Fantasy Football Rankings

I realize I never made a post on ranking Fantasy Football players. This post shows how to use a player’s past seasons to project their points in the upcoming season.

Step 1: Weighing past seasons

I took the top draft-worthy players’ stats from the past 2 seasons. I then created a very simple formula to project this season.

Projected points = .66*last year points + .33*points from 2 years ago

Step 1A: per-game adjustment

Some of the players may have missed a number of games, and I like to adjust their projected points to assume that they’ll play 16 games. Injury history should be considered, but I want to rank the players by their talent, not the amount of games they played in.

For example, if Frank Gore only played in 13 games last year, I would multiple his season total in points by (16/13) to get an estimate of how he WOULD have done without the injury. These rankings may be biased toward injury-prone players that can hurt a team, so depth shouldn’t be ignored.

Step 2: Define the replacement level player

In a 10-team league, each team has 3 starting WRs and probably 2 benched WRs. Assuming the top 50 WRs are owned, that means that the 51st best WR is going to be available on Free Agency, and doesn’t need to be drafted. I took an average how many points the 51st best WR scored in each of the past 3 years to get a general idea of the quality of player that would be available as a replacement at about anytime in the season. Doing this for each position gives you an idea of how many points you can get from a non-drafted player.

Step 3: Subtract each players projected points by their positional replacement level

In my rankings, Ryan Fitzpatrick was projected to be worth 242 points, and the replacement level QB was worth 235 points. Fitzpatrick was then worth 7 points Value over Replacement Player, or he had a VORP of 7.

Step 4 (for auction leagues): Creating a $ value from VORP

To give a player a $ value, you have to find his value as a factor of VORP

In my league, there are 10 teams, each with $200. 10 x $200 = $2000 in the fantasy economy.

So you just need to figure out the conversion rate from 1 VORP to $1.

In all the draftable players I researched, their VORP summed to a combined 4500.

VORP * x = $

2000/4500 = .44 $/VORP

So a player with a VORP of 1 is worth about 44cents.

Step 5 (auction leagues): Find undervalued players

Yahoo posts the average cost of each player.

Value – Average Cost = Surplus Value.

This is how I identified and targeted players that were going for cheaper than they should. Ex. Antonio Gates

Step 6: Run Solver

In the spreadsheet, I set up Excel Solver as I did in a past baseball post. The steps to this are a even more dry and technical that previous steps, so they can be elaborated on if anyone cares to hear it.

Basically Excel Solver can maximize value with a constraint of $185 to spend on 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE (I left $15 over to pay for a bench)

It spit out a team such as

Vick, A Foster, BenJarvis, Andre Johnson, Desean Jackson, Stevie Johnson, Antonio Gates.

I like that team.

These values can be valuable tools for drafting and trading. The biggest mistake you could make however would be to follow the projected points without considering the context of the numbers. For example, teams that have fallen a great ways from the previous years, like the Colts, will have players overvalued by a system that doesn’t take into account Peyton’s season ending injury. Go with the numbers AND your gut, never just one.

I’ve attached a spreadsheet showing some of the projected values I calculated using this method. Enjoy!

final fantasy football

 

 

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About Travis

I am big time fan of sports: basketball, baseball, football and I may occasionally bandwagon on soccer. Born and raised in San Francisco, I've had the pleasure of rooting for the Giants and the horror of rooting for the Warriors. I'm a recent Economics grad from UCSD, and my hobby is to put that education towards impractical uses. This includes using the tools of statistics to find value in sports players, real or fantasy. So this blog is primarily about using statistics in ways I find interesting and finding under-appreciated value or market inefficiencies.
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3 Responses to Fantasy Football Rankings

  1. Pingback: Fantasy Basketball – Optimal Draft | Amateur Stats

  2. Mike G says:

    Not sure if you are still on this site or will be notified, but I am trying to do this exact thing. I have a cost of each play and the points i project they will get, and a salary cap. I don’t understand how to set up solver for this? Can you help me?

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