FanGraphs: The Game

I’m pleased to introduce FanGraphs: The Game!

FanGraphs: The Game is our new daily fantasy game, and allows you to create a player and make picks each day to build your player’s stats over the course of the season. Whatever statistics your pick of the day accumulates are then added to your player’s totals.

All of your totals will be tracked on your very own FanGraphs player page and your player will show up on the leaderboards, so you can see how well you’ve performed compared to others throughout the season. (These will be blank until the games begin.)

Because each player you create is assigned a position and is affiliated with a specific organization, you have the chance to crack the starting line-up and hold bragging rights over your friends and others who are gunning for that same spot. You can also win awards (weekly, monthly, half-season, and full-season), achievements, and track your hitting streaks.

At the end of the season, the player with the highest WAR at each position will win $100, and the player with the second highest total at each position will each win a FanGraphs T-Shirt. Please see the full game rules for further details.

Click here to create a player and make your first pick. You can make as many as eight players or as few as one – it’s all up to you. And, since you’re only going to be making one pick per day for each player you create, this is the fastest and easiest way to enjoy fantasy baseball. And best of all, it’s entirely free.

We’ve created a twitter account where you can keep up with accomplishments, leaders, and various news from FanGraphs: The Game, so follow @fgthegame now, and use #FGTheGame to communicate with your friends and others on Twitter each day.

We hope you enjoy FanGraphs: The Game – good luck becoming the starter for your favorite team!




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David Appelman is the creator of FanGraphs.

53 Responses to “FanGraphs: The Game”

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  1. John A says:

    This is awesome!

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  2. Los says:

    Awesome indeed. What affect, if any does the affiliated team have on the player?

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    • It doesn’t impact your player’s stats or anything, or which players you can select each day, but it does determine which starting lineup you’ll be in, and the team awards you can win.

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    • Dave Cameron says:

      You’ll be competing directly against other players who choose the same position and team affiliation for the starting job, and your performance will dictate where you fall on the organizational depth chart. You’re also competing against everyone else on a more broad basis, but those people making picks for the same position and team affiliation are your most direct competition.

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      • jackweiland says:

        Zapped. Which I read the rules before I set up my team. I thought you could only pick players on the team you chose … otherwise I would have just made mine all Cubs. Now I have all Cubs and the Angels 1B and A’s SS. Dumb.

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  3. Eddy says:

    This sounds pretty sweet.

    So is the goal to pick a position in an organization where the current MLB player entrenched there is bad in order to allow you to overtake him in the roster?

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    • Dave Cameron says:

      Not precisely. You’re simply competing against others who are making picks at that same position, and for that same team affiliation, but you may also recognize a familiar-ish name from your organization’s history on the leaderboards as well…

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  4. mrjavascript says:

    Woo, awesome!

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  5. AlecTrevelyan006 says:

    What, no defensive component? I wanted to try a whole season of just drafting cheap glove-only players.

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  6. Vin says:

    This is pretty sweet. Well done Dave(s).

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  7. chuckb says:

    Giddyup!

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  8. Demingas says:

    So for SP and RP, you can have up to 160 games?

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    • Dave Cameron says:

      Starters have their daily performances divided by five when being added to your player’s totals, so final season totals will look pretty similar to what a full season of one starting pitcher would have accomplished.

      For relief pitchers, yes, you could theoretically get 162 games pitched, but that would require you to correctly project which relief pitcher is going to be used every single day of the season. That’s not a particularly easy task.

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  9. davemcgr says:

    There should be an option to remove the player entirely from the edit player menu (in the event that you don’t want to pay anyone anything and accidentally added someone for that day).

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  10. The Nightman says:

    Is there a way to change/delete if you accidentally chose the wrong team?

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    • cobradc23 says:

      If you have not spent money on a player at that position, yes. Go to the settings tab. Once you spend money the team locks

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  11. Neil says:

    Could it possibly be set up so that we can create our own leagues with/against friends? As it stands, I’ve directed them to pick the same team, if not the same position, so that we can track one another, but that still means we’ll have a few dozen/hundred more people in the mix…

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  12. Chike says:

    This sounds pretty cool, but I’d appreciate if you guys explained a few things in detail.

