Nagoya 2019 Fantasy Sumo and Power Rankings Pre-Basho

Time for the best part of any basho: the spreadsheets!

Fantasy Sumo

As always, check out our Twitter feed between the bashos for our fun little contest to join us in our fantasy sumo league. Each basho we pick a winner to join the four of us and draft teams of 5 makuuchi wrestlers and 1 juryo. Here’s our scoring system:Rules

This time our contest winner is Sunlan, who helped us out with some good (and bad) travel advice for our vacation to Japan. Here’s his lineup as well as each of ours. Who do you think will take it this tournament?

GSB Sumo Power Rankings – Link to Spreadsheet

Next up is our sumo power rankings. We created a system based on professional chess’s Elo ratings. Each wrestler has a rating with the average defined as 1000. Over the course of the basho, wrestlers will give and take points from each other based on the outcome of their match as well as their probability of winning. After a slight regression towards the mean in between tournaments, here are the top 10 ratings going into Nagoya:


Note that wrestlers’ rankings are influenced by more than just the most recent basho, hence Hakuho is still at the top after his 15-0 Haru, even though he skipped Natsu entirely. Also notable are Asanoyama (#11, 1048) and Tochinoshin(#12, 1038) who did great in Natsu, but just missed the top 10.

Check out the link to the spreadsheet above, where you can view the performance of each wrestler live during the basho and feel free to send any questions or suggestions.

As always, enjoy the basho (especially the math)!


Natsu 2019 Fantasy Sumo and Power Rankings

Something we (Jake) have been promising for a while is an overview of our statistics after each basho. We put a bit of effort into running fantasy sumo contests and our Elo-style power rankings, so we wanted to make sure the final results were available more than just on our regular episodes. Check out our results below and let us know what you think. We’re always looking for more ways to over-analyze and quantify this beautiful sport of ours.

Fantasy Sumo

Every basho we run a fantasy sumo contest for bragging rights. Check out our Twitter feed for the contest to join us next basho. Here are the rules we use for scoring:


Our fantasy guest this basho was @ourmaninjapan, who won his place by coming up with some great sumo/music puns in our Twitter contest. In a move rivaling the nerdiness of GSB ourselves, he used an algorithm and a spreadsheet to determine how many wins he expected from each wrestler. Here is his team, anchored by the only active yokozuna, Kakuryu:


Next up we have Flyric who has been on a cold streak, losing 2 of the last three basho. Did he turn it around this time?Flyric

He did not. Rough call on that Takakeisho pick. Next up was Mak coming in with a strong looking team on paper:Mak

A few guys out of their depth kept Mak from pulling ahead. Jake picked with his heart instead of his head but managed to do OK


But far and away our winner was Ryan. His picks did well so consistently he would have almost won even without the yusho winner.


Here’s a final look at scores, with Ryan crushing us something fierce and our guest holding his own. Well done and good game, @ourmaninjapan.


GSB Sumo Power Rankings – Link to Spreadsheet

Another of our side projects is our GSB Power Rankings. Borrowing from professional chess’s Elo rankings, we assign each wrestler in the top division a rating, defining 1000 as the (unitless) average. By comparing the rating of each wrestler, we can estimate the probability of victory for each match and reassign points according to the result. If the result was expected, such as Hakuho defeating Tochiozan, then only a few points will be taken from the loser’s rating and given to the winner’s. In contrast, a big upset will cause a bigger point-swing. By following this process over all 15 days of the basho, we can visualize how the wrestlers compare to each other in regards to their current momentum. Here’s a graph of some of the top guys in Natsu:


Check out Asanoyama barging into the pack of elite talents at the top. You can see a better view with all the numbers by going to the Google doc linked above. On that document you can change any of the blue cells to compare whichever makuuchi wrestlers you like.

Well that’s all for now, feel free to send us any questions or suggestions and we’ll see you after Nagoya with more pointless stats!

Fantasy Sumo League: Haru 2018

*Spoilers through day 15/end of basho*

Haru basho is complete and the results are in for our fantasy league. Our guest this tournament was Molly, who provided us with last month’s best sumo/valentine’s pun: “Who does the sumotori go to for love advice? Cherub-maru!” 

Keep an eye out for our next contest if you’d like to join us in May.

Each player picked 5 rikishi from makuuchi and one from juryo. Before the results, here’s the scoring we used:

Continue reading “Fantasy Sumo League: Haru 2018”

Fantasy Sumo League: Hatsu 2018


A new year, a new opportunity to embarrass ourselves at something we thought we could be good at. Last basho we got our butts kicked by our guest participant Amy, so we kicked her right out. I would say we learned our lesson, but joining and probably destroying us this time is Eric. Eric gave us the winning name for our sumo mascot: Chikara-kun!


