Obligatory and Random Quotation

“Never put off till tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow just as well.”
— Mark Twain

A Little Procrastination Goes a Long Way

I’ve procrastinated in writing this piece, but I figure that as long as the year has not yet reached the double digits in days I can talk about New Year’s resolutions without being a jack*ss.

In all fairness to myself — and I’m nothing if not fair (to myself) — there are benefits to delaying the process of coming up with New Year’s resolutions. Writing a list of goals and action items on the first day of the year doesn’t allow adequate time to analyze one’s situation and circumstances. It might be better to wait for a few days, maybe a week, before thoroughly looking in the mirror. After all, that will give you time to burn a few pounds in your one week all year of going to the gym. And by “you,” I mean “Adam Levitan.”

Also, I’m starting this process earlier than I normally do. Some years I am so good at procrastinating taking the proper amount of time to reflect that I don’t start actively creating resolutions for a year until the year is almost over. So in 2017 I’m already ahead of my personal curve.

By the way, I’m 100 percent sure I’ve never used the phrase “personal curve” before. It sounds wrong. I’m about 82 percent sure I’ll never use it again.

Anyway, this is a winding piece about some New Year’s resolutions of mine.

Freedman’s New Year’s Resolutions for 2016 2017

Here’s a draft of my running list of resolutions. Mind you, it’s in flux.

  1. Finish creating last year’s resolutions.
  2. Write pieces that are less random.
  3. Write faster.
  4. Read.
  5. Some sex.

So that’s where we are, which means that right now — as I type this very sentence — my hands are furiously pounding the keyboard, I have an open book on my desk, and I’m sitting on my leather chair naked.

Don’t worry. I doubt it’s real leather, but that does remind me . . .

  1. Finish creating last year’s resolutions.
  2. Write pieces that are less random.
  3. Write faster.
  4. Read.
  5. Some sex.
  6. Shower more.

That’s a solid list.

The Book on My Desk

Sometimes people on Twitter ask me what I’m reading now. During football season I haven’t read nearly as much as I want to — something called “work” has interfered with my reading, showering, and sex schedules — a few times last year I attempted (successfully?) to multitask all three at once — but this is a new year, and so this morning I’ve awoken early to have some personal time during which I’m pretending to read. Tomorrow I hope to make progress by pretending more convincingly. I should make fake notes in the margins and not be too quick to turn the pages.

Right now the book on my desk is Henry Petroski’s Evolution of Useful Things. I have no idea whether the book itself is useful, but 1) it sounds impressive, which is important, and 2) the guy has previously written a book that is 100 percent about the development and use of the pencil — and I love pretending to read authors as quirky as I am.

So far the book is OK. It’s dedicated to his mother and to the memory of his father. That might seem like useless information, but it provides (I think) some useful context about the writer. I like knowing that, if Petroski were an NFL QB, he’d be the type of guy who in post-game interviews would “first want to thank God and my father, who I know is looking down on me right now. Miss you, dad. And I want to thank my teammates. We’re in this together. It’s just us against the world.”

But, seriously, with a name like that Petroski wouldn’t be a QB. Instead he’d be a tight end, fullback, or linebacker. Growing up, he would’ve dreamed of playing for the Chicago Bears.

Anyway, it was a league-average dedication.

The First Page of the Preface

I’m now on the first page of the preface. Two paragraphs in I see this passage:

How is it that an artifact of technology has one shape rather than another? By what process do the unique, and not-so-unique, designs of manufactured goods come to be? Is there a single mechanism whereby the tools of different cultures evolve into distinct forms and yet serve the same essential function? To be specific, can the development of the knife and fork of the West be explained by the same principle that explains the chopsticks of the East? Can any single theory explain the shape of a Western saw, which cuts on the push stroke, as readily as an Eastern one, which cuts on the pull?

. . . and I just spent the last two hours researching historical saws on the internet.

Some Random Thoughts

Here are some random thoughts that might have something to do with daily fantasy sports.

• New Year’s resolutions are for suckers. We should all be making resolutions all year long.

• We should all be in a constant state of self-evaluation. The people who don’t systematically focus on how to improve never improve. They might randomly get lucky every once in a while and mistake that for improvement, but they don’t improve.

• I personally find that one of the best ways to improve in DFS is to explore and use regularly our suite of Tools — especially our free Trends tool. There’s no substitute for personal research.

• I consume every piece of content posted by Jonathan Bales and Peter Jennings (CSURAM88). Improving is easier when you’re using people better than you as your models.

Volume is everything: Like touches for a running back, targets for a wide receiver, shots on goal for an NHL forward, and minutes for an NBA point guard, lineups are the raw metric of measurement for our Player Models. If you want to become the DFS outlier, you must resolve — not just at the beginning of the year but throughout the year — to commit time to building a sh*tload of lineups in our Models: The more lineups the better. In crafting lineups and becoming increasingly familiar with the FantasyLabs tools, you become more attuned to slate dynamics, pricing quirks, the nuances of our metrics (such as Plus/Minus and Bargain Rating), etc. The more lineups you build, the easier it becomes to spot collections of players with exceptional potential.

• There are multiple ways to use a saw and (apparently) multiple saws to use. My process might not be best for you. The particular tools I use and how I use them might seem backward or foreign to you. That’s fine. What’s important is that, like the saw, you evolve and continue to sharpen.

The DFS resolution, regardless of the time of year, is always to saw your competition in half. (By the way, if you want to waste at least 15 minutes of your day, google “Death by Sawing.”) It doesn’t matter if you’re naturally inclined to push or pull. What matters is that you spend as much time as possible perfecting the use of the saw preferred.

Explore the edge of that personal curve.


The Labyrinthian: 2017.2, 97

This is the 97th installment of The Labyrinthian, a series dedicated to exploring random fields of knowledge in order to give you unordinary theoretical, philosophical, strategic, and/or often rambling guidance on daily fantasy sports. Consult the introductory piece to the series for further explanation. Previous installments of The Labyrinthian can be accessed via my author page.