Fantasy Football Modeling with R

October 17, 2013
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Boris Chen, a data scientist for the New York Times, has been running since August a weekly blog with statistical analysis of NFL players, as fodder for Fantasy Football players around the country. Here’s how he describes what he does: 

Boris Chen, a data scientist for the New York Times, has been running since August a weekly blog with statistical analysis of NFL players, as fodder for Fantasy Football players around the country. Here’s how he describes what he does: 

My model pulls aggregated expert rankings from fantasypros, and I pass that data into a machine learning clustering algorithm called a gaussian mixture model to find tiers of players each week. Then I plot them in two dimensional space and the result is charts that let you easily decide your line up each week.

He performs the analysis in the R language. He provides more detail about the model itself in a recent feature in the New York Times (and can I say how gratifying it is to see the words “Gaussian mixture model” in a mainstream newspaper article — and in the Sports section, no less!). The article, as is his regular blog posts, is illustrated with charts created using R‘s ggplot2 package such as this one:

NYT QB rankings

Yet another application of R to add to the list!

New York Times: Turning Advanced Statistics Into Fantasy Football Analysis (via reader JM)