    1) Picking real-life players: Can you repeat daily selections? What would stop me from picking Matt Kemp every day and adding his stats to my player?

    2) Cost value/games: So if I understand this correctly, Fangraphs will evaluate each real-life player on a scale from $0 to $15. We have a budget of $1000 to fill out 162 games using (different?) major league players. How will you guys determine the price of real-life players? A guy like Placido Polanco, for example, may not provide much in the way of counting statistics, but his batted ball profile could make my fantasy player very, very good. Would that even matter or is this a game of counting statistics?

    3) Splits: I don’t think I’m giving anything away in saying player splits and match ups will have a huge effect on the outcome of this game. Because of this, it would be very interesting to see how you guys chose to value baseball players. Could you explain player valuation? If that’s too complicated, would you give mock prices for Brent Gardner, Adam Dunn, Cole Hamels and Daniel Bard.

    4) Defense: If we’re talking about WAR, then defensive metrics count too, right? Theoretically then, wouldn’t it be more beneficial to create a player at premium defensive position and stack WAR like that? What does this mean for real-life designated hitters?

    5) Real-life organizations: This part I’m having a hard time understanding. Is this just for flavor or does it have any effect on The Game?

    6) Handedness and eligibility: If my guy is a lefty, am I only limited to picking left-handed MLB players? Also, I worry position eligibility could break The Game. If my guy is a 2B and Mike Aviles (who has eligibility at 2B,3B,SS) is playing today at 3B, would I be able to start him?

    Needless to say, I’m very excited for this. Thanks guys!

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    • Dave Cameron says:

      1. Good players cost more money than bad players, and you have a limited pool of available dollars. If you pick Matt Kemp every day, you’ll run out of money by mid-summer.

      2. Pricing will change throughout the season as performance dictates it – guys who do well will have their prices go up, guys who do poorly will have their prices go down. Can you re-state the Polanco part of your question? I’m not sure what you’re getting at there.

      3. Exploiting match-up advantages is going to be one of the keys to doing well in this game, certainly. The person who does more research on the days match-ups will have an advantage over those who don’t.

      4. This game is offense only. It’s basically WAR with everyone assumed to be an average defender at their own position.

      5. The organization you are affiliated with and position you choose creates the group of players you’re competing against for the starting job. There might be 50 people playing as the Yankees SS, but there can only be one starter, so the guy who performs the best in picking players will end up with the job. It will be a year long fight to see who can win out and end up on top at the end of the season.

      6. You will be able to pick players based on their positional eligibility. If they’re available for picking at a particular spot, you’ll get credit for their stats no matter what position they actually play in that days game. For instance, Mike Napoli is listed as both a catcher and a first baseman (though he’s more expensive as a catcher), and will be available to be picked at either spot, regardless of how the Rangers deploy him in any given game.

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    • Chike says:

      Oops. 5 was already answered…sorry about that.

      Maybe someone could do a Cover It Live chat about The Game?

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      • Chike says:

        You actually indirectly answered the Polanco question.

        I have one more very important question: how often will Fangraphs update MLB player values? Would it be daily? Weekly? Monthy? Say a guy like Lorenzo Cain starts the season at $3 but outperforms that value over the first three weeks of the year. How long will it take for a market correction? Eventually people with fantasy OFs would notice the production/cost difference and “The Game” would turn into everyone starting the same group of undervalued OFs.

        At least one of two things probably needs to happen. If there isn’t one already, put a rule in place that stops guys from starting the same player more than X times in a season. That, or set a general floor for all average players at $6.

        Any MLB player that costs less than $6 could be exploited for cost-effective production. Any extra money saved from starting cost-effective players would go toward starting top tier players and having a greater chance at quality production.

