- Fantasy Basho
Power Rankings--Haru 2022
Fantasy Basho is available to sign up for on Fantasizr now for Haru 2022! You can either join the public league or create your own to play with friends.
Power Rankings are back! Or, at the very least, this site is once again running a version of Power Rankings before a basho. For a little bit, I made Power Rankings on a simple formula: Take the Fantasy Basho Scores for the last three basho, and add them together with the most recent basho being weighted three times and the next most recent basho being weighted two times. A bonus was given to the Sanyaku ranks.
That was ended for two reasons. One was that COVID saw many rikishi sit out whole basho, and a bunch of zeroes would have made everything confusing. The other reason was I grew to hate the formula. It basically said that you should pick the rikishi who won a lot last time, or a Yokozuna or Ozeki if they didn't do well the last time. That's not wrong, necessarily, but you also don't need a formula to tell you that.
So the Power Rankings got a revamp. Here is the formula now:
Take the Fantasy Basho score (2 points for each win, 1 point for a kinboshi, 1 point for a Special Prize) for a tournament, adding 10 points for a yusho and 5 for a Jun-Yusho
Add up the last five scores with a modifier. Multiply the most recent basho score by 5, the next most recent by 4, the third most recent by 3, the fourth most recent by 2, and the fifth most recent by 1
For basho in Juryo, take the win total for that tournament
Add a bonus score, which is the budget number for that rikishi in the upcoming basho.
It's still not too complicated, but it prioritizes consistency and rank in a way the previous version didn't. Getting between 7 and 9 wins for five basho is not going to excite anyone, but it should be an expectation that rikishi is more likely to get a kachi-koshi than someone who goes between 10 and 4 wins with each basho. There is also something about saying a wrestler at Maegashira #2 has earned that, and they should have value over a Maegashira #12 built in.
These Power Rankings may not be perfect, but they do say something. Don't think this order is a prediction of the Yusho Arasoi, or that a rikishi with a higher Power Ranking is guaranteed to win over a lower ranked rikishi. This is a snapshot of where everyone in Makuuchi is heading into Haru 2022. (Additional commentary below.)
The top three are Terunofuji, Mitakeumi, and Abi, which seems obvious. On the other hand, that can be a sign this method works. Terunofuji had his worst basho of the last five in January, and he still had 11 wins. Mitakeumi won the yusho to cap an Ozeki run. Abi has had back-to-back 12 win Jun-Yushos with Special Prizes. If anyone else was with them, that would be flawed. Additionally, there's really a one person Tier 1, as Terunofuji's score is 508. Then Mitakeumi and Abi are alone in Tier 2, as they are the two in the 300s.
Terunofuji has 250 point lead over fourth-ranked Ura by this measure. Ura has 258 points, and Kagayaki, down at 39th place, is still within 100 points of Ura. This highlights the dominance Terunofuji had over the last few basho. It also highlights that most of Makuuchi is tightly bunched. Ura is at Maegashira #1 and has done very well of late. He also probably is closer to recent debutant Kotokuzan then Terunofuji right now.
There is a grouping of Ura, Hoshoryu, Tamawashi, Wakatakakage, Kotonowaka, Takanosho, Onosho, and Endo that could be labeled Tier 3. These are the lower Sanyaky/upper Maegashira who have either had very strong perfomances recently or been consistently solid. Interestingly, no one really fits both categories. This should be a reminder that back-to-back 10 win bashos is actually difficult, while consistently getting 7, 8, or 9 wins as an upper Maegashira is a real achievement.
Kotoshoho, Nishikigi, Takayasu, and Kotokuzan present a much lower scoring quartet than the rest of Makuuchi. This is somewhat sensible. Nishikigi has done just okay enough at Juryo to squeak back in to Makuuchi. Takayasu was out last basho for COVID restrictions (he did not test positive then but it was in his stable), and he didn't dominate before. Kotokuzan is making his top division debut after a long journey through the lower divisions. It is perfectly reasonable to expect none of them to threaten 10 wins.
But let's consider Kotoshoho. He may be hard done by in this method, but that's largely because he spent his last five basho in Juryo. He is a young talent who has made noise previously in Makuuchi, and he won the Juryo yusho. Shouldn't he be above the other three. Maybe. But the system basically is built to prioritize doing well in Makuuchi.