The basics without a pile of tables and numbers
Bleeping magnets, how do they work? Well, you can look that up if you care. Supercoach prices, how do they work? Sadly, we can’t really look that up. But, while we don’t know exactly, we have some data, and I have spent some quality time with that data. (Ahhhh data, I have missed you so!)
Firstly, every season the Gods of Supercoach (mock them at your peril) come up with a magic number for that season. When you multiply the magic number by a player’s average from last season you get their price for this season. Well, you get it after rounding to the nearest $100. How do we know this? First we can prove it with math. Second, this was stated explicitly on an official AFL podcast!
Some players get a discount applied based on the whims of the Gods. In theory they have An Angle, (Steeeeern!) but in practice they do not always follow the rules as we know them. You can figure out if a player has been discounted and by how much if you multiply their average by the magic number and subtracting their real price from that. If the difference is less than $50, it is from rounding. If it is more, that is the discounted amount.
(The story of how I figured out this year’s Magic Number cut and moved after the main stuff because long)
Once the season starts, prices start to change. New prices are based on the current price and the average of the last 3 scores, and the magic number. The base formula is [ (Current-Price * .75) + (Average-of-the-last-three-scores * .25 * Magic-Number) * Weekly-Multiplier] So the current price counts for ¾ of the new price and the last three scores average counts for ¼. The weekly multiplier changes week to week. As best as I could determine from reading my hamster’s entrails, The Gods of Supecoach want to keep the total of all player’s salaries the same each week. Since prices as a whole tend to rise over the season, thanks to cow growth, that means in order to keep the total the same, every week all prices need to be scaled back. This is why premium player prices drop even if they keep the same average as they had the previous season.
(The story of how I determined that there is a multiplier and not a change to the magic number cut and moved even farther below, past the “how I figured out the magic number” bit.)
How much do players drop from the multiplier? At the start of Week 10 all player prices last season were around 5.5% lower than they would have been without it. Exactly how far varies a little; I think from repeated rounding.
I have yet to figure out exactly, or even mostly, how this is affected by the byes. It is one of those things that I want to know, but I don’t want to spend the time on that when there are more useful things I can work on.
Note that at least in past seasons, the breakevens provided by Supercoach Gold do *not* take the multiplier fully into account and are therefore a little bit low. Since the multiplier can’t be calculated until after a round finishes it makes sense that it can’t be completely accounted for. That means all of the breakevens SC Gold provides are a little bit low. I have run into cases of players exactly making their breakeven and then not actually breaking even, which was a Clue. (Mr. Crowley, on the pitch, with the hard tag.)
Oh, almost forgot. I am often asked how much is one point worth? Without the multiplier a point would be worth $453. With the multiplier, I would use 445, remembering that the exact amount changes every week. (Arrg!)
The story of how I figured out this season’s magic number, as not told to Shahryār by Scheherazade because he’d have killed her for being a witch if she tried to talk about Supercoach, plus probably boring.
Let’s figure out this season’s magic number. We’ll start at the top with Dangerfield. His price is $716,900 and his average was 131.77. Do the math ( 716,900 / 131.77) and we get 5440.54. Now since there is rounding we can’t say that is the exact number, which everyone has assumed is a whole number anyways. Easy to check. When we try going down: 5440 * 131.77 = 716,828.8 which rounds down to 716,800, which is not his real price. So then we round up and try 5441 * 131.77 = 716960.57 which rounds up to 717,000 which is also not his real price….rut-ro Shaggy!
It turns out the magic number does not have to be a whole number! Since computers are used to do all in-game calculations, there is no reason not to use the stuff to the right of the decimal point; computers are not fazed by such things. Thank you Patrick Dangerfield for an average that made that clear.
How do we find out the real number? Since the higher average players are the most sensitive to it, I took a whole pile of them, divided their average into their prices, averaged that, and then checked to see if that test magic number gave back their actual prices. And it all would have worked if it wasn’t for those meddling kids! Well, Heath Shaw and Dustin Martin. I had what looked like a perfectly good number, 5440.7 to be exact, but when I ran the formula for them Shaw came out $57.8 higher than his real price, meaning rounding would result in a price $100 too high. But Dusty came out $57.3 too low, meaning rounding would result in a price $100 too low. And if I changed the number to make one of them correct, the other one became more wrong, which meant I swore a lot and scared my hamster.
One of the things I have run into when doing price calculations is that they are pretty sensitive and small changes in a number can end up making a noticeable difference. Most of the time this doesn’t matter much. Being $100 off when estimating a price change three weeks away is essentially irrelevant – but I still end up going 5 or 6 to the right of the decimal sometimes when working on Cow Talk….and into my spreadsheet I had plugged in the averages posted on the Supercoach site, which only went out two…..
So, I complicatified my spreadsheet by using total score and games played to get the average that went into the formula, and the problem went away! Thanks to the divine were said, boozeahol was consumed!
The highest it can be with the 23 players I looked at is 5440.8071704 and the lowest it could be is 5440.677265. The average of those is 5440.7422177. That is so much more precise than will matter, I don’t even want to think about it. At this point I decided to use 5440.742, which is still maybe too much but a computer is doing most of my math too, so what the heck! My 23 player sample chart can be seen below. In theory, I could keep trying players and see if I can find any more outliers to help narrow it down, but at this point I don’t think it is useful enough to spend time on. We could use 5441 and get decent results, so while I like the increased accuracy, further refinement won’t change any conclusions of research done with this. Note that all the errors below are within the range needed to round correctly.
The story of how I figured out that the price drop are done with a multiplier, rather than by the magic number changing.
I have been using a multiplier for Cow Talk because it worked pretty well, but to be sure, I decided to check by using both methods to try and recreate last season data. I started with Treloar for no particular reason. His first few weeks as below.
The number under price was calculated using a new magic number, 5082. The starting Magic number for 2016 was about 5396.09. So, I then used the same formula to calculate Gawn’s first price change.
Ruh-Ro again. Gawn is $1,128 off! That’s huge. For Gawn’s price to be correct with a MN change and no multiplier, the magic number would have to be 5120, which is 38 different from the Treloar number.
I tried with Dangerfield and he was off by $1,132. I checked Pendles and he was off $673 in the other direction. The first two comparisons were enough really, but clearly changing the magic number does not work out.
When I used what looks like the 2016 W3 multiplier Treloar was off -41, Gawn 11, Danger -11, and Pendles 32. All rounding to the correct number. Who Hoo!
Any questions? Don’t hesitate to ask!
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