WFTDA Rankings and Playoff Race Demystified

FOLLOW:

We have been fielding a lot of questions about WFTDA rankings recently, and thought we’d step up to demystify the process a little.

The purpose of WFTDA rankings is twofold: to provide the order in which teams will be invited to playoffs (on July 1), and determine which division teams will be in for the following calendar year (on December 1).

This means that for all intents and purposes, the WFTDA playoff race is just like any other league-based sporting contest, with the season running from July 1 to June 30 every year–and the playoff placing decided not purely on total points or W/L record, but an average of ranking points.

The main confusion in working out who is where in this league is that at all times (except for on July 1) the score teams are ranked by includes information from both the current season and the prior season, which results in some oddities and confusion.

While in a traditional league table each team can move up or down the same number of points each week, in the WFTDA one–as it is sorted by average and schedules are not fixed–teams can go up and down wildly different amounts as they play and have games removed.

With each passing week, not only do you need to add in the scores from this round of play, but you also need to subtract the ones from the same round last year–and, as a fan, you need to do this for all the teams around you too.

Take (at the moment) Texas. If you want to work out where they currently are in the playoff race, you need to work out the points they got from their two games last June and remove them. In this case, that’s a big win over Philly and a heavy loss to Gotham. These have been part of their average all year and so have been affecting their position in the league table, but won’t actually have any bearing on this year’s pre-playoff placing.

So once you’ve taken those out–and the equivalents for teams around them– you can see what the current table actually looks like, and the current gaps. But can they close that gap? Well, they have had 14 sanctioned games and one more to come (against Denver)–so the amount that one game can move their average is quite limited. If they want to move their average up by 5 points, this one game has to be 75 points above their current average.

Your team’s ranking points are awarded on the basis of the percentage of points your team scores in the game, and how strong your opponent is, as set by their strength factor–which is a measure of how much better they are than the team half way up the current rankings. Against Denver, there are 915 points available for Texas (the Mile High Club’s strength factor is 3.05, and that gets multiplied by 300 to give the total game points)–so a tie would get them 457.5 points, and a shut-out would be all 915. That means Texas’ average can climb at most by a little over 30 points, even on a shut-out, as the deviation from their current average is spread over 15 games.

The final thing to bear in mind is shown off by this graph:

The number of points needed to move up from one rank to the next increases exponentially. Just looking at last month’s data, Denver (in 7th) were roughly the same number of points above Detroit (in 40th) as they were below Gotham (in 1st).

Got any more questions? Post them in the comments below. We’ll answer what we can, and pass off what we can’t to the WFTDA rankings team.

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