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Schwamm Sez: Draft Day Strategy (2)

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For reference, previous Shwamm Sez posts can be found here:


Intro:  Schwamm's Rules to Draft by


I changed my mind... I'll get into in-season stuff shortly, but I want to provide more background information, for anyone interested, on how to drill down to the reasons why you ought to draft certain positions before others. 




In my last post, I made the assertion that RBs are most valuable, and need to be taken in abundance in early rounds.  If you scan through enough sites, "experts" have been arguing both sides of this one for as long as websites have realized a value in having people offer "expertise".  The most common things I see include "RBs need to go first because you need at least twice as many" or "QBs are the players who generate the most fantasy points for your team, so take them first as the cornerstone of your team."  For my money, both have truth to them, so they sound convincing, but most of the "expert analysis" on this topic is ultimately just noise.


I've tried to gave you the simplest description I could for a more "mathematical" reason to value RBs more than QBs.  But some may need a more thorough explanation.  Where did I arrive at the scoring (NFL.com, based on 2012 scoring)?  What is the source for the average rounds I mention (Rotoworld ADP analysis)?  What do I mean by point per game drop off, or by points per round (in simplest terms, if I take a QB in round 1, what does it cost me in projected RB production, or vice versa)?


Occasionally, I've encountered the theory that scoring format alters which position gets valued over others.  Perhaps you've seen that one too.  HOWEVER... unless the scoring format creates a significantly bigger spread between the top player at a position and the last starter (by starting 2 QBs, for instance), I argue that scoring setup affects your positional rankings, but not the order in which you ought to value positions.


Let's take a look at the last 3 years for total QB vs. RB season scoring.  In the following spreadsheets, "FPPS" is fantasy points per season (based on standard NFL.com fantasy league scoring), "DROP/S" refers to the amount that player scored below the top scorer for the season, "AFPPG" is FPPS/16, or average fantasy points per game, and DROP/G refers to the amount per game that player trailed the top scorer.  I then have a number, shown in blue, indicating where this year's equivalent player at the bottom of each grouping will most typically go in average drafts (per Rotoworld's 2013 ADP analysis).  And the red number is the AFPPG divided by the round that player is typically going, giving us an idea how much passing on that player costs us in ppg/round.


post-5060-0-84266400-1375143884_thumb.jp   post-5060-0-91760100-1375143886_thumb.jp   post-5060-0-83796100-1375143888_thumb.jp


I hope the spreadsheets above are large enough for you to read... please let me know if they aren't and I can see about PMing larger versions.


So what are we seeing?   I see the "drop per round" numbers as suggesting that you lose much more by taking a starting QB before you snag both starting RBs.  You are welcome to run similar spreadsheets to see where the other positions stack up.  I suspect you'll see that WRs are also slightly more valuable than QBs, and both are more valuable than TEs.


Where I think this analysis falls short is that I think gut feel and creativity need to have a role.  If you have completed all your player analysis, you may not particularly like any of the RBs available at your pick, and you may prefer to target a specific RB that is slated to go in a later round.  That may lead you to make an informed decision to ignore the spreadsheets above in favor of following your intuition, which is perfectly valid... as long as you know that is what you are doing.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I confess I'm mildly disappointed no detractors stepped up to question this. There are three obvious shortcomings with the way I set up this analysis, and I has hoped it would lead to a useful debate.

First, it averages drop per round over multiple rounds, instead of indicating what the actual drop would be at each round, or each pick (I confess I was too lazy to run that analysis for you when I'm no longer intending to play, and I'm pretty sure it would cause a few eyes to glaze over in the tedium). Having compiled those stats in the past, I can tell you it modifies the round by round numbers, but not the conclusions.

Second, it doesn't address how value shifts as players are removed from the board. It would be useful to question how the dynamic shifts when picking at the end of the first, for instance, when the top 8 or so RBs are already gone. (Without showing the breakdown, I'll suggest it actually increases the importance of grabbing RB over QB).

And third, I did not address how an uncommonly large gap (like Rodgers over all other QBs in 2011) might shift your strategy. I'll tell you it definitely would propel his value enough to move him to the first round, but if you can consistently predict that kind of season (I had him rated best, but could not have predicted by that much), you are a better prognosticator than most.

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Schwamm, Thanks for taking the time to put this all together.

I honestly haven't read all of them on their entirety yet, but what I have read either validated approaches I've had over the years, or offered me another way, or two, of looking at the process.


A lot of work.


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