Sunday, March 27, 2011

Let's Talk Player Pricing... AGAIN.

As daily fantasy sports grows and new players migrate to the contest sites, a lot of discussions happen over and over again.

I read this post of a new player's take on the industry. His point #1 about player pricing is a view shared by many players including Kaiseroll13 and Zoobird.

It tilts me to no end. I vehemently disagree. Efficient player pricing is SO important to keeping skill in salary cap games.

Every site uses a different method to price their players. They use a formula based upon player performance, popularity or both.

Also, the sites use different frequency to update their pricing. This ranges from daily updates to every 10 days or even once a season updates (LOL Snapdraft.)

The theory presented to me repeatedly is this: If players were priced perfectly & efficiently, then every team would have identical EV regardless of the players chosen, thus taking all of the skill out of the game. Every contest would become a coin flip at best, thus impossible to beat the rake.

Nice theory, but wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. WRONG.

First of all, no site has the ability to price their players to perfection. Not even Draftstreet or Draft Zone, which update every day with large price swings.

Secondly, not one contest site prices their players based upon TODAY'S expectation of performance. Everyone is priced on PAST performance or popularity, whether it's over this season, last season or recent trends.

What this means is that there is no way to remove skill from a tight, efficient salary cap. You still need to know the best matchups for tonight and pay for those players out of your cap space.

Changing the pricing often is also good for the skill element. It rewards the players who follow the pricing market regularly. Infrequent pricing changes or prices that move too slowly (I'm looking at you, Fan Duel) make the bargains way too obvious. That removes skill from the contest, IMO.

I have said all of this many times before and have been subsequently ridiculed for it by the other players. Whatever. Somebody convince me otherwise and I will give you mad props.

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