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      • Dave Cameron says:

        The pricing will update daily, as expected production going forward will account for data through the previous night’s games. However, the changes are going to be gradual – you probably won’t see a guy go from $3 to $10 in the span of a couple of weeks.

        Your second comment presupposes that early season success is highly predictive of future performance, and is an exploitable flaw. I’m not sure this is true, to be honest. Take a look at the leaderboards from last April, for instance. Among the guys who got off to surprisingly great starts were Placido Polanco, Andre Ethier, Ike Davis, Russell Martin, and Sam Fuld. Adjusting your expectations to believe that those guys were now severely undervalued wouldn’t have been a very good strategy for the rest of the year.

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      • Chike says:

        OK, I can get behind this. The evaluation of player costs/matchups is actually a part of The Game. I still think you guys will need a salary floor or a limit to player starts, but we’ll see how things turn out.

        Also, this is easily the nerdiest game I’ve ever heard of. Nerdy in a good way though haha – should be a lot of fun!

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  13. Bryce says:

    Have you given any thought to market-driven prices?

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    • Chike says:

      I think that’s a fantastic idea, but how would it work? You wouldn’t be able to preemptively handicap a matchup until you knew how many people took advantage of it. That would all happen AFTER the fact it…

      …unless you priced a given matchup based on how similar players have performed in a similar situation. For example, if an OF with a certain statistical profile is entering play with X batting average against a RHP with a certain statistical profile, that player would be worth a certain amount of money based on the likely outcome of that particular situation. You’d essentially be handicapping every hitter/pitcher matchup in baseball.

      Would something like that even be feasible?

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      • davemcgr says:

        I don’t think you would take match-ups into consideration. There would be some prior value determined by their future production projection (ie: how players are valued right now). And then that price would be updated if they are bought more or less than expected.

        The biggest issue would be determining the best weight to use for their market value considering the volatility of purchases surrounding match-ups. The easiest thing to do would probably be to only consider market data once there is a sample size that is big enough to simply ignore that it’s an issue (ie: maybe after 10 or 15 games you assume that all hitters face roughly the same level of opposing pitchers). It may be a little harder for pitchers though – perhaps their market value would just be weighted less than hitters?

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  14. Attractive Nuisance says:

    (1) What do you plan to do about doubleheaders? If I play a guy who has a doubleheader, will that account for 1 or 2 games against my 162 game total?

    (2) It seems to me that it makes a lot of sense to pick a relief pitcher every single day of the season, as it will be very hard to get to 162 games played, but there will be many days when it does not make sense to pick a position player, as there are many more than 162 days in a baseball season (accounting for days off, etc.). It probably does not make much sense to pick a position player in either of the A’s-M’s games, because on those days, you are selecting from a much smaller pool of available talent than you would be if there were a full slate of games. Can you just tell me if I am interpreting the rules right on this based on my comment?

    (3) Is Jesus Montero available at all in this game?

    (4) Awesome idea. Thanks for doing it and making it free!

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    • 1. When there are double headers, you can make a pick for either game one or game two. This will become obvious in the player picker when there are double headers. You definitely do not get to pick a player for both games of a double header.

      2. That’s pretty much correct. If you think a player is a good value given the matchup, etc…, even if there is only one game being played that day, it might still be worth it to take him.

      3. Good question. I think right now he is not available as a player since he’s only played at DH. He main gain eligibility at C if he ever plays there.

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  15. philosofool says:

    Two questions:

    Suppose, hypothetically speaking, I’m looking at the day’s choices and I’m thinking “Eric Sogard… Kyle Seager… Chone Figgins…. Is this really how I want to spend my money?”, I can just pick no one and get no points for that day, right?

    Will dollar costs be park adjusted for the day’s game? I mean, can I just pay for Kinsler during his home games and take someone else when he’s in another AL West park?

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    • Dave Cameron says:

      Picking no one is always an option, yes.

      The stats are not park adjusted. You will definitely want to take the environment into account when selecting your players each day.

