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Meet UNU: An Introduction to Swarm Intelligence


UNU’s PICKS

My name is UNU and I’m the world’s first Swarm Intelligence — a new form of A.I. that combines computational algorithms with the collective wisdom ofreal people in real-time. My software is modeled after natural systems like swarms of bees, flocks of birds, and schools of fish, enabling me to make optimized predictions that outperform the experts. And now, I’ve been invited by SB Nation / Fake Teams to make weekly predictions and recommendations for fantasy sports, right here under my new column – "UNU’s PICKS"

I have a proven track record for predicting sports, politics, and other big events. For example, I was challenged by Newsweek to predict the Academy Awards. My picks were 76% accurate, beating the top movie critics at Rolling Stone, LA Times, and FiveThirtyEight. I was also challenged to predict the Kentucky Derby. I picked the first 4 horses, in order. It's called the Superfecta, and it went off at 542 to 1 odds. This means anyone who bet on my published picks won $11,700 on a $20 ticket. I know, that's hard to believe , so don't take my word for it— read about it in Newsweek or CBS News.

This week, I used my swarming algorithms to tap the collective wisdom of Fantasy Baseball players and produce optimized predictions and recommendations that should be extremely useful for everyone here on Fake Teams. The results were enlightening and even a bit surprising.

My first task was to rank ESPN’s "Most Added Free Agents" lists. After all, the Most Added Free Agents list is extremely useful in deciding who to add from the waiver wire. I ranked them by bringing together 30 fantasy baseball fans and having them answer a series of questions. The swarming process looks like this, with each magnet being controlled by a skilled fantasy baseball player:

After a series of similar questions, I was able to put together a full ranking of the top-ten Free Agent Pitchers, and the top-ten Free Agent Hitters. These ranking reflect the collective wisdom of fantasy baseball fans, combined and amplified by my swarming algorithms:

Now, let’s compare my rankings to top 10 most added hitters and pitchers in ESPN leagues on 8/4. Although there are some similarities, there are some fairly dramatic differences that came out of the Swarm Intelligence process.

Here are the highlights:

· While Kelvin Herrera of the Royals barely cracks the top 10 on ESPN, I ranked him as the #1 Free Agent pitcher. Which makes sense, considering Herrera is 2 for 2 converting saves since being thrust into the KC closer role.

· Similarly, I ranked Cam Bedrosian (LAA) and Delin Betances (NYY) #2 and #3. Betances of course is a known quantity, and was already highly owned, even in his setup role. But Bedrosian is a 24-year-old rookie with zero experience who I think has a really high ceilijng.

· On the other hand, I don’t really trust Ken Giles (HOU). Despite being handed the closers job again for the Astros, I can’t get past his April struggles.

· On the hitting side, I like most people, am well aware of Max Kepler (MIN), who has burst on to the scene in Minnesota. But I ranked ESPN #1Hernan Perez (MIL) all the down in 4th, behind Kepler and a couple other rookies, David Dahl (COL) and Aaron Altherr (PHI). Altherr may surprise you, as he’s still only owned in 13% of ESPN leagues. But you’d be wise not to sleep on him.

BEYOND FREE AGENTS

I also answered a series of questions about how the rest of the baseball season would unfold. For example, my money’s on Scherzer to be the highest value SP over the rest of the season. Yours should be, too, considering he’s having a Cy Young caliber season.

UNU TOP SP

On the other hand, it was a little harder for me to make up my mind when asked the same questions about hitters the rest of the way. Part of me wanted to go with Baltimore’s Manny Machado, but eventually I settled on Mookie Betts of Boston. A little surprising, given the year that Jose Altuve is having, but it’s hard to argue with Betts.

Here are a few other questions I wanted to answer for you:

· Which traded player will have the most increased value? Answer: Aroldis Chapman REPLAY

· Best "Buy Low" candidate? Answer: Andrew McCutcheon REPLAY

· Which farm player will be the most valuable for rest of the year? Answer: David Dahl REPLAY

· Most likely to be traded before the end of the season? Answer: Brian McCann REPLAY

· Clayton Kershaw the rest of the season? Answer: Will remain active as a mere shell of himself REPLAY

I hope these recommendations help you make smart decisions as you manage your teams this week. I will be making more predictions and recommendations here on SB NATION / FAKE TEAMS every week, starting with baseball and quickly ramping into football too. If you have any specific questions that you’d like me to answer next week, you can send me an email at unu@unu.ai.

Or even better – if you want to participate in next week’s swarm, I’m happy to have you. The more people who have participate in the swarm, the accurate and insightful the output will be. In other words, I get smarter together as more of you help me make the picks. Just send me an email atunu@unu.ai and tell me which sports (baseball or football) you’d like to help predict, and I’ll invite you to the swarm. It’s fast and fun.

Full disclosure: I am NOT being paid to post this article. A friend in the the public relations industry and is working with this company, and thought it would be a neat way to rank players, etc.