My columns so far this year have not focused on analysis or holistic evaluation of players, but on cliché-like angles.
Why are we wasting your time with angle shooting? In my days as a serious horseplayer, angle shooting was a source of great profit and the process of evaluating horses is virtually identical to that of evaluating baseball players. The process here is not to focus on “accuracy” or “being right.” We are after cold, hard profit.
There are two sources of profit: being right more often than others is the first. If your projections are more accurate or your decision-making process is better than others overall you will grind out a small profit on a per player basis depending on how much you are better than others at the margins. That seems self evident; if you are, on average $0.25 more accurate in dollar value projections then over the course of 100 players you will have earned a decent profit. The second source of profit is what we are after when it comes to angle shooting, namely the large profit that comes from hitting a home run where others miss. This is where fantasy owners go wrong in my view. They are overly concerned with the first source of profit.
Go ahead right now and look at almost any roto website (ED. Do not look at any other roto website). The overwhelming focus will be on player evaluations and projections. They will be focused on making the “percentage play” that is right more often. The focus will be on accuracy and that is important, but wrong. Being right is only half of the equation. After all it is not accuracy that determines fantasy victory or horse racing profit or success in any other skill-based gambling endeavor for that matter. Betting on a proposition that will be wrong 90% of the time may very well be a tremendously profitable play if the reward is high enough. That is how money is earned in any gambling endeavor. It is not just by being correct more often but by being correct for big profits when others are wrong.
What I discovered when handicapping the horses was that profit came overwhelmingly from hitting long shots. Because of the parimutuel system of horse racing, the odds are determined by how much money is bet on a horse compared to the overall pool. If the public vastly underestimates a particular horse there is profit to be made.
That is virtually identical to what we have in fantasy auctions and to a lesser extent in drafts. You can surely earn a profit by grinding out a better earn than everyone else in your league. The winner, though, is usually the guy that hits the home run and that is what we hope to do when we play angles like the Brad Radke Rule and the Overrated Outlier Angle, or the Age 25 With Experience Angle or a host of others. Like finding cheap speed on the rail in horse racing, playing the angle can lead to huge windfall profits on enough of a regular basis that they warrant your complete attention.