strongly recommend the RStudio text editor for working with R scripts: http://www.rstudio.com/ide/download/.  R scripts and data files for this blog are located in the following GitHub repository: https://github.com/dadrivr/FantasyFootballAnalyticsR.

## How Can I Learn R?

1. Use this intro to R: http://www.statmethods.net/
2. Post to the R mailing list or forums if you have questions
3. Read other blogs on R-bloggers
4. Read this blog!

## About The Author

Everyone has biases.  For full disclosure, here are mine.

I tend not to believe in the following:
1. The “Hot Hand
2. Momentum in the context of player or team performance
3. The Madden, ESPN, or Sports Illustrated curse
4. Clinical judgment (e.g., picking players by judgment alone)
Instead, I prefer the following:

1. Previous performance does not affect future performance, yet our brains perceive order out of randomness and streaks out of nothing (known as cognitive biases)
2. Random variation around the central tendency (e.g., mean)
3. Regression to the mean
4. Actuarial formulas

## Future Posts

These assumptions will serve as an important conceptual building block for the analytical approaches that I will discuss in the future.  In future posts, I will show you how to download and calculate fantasy projections, how to determine the riskiness of a player, and how to determine the best possible players to pick in a snake and auction draft to maximize your team’s chances of winning your league championship.  Thanks for reading, and I would appreciate your ideas, comments, thoughts, and suggestions below!

## References

1. Dawes, R. M., Faust, D., & Meehl, P. E. (1989). Clinical versus actuarial judgment. Science, 234, 1668-1674.
2. Gilovich, T., Vallone, R., & Tversky, A. (1985). The hot hand in basketball: On the misperception of random sequences. Cognitive Psychology, 17, 295-314. doi: 10.1016/0010-0285(85)90010-6

To leave a comment for the author, please follow the link and comment on their blog: Fantasy Football Analytics in R.

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