Why OWL Stats are Averaged

Statistically speaking, when we have a collection of data, we have the following ways to aggregate it: MIN, MAX, AVERAGE, and SUM. In this article, we break down why AVERAGE is the option we chose for Fantasy Overwatch and currently the default in DraftBuff leagues. Like all products, ours is constantly evolving and we’re open to customer feedback. As a platform, we want to support as much customization for our league commissioners as possible. We have a public roadmap that has the MAX suggestion here so if this is something you want to support, please upvote it and we’ll assess its priority accordingly.

At DraftBuff, we want scoring to be fun, fair and consistent. Fantasy is obviously a game, so fun is essential, but it also has a competitive aspect to it, so being fair and consistent is very important to us. We value consistency because we think when drafting, you want to draft the best player over an entire season – so variations are less important than the consistent value they provide to your team over the course of the whole year.

So, let’s break down the options presented to us. First, we can start by throwing MIN out. We’re not playing golf here. If you want the worst scoring players on your team, well I might have a team for you…

Next is SUM. SUM is a great scoring system for certain leagues! It’s as close to fantasy football as possible, and it’s definitely the least confusing. However, here’s a week by week overview of the OWL schedule, thanks to TotemlyDrunk.

Image courtesy of Totemlydrunk

As you can see, the OWL schedule is all over the place. Choosing SUM basically just becomes a game of stacking all the players who have as many matches played as possible. For Week 1, SF Shock went 3-1 over Dallas Fuel and that’s the only match they play Week 1&2. Dallas went 0-2 in Week 1, also losing to LA Valiant 1-3 for a 2-6 total map count. Taking a SUM means every player on Fuel has higher fantasy points than the Shock players purely by the fact that they played 4 more maps. Did the fuel players actually play better than the Shock players? Probably not, considering they just lost 2 series. As you get further into the season, this gets exacerbated even more. Florida plays 4 matches in Week 7&8 vs Houston’s 1. On my fantasy team, I would just drop every Houston player and pick up every Florida player, regardless of skill.
Thus, SUM is a no SUM game for OWL (…yeah I went there).

Okay, last up is MAX. Other fantasy platforms call this BEST. MAX has some advantages: fantasy scores can never go down so as a viewer, it’s pretty. It seems to avoid some of the problem of SUM – playing more games doesn’t necessarily mean more points. However, statistically speaking, there’s still an unfair advantage due to scheduling. Teams that play more times are going to have more chances to improve their stats and teams that play against easy teams are going to be able to pad their stats. As an example, Week 3 Houston plays Boston and NYXL. Let’s say Houston puts on a show against Boston and then gets demolished by NYXL. If we went with a MAX approach, the Houston players ended up with a pretty good performance fantasy wide. However, they then got wrecked by NY. Is their fantasy score really a reflection of how the players did that week? Harder to say. It awards burst performances over consistency, and the more often a player plays over a two week period, the more likely they are to have a higher score. It’s certainly a decent option for deciding scoring, but has some flaws as well.

Thus, that leaves AVERAGE. It has its disadvantages: a really good match followed by a really bad match means your fantasy score goes down, which can be surprising. (Why did my fantasy score go down after my players played more!). But in our opinion, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages:

  • It avoids the problem of playing a different amount of matches per week
  • It is a holistic measure of how a player did over the entire weekend
  • It awards consistency over burst performances

The next question becomes, what do I AVERAGE on? For OWL, there would be 3 potential options: Time, Maps, and Matches. There are pro/cons for all 3, but we decided on Matches for a key reason: Time and Maps suffer from the problem of specialist players. For us, players who only come in for certain situations shouldn’t be as highly valued in fantasy because they aren’t as consistent as an every map player. So Matches, although flawed in certain ways (a player who goes 3-2 may score higher than a 3-0 player) was the best compromise for us.

At the end of the day, we’re looking to give you as the player, the most control as possible. So if there’s scoring systems that you’d prefer, let us know! We’d like to add more options as we keep iterating and improving our product.