How Many Fantasy Points Is Home Field Advantage Worth?
For the next several days you’re going to wake up to some interesting data. My original intent was to do this in one fell swoop but as is often the case, a small project grew as I got more into it (and figured out shortcuts to crunch the data). So I opted to focus on one element at a time. At the end we’ll cull everything together.
What am I talking about you ask?
You know that pricing and projections tool we’ve been describing? The one that takes an adjusted daily projection and converts it to fantasy points then turns that into a bang-for-the-buck dollar value? We’re going to pick apart the adjustment made to the baseline projection. I’ve recently discussed how handedness, home versus away and venue factors into the adjustment. Now we’re going to show you the impact using actual fantasy points. All of the variables will be held constant except one. We’ll then examine how changing that one variable influences the projected points for that day. The variables to be investigated include (in order of appearance):
- Home versus away
- Park factors
- Quality of opposition
We’ll go through this for both hitters and pitchers, starting with hitters. After we’re through each set of variables, they’ll all be looked at together. This way, you’ll have an idea of which variable trumps the others. For example, which is better, taking two equally skilled hitters that are both right-handed.
A. the first is at home facing a right handed pitcher in a neutral park
B. the other is on the road facing an equally skilled left-hander in a neutral park
This compares home/away to handedness. By the time we’re done, you’ll know the answer to every possible scenario. Of course, the pricing and projection tool does the math for you but there are instances where you need to use a little human touch and knowing the above relationships aids in making your decision.
What I’ve done is use Miguel Cabrera as the guinea pig. He gets to face a trio of Los Angeles Dodgers. Representing the elite will be Clayton Kershaw. The part of the average pitcher will be played by Dan Haren. The below replacement level model is Stephen Fife. But I’ve done something magical. Kershaw, Haren and Fife are equally as skilled (or non-skilled) throwing with either arm. Not only that, I hired a construction crew to make Comerica Park and Dodger Stadium into neutral parks. Actually, we’ve built five facsimiles of each:
- Extreme hitter park
- Good hitter park
- Neutral park
- Good pitcher park
- Extreme pitcher park
As we progress through the study, the purpose for each will become evident.
HOME VERSUS AWAY
The initial study will be rather simple. We’ll take Cabrera and match him up against the right-handed Dan Haren. They’ll square off in a neutral park, first the Comerica Park version giving Miggy home field advantage and then the Dodger Stadium model, which should favor Haren.
Current baseline projections for all involved will be used. The projected fantasy points for FanDuel (FD), Draft Street (DS) and Draft Kings (DK) will be determined.
So without further ado, here’s the initial set of data:
In mathematical terms, home field is worth about a 32 percent advantage for FanDuel, 27 percent for Draft Street and 25 percent for Draft Kings. The difference between sites is related to the scoring system but that's not particularly relevant. What's important is a player enjoys a significant advantage at home and now you have a ballpark idea of how much the home versus away aspect of a matchup is worth in terms of fantasy points.
Next time we're going to keep the venue the same but we'll invite the southpaw version of Haren to the party to quantify the advantage a player has against a pitcher of opposite handedness.
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Affectionately known as Lord Zola, Todd was the 2013 Fantasy Sports Writers Association recipient of the Fantasy Baseball Article of the Year, Web. He's been with Mastersball since its inception in 1997 and presently Todd writes for the ESPN Insider and Baseball HQ. Todd is a frequent guest on SiriusXM and is a regular on HQ Radio. He's a veteran of Tout Wars and LABR as well as a multi-time NFBC champion. Follow Todd on Twitter @ToddZola
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