HomeFantasyAugust Ratings Update - Part 2

August Ratings Update – Part 2

As noted a couple weeks ago, this August Ratings Update warranted some added analysis. Especially considering these are the ratings for Worlds.

Part One of the August Ratings Update was straightforward, with lists of elite FPO and MPO players and their notable rating increases or decreases. This second part promises to meander just enough to get off the beaten path of PDGA ratings.

In my modest amount of research, I found analysis of ratings from a fantasy perspective to be (quite) sparse. There’s plenty of info on just how flawed PDGA ratings appear to many people. I reckon player ratings will be forever a work in progress. From a fantasy perspective, the debate is settled, and we adapt to the latest numbers. We take the ratings as they come, making them work for our entertainment. Enhancing our love of the game, and our favorite athletes in the sport.

Player Ratings for Fantasy Disc Golf Are Our Currency

Each event, in re-draft fantasy leagues, we get a budget of 6000 (more or less) rating points to select 6 players, 4 from MPO and 2 from FPO. Spending the ratings budget benefits from wisdom and experience in fantasy. Many fans of pro disc golf are aware of player ratings, and may have their own player rating. For these fans, ratings as currency is foreign concept. Heck, even us in season draft leagues, treat ratings as an afterthought. Though us who participate in re-draft are every other week reviewing the 1020 MPO rated players as well as 940 FPO players. Our collective wisdom grows with each event, and each passing season.

From a fantasy perspective, players are assigned value in a myriad of ways, using weights and counter weights. The most fundamental, and rather intuitive value comes from player rating. It provides its own way of ranking the players, according to skill in the game. It’s also just deceptive, or enticing, enough to keep you on your toes. As Part 1 noted how top MPO rated Manabu Kajiyama (1056) could present a dilemma on selecting him over 2nd highest rated, Calvin Heimburg (1051). Manabu doesn’t actually make it a tough choice, but he could! Theoretically. And if it’s not happening with him, it is surely happening in the 1020 to 1035 range of MPO. Every other week.

Because some of us fantasy owners are very budget conscious, we take other factors into consideration, in lieu of player ratings. Dominance being a key factor that greatly weights fantasy views of player value. More so if it is recent dominance by a player. Add in a healthy dose of historical dominance and that player, let’s call him Calvin, is likely considered a top value pick.

Consistency is another factor that is supplementing player value. It is instinctively sought by anyone participating in fantasy disc golf for more than a month. If a tier 3 FPO player is finishing no worse than 3rd tier in past 5 events, fantasy owners are tuned in, observing her player rating, and thinking of ways to build rosters perhaps around her.

Another element that supplements player value is the upside factor. It’s really what makes fantasy so compelling in ongoing way. Finding the lower rated gems who don’t simply break out at an event, but are on the train of recent dominance and consistency. If an FPO player’s event ranking, by rating, is 20th, but all the ranking services have her as 10th, this player can be more actively sought than the top value picks. With player rating playing role as fundamental value for putting the pieces of the puzzle together, each event.

Top Value vs. Best value

For 2023 Worlds, top rated FPO, Kristin Tattar (994) brings excellent value. Unlike Manabu, she’s not only fantasy relevant, she’s perhaps the #1 fantasy pick from either division. Let us count the ways:

  • Over 9 Elite events in 2023, she’s averaged close to 2nd place (2.4). Missy Gannon has averaged 5th place (5.1) in 14 Elite events.
  • Kristin’s Elite average is rather poor compared to her average of 1st place (1.0) in the two 2023 Majors so far: Champions Cup and European Open
  • She is (still) the current defending World Champion
  • And at the 2022 GMC – same venue as 2023 Worlds, she is also defending Champion

Her Value is literally as top notch as top value can get.

