Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Assessing Value to Position for Your 2016 Fantasy College Football Draft

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Using Quality Factors in Your Pre-Draft Statistical Analysis

What separates the good from the best? It's an obvious answer: Draft Day.

But if you think it's all about having the best players, then you obviously haven't learned from having your tail kicked in the post-season last year.

See, fantasy football is about value. Knowing WHO to draft is important, but not near as important as knowing WHEN to draft them. Ever wonder why everyone laughed at you for drafting a QB first in your NFL league, even though that QB scored the most points last year? Did you think that the reason you were getting beat was because of the seemingly obvious discrepancy between your running backs and everyone else? The two are related.  That's the value I am talking about.

Don't worry. I've done some research for you and I plan to give you a little help. A little. Because, what's the point of doing all the work and handing it over for free? 

Let's get right to it. Let's assume standard scoring. 6 points for any offensive TD, 1 point for every 20 yards of passing, 1 point for every ten rushing or receiving yards. We will be using numbers based upon returning players only. So, that means that eventually someone has to do some research on up-and-coming stars (hint: I'll help you there, too). 

21-20 point per game-9
20-30 point per game-32
The maximum average was 47 points per game and the next player averaged 38. 
There was nearly a 200 point difference between 1st and 10th and 150 points between 11th and 50. 

Conclusion: There is an absolute premium for the top 10 QBs. Considering that most use a 12+ man league, this means you have to do some catching up, somehow, if you are outside the top ten picks. Additionally, the shear volume of 20-30 point per game QBs means that, outside of the top 10, there is no reason to draft a QB in the first few rounds after the top 10 are off the board. The relationship between this group is extremely linear with a steep decline (7% point lost per QB taken) value. However, considering only the 11th-50th, there is only a 4% drop in value. Outside of the top ten, it is good to wait until the 4th round before drafting one while concentrating on RBs. 

20+ points per game-8
15-19 points per game-19
10-14 points per game-28
The maximum was 27 and the next was 26.5, next was 25

Conclusion:  Though not as bad as with the QBs, there is a pronounced difference between the elite and the mid-pack, but not one between mid-pack and the average. The relationship between RBs from the 11thto 50th is very linear and the value doesn't drop as significantly as with the QBs. There is only a 2% difference  across the board and only 1.5% loss between consecutive RBs from 11th to 50th RB. However, the point spread between 1st and 50th is 200 points with the 100 point midpoint at 11th, which is not insignificant. In other words, after the 10th back, there isn't any real value from one RB to the next. This means that missing out on a top-tier QB means absolute priority on an elite back perhaps even taking two or three before a QB. But, having an elite QB allows owners to stock up on mid-level RBs or even select an elite WR or a backup QB. 

15+ points per game-4
10-14 points per game-24
5-9 points per game-29
The maximum was 19, the next 17
There was an 80 point difference between 1st and 10th and another 60 points between 11th and 50th.

Conclusion: There are even fewer elite WR players than QB and RB. There is less than a 1.2% difference between consecutive WRs from first to 100 and less than 1% from 10th-100th. There is an 80 point differential between the top WR and the 10th while there exist only a 60 point differential from 11th to 50th. The majority of the production comes from the top five players so outside of those guys, there isn't any need to move ahead for a WR before another priority position.

A quick note, going to a PPR changes things. Do your own homework. 

10+ points per game-2
5-9 points per game-29
The maximum was 13, the next 10.
There was a 100 point difference between 1st and 10th.
There was a 50 point difference between 11th and 50th.

Conclusion: Outside of an elite set of TEs that can be found, there is virtually no reason to draft a TE outside of those elite (unless there is a draft requirement), as there is no performance gain from one to the next.

I do not rank DSTs or kickers because they are much easier to find weekly matchups to expose.
According the the following graph, QBs score more points per position until the 30th QB, where RBs become priority. At the 43rd position, WR becomes more valuable than QB with the RB still holding sway. Even kickers hold more value than QBs after the 45th position followed by DST at 50 and TE at 61. Of the other positions, there is no swap in points scored. 

Obviously having either an elite QB or RB is a necessity. Having both is great but you must have at least one to have a shot. Priority is on QB due to the massive point spread between 1-10 an 11-50. Their value drops drastically per scoring position. But, the sheer number of the mid-pack QBs allow owners to make it up in other means.

Outside of the elite running backs, there isn't nearly the loss in value per position, meaning that after the elite, there isn't a reason to take one before another RB nor another position of need. The value per position doesn't drop and the point spread from 1-10 an 11-50 isn't nearly as bad as QB.

Outside of the top recievers, there isn't any value from one to the next. The relationship is very linear and shallow meaning that there isn't a difference from 10th-50th.

There are some very good TEs, but with there only being two and the rapid changing offensive philosophies and the lack of value outside of the top two, there isn't a reason to move up to draft.

Make sure to check back as we discuss draft plans!