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CDG: Negative $values for players that have to be drafted

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  • #16
    14th C wouldn't likely make the team without force positions. Depends on scoring, but All your UT players are likely to produce more points than the last catcher. I'd guess the last few guys to make it on to rosters with force positions are catchers.
    While the individual man is an insoluble puzzle, in the aggregate he becomes a mathematical certainty.
    --Sherlock Holmes

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    • #17
      Originally posted by RobR@HQ View Post
      14th C wouldn't likely make the team without force positions. Depends on scoring, but All your UT players are likely to produce more points than the last catcher. I'd guess the last few guys to make it on to rosters with force positions are catchers.
      Thanks for the replies, Rob. This is true of my league.
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      • #18
        Originally posted by RobR@HQ View Post
        Because in force positions, the worst performing positions values are increased. #5 C isn't really worth $17, but you've asked the system to make sure [14] catchers have positive value. Turn off force positions and look at Mauer and #5's value there. Unless I'm forgetting something, in a points league there should be a constant dollar to point ratio when force positions is off, scarcity is off and valuation is balanced.
        This doesnt sound right to me. To my mind the #5 catcher really is worth $17(ish) because my league rules force everybody to draft a catcher. If i take force positions off i get clearly incorrect dollar values. Eg, the #5 C is at only $4, #5 is worth 0, & everyone after is negative. Obb those guys should have positive values since youd gain points at catcher over other teams if u drafted those players.
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        • #19
          Originally posted by jdwexler View Post
          This doesnt sound right to me. To my mind the #5 catcher really is worth $17(ish) because my league rules force everybody to draft a catcher. If i take force positions off i get clearly incorrect dollar values. Eg, the #5 C is at only $4, #5 is worth 0, & everyone after is negative. Obb those guys should have positive values since youd gain points at catcher over other teams if u drafted those players.
          When you don't force positions, you can indeed have negative-valued players. The values are generated by points above replacement. In a 14-team league, that should be the 197th-best player. If he has, say, 150 points, then all the players are value based on their point values minus 150. If you have catchers (the most likely suspects) that have to be drafted, but are less than 150 points, they will have negative value.
          "Never make predictions, especially about the future." -- Casey Stengel

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          • #20
            Originally posted by MattC@HQ View Post
            When you don't force positions, you can indeed have negative-valued players. The values are generated by points above replacement. In a 14-team league, that should be the 197th-best player. If he has, say, 150 points, then all the players are value based on their point values minus 150. If you have catchers (the most likely suspects) that have to be drafted, but are less than 150 points, they will have negative value.
            Yes I understand why those values are generated when force positions are off. But they are useless to me. Rob said that the #5 catcher's value wasn't really $17 (the value I get for Montero when I force positions) and he suggested I uncheck force positions. Unfortunately, I can't uncheck the rules of my league so having the #6-13 catchers at negative values is just plain wrong. Yet the CDG appears to be giving faulty values when I do force positions.
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            • #21
              jdwexler, your question as I read it was "why am I seeing different dollars per point for two different players". I told you that's because you selected force positions and suggested that if you temporarily disabled it, you'd see their unadjusted values. In the end, the answer to your question is that your are seeing different dollar values per point because of force positions. That's the only way your last catcher can have value above replacement in your league . . . if you give him more dollars per point or give him more points. I don't believe they are faulty values. If you have an alternate algorithm in mind, feel free to lay it out. User feedback goes a long way to improving CDG.
              While the individual man is an insoluble puzzle, in the aggregate he becomes a mathematical certainty.
              --Sherlock Holmes

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              • #22
                The point is here is that those catchers really do have negative value; they are below replacement level for your league. Of course, they will all go for at least $1 in your draft because they have to be drafted to fill out the rosters. There are two ways to deal with this: 1) Leave them as negative values and make sure you get one of the catchers that has positive value; 2) Use "force positions", which will bump up the value of all catchers, leading to the situation where a $17 catcher projects for far fewer points than a $17 1B or OF. I generally prefer the former.
                "Never make predictions, especially about the future." -- Casey Stengel

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by MattC@HQ View Post
                  The point is here is that those catchers really do have negative value; they are below replacement level for your league.
                  I disagree, although the nature of our argument is pretty existential.

                  No player has any fantasy baseball value independent of context. In a league where the minimum bid is $1 and 24 catchers will be drafted, the 24th best catcher really has a value of $1 and top 23 catchers have a value higher than $1 based on the SGP or the sum of their Z-scores above the level of the 24th best catcher. "Really, really" as Shrek says. I prefer to use "force positions" although there is a bug in the Custom Draft Guide for that option right now.

                  It baffles me why others want to work with draft day tools that call for negative value catchers to be drafted, but that's why one can turn the "forced positions" option on or off, because a substantial number of users agree with your viewpoint.
                  "If you never guess wrong, you're not guessing about hard enough things." -- Jordan Ellenberg

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Michael@HQ View Post
                    I disagree, although the nature of our argument is pretty existential.