Check out the link above for our spreadsheet with rules and updated scores. The only change from last basho is that we added a sixth pick. This sixth pick scores the same way as the others but is selected from the juryo division. Here are the lineups for Hatsu 2018:

Our new likely champ Eric leads Team You Do It To Yourself, And That’s What Really Hurts: Hakuho, Chiyoshoma, Kaisei, Sokokurai, Aminishiki, and Osunaarashi.

Next, Ryan gives us The Fat Five (it’s six now, so he should probably work on that name): Hokutofuji, Onosho, Okinoumi, Shohozan, Chiyonokuni, Miyogiryu.

The Yokozuna Abides is led by Flyric: Kakuryu, Goeido, Yoshikaze, Asanoyama, Arawashi, Mitoryu.

Mak brings us The Chankonabe Chompers: Kisenosato, Tamawashi, Takakeisho, Tochinoshin, Chiyomaru, Amakaze.

Bringing up the rear is Team Abi’s Well that Endo’s Well led by Jake: Mitakeumi, Takayasu, Abi, Endo, Ikioi, Aoiyama.

Check in during the basho for scores!

Fantasy Sumo Results: Kyushu 2017

Better late than never, here are the results from our second basho of fantasy sumo. We had our first guest competitor and holy hell she destroyed us. Maybe we don’t need guests in the future… Anyway, here’s a quick overview of the scoring:

Each Match Won 1 pts
Each Match Lost 0 pts
Kachi-Koshi (8-7 or Better Record) 2 pts
Make-Koshi (7-8 or Worse Record) -2 pts
Yusho (Basho Winner Result) 5 pts
Jun-Yusho (Runner-Up Result) 3 pts
Each Kin-Boshi Awarded 2 pts
Each Special Prize Awarded 3 pts

Here’s a link to the full spreadsheet if you want the details, but check out this massacre:

Team Score
Amy AH HATS 70
Ryan The Fat Five 48
Flyric MitaYoMamiNoShin 41
Mak KiT-KoT-Char 36
Jake The Brutal Bellies 29

Amy managed to get Hakuho and Hokutofuji thereby thoroughly embarrassing our whole crew. She was promptly kicked off the team to make space for a new guest in January. If you’d like to be that guest (and you aren’t as good as Amy at this), remember to submit a name for our mascot. We’ll pick our favorite and contact you through Twitter with the details on how to humiliate us at our own game.

Fantasy Sumo League: Kyushu 2017


Take 2 of Fantasy Sumo is underway and this basho looks to be a little easier on us for injuries. Will that stop us from blowing it anyway? Of course not. This round we welcome a new competitor: Amy, of Team AH HATS! She originally picked Takanoiwa before he pulled out for injury, but luckily Takarafuji was available as a replacement to keep the acronym intact. Teams are as follows:

Returning champ Flyric, of Team MitaYoMamiNoShin: Mitakeumi, Onosho, Chiyotairyu, Daiamami, Tochinoshin.

Newcomer Amy of Team AH HATS: Hakuho, Hokutofuji, Shodai, Takarafuji, Arawashi.

Seeking redemption after a tough Aki is Mak of Team KiT-KoT-Char: Kisenosato, Takakeisho, Kotoshogiku, Tochiozan, Chiyomaru.

Aki runner-up Ryan of The Fat Five: Harumafuji, Endo, Tamawashi, Takayasu, Ikioi.

And this basho’s future champ, of course, is Jake of The Brutal Bellies: Goeido, Yoshikaze, Asanoyama, Kaisei, Aoiyama.

You can check out our scores and scoring system on the link above and feel free to leave us comments and mockery.


Fantasy Sumo Results: Aki 2017

Aki is complete, so it’s time to see who sucked the least at compiling a team of winning rikishi! A couple notes before crowning our winner:

  • Next time we will move this closer to the basho to avoid picking sumotori who pull out before the tournament even starts.
  • For November we will be adding a 5th player: one of you! Check out the final segment of our recap podcast for details.
  • Please feel free to give us feedback on our scoring. This is our first basho with this system so I’m sure there is plenty of tweaking we can do.

Continue reading “Fantasy Sumo Results: Aki 2017”

Fantasy Sumo League: Aki 2017

Welcome to GSB’s Fantasy Sumo League! This basho is the first time we’ve tried this system so we will probably tweak it a bit as we go. In the future we will look to make this available to anyone else who wants to try, so let us know what you think. We decided on a scoring system and drafted 5 wrestlers each, fantasy football style, to record in a spreadsheet (link). Let’s take a look at how we will score each rikishi’s performance: Continue reading “Fantasy Sumo League: Aki 2017”