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)