                    No player has any fantasy baseball value independent of context. In a league where the minimum bid is $1 and 24 catchers will be drafted, the 24th best catcher really has a value of $1 and top 23 catchers have a value higher than $1 based on the SGP or the sum of their Z-scores above the level of the 24th best catcher. "Really, really" as Shrek says. I prefer to use "force positions" although there is a bug in the Custom Draft Guide for that option right now.

                    It baffles me why others want to work with draft day tools that call for negative value catchers to be drafted, but that's why one can turn the "forced positions" option on or off, because a substantial number of users agree with your viewpoint.
                    This.
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                    • #25
                      Matt, the replacement level of which you speak is a mirage. A one-size-fits-all league-wide replacement level in a fantasy league that requires you to draft a player at each position is a mostly useless concept. You need to value players with respect to the replacement level at each position (ie, the best player not drafted at that position, or thereabouts). It's the same reason that when you calculate the WAR for a player in real life you need a wOBA replacement level for each position- you wouldn't declare a catcher with a .295wOBA to be worthless just because he is x number of runs below league average or because you can find a bunch of LFs in the minors who can hit better than that. You need a guy who can catch, and a .295wOBA is probably better than what you pick up off the scrap heap of catchers. Said catcher has positive value.

                      It seems obvious to me that the #5-14 catchers do not (and cannot) have negative value. By drafting the #5 catcher I will gain points over all the teams who have #6-14 catchers.
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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by RobR@HQ View Post
                        jdwexler, your question as I read it was "why am I seeing different dollars per point for two different players". I told you that's because you selected force positions and suggested that if you temporarily disabled it, you'd see their unadjusted values. In the end, the answer to your question is that your are seeing different dollar values per point because of force positions. That's the only way your last catcher can have value above replacement in your league . . . if you give him more dollars per point or give him more points. I don't believe they are faulty values.
                        Not quite what was saying. The issue I was that I'm getting different dollars per point above replacement level at that postion.

                        If the CDG guides me to pay an extra $30 for a player at a given position in order to recoup a marginal 100pts when I could pay the same amount to recoup 50% more marginal points, that strikes me as plainly faulty.

                        If you have an alternate algorithm in mind, feel free to lay it out. User feedback goes a long way to improving CDG.
                        Sure. I'd like to see the best player not to be drafted at each position valued at $0 (or the have the last player at each position worth $1- not sure which of these makes more sense). Then each player gets a dollar value for based on the amount of points above the positional replacement level he is. eg, Say the top 14 catchers in my league will in total accrue 5% of the total above replacement level points. So all those catchers added up equal a total value of $182- 5% of the league's total budget ($260*14). Then each catcher is worth whatever % of $182 as is equal to the % of his points relative to the position. If Mauer will get 10% of all those above replacement catchers' points, then he is worth $18.20.

                        You then need to adjust for how each positions points are distributed. I don't know how to properly do this. Michael suggested using z-scores, and I think this is basically what the rotochamp system does. I'm too weak a stats guy to know if that's the optimal approach.

                        I appreciate the opportunity to give input and hope it is useful. And I definitely appreciate the continued engagement in helping me figure this out. Do you anticipate that any adjustments (including fixing the acknowledged bug re:$1 values for last to be drafted players) will be made by this week?
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                        • #27
                          I don't see that it is a flaw if any valuation system turns out Catchers (or anyone else) with negative values. If we pay the minimum $1 for the last catcher and he bats .190 with 0 HR and 12 RBI and 0 SB in 250 AB, he's a negative-value player. He will drag down our BA considerably while not adding points anywhere else. The fact that a fantasy league has a (completely separate) pricing system that obliges us to pay $1 for this negative value doesn't change the fact that it's still negative value. If we know that the 24th catcher is a -$12 value, we are guaranteed an $11 loss on that player, which seems to be useful intelligence on the market as an incentive to get a catcher who comes closer to providing positive value or, at least, less negative value.

                          I do see a flaw in the proposed position-based valuation system: If the last catcher is 0-12-0-.190 (250) and the last CI is 11-55-3-.265 (250), it feels absurd that we say they are both $1 players.
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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by PD@HQ View Post
                            I don't see that it is a flaw if any valuation system turns out Catchers (or anyone else) with negative values. If we pay the minimum $1 for the last catcher and he bats .190 with 0 HR and 12 RBI and 0 SB in 250 AB, he's a negative-value player. He will drag down our BA considerably while not adding points anywhere else. The fact that a fantasy league has a (completely separate) pricing system that obliges us to pay
                            $1 for this negative value doesn't change the fact that it's still negative value. If we know that the 24th catcher is a -$12 value, we are guaranteed an $11 loss on that player, which seems to be useful intelligence on the
                            market as an incentive to get a catcher who comes closer to providing positive value or, at least, less negative
                            value.


