Sunday, August 21, 2016

2016 Fantasy Olympics Medals & Conclusion

As we wrap-up Fantasy Olympics 2016 I thought I'd go ahead an merge our final results with an introductory strategy guide for those who join us in 2020. While Fantasy Olympics was created to be a relatively simple competition, draft strategies have continued to evolve.

It was an Olympics full of emotion, chaotic results, thrilling outcomes and some of the best moments we've seen in sports, and it carried through to Fantasy as we saw dramatic improvement and new personal bests. Let's start with a review of our Fantasy Olympics records.

The Records

The vast majority of anyone's success in Fantasy Olympics is determined by the time the country draft is complete. Sure, once you've picked all your countries, anything might happen, but more often than not success comes from planning for likely scenarios and positioning for a high scoring potential.

While a draft strategy of taking the best country available can be effective, it will often leave you with a lot of scoring potential you won't be able to use. At a high level, there are three basic draft strategies one might implement with any given draft pick after you've made your initial draft pick.
  • Supplement your weaknesses
  • Complement your strengths
  • Target team events
Supplement your weaknesses: No matter what countries you draft, you'll inevitably have trouble competing for medals for 16 straight days. Your first draft pick may give you 5-10 strong medal opportunities while your second pick might add a few more. But after several rounds of the draft, it can be challenging to find a medal contender on some of those empty, desolate, scoreless days in which your starting countries won't help you.

The clear benefit of this draft strategy is at it routinely gives you an event to choose, even if the likelihood of success isn't strong. It's a strategy that can pay off if your country has a breakthrough silver medal performance but it can easily disappoint when you're stuck relying on that one athlete in that one event on that one day to maybe beat the odds to earn a bronze medal.

Fantasy Olympics Record:
Most Days Scored (Out of 16)

Current Record: 12 Days - Richard, Alex (2012)

2016 Results:

12 Days - Daniel (WR)
12 Days - Angela (WR)
11 Days - Matt

Complement your strengths: A second draft strategy is to just go all-in on events; draft your first country and then seek out countries that excel in Olympic disciplines you already intend on choosing. Most event choices are made by players betting on a single dominant country to win a presumed gold or silver, an approach that has a scoring ceiling of 4 to 6 points, multiple medals can lead to scores of 8, 10 or the elusive 12pt G/S/B medal sweep.

In addition to higher scoring potential, doubling down and drafting for country synergy offers a form of insurance; it is far more reassuring to select an event with multiple medal hopefuls.

It's downsides can be equally uncomfortable. First, it is difficult to coordinate multiple medal as it is; finding a crossroads where two countries complement one another in more than just one event is sometimes not possible. 

Second, the dominance of one country can diminish another scoring opportunity (Kenya and Ethiopia often run as "teams" in individual races; sweeping medals and pushing one another off the podium in long-distance events, making my 2012 Kenya/Ethiopia combo ineffective.)

This is the most difficult strategy to pull off, but there is nothing quite like the 10 point payoff of gold and silver on a day where other players top out at 6 points.

Fantasy Olympics Record:
Most Multi-Medal Events

Current Record: 2 Events - Richard, Matt (2012)

2016 Results:

4 Events - Alex (WR)
3 Events - Richard
2 Events - Jeff C.

Target Team Event Scoring: Probably the easiest to execute draft strategy is to target medal favorites in one of the active team events. The upsides are plentiful; it doesn't force you to commit to an event, as you don't have to choose anything to score for them. Team events also offer greater scoring potential as medals are worth at least 50% more points in these events.

The downside is that a strong country chosen for this purpose may offer an all-or-nothing gamble, as it may have missed out on its very specific purpose and have limited remaining potential in other events (i.e. Fiji in Rugby).

Fantasy Olympics Record:
Most Points in Team Events

Current Record: 29 points - Matt (2012)

2016 Results:

25 Points - Alex
19 Points - Daniel
16 Points - Jeff S.

The Medal Count

1. International Draft: These medals go to the top draft scouts; those finding the right talent at the right time in the flurry of activity during the country draft. Not only do you have to pick countries that have the right potential, but those countries must still perform.

2016 Standings:

  Daniel (+34.286 DVOA)   Alex (+9.556)   Matt (+8.597)

2012 Results:
  Richard (+21.422 DVOA)   Angela (+16.964)   Matt (+14.844)

The Formula: DVOA (Draft Value Over Average) is a formula in which the final scoring of each draft pick is evaluated against the countries drafted around it. Drafting a country that scores 20pts may be right around average for the first round, but have a very high DVOA if you can find that 20pt hidden gem late in the draft. If a country outperforms its draft value, you have a positive number. Sum all of your countries together to get your player total.

2. Performance Index: Once the draft is over the next challenge begins. You still need to put your roster in the right position to succeed. Since you can only pick one of three events to score each day, there are two events that you'll miss out on. With the frequency of upsets, breakthrough performances, injuries, disqualifications and chaotic outcomes in the Olympics, it is a constant challenge to anticipate your best scoring opportunity each day.

