the sandbox paladins

the liga guadalupe

the liga retrospective: 2010 (pt. 4)

Part 3 of the retrospective introduced you to the Tlachiqueros: one of the most prestigious ranking systems in all of fantasy football. Again, congrats to the Tequila Whistlers for securing the title of Top Tlachiquero of 2010.

I now present to you the Sandbox Paladins—another ranking system that is, I believe, completely unique . . . albeit somewhat less prestigious in implication.

I’ll do my best to keep it succinct.

official flag of the sandbox paladins

those lucky s.o.b.s

Every week, I awarded the best-of-the-worst award to the highest-scoring losing team (with one caviat: that team had to have started a full roster). The companion award to the best-of-the-worst, of course, was the lucky s.o.b. award. Regardless of whether or not you started a full roster that week, you were a lucky s.o.b. if you: (a) won your matchup; and (b) scored fewer points than the best-of-the-worst team that week. In other words, you won, but there was at least one losing team that would have beaten you.

You lucky s.o.b. The fickle gods of fantasy smiled upon you; although your score was pathetic, your opponent’s score was exceptionally pathetic.

Here is the lucky s.o.b. count for the 2010 liga. Teams are presented according to their end-of-regular-season standing, along with their total win count and lucky s.o.b. count. See if you can tell which s.o.b. was the luckiest of them all . . .

liga standings and lucky s.o.b.s (end of regular season)
team wins lucky s.o.b.s
bust a move 10
the spir-tual pimps 10
these go to 11 9
albino rhinos 7
the number crunchers 7
marcella 7
tequila whistlers 6
the seaward 6
bullmeisters 6
mothers of grendel (MOG) 5
the crab traps 4
pandemonium 1

That’s right, folks: These Go To 11 was a lucky s.o.b. EIGHT times this year. Remember you can only be a lucky s.o.b. if you win, and the mighty elevens won 9 times. Eight times out of nine, Tahoe would have lost to at least one of the losing teams.

Another fun way to look at it: if you add up the lucky s.o.b. count for the bottom half of the liga, you still won’t surpass These Go To 11’s eight-count. Those six teams were lucky s.o.b.s a total of eight times out of 28 wins (0.286 pct); Tahoe was 8-for-9 (0.889 pct).

when it comes to being a lucky s.o.b. in 2010
Tequila Whistlers = These Go To 11
The Seaward
Mothers of Grendel
The Crab Traps

Grats, Tahoe. That’s impresive.

lucky s.o.b.s and the sandbox paladins

Just like the tlachiquero rating includes a bonus for any best-of-the-worst awards the team has won over the course of the season, the sandbox paladin rating includes an adjustment for any lucky s.o.b. awards the team has picked up. Since lucky s.o.b. awards are only awarded to winning teams, dividing by the team’s total wins yields a fraction representing their lucky s.o.b. pct. If all of a team’s wins coincided with a lucky s.o.b. award, this number would be 1. If none of the team’s wins coincided with a lucky s.o.b. award, this number would be 0.

To meaningfully scale the lucky s.o.b. pct, it is multiplied by the standard deviation (σ) of all regular-season liga scores; for 2010, σ = 27.52. The result is that team’s sandbox paladin lucky s.o.b. adjust.

/ wins × =

The actual sandbox paladin rating is simply a team’s average opponent score minus their lucky s.o.b. adjust.

avg opponent score = sandbox paladin rating

the paladins

Before I give the sandbox paladin ratings, I thought I’d best explain what a paladin is. Let’s begin by turning to my favourite well of wonder-no-more: wikipedia. Some of the salient background information on the paladin:

The paladins, sometimes known as the Twelve Peers, were the foremost warriors of Charlemagne’s court, according to the literary cycle known as the Matter of France. They first appear in the early chansons de geste such as The Song of Roland, where they represent Christian martial valor against the Saracen hordes. . . .

Those damned Saracen hordes. Thank goodness we had the paladins around to represent some Christian martial valour!

Regarding the origin of the word “paladin”:

All these [English, Middle French, and Italian] words for Charlemagne’s Twelve Peers descend ultimately from the Latin palatinus . . . [which] referred to an official of the Roman Emperor connected to the imperial palace on the Palatine Hill; over time this word came to refer to other high-level officials in the imperial, majestic and royal courts. . . .

By the 13th century words referring specifically to Charlemagne’s peers began appearing in European languages . . . . By extension “paladin” has come to refer to any chivalrous hero such as King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table.