                            I do see a flaw in the proposed position-based valuation system: If the last catcher is 0-12-0-.190 (250) and the last CI is 11-55-3-.265 (250), it feels absurd that we say they are both $1 players.
                            THIS!

                            Just because there are rules about who has to be rostered from the player pool, does not mean that the player pool has some kind of obligation to provide us with positively valued (versus priced) to fill all of the spots.

                            It's been suggested that the way to handle catcher scarcity is, if the worst catcher is worth $-4, to add $5 to all 24 draftable catchers, shifting $120 draft dollars into the pool of crummy players that are catcher eligible. This seems nuts; everyone worth $1 or less will simply sell for a buck, maybe two. It's a game theory problem, not a marginal return problem.
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                            • #29
                              Patrick, this is for a points league (points correlate with runs created- scoring system in post#10). There is no such thing as a top 14 player at any position who has negative value. Even if a top 14 player projected for negative points, he would still have positive $value over the #15 player at his position because he would get you less negative points.

                              I've never played in a traditional roto league. Does it not work this way? I would have thought that if you have to draft a catcher than you are better off spending more than $1 on, say, the #8 catcher in a 12 team league even if he is a drag on your BA or whatever since the #12 catcher will drag it down even more if you get stuck with him.
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                              • #30
                                I'm with Jdwexler on this debate (and, J.D., I play in a Rotisserie scoring format and it doesn't change the nature of the debate).

                                Originally posted by PD@HQ View Post
                                I don't see that it is a flaw if any valuation system turns out Catchers (or anyone else) with negative values. If we pay the minimum $1 for the last catcher and he bats .190 with 0 HR and 12 RBI and 0 SB in 250 AB, he's a negative-value player. He will drag down our BA considerably while not adding points anywhere else. The fact that a fantasy league has a (completely separate) pricing system that obliges us to pay $1 for this negative value doesn't change the fact that it's still negative value. If we know that the 24th catcher is a -$12 value, we are guaranteed an $11 loss on that player, which seems to be useful intelligence on the market as an incentive to get a catcher who comes closer to providing positive value or, at least, less negative value.

                                I do see a flaw in the proposed position-based valuation system: If the last catcher is 0-12-0-.190 (250) and the last CI is 11-55-3-.265 (250), it feels absurd that we say they are both $1 players.
                                First off, when you say in italics that he is a negative-value player, it's not different from when Matt says a player really is a negative value player. It's a conclusion, not an argument.

                                Let's assume to make the illustrations clear cut that we're in a world where all fantasy owners share the same projections. That is a common unstated assumption of assigning dollar values to projections.

                                One problem is that we are buying roster slots, not the actual player's statistics. If the last catcher to be drafted is projected for 0-12-0-.190 (250) and will (as is likely without doing any math) have value worse than having an open roster slot, then the fantasy owner who purchases this stinky catcher for $1 will immediately after the draft reserve him and work with an open batting spot if the rules let him do so. The dollar value of that last catcher should have been based on the value of the option of MAX(stinky catcher, open roster slot, better catcher that might appear in the pool during the season). In practice, we seldom value those options (the Custom Draft Guide doesn't, RotoLab doesn't), but an extreme example like our stinky catcher, it's throwing off the values substantially.

                                My point here is if you are saying that how can someone worse than a vacant roster slot be valued for a dollar, then I would answer the problem is not "forced positions is wrong" but the problem is that we shouldn't value stinky catcher based on his own production but rather based on the expected production from the roster slot as a whole.

                                Originally posted by usualsuspects View Post
                                THIS!

                                Just because there are rules about who has to be rostered from the player pool, does not mean that the player pool has some kind of obligation to provide us with positively valued (versus priced) to fill all of the spots.

                                It's been suggested that the way to handle catcher scarcity is, if the worst catcher is worth $-4, to add $5 to all 24 draftable catchers, shifting $120 draft dollars into the pool of crummy players that are catcher eligible. This seems nuts; everyone worth $1 or less will simply sell for a buck, maybe two. It's a game theory problem, not a marginal return problem.
                                OK, so let's worth through an illustration. You are in an auction league with just two fantasy owners and you each must roster a 1B and a C and you each have $5 to spend. You and your opponent share the same projections. There are no adds and drops allowed during the season. The pool looks like this according to your draft software with the forced positions option turned off:
                                1B - $5
                                1B - $3
                                1B - $1
                                C - $1
                                C - ($4)
                                C - ($5)

                                Your opponent, with the same projections and same software, turns on the forced positions option and his dollar values are reallocated as follows:
                                1B - $2.71
                                1B - $1
                                1B - ($0.71)
                                C - $5.29
                                C - $1
                                C - $0.14

                                So let's return to the issues as you framed them. Whose dollar values seem nuts? Is it the case that all catchers will simply sell for a buck, maybe two? Is this a game theory problem or a marginal return problem?
                                "If you never guess wrong, you're not guessing about hard enough things." -- Jordan Ellenberg

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