Fantasy Nihlism: The Early Bird Gets the Worm Edition

Posted on July 3, 2013 by

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As we prepare to enter our 8th year of the TCFFL, we here at Fantasy Nihlism would like to keep the excitement and optimism in check.  Remember there is only 1 champion, and your team is likely to let you down at the worst time.  You first round pick will get injured.  Your sleeper will be a bust.  And the Cinicinnati Bow-Ties, with yet another Top-5 pick, are going to win the championship yet again.  Speaking of draft picks, we wanted to analyze the draft from a historical perspective.  But as always, we will answer a question from the interwebs!

Dear Fantasy Nihilism,

Thanks for your truthful posts. Fantasy Football will suck the joy from your body.  My question is where does the phrase “the early bird catches the worm” come from?  Thanks in advance.

Ted in Portland, ME

Thanks for your question, Ted. It is fairly easy to find the origin of the phrase “the early bird catches the worm.” It first appears in print in 1670. It is found in A Collection of English Proverbs by John Ray. It says, “The early bird catcheth the worm.” Being that the title contains the word “proverbs,” it is obvious that this phrase was considered proverbial in 1670. However, there are no traces to an earlier origin, so it is likely that it was passed down by mouth and the true origin is not known.

But more important than the origin is its meaning, something along the lines of: those who act first are rewarded the most hansomely.  Which brings me back to the purpose of this article.  The question we want to answer is: does draft position matter?  There are a few ways we will look at this in terms of overall records.

Here is a table that shows every draft position and average for all of the current teams:

2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 Average
Blue Pulaski’s   Boys 1 4 11 4 7 1 12 5.71
Boobies in   America 7 1 9 8 11 5 3 6.29
Cincinnati   Bow-Ties 6 8 1 1 5 2 4 3.86
Dumblethor’s   Army 3 7 12 6 9 9 7.67
Italian Ice 3 3 12 10 7.00
Jackie Paper   Thin Skins 2 6 10 9 8 3 5 6.14
Pacific Island   Boys 8 11 12 11 1 7 11 8.71
Pitness   Initiative 3 9 3 6 9 10 2 6.00
Ronald Weasels 2 2 10 11 6 6.20
SHOWTIME 9 12 5 7 2 4 1 5.71
TWCQAFC 5 4 5 12 8 8 7.00
Weekend at   Bernie’s 10 2 6 10 4 6 7 6.43

It should be noted that in 2007 there were only 10 teams (poor Jeff).  Since 2008 (the first year at 12 teams), average drafts positions (ADP) look like this:

Team ADP
Blue Pulaski’s   Boys 6.50
Boobies in   America 6.17
Cincinnati   Bow-Ties 3.50
Dumblethor’s   Army 7.67
Italian Ice 7.00
Jackie Paper   Thin Skins 6.83
Pacific Island   Boys 8.83
Pitness   Initiative 6.50
Ronald Weasels 6.20
SHOWTIME 5.17
TWCQAFC 7.00
Weekend at   Bernie’s 5.83

We want to analyze all-time records, so we will include 2010.  This table includes ADP and all time winning percentage.

Team ADP Rank All-Time Win % Rank
Blue   Pulaski’s Boys 5.71 2 58.23 3
Boobies in   America 6.29 7 45.57 9
Cincinnati   Bow-Ties 3.86 1 67.09 1
Dumblethor’s   Army 7.67 11 31.82 12
Italian Ice 7.00 9 64.10 2
Jackie Paper   Thin Skins 6.14 6 54.43 4
Pacific   Island Boys 8.71 12 40.51 10
Pitness   Initiative 6.00 4 46.84 7
Ronald   Weasels 6.20 5 50.00 6
SHOWTIME 5.71 2 54.43 4
TWCQAFC 7.00 9 37.70 11
Weekend at   Bernie’s 6.43 8 46.84 7

The three worst teams according to winning percentage also have the three worst ADP: Dumblethor’s Army – ADP rank: 11, Win%: 12, TWCQAFC – ADP Rank: T9, Win% : 11, Pacific Island Boys: ADP rank: 12, Win % rank: 10.  Conversely, the Cinncinatti Bow-Ties have both the best ADP rank and win percentage. It should be noted that Italian Ice have the 3rd worst ADP, but the 2nd best win percentage.  We can already hear Will crying “See! Irrelevant!” But, in addition to Pinto’s great draft days, it is important to remember that there is an exception to every rule.  Look at how close the ADP ranks are to winning % ranks! Except for the excellent Italian Ice, all teams are within 3 spots, and outside of Italian Ice and Pitness Initiative, all are within 2!

So what’s the point? Correlation does not always equal causation, but we would argue in this case it does.  Also, look how ridiculously awesome the Bow-Ties’ draft poisitions have been.  Their ADP is almost 2 whole points higher than the second-ranked BPB.  Ugh.  I guess that’s the real point.  The rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and I’m left here to rot away at my third 11th pick, and fourth at 11 or 12.  I hate the early birds…

 

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