Actually, I should’ve known that. Anyone who plays fantasy football knows that. Fantasy Football analysts are fickle. They’re inconsistent. Their criteria for grading players changes from week-to-week. How many times have you read a column from a FF analyst where they ragged on Player A, only to see them use the same logic a week later to praise Player B? How often do fantasy experts qualify their advice with so many conditional words like “but” and “if” that the advice offers you no help whatsoever? (Side note: My least favorite pundit expression is “I wouldn’t be surprised if…” It’s a complete non-statement that allows the “expert” to basically have it both ways — if it happens, they can say they saw it coming, if it doesn’t, they can say they saw that too.)
The answer to both those questions is “too often to count.”
Anyways, my attempt to actually gauge and compare the quality of advice given from the most reputable analysts (plus Dr. Juan) was a resounding failure. Merely looking at their weekly lineup recommendations and trying to assign point values to how good it was turned out to be quite frustrating, to say the least. Worse yet — I kept losing subjects, either because they couldn’t even keep their jobs or because they just didn’t offer enough consistency in their advice.
If anyone wants to see a showdown with Dr. Juan and Matthew Berry, that could be arranged. Their methods are similar enough that I can probably declare one the victor by season’s end. But that’s about it. And, honestly, that doesn’t really interest me considering my original idea was to compare analysts from all the major players – ESPN, Fox, USATODAY, and SI.com (with Dr. Juan being the sole amateur). So to the one reader who actually seemed to care about what I was doing: Sorry, Clayton!
I’ll think of a better way to try it next season. Maybe something based on the weekly position rankings that all the major outlets do. That’s a lot of data. It’s numbers based and it’s pre-sorted. I just need to plug it into Excel. If I have the time, that might be the way to go…
In the meantime, just know this: Fantasy columnists at major sports sites exist to get page clicks for their advertisers. That’s it. Their bosses don’t really care if they’re right or wrong so long as you keep coming back, either to get their advice or to rail on it. So instead of going crazy trying to figure out why one expert loves Kyle Orton but another doesn’t, just remember this: they all seem to be in the 50-65% range for accuracy (that’s how they were projecting anyway). That’s better than a coin-toss, but not overwhelmingly. Read the guys (and gals) who at least try to offer advice with some style and flair. In other words, treat fantasy columnists just like you would any other. They want your precious bathroom reading time, so make ’em earn it.