Monday, November 30, 2009

Arbitrage Failure: When the Sleeper Bubble Bursts

I have a new article up over at Fantasy Ball Junkie taking a look at risk, sleepers, and how we see similar re-evaluation of risk in arbitrage markets (for example, in merger arbitrage). The conclusion is the same basic conclusion most people come to when discussing sleepers: BE CAREFUL WHEN YOU REACH!

In general, it's a very basic extrapolation of a really neat presentation I attended by Columbia Business School Professor Daniel Beunza. Beunza investigates topics in the quantitative side of economic sociology and its interaction with technology. The basis for my extension to fantasy can be found at his site here. Given Dr. Beunza is way smarter than I am, I'm sure the article somewhat minces much of the intellectual content he provides in his work. However, the main issue is in tact when evaluating risk with fantasy baseball sleeper picks.

Below is a very simple picture of how risk assessment is changed using a collective "implied risk". The distributions don't have to be normal (and likely aren't when someone uses their biased judgement on a sleeper). The important thing to see is that much of the area under Curve 1 is ignored (to the left of Curve 3) when a sleeper is touted excessively.

All in all, I enjoy finding real-world corollaries to fantasy sports. Some of them can be a stretch, but often times they can be informative and support ideas presented about the structure and processes involved in the game.

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