Decisions, Decisions

Navigating through Fantasy Football Draft Prep

It’s that time again! With the 2018 NFL season just a couple of weeks away, we are smack dab in the middle of Fantasy Football draft season. With so many sites touting their player projections, it doesn’t take long before your head starts spinning. One of the main issues with the projections is, normally, these are based on generic scoring and not based on the specific scoring of your league. Because of this, it is possible that the generic projections could steer you in the wrong direction. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to aggregate the projections from across the industry and calculate the scoring projections based on your league’s scoring? Well, that is exactly what I did.

Overall Projections

Of the top 10 projected players, 5 are running backs, 3 are wide receivers, and 2 are quarterbacks. When you expand that out to the top 25 projected players, it breaks down like this: RB (11), WR (8), QB (6).

Top Projection by position:

QB – Aaron Rodgers (299.56), Overall projection rank: 5

RB – Le’Veon Bell (365.83), Overall projection rank: 1

WR – Antonio Brown (306.51), Overall projection rank: 4

TE – Rob Gronkowski (240.33), Overall projection rank: 32

Strength of Schedule

Strength of schedule plays a big role in the productivity of a player. Obviously, if the teams on a player’s schedule defend his position well, it will hurt the productivity of that player. For this data, the higher the strength of schedule, the better that defense defended that player’s position.

For example, a strength of schedule of 32 means that the defenses on that player’s schedule surrendered the least amount of points to that player’s position, whereas a strength of schedule of 1 means that the defense surrendered the most points to the position.

In the chart below, I sorted the player’s strength of schedule by the projected points for that player. When we look at strength of schedule for the top 5 projected players by position, we see:

QB – Russell Wilson – Pos Rank: 2, SoS: 2

Cam Newton – Pos Rank: 3, SoS: 11

Tom Brady – Pos Rank: 4, SoS: 15

DeShaun Watson – Pos Rank: 5, SoS: 26

Aaron Rodgers – Pos Rank: 1, SoS: 32

RB – Alvin Kamara – Pos Rank: 4, SoS: 8

David Johnson – Pos Rank: 3, SoS: 10

Le’Veon Bell – Pos Rank: 1, SoS: 14

Ezekiel Elliott – Pos Rank: 5, SoS: 22

Todd Gurley – Pos Rank: 2, SoS: 31

WR – Julio Jones – Pos Rank: 2, SoS: 1

Odell Beckham – Pos Rank: 4, SoS: 7

Michael Thomas – Pos Rank: 5, SoS: 8

Antonio Brown – Pos Rank: 1, SoS: 21

DeAndre Hopkins – Pos Rank: 3, SoS: 25

TE – Travis Kelce – Pos Rank: 2, SoS: 2

Delaine Walker – Pos Rank: 5, SoS: 5

Zach Ertz – Pos Rank: 3, SoS: 6

Rob Gronkowski – Pos Rank: 1, SoS: 13

Evan Engram – Pos Rank: 4, SoS: 25

Average Draft Position (ADP)

Average draft position allows you to gain some perspective as to where players had been selected in already completed drafts. Having this knowledge will give you a better understanding of when you might need to think about drafting a player or position. For example, in this chart, 7 of the first 10 players with the highest average draft position are running backs.

If we look at the highest draft position by position, we see that the quarterback with the highest ADP is Aaron Rodgers (25), Todd Gurley (1.36) has the highest ADP of running backs. Antonio Brown (5.9) leads the way for wide receivers and Rob Gronkowski (23.18) is the highest drafted tight end.

Position Scarcity

Another aspect to consider when building your draft strategy is position scarcity. What I mean by that is how many players does it take before a player’s projected points is 100 or more points below the top ranked player at that position. Let’s look and see.

QB: 27 players – Aaron Rodgers (299.56) to Jameis Winston (198.52)

RB: 8 players – Le’Veon Bell (365.83) to Dalvin Cook (264.6)

WR: 20 players – Antonio Brown (306.51) to JuJu Smith-Schuster (205.79)

TE: 12 players – Rob Gronkowski (240.33) to David Njoku (128.5)

Overall Strategy:

Based on a 12-team league and the average draft positions, running backs will once again be in high demand. Because the running back position is the scarcest, if you fail to prioritize running backs with at least one, if not both, of your first two picks, you could find yourself in an unenviable draft position. And although a very deep position, wide receiver would probably be the next position to prioritize with your 3rd and/or 4th round picks. Waiting to draft a quarterback is a safe bet as you should, most likely, still see Cam Newton, Tom Brady, Carson Wentz and Drew Brees on the board. As far as tight ends, if you miss out on Gronkowski, Travis Kelce, or Zach Ertz, you are better to wait until the later rounds as the middle tier of tight ends is deep.

Here is a link to app. Add in your league’s scoring in the filters and see which players rise to the top of your draft.

An analytics guide to fantasy football!

Keep up with the latest insights to drive the most value from your data.

Get ready to transform your entire business with data.

Follow Qlik