2016 Standings:

  Richard (100%)   Alex (94.12%)   Matt (93.33%)

2012 Results:
  Matt (89.66%)   Alex (88.89%)   Richard (88.24%)

The Formula: Percentages are based on your score divided by your maximum potential score, ignoring all team event scoring (as in those, you don't have to make any choices). If you can pick the best event for your countries on all 16 days you'd get 100%, something no one was able to do even 90% in 2012.

3. Overall Performance: Finally, we bring it all together for our final scoring standings. Thank you to everyone for participating - I always have a great time doing this and I hope you enjoyed it too. We'll do it all over again for Tokyo in 2020.

2016 Standings:

  Alex (89 Pts)   Daniel (77 Pts)   Richard (64 Pts)

4. Matt (59 Pts)
5. Angela (56 Pts)
6. Jeff C. (44 Pts)
7. Jeff S. (32 Pts)

2012 Results:
  Richard (86 Pts)   Matt (81 Pts)   Alex (67 Pts)

Other Stats:

Top Undrafted Selections in 2016:
Belgium - 8 Pts
Independent Olympic Athletes - 6 Pts
Algeria - 4 Pts
Thailand - 4 Pts

Top 10 Draft Picks All-Time (2nd Rnd or Later):

16.222 DVOA - Netherlands (Daniel) - Selected 13th (2016)
14.222 DVOA - Japan (Richard) - Selected 12th (2012)
13.778 DVOA - Italy (Angela) - Selected 9th (2012)
12.222 DVOA - Czech Rep. (Matt) - Selected 27th (2012)
11.778 DVOA - Germany (Jeff C.) - Selected 9th (2016)
11.667 DVOA - Denmark (Daniel) - Selected 37th (2016)
11.111 DVOA - France (Matt) - Selected 7th (2012)
8.667 DVOA - Canada (Angela) - Selected 18th (2012)
8.111 DVOA - Romania (Matt) - Selected 20th (2012)
8.000 DVOA - Croatia (Alex) - Selected 18th (2016)

Career Fantasy Olympics Medal Standings (2012 + 2016)









Monday, July 11, 2016

Fantasy Olympics 2016 Overview

Welcome to the 2016 Fantasy Olympics! We're bringing it back from 2012 with only a few minor changes. As a benefit to all of us (myself included) here is a review of how it all works:

While NBC's Olympic television coverage would suggest the USA is the only country competing, Fantasy Olympics is all about rooting for those countries you know very little about competing in athletic events you didn't know existed.

Fantasy Olympics is a low time-consumption competition in which participants can put in as much or as little effort as they would like. It consists of two main activities, a draft before the Olympics and a daily choice during the Olympics.

  • The Country Draft (Pre-Olympics) - During the month of July we will take turns drafting a small selection of countries and this effectively will become your Olympic roster and you score points for their medal success.
  • The Event Selection (During the Olympics) - During each of 16 days of the Olympics there will be three select Olympic events awarding medals. Each player will select one of the three events and will score for all of their countries that medal in that event. See schedule below:

The Details

The Country Draft:

  • There will be five rounds of the draft, everyone will select at least five countries.
  • First round draft order will be generated via random number generator.
  • It is a snake-style draft (it will reverse order for the second round).
  • With historical dominance from the big three (US, China, Russia), additional late-round picks will be given to players who don't end up with the a top three draft pick.
The Event Selection:
  • Each day of the Olympics will have three events available to select from.
  • You will select one of the three events.
  • The will score for any and all of your countries that medal in the event you select.
    • Gold medal Gold = 6 points
    • Silver medal Silver = 4 points
    • Bronze medal Bronze = 2 points
  • In the instance that a single country earns multiple medals in an event, only one medal will count.

Let's look at some examples:

2012 Men's 200m (T&F) Olympic Medalists:
Gold medal   Jamaica
Silver medal   Jamaica
Bronze medal   Jamaica

In 2012, if a player drafted Jamaica and selected this event, only Usain Bolt's Gold medal (6 points) would count. No points for the additional medals for Jamaica.

Now let's say you were building a strategy around distance events on the schedule and decided to draft the countries of Kenya & Ethiopia specifically for their historically dominant distance athletes:

2012 Women's 5000m (T&F) Olympic Medalists:
Gold medal   Ethiopia
Silver medal   Kenya
Bronze medal   Ethiopia
Assuming you drafted both Ethiopia/Kenya and selected this event on the schedule, you would earn a total of 10 points, Ethiopia's Gold Medal (6 points) and Kenya's Silver Medal (4 points). The Bronze medal is disregarded as Ethiopia may only score one medal this event (Gold).

Team Events:

Lastly, the event schedule focuses on a lot of events that take place over the course of a single day. This leaves out many events that take place over the course of the Olympics like Basketball, Golf or Tennis. Four of these events were also selected:
  • Men's Beach Volleyball
  • Women's Field Hockey
  • Men's Water polo
  • Men's Handball
You don't have to do anything for these events (other than consider drafting countries that might medal), but they reward slightly more points to countries that medal:
  • Gold medal Team Gold = 10 points
  • Silver medal Team Silver = 6 points
  • Bronze medal Team Bronze = 3 points

If you'd like to revisit the London games you can find our closing summary here. Draft order is coming soon. If you're curious what 2012's draft looked like: