The Great Prognosticate-Off Continues (But Should it?)

Week 4 is well in the books.  How did the prognosticators do?

First, let’s look back at how they’ve done the first 3 weeks.

Matthew Berry, ESPN – He’s the heavyweight on the list.  A mini-empire of sorts.  He’s made 72 recommendations over the last month in his weekly Love/Hate column, with 42 being good ones (or, at least, ones that wouldn’t piss you off if you followed it).  That’s 58.3%.

John Halpin, FOX – His “Wide Write” column exists rather fittingly at Foxnews.com, though his bio claims he also contributes to Foxsports.com and the Fox News tv channel.  He makes just 9 start/sit recommendations every week.  Of his 27 recs so far this season, 17 have been good.  That’s 63%.  He’s also about to be dropped from this contest (more on that below).

Matt Pitzer, USA TODAY – He’s part of the Fantasy Joe team at usatoday.com, one of the most circulated newspapers in existence, which I’m guessing makes him one of the most read fantasy advice columnists on the web.  He makes 15 start/sit recommendations a week, and of his 45 recs so far this season, 19 have been good.  That’s 42.2%.

Dr. Juan, thefastertimes.com – He’s the only amateur on the list, a guy who doesn’t have access to the sports department at a major publishing enterprise.  He doesn’t get inside info from GMs or coaches.  He doesn’t even get inside info from people who get inside info.  He reads things like everyone else, then makes up his mind, and in that regard he represents the common fan.  He’s made 90 start/sit recomendations so far, with 51 having been good.  That’s 56.7%

David Sabino, SI.com – Disqualified.  Actually, disqualified isn’t the right word.  He lost his weekly starting advice column last week, so maybe “fired” or “demoted” is more appropriate.  I dunno.  All I know is that he started the season doing a sit/start column at SI.com and now he doesn’t.

For more about this survey of mine, and why I picked these guys, check out the week 1 recap.

So how did they do this past week?

Matthew Berry

Total # of recs this week:  36

Good calls:  19

Bad calls:  17

Best call:  Loving LaDainian Tomlinson.  Other fantasy experts still see value in Shonn Greene.  Even Berry still believes in Greene quite a bit.  But this past week showed that that the (non-raping) LT is not just still viable in fantasy, but is actually must-start material at the moment.

Worst call:  Hating the entire Denver Broncos WR corps.  He’s not saying someone from this group won’t put up great numbers, he’s just saying that he’s doesn’t who to “trust” from week-to-week.  In other words, he’s not saying anything at all.  It’s like when people say “I wouldn’t be surprised if…”  They’re not saying something will definitely happen, but they’re hedging their bets in case it does (or doesn’t).  It’s a cop-out, a completely non-statement, hence it being his worst call this past week (on multiple levels).

Percentage of advice that was actually good:  52.7%

Matt Spitzer

Total # of recs:  15

Good calls:  6

Bad calls:  9

Best call:  Didn’t really have one.  His most productive recommendation was starting MJD, but MJD is considered a must-start still to most people.

Worst call:  Starting DeSean Jackson or sitting Ahmad Bradshaw, take your pick.

Percentage of advice that was actually good:  40%

John Halpin

Total calls:  8.  It’s usually 9, but this week he recommended you pick up someone on a bye, someone who had no chance of starting.  Since that wasn’t sit/start advice, it doesn’t count.  See week 1 for my reasons why I only look at sit/start advice.

Good calls:  3

Bad calls:  5

Best call:  Sit Steve Smith.  He didn’t even finish the game.

Worst call:  Start Louis Murphy.  He also didn’t finish the game.

Percentage of advice that was actually good:  37.5%

Dr. Juan

Total number of calls this week:  30

Good calls:  18

Bad calls: 12

Best call:  Start Sam Bradford.  This guy is no longer a sleeper.  He’s a legit #2 QB and a great bye-week fill, if not more.

Worst call:  He was another Louis Murphy believer.  But his worst call might be telling people who drafted Calvin Johnson with a 2nd/3rd round pick of their draft to sit him.  Megatron had two TDs this past week in addition to good yardage.

Percentage of advice that was actually good:  60%

Notes and commentary

I didn’t wind up replacing Sabino because there really aren’t a whole lot of guys (and gals) out there doing weekly assessments in a way that’s easy for me to keep track of.  For example, I wanted to add a person growing in popularity in fantasy circles, the Fantasy Football Girl, but she didn’t fit all the criteria (you should still check out her site, though).  Ideally, I’m looking for analysts who make about 20 or so sit/start recommendations a week in column form.

Also, the main point of this exercise was to see how paid, professional “experts” with access to volumes of data and inside info do compared to one another.  That’s why I initially went with reps from ESPN, SI.com, USATODAY, and Fox.

This is probably going to be John Halpin’s last week in this survey.  He does offer some helpful info in his weekly column, like listing all “must starts” regardless of match-ups.  That’s helpful for newbies who might actually be considering benching Peyton Manning or Antonio Gates because they don’t know any better.  But he only makes 9 actual recommendations a week — three starts, three sits, and three pick-ups.  And up until this past week, I considered his “pick-up” to also be startable, i.e. a sleeper pick of sorts.  But that doesn’t appear to be the case, since this week he recommended someone on a bye.  So if his “pick-up” advice is really just for stashing on a bench, that means he’s only truly recommending six for starting/sitting.  That’s just not enough.  So Mr. Halpin, you’re not worth tracking anymore, sadly.  Good-bye.

That leaves me with just three viable experts at the moment…  Not sure what to do.  We’ll see.  I may have to rethink things.

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