I can’t recall where I first heard it, but my favorite fantasy draft quote is “you can’t win your league with your first pick, but you can lose it.” Drafting a stud in the 1st round does not guarantee a championship. In most cases, the league champ hit on a sleeper in the later rounds and picked up important pieces on the waiver wire. On the other hand, when your 1st round pick is a complete bust, it can be a crippling blow. This is why I have always prioritized safe, conservative picks in the 1st round over players who might carry more risk. In the article below, I examine the fantasy football value and risk between quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers using preseason rankings from ESPN.com and season-long scoring totals from pro-football-reference.com.
After the Warriors steamrolled their way to their second championship in three years, there has been a lot of discussion about how this Warriors team would stack up against past NBA champions. Guys like Magic Johnson, Rasheed Wallace, and even Raja Bell have claimed that their former teams would beat the ’17 Warriors. Unless MJ pulls a Brett Favre and un-retires again, we will likely never see the Warriors play any of the great teams from the past. As an alternative, we thought it might be fun to run these hypothetical matchups of 2017 Warriors vs. Prior NBA Champions through our NBA Playoff Model.
After three brutal rounds of intramural B-league competition, the series we have all been waiting for is finally here. For the first time in NBA history, the same teams will meet in the NBA Finals for the third consecutive year. Last year’s installment was incredible, and in my humble opinion this year’s edition will pack more talent onto the floor than any series in the history of the NBA Playoffs, with a combined 45 All-Star game appearances and 7 MVP awards across the competing rosters. Although the Cavs are the defending champs, and the Model suggests betting the house on the Warriors.
Continue reading NBA Finals Preview: The Trilogy
Thankfully the Celtics and Wizards delivered us one 7-game series in what was an otherwise surprisingly non-competitive second round. John Wall and Isiah Thomas both had breath-taking moments, but in the end, it was the notoriously cold-blooded Kelly Olynyk who closed out the Wizards just as the model predicted (OK, maybe not that last part). In the Western Conference, the Warriors are clearly bored, and the Spurs took down the Rockets in one of the strangest, most anti-climactic elimination games I have ever seen. Let’s hope that James Harden gets his talents back from the aliens in time for next season. Continue reading NBA Playoffs Conference Finals
The Bulls gave the Celtics a scare, the Jazz closed out what could be the last stand of the Clippers big three, and the Warriors still look absolutely unbeatable (even with Mike Brown stumbling around on the sideline). Most importantly, our NBA model swept the first round – going 8 for 8 on series predictions.
Continue reading NBA Playoffs Round 2
According to our NBA playoff model, the probability of the Clippers winning their first round match up is 0.41. However, what happens if they do win their first round matchup – and what is the probability of the Clippers making it to the conference finals? Or winning the NBA championship? While we can assume that these values would be less than 0.41, the initial predictions alone do not supply us with the answer.
Continue reading 2017 NBA Playoffs Simulation
Our NBA Playoff model calculates win probabilities for each series matchup based on each team’s regular season statistics. We used multiple regression techniques to develop a variety of models. We arrive at our consensus winners by taking the average prediction from a handful of our most successful models. For a more detailed breakdown of these NBA models, and to see our 2015 & 2016 brackets, check out our NBA Playoff Bracket Methodology. Our model has picked 78% of series winners correctly, along with 15 of the past 27 champions. In other words, on an average year, it gets 11.7 of the 15 series winners correct and has a 56% chance of getting the champion correct. Our predictions for the 2017 playoffs are shown below:
Continue reading 2017 NBA Playoff Bracket
Our data is built off of all regular season games since the 1989-1990 regular season, giving us 27 seasons in all. It was fun to test our models performance over the Jordan-dominated 90’s, the Shaqobe 00’s, and to the modern pace-and-space era. There is no doubt that the style of play in the league has changed drastically over this time. This poses a challenge for modeling the most recent seasons, as most of our training data will not reflect the boom in outside shooting that we are seeing in the game today.
Continue reading NBA Modeling Methodology