So at this time every year I talk about not overreacting to just two weeks of data. How most players who are averaging over 120 are going to average a lot less by the end of the season. How a lot of players are going to end up averaging a lot more by the end of the season then they are now. The whole small data samples and regression to the mean stuff.
How about if I am new to this? Don’t new people deserve to hear about those things?
Yeah, well, fair. I will sum up.
Small data samples are when you have so few pieces of data that you can’t count on what you have being an accurate representation of something.
Say you roll two dice 500 times and then you roll them 500 more. Odds are high that they will average about 7, which is what two dice should average. The more you roll, the more likely they will end up averaging 7. But let’s say you roll those dice twice and get a 12 and a 10. That averages 11! Those must be the dice to get if you want to roll high, right? Well, no, you just happened to roll a 12 and a 10, which are both possible. So the dice, being true, will average 7 or very close to given more changes, meaning a bigger sample size.
Are those dice named “Tex” and “Walker” by any chance?
Well, I guess they are now if you want. I don’t name my six siders.
You name your twenty-siders though.
Well of course I name my twenty-siders! I just don’t name my six siders, I’m not a psycho!
Anyways, small sample size means what looks like a good or bad start might really be just random. If it is, they will probably go back to averaging what they should for the rest of the season. If you plan to roll two dice twenty two times, they should average 7. If the first two rolls are 21 and 10, then the next twenty should still average 7, but the average for the whole 22 would be 7.36.
Shouldn’t the dice roll lower so they end up averaging 7?
Nope. That is not how it works. They are expected to average 7 from here on out, but the previous results have no effect on that. The idea that past results will affect future results is called the Gambler’s Fallacy.
But AFL player’s are not dice!
Obvious and yet a great point. We don’t know for certain what an AFL player “should” average. We might have ideas but they are often wrong, and we can’t for sure tell the difference between a player who average 100 because they should average100, and one that averaged 100 but should have averaged 90. That makes it fun!
So, bit of a long sum up, sorry.
What I really want to talk about is trying to put what has happened so far this season into a good context before making any moves.
You forgot the making moves is bad unless it isn’t bad part.
Yes, um to sum up again. Trades are very, very valuable. You need to spend them wisely. I think of trades as oxygen, if you run out before your need for them runs out, it goes badly. That’s why it is so important to trade wisely and only when you can really benefit.
So, that context thing.
Hopefully, before we selected our teams, we thought about who we expected to do well and why. Also who we did not expect to do well and why. Maybe not for every player, but for lots of them. What matters as far as trading in and out, is not as much their scores, as did anything fundamental change with that player to change our assessments.
Isn’t someone’s scores being way off what we expected a clue?
Sure! I would at least want to look into any player I own who is way underperforming, and all the ones I don’t own who are way overperforming. For examples, Cripps. If Cripps looked fine and scored an 88 & 82, that would suck for his owners, but there also might be reasons. Extra frees against, or bad DE, or just things not going his way. That pretty much calls for holding him. No point in spending a trade on someone who will come right back and score well for the rest of the season.
Like Grundy after round 1?
But, if you watched Paddy play, in both games he earned a “Hank Hill”
He did not look right and it didn’t look like luck. We were guessing something was wrong based on how he looked not right. It turns out he is playing hurt. That information means he is not an automatic hold, but a possible out. Same with Neale. There is a reason his low scores are a clue to a real change in ability, at least for a while, and that means he goes from hold to trade.
That clue thing can go the other way too. If say, Callum Mills and Andrew Brayshaw put up two scores well over their previous averages, that is evidence of an expected / hoped for change. Mills did move from defense to the mids, so he is scoring more. Brayshaw could be expected to improve and do better with more Fyfe up forward, and he is. Will they both end up averaging over 120 the rest of the season? I’d be surprised. Are they both real chances to average 110-115 from here on out? Yes, and their having done well is some evidence of that.
But, speaking of Brayshaw, last season he started off really badly, with a 78.5 average over his first four games. Many people jumped off, including me. Then he went for 106.4 for the rest of the season. If we had picked him for a 100+ average for the cost of a 70.5 average, and backed ourselves, we would have gotten a 101.3 average guy at a huge discount. But, had to stick with the plan in the face of a scary start.
Jordan Ridley is an example of the other sort of fellow to watch for. I don’t think many people expected him to break out last year, but suddenly he was. Like Oliver his second year. Anyone with the guts to grab him early did very well from it. I’ll note players who actually sustain jumps like that are usually young or even very young. Old is not impossible but if you are going to back an old guy to make a big jump in output, have a very good reason.
There is no rule that you can safely follow. Most of the rules are really more like guidelines. Don’t sideways premiums – Unless you have a darn good reason.
Oh and as this is Cow Talk, on cows. Bringing in really good cows is often worth a sideways trade. We have three cygnets and one imp that look worth getting in at the cost of a trade. Maybe some other guys depending on your situation. Well, Flynn, but we all have him, right? And maybe Highmore maybe. You have to make a lot of cash from a traded-in cow to make up for the trade you used to bring the him cow in. Generally going from a bad cow to a good cow is worth it Going from a medium cow to a good cow, or a bad cow to a medium cow is not worth it. Needs to be two steps up.
Two step? I thought people danced with Wolves, not cows?
I thought it was waltzing with Bears?
Oh! Oh! How about Hambo with Hamsters!
It’s Swedish and traditional!
Moving on,…um, don’t make small moves with cows. Big ones yes, small ones no.
Bringing in Tex Walker as a cow-like Object? I mean, that is really dodgy advice, but I fear this time that is actually just bad advice. Of course I may just be having flashbacks to 2015, when a still mostly clueless me brought him in after his 177 in round one, and then, um, I can’t think about it. It was bad, very bad. I leave that up to you all
Is bringing in Tex Walker as a Cow-like Object dodgy advice
- Yeah, pretty much dodgy all right. (39%, 94 Votes)
- No, that was bad advice! Tex is a Bum Steer! (35%, 84 Votes)
- No, that was good advice! Moo Tex Moo! (26%, 62 Votes)
Total Voters: 240
Well, just remember “You knew he was Tex Walker when you took him!”
Remember the Cow Talk guarantee: “All predictions wrong or triple your money back!” (Offer not valid if money is actually involved.)
I am time zonally challenged. When Cow Talk goes live, I’m probably asleep, so replies from me may take a while.
Thanks for reading!
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