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Fantasy Football : What Does 2013 Mean For Next Year?


December 27, 2013

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Well, for most people fantasy football is over. If any of you are like me, its time to go back to the drawing board, reflect on this year, and use it to create a new drafting strategy for next year. Here are some stats I accumulated that may help with drafting next year.

Assuming fifteen points for quarterbacks is adequate, and ten is acceptable for running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends, here are the number of players who reached that benchmark at their respective positions (espncom scoring, through week 16 except for the Monday night game).

At quarterback, plenty were able to surpass or meet the fifteen point benchmark, as seventeen did. They were: Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Cam Newton, Andrew Luck, Philip Rivers, Matthew Stafford, Russell Wilson, Alex Smith, Tony Romo, Andy Dalton, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Ryan Tannehill, Nick Foles, Colin Kaepernick, Matt Ryan and Robert Griffin III.

At running back, 16 were able to average ten points a week. They were: Jammal Charles, LeSean McCoy, Matt Forte, Marshawn Lynch, Knowshon Moreno, Adrian Peterson, DeMarco Murray, Eddie Lacy, Reggie Bush, Chris Johnson, Frank Gore, Fred Jackson, Giovanni Bernard, Ryan Matthews, Alfred Morris and LeVeon Bell.

At wide receiver, fourteen were able to meet the ten point mark, They were: Calvin Johnson, Josh Gordon, Antonio Brown, Demaryius Thomas, Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, A.J. Green, Dez Bryant, Andre Johnson, Eric Decker, Jordy Nelson, Vincent Jackson, Larry Fitzgerald.

Then we look at tight end, and we see how valuable they really are. Only a mere two were able to surpass the ten point mark. They were Jimmy Graham and Vernon Davis.

Now lets look at VBD statistics. VBD stands for value-based-drafting. This paragraph from Christopher Harris of ESPN sums it up nicely. He says, “How does VBD work? It’s all about establishing that “baseline” player. Calculating the difference between each player’s absolute fantasy point total and the point total of a baseline player at the same position gives us a relative number, which can then be compared across positions. Logically, this allows us to look at past-year performances, determining which positions tended to justify higher draft slots. After all, if we only judged by absolute point totals, we’d all be drafting quarterbacks in the first round, since for example in 2011, eight of the top 10 highest raw fantasy point totals were scored by QBs.” 

So here are some key stats in playing into VBD from this season (NOTE: assuming 10 team, standard scoring. ESPN statistics, and only through week 16, not including the Monday night game.)


#1 Peyton Manning 25.1 points

#5 Philip Rivers       18.6 points

#10 Andy Dalton      16.9 points

The difference between the best, and number five, which is the “average” player in a ten man league is actually pretty high here. It is a 6.5 point difference. However, the difference from five to the worst is very minimal at only a 1.7 point difference. What you want to get from this is that After Manning and Drew Brees, there is a small difference of only 3.3 points from number three Newton to number ten.

This means you either want to snag up Manning or Brees early. If you do not, then your smartest bet is to wait until you absolutely have to take a quarterback. The difference of 3.3 points is not worth it. I higher recommend not snatching up 3-8.

It is smartest to wait until everyone has their quarterbacks, and stack up elsewhere where you can make a bigger margin of points up.

Now lets look at running backs.

#1 J. Charles 20.5

#5 Knowshon Moreno 15.3

#10 Chris Johnson 12.1

#11 Frank Gore        11.2

#15 Alfred Morris   10.6

#20 Maurice Jones-Drew    9.3

Everybody starts two running backs at minimum. The difference between one and twenty is huge, at 11.2. However, the difference on the back end is very small. The best running back two has only a .9 increase from the worst running back two. This means you should only go one way with this. I would go two running backs in the first two rounds. If you get a high pick, you could end up with Charles or McCoy, and maybe a Chris Johnson on the back end. They would combine for 32.6 points, a 5.8 point upgrade from the other averages (the average #1 back + average #2).

If you get a low pick, and take a DeMarco Murray at 12.5 points, a running back next round would be a waste. If you want to go back to back running backs, you need to obtain a top five rusher for it to work. If you can not get a top five, I would wait until late to obtain your number two guy.

Wide Receivers:

#1 Calvin Johnson 15.4

#5 Brandon Marshall      13.0

#10 A Johnson 11.8

#11 Eric Decker       11.4

#15 Pierre Garcon       9.9

#20 Anquan Boldin        9.0

Wide receiver clearly has the most depth. The difference from #1-#20 is only 6.4 points. From the best  number one to worst number one is only four points. From the best number two to worst number two is only 2.4 points. What it means is to wait on wide receivers! Your league average at the position will be 22.9 points. Even if you get the fourteen and sixteen lets say, that’s 19.8 points. That’s still only 3.1 points down. This is a very deep pool, and you should wait on receivers.

Tight Ends

#1 Jimmy Graham 13.7

#5 Jason Witten   8.5

Jimmy Graham more than doubles number ten. This a very shallow pool, so I think jumping on Jimmy Graham early is a great call to increase your teams value.  So now lets look at how you can not be an “average” team. The fifth place team would consist of Rivers, Moreno, Morris, Marshall, Garcon and Witten (not including flex, kicker or defense). They would combine for 75.9 fantasy points. So how do you make a better than average team?

Construct a team with more than 75.9 points. Its really that simple. Lets test some draft strategies.

Early 1st round pick: 1-3  Jammal Charles- 20.5

Second round pick 8-10 Chris Johnson- 12.1

Third round: 1-3   Vernon Davis- 10.8

fourth round 8-10  Jordy Nelson-11.3

fifth round 1-3      Keenan Allen 9.5

sixth round 8-10   Alex Smith    17.7

Total: 81.9 fantasy points

That means you would outscore the average team by six points a week.

Mid Round Pick (4-6) Drew Brees 22

second round    (4-6)   Vernon Davis (yes jump the gun) 10.8

third round         (4-6)  Fred Jackson   10.9

fourth round       (4-6)  Morris            10.6

fifth   round          (4-6)  Garcon         9.9

sixth round          (4-6)   Edelman    9.3

TOTAL   73.5, under the average. Think about it: If you have an average pick, how will you not be average? I am not a fan of having a mid pick, I would trade it even for a worse pick.

Late Round Pick (7-10) Moreno 15.3

second  round    (1-3)    Graham 13.7

third round          (7-10) Andre Johnson 11.4

fourth  round      (1-3)   Ryan Matthews 10.8

fifth round          (7-10)   Wes Welker         9.7

sixth round        (1-3)     Stafford                 18.5

TOTAL  79.4

You would be just better than average, finishing with 3.5 points more than fifth place per week.

Look. I understand Welkers injury brings his average down to under ten, so he will go higher than fifth round. But my point is with the average points. Somebody averaging 9.7 points at wide receiver should go late fifth round. I am NOT saying that these players will go in these spots exactly. It is their point totals in relation to their position that helps decide where they should be drafted.

Example: where I said Welker fifth round 9.7, it really means wide receiver 9.7 points.

In conclusion, if you have a mid round pick you are in no-man’s-land. I would recommend trading it for a later or earlier pick.

Like my work? check me out on Fantasy Sports Talk at https://www.facebook.com/fantasyfootballtalk1?ref=hl




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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at robert.cobb@theinscribermag.com

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