Fantasy Analysts as Ad Hoc Projection Systems

The job of a fantasy analyst is simply to make player projections.

Every time they are ranking players, this is really all they are doing. In their head, on the fly, they are generating a statline, adjusting for age, and reducing everything to a single value. It’s amazing what a good analyst can do intuitively, unaware of all of the calculations they are making.

When projecting, fantasy analysts have a big advantage over computer algorithms. They have some valuable information that (most) algorithms aren’t (yet) considering. Swinging strike rate. Barrel rate. A nagging hamstring that the manager mentioned to the press. Of course, the algorithms are always seeking to improve and incorporate useful data.

The downside of an analyst’s projection, of course, is that there’s a lot there for a human mind to keep track of. And it’s easy for some piece of information to get forgotten, or too much weight placed on another datapoint. Computer projections always have room to improve, while human projections are already at their limit.