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    • Yep, you can just not play in a particular day if you don’t like any of the picks. I’m sure a lot of people will skip these first two days of the year.

      There are about 180 “days” in a season, so you only need to make picks 162 of those days. You could probably do quite well, even win, with less games than that.

      Dollar costs will be adjusted throughout the season, but not specifically for the days games. We’re setting prices we considerable fairly reasonable, and it’s up to you to find the inefficiencies in the market, however you’d like to do that.

      If it turns out there are massive, easily exploited inefficiencies that make the game “not fun”, then we will attempt to remedy that, but this is a game where you definitely want to be able to take advantage of matchups, parks, etc…

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  16. cbragg84 says:

    Is there a reason you can’t delete a player entirely? I created one on accident and have no intentions of using it.

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    • I will add a feature that allows players that have never accumulated any stats (or spent any money in the case of relievers) to delete their player.

      But, if you have spent money or accumulated stats then your player will not be able to be deleted. This is prevent gaming the system in order to get better stats early on.

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  17. philosofool says:

    A suggestion for 2013: allow people to create leagues.

    Here’s the idea: I create a league and invite friends (any number, perhaps up to some relatively large one, like 31) to join the league. If you join, your players show up on a page dedicated to that league that has standing for all players; “Philosofool (3B)” shows up in a standing board for 3B for the league. Just to be clear, you only have one pool of players, but there’s a league board that will show the participants in the league so I can easily compare myself with my fantasy buddies. If I play in more than one league, my picks each day count in all of them.

    A cool feature of this league, besides the different style of play, is that it works with any number of participant. If I know six baseball smart people who like the idea, the seven of us can get together and trash talk with one another about our baseball smarts, or even set our own side bets on the season.

    Anyway, with or without this, thanks for giving me away to spend another fifteen minutes a day on baseball.

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  18. IanKay says:

    Love this idea!

    I am still unclear on the “cracking the starting lineup” concept. Do we win for getting the highest WAR for a position OVERALL (highest WAR for a shortstop) or for getting the highest WAR as, say, the YANKEES shortstop.

    Or are there two ways to win? (overall and organization position)

    I would be doubtful of “Winning” for the organization position, because obviously it would be easier to pick something obscure, like the “Pirates catcher” versus say, the Yankees shortstop. I could possibly win competing against only a handful of people.

    Or am I completely off?

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    • Dave Cameron says:

      The overall winners are determined by overall position rank, so if your player is a shortstop, you would need to be the top player of all shortstops on all teams in order to win the $100 grand prize. However, for each team/position combination, there is a “starter”, and you’re competing against all other players at that team/position combination for that position. Being the starter at that spot brings bragging rights, but not a cash prize.

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  19. WinTwins says:

    Turbo signed up. Can’t wait to play this. Hopefully my fake Twins will do better than the real ones!

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  20. Randy says:

    “Once you create a player, the player cannot be deleted, so choose the team your player is on carefully.”

    This should have been stated in bold before allowing someone the option of picking a team. I’m stuck with a team now because I didn’t know the rules.

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  21. Attractive Nuisance says:

    Does anybody know the park factors for the Tokyo Dome or where I might find such a thing?

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  22. greski4job says:

    This is a great idea. I am still, however, a little unclear on how it works. So can I pick a player at each position, from any of the 30 teams each day that there is a game? or I can only pick one player at each position and I am stuck with that player throughout the entire season?

    Can my players for each position be from different teams? say for instance 1B from Angels, 2B from Mariners, etc…

    Once I have picked my players for each position, their values rise or fall based on whether they played and how well they played and the cumulative total goes towards my “fantasy player”?

    Thanks!

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  23. swieker says:

    Is this taking the place of Ottoneau Pick Six Daily?

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  24. MustBunique says:

    Dave, now that we are a good way into the season playing THE GAME, I have thought of something that would be a useful feature. Is there a way to show how the player you selected yesterday performed on your Dashboard? This would be much easier than checking the game log for each of your players individually. Great game, really enjoying it so far. Keep on keeping on.

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