Best value is where the fantasy discussion begins and like player ratings, is constantly evolving. The basic idea that lower rated players with tremendous upside, carry better value than some top valued players. Which might be confusing, but hopefully less so if top value is derived mainly from player rating. The expectation is high that top rated Tattar and Calvin for MPO, will be #1 at Worlds. Or that they’ll stick to their season averages of 3rd place, or better. When lower rated players exceed their rating rank in events, it increases their value, significantly. When 30th ranked pro (by rating) rises to 8th place finish at Worlds, their value is a good 150 to 250 point swing in fantasy scoring.

Best Player Value Among Those With Notable Rating Changes

In assessing best value to players entering Worlds, recent dominance is an undeniable factor. Or call it momentum. During Part 1 of the update, Catrina Allen entered DGLO with an event ranking at 7th. 2 weeks before this, she carried into Ledgestone, an event ranking of 3rd, after taking 3rd at European Open. By time DGLO came about, she was slipping in standard as well as event rankings. With every reason to think she’d bounce back at DGLO. Unfortunately, she took 28th, which happens to be her average over the 3 event stretch of Ledgestone, Idlewild and DGLO. The opposite of upside, and good momentum entering Worlds. She’s still a 2 time champ at Worlds and has averaged 5th place (5.3) in World Champions in past 5 years. As most fantasy owners know, she’s now a risky pick. Historical dominance mixed with recent struggle makes us fantasy owners wary.

Similar analysis for MPO players who rose in August ratings update, shows similar players to be wary of. Such as James Proctor, Luke Taylor, Andrew Marwede and Tim Barham. They may all do wonderful at Worlds, yet the rating change in essence priced them out. Players with equal or less rating, and playing well are showing up as better value.

Here are notable players from the latest August ratings update who are presenting great value in more than one way. There are a few additions which include players with notable changes to their ratings since the season. For those that rose in recent rankings, the MPO best are:

Ricky Wysocki tops the list in terms of top value for MPO. Yes, Calvin is right there with him on top value. As are Eagle, Buhr, and McBeth who, as well all know, carries a better than 2nd place average with Worlds in the past decade. Ricky though appears to be healthy, and playing better than some may realize. AF has had him ranked 2nd for well over a month, while other ranking services, in comparison have him in 4th to 5th. He’s up 3 rating points in August, and now back to where he was at end of 2022. A year ago, at this time, he had highest rating in the field, and #1 ranking on most lists. He’s a 2 time Worlds Champion, and in his last 3 Elite+Major events he holds 5th best stat with 7th place. In his last 5 events, he has 2nd best among MPO. He took 6th at Champions Cup, and didn’t play European Open. At GMC in past 4 years, he’s played all 4 times and his worst finish is 6th, with average of 3rd place. In past 4 Worlds he averages 7th place. Calvin is averaging 13th place in past 5 Worlds events.

Paul Ulibarri (Uli) was up 4 rating points in August, and also returns to his rating number at start of year. Wasn’t too long ago, he was a player with consistent value, as he played GMC twice in past 3 years, taking 8th in 2020 and 9th in 2021. Him taking 37th at 2022 Worlds is sign of his struggles in last 18 months. He maintains an average of 23rd place in 3 of the past 4 Worlds. In 2023, his event rank for Worlds is around 50th, with his 1021 rating being below middle of the pack for ranked players. But in his last 3 E+M events, he is averaging 22nd place. His 32nd place at European Open is sure sign he’s bouncing back, as early in year at Champs he was mired by a 71st place finish. He’s not without risk, but his upside suggests it’s reasonable to consider him 20 spots ahead of his event ranking. And even 10 would be great player value, especially at Worlds.

Robert Burrige had no change in August, but is up 12 rating points since start of 2023. At 1020 rated he offers similar upside to Uli, and a rating rank in mid 50’s. Burridge happens to be the player on the DGPT bubble for seeding, as in he’s currently the first one out, hence a bit more incentive. He’s averaged 28th place in the 2 Majors of 2023.

Similarly, here are FPO players who increased their ratings and maintained great value.

