Sokol studies complicated phenomena like protein structure modeling, warehousing, and manufacturing, in addition to issues in sports. His experience has helped him develop a wide range of insights to suggest ways to build a better fantasy football team.
Touchdowns are extremely valuable in fantasy football, but predicting how many a player will score frustrates even the most experienced fans.
"For the majority of running backs, yards gained last year are a better predictor of future touchdowns scored than touchdowns scored last year," said Sokol. He also suggested that drafting consistent, reliable performers early on in the draft will pay off combined with choosing riskier players later on in the draft.
However, it is important to draft at least a few players who have the potential to become fantasy studs.
"Fantasy footballers that are consistently competitive year-after-year typically combine players who are consistent with players who are 'high risk, high reward,'" said Ohlmann.
Sokol also advocated diving into the deep pool of statistics available on the Internet to reveal some very useful information. If a quarterback consistently misses open receivers (people keep lists of this stuff), his ineptitude may be shrouding a wide receiver's talent. This might be a reason to rank Minnesota's receivers a bit higher this year now that Brett Favre has joined the team.
Sokol expected that the truly dedicated may be able to go even further, to analyze stats based on situations and formations -- knowing more about a coach's tendencies can help predict how players will be used.
Sometimes the best predictions fail to play out on the field. The emergence of a new star can blindside even the best fantasy football players. "I liken picking fantasy players to stock-picking. It's an imperfect science," said Ohlmann.