Let this be a lesson to us all: when you keep a word around for almost 900 years, it’s bound to lose some of its specificity. As much as it might chagrin Charlemagne and his main man Roland (the original leader of the Twelve Peers), when I talk about paladins today, I use the word to mean something like “chivalrous hero,” “holy warrior,” or “crusader.”

I put together the following graphic to help provide a few visual examples of different sorts of paladins you might already be familiar with:

a few paladins you might know

I’d say “counterclockwise from the bottom left” but that sounds awfully contrived. So I’ll just say “chronologically:”

  • c. 1100: The Song of Roland
    • Wikipedia calls it “the oldest surviving major work of French literature . . . and most outstanding example of the chanson de geste.” My French is a little rusty, but I think “chanson de geste” roughly translates to “song of jest.” That would explain the knavish goings-on in this illustration, where it appears Charlemagne and one of his minions are about to depants Roland in front of a huge crowd of people.
  • 1957: 12 Angry Men
    • Confused by this one? You shouldn’t be. Remember, the original paladins were also called “the Twelve Peers.” In this 1957 classic, Henry Fonda doesn’t wield a mighty sword (although he does appear pretty tough with a switchblade), but he does fight for truth, justice, and the American way as the lone holdout in a jury deliberation for a murder trial. He heroically swings the vote from an initial 11-1 “guilty” to a 12-0 “not guilty” verdict. The case was conducted in accordance a defendant’s right to trial by “a jury of one’s peers,” meaning these twelve jurors were also twelve peers. I guess “Twelve Angry Peers” didn’t make for a very good movie title.
  • 1975: Monty Python and the Holy Grail
    • Although there is no musical number featuring the Lady of the Lake and the Laker Girls, this 1975 gem far outshines its 2005 Broadway successor Spamalot (self-described as “a new musical lovingly ripped off from the motion picture Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”) Not only does the film celebrate the chivalrous heroism of King Arthur and his noble knights, it provides a shockingly accurate portrayal of French hospitality.
  • 2008: Jumper
    • In a world where a few pouty, punk-ass teenagers possess the power to pop in and out of space-time at will, there’s gotta be a big, bad-ass bounty-hunter-type dude to keep them in line. The teleporters are called “jumpers” because they jump through space. Wow. And the bounty-hunter-type dudes are called “paladins” because “only God should have this power” (to be in all places at all times). Playing the part of Paladin Roland Cox, Samuel L. Jackson proves once and for all that he has had it with these motherf–kin’ jumpers on this motherf–kin’ plane. (As in this “plane of existence,” not this Boeing 747).

Enough on paladins for now. I’m sure you get the idea.

the sandbox paladins of the liga

So what, you may ask, is a SANDBOX paladin? Something like this:

Just like real paladins, they kick ass and take names . . . but they benefit from having uncommonly pathetic opponents. Kind of like sending Charlemagne’s battle-clad warriors out against some kids in a sandbox.

In fantasy football, of course, this a matter of luck. Some teams just get lucky with their matchups, somehow going against underperforming opponents week in and week out. Yes, a win is a win. But this rating system is all about who spent the most time picking on the kids in the sandbox.

The sandbox paladins of the liga are the teams with the lowest-scoring opponents in the regular season, adjusted slightly to incorporate the lucky s.o.b. award.

Here are the sandbox paladin ratings for the 2010 Liga:

the sandbox paladins (σ = 27.52)
team pa (avg) sandbox paladin rating
marcella 112.28 15.73 96.55
these go to 11 122.48 24.47 98.01
the number crunchers 118.48 15.73 102.75
the spir-tual pimps 120.82 11.01 109.81
bust a move 119.44 5.50 113.94
the seaward 126.39 9.17 117.22
bullmeisters 127.72 9.17 118.54
the crab traps 132.62 13.76 118.86
albino rhinos 133.27 7.86 125.41
pandemonium 128.69 0.00 128.69
tequila whistlers 136.05 4.59 131.47
mothers of grendel (MOG) 143.05 5.50 137.54

Congratulations to Marcella, the top-ranked Sandbox Paladin of the 2010 Liga Guadalupe!

An honorable mention: These Go To 11. Somehow Tahoe managed to rank second in both the Tlachiquero rating and the Sandbox Paladin rating. Statistically speaking, that’s a bizarre feat . . .

Another epic. Sorry for the length of the post. I’ve been working on this one for about as long as the last post. I hope you enjoyed it.

I have two more graphics I’d like to share (since I already put the time into making them), but honestly I don’t know if I’ll have time to get them up. We’ll see.

Anyway, thank you again for a great 2010 season.


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