Heidi Lane (958) has dominance value that is still, somehow, translating as tremendous upside in 2023. Up 6 rating points in August and +16 over her 2022 player rating. Art’s Fudge (AF) has ranked her in top 10 since around European Open when she took 3rd. In comparison, other ranking services have her as 10th or considerably lower / worse. Her event rank translates to 13th best based on ratings, and yet she’s averaging 5th place in last 3 E+M (5th best in FPO currently). She’s averaging 10th in the 2 Majors of 2023. Since the European Open, she’s played in 4 European events with likes of Henna Blomroos, Eveliina Salonen, Anniken Steen, Silva Saarinen and other stars, and is averaging 2nd place over that span.

Sarah Hokom at 963 rated, is presenting top value among those who rose in ratings. She went up 4 in August, which is up 1 over her 2022 rating. She gets a Power Rank of 6th best for FPO entering Worlds, or 14th overall and top of tier 2. This is taking into consideration that of the past 4 Worlds, she’s played 3 and averages 5th place. Her worst finish was 7th at 2021 Worlds, and she missed the 2022 event. In the two 2023 Majors, she’s averaging 6.5. And in last 3 she caries the FPO’s 6th best average of 5.7, so better than 6th place.

Anniken Steen (941) is up 5 in August and +10 over 2022. AF ranks her 20th entering Worlds, while her rating rank for Worlds is around 30th, so great value there if the 20th spot holds. Her M average beats Heidi at 9.5 for Anniken. In her last 3, she’s averaging better than 12th, and includes: OTB (17), PCS (12), and Euro (16).

Now for the great news. The players who’s rate either decreased or stayed the same, provide arguably better value. For MPO this includes:

Kevin Jones (1026) who went down 3 in August and is minus 7 over 2022. And 3 weeks ago, the lower rating made sense, as he struggled a bit. But no more. In his last 3, he averages better than 8th place (7.7) which is 5th best in MPO, at the moment. Rating rank for Worlds is around 30th. His Major averages both for Worlds in 2022 and events in 2023 suggest around 20th. Yet, he also has solid GMC numbers, averaging 19th there, including 1st in 2020 and 15th in 2018 Worlds (at GMC). He’s essentially peaking at time when his rating is given fantasy owners potentially great value.

James Conrad at 1028, and down 3 in August, along with 5 down in 2023 has a rank by rating for Worlds at 26th. His last 3 average and Majors for 2023 suggest he’s likely to land 30th. And he did take 38th in Worlds last year. But, then again, perhaps you, like the rest of the sports world, heard about what he did in 2021. And if you take that out, keep the 38th place finish in, he’s averaging in 3 of the past 4 worlds 15th place. 12th place with his well deserved 2021 victory included. Some players seem to rise for Worlds. Him and McBeth are 2 good examples.

Nate Sexton (1024) had no rating change in August but is down 11 in 2023. In his past 4 Worlds, he’s averaging 10th place, including 9th in 2022 and 3rd in 2021. He’s among top 5 in averages at World’s among those who have played all 4 in the past 5 years. AF does rank him rather low, in 39th place, as his last 3 avg is 38th place, and his Elite+Major for the season is 37th. But speaking of players who rise up for Worlds.

On FPO side there are 2 very strong candidates

One of them, that offers top value is Kristin Tattar. Her rating not going down in August, with the upcoming data for Worlds being in the pipeline, does add to her value. The case for her upside has already been made, and is on obvious side of things. The second one, not so obvious.

Jen Allen (956) is both down 3 in August ratings and up 3 over her end of 2022 rating. She’s averaging 8.3 in her last 3 E+M events, which includes taking 6th at DGLO. She has not been outside top 10 of AF rankings in over 2 months. The data strongly suggests she is consistently playing in top 10 of FPO in 2023. Her Elite season average is better than 9th place, and is 8th top average in the field. She has not played a Major in 2023. Her ranking by rating for Worlds is around 15th. In the only time she’s played GMC in past 4 years, she took 15th. Those 2 data points gave her a power ranking of 14th adjusted for FPO. Her standard AF ranking is currently 7th. And of those among top 10 in FPO for 2023, Jen Allen is #1 best value, with Heidi Lane being 2nd.

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