Misuse of Total Fantasy Football Points
Drafts are heating up everywhere. People are crunching numbers and gathering information – looking for Fantasy Football Auction Values for this 2014 season. If drafts are done, owners are then scouring the waiver wire or offering trades to their competitors looking to improve their team. All those things are great, but what are we paying attention to when we are making these roster moves or preparations before the season kicks off?
Total Fantasy Football Points 2013
One thing I have found over the years of playing fantasy football is that often times people rely too much on how many points a player scores in a year. Unless you are in a rotisserie league, which virtually no one is, total points per season doesn’t mean anything. The reason it is so insignificant is because most of us play head to head, where we accumulate points and conversely wins and losses on a weekly basis. We want players that will be consistent weekly and total points in a season doesn’t necessarily reflect that.
For example let’s look at Doug Martin. In 2012, he was a rookie that burst on the scene and in a 1 point PPR league he finished second only to Adrian Peterson in terms of total points for the season among running backs (313 points). With Martin’s freshman performance burned in everybody’s mind heading into their 2013 drafts, Martin garnered top dollar as far as running backs went. That turned out to be a waste of money because Martin got hurt and even when he was on the field he was relatively ineffective, averaging 3.6 yards per carry and scoring only 1 TD in the 6 games he appeared in. That was a far cry from the 4.6 yards per carry and 12 total TDs he scored the year before.
Now how does Doug Martin illustrate how total fantasy points can skew our opinions of players? Well if look closer at his 2012 season we will see that he only had 5 games where he rushed for over 100 yards and one of those came in Week 17 where that would have helped very few of us as most leagues would have been wrapped up by then. In those other games where he didn’t break the 100 yard barrier, he average 3.6 yards per carry which was the exact same number he averaged in 2013 which disappointed many fantasy owners. Also, in Week 9, Martin scored four touchdowns against a horrendous Oakland Raiders defense. So he accounted for 25% of his season touchdown output in one game. During that same week, he also accounted for 17% of his rushing yards for that season. And that was just in one game. If you want to take it a little further, in those 5 games where he rushed for over 100 yards, he accounted for a whopping 55% of his yearly output. So, Martin rushed for over half his yards in 5 games. Obviously he didn’t fare so well in the other 11. So you can see how a few big games can really skew the total points statistic and possibly alter people’s opinions on players.
Weekly Fantasy Football Consistency
So what can we use instead of total points in a season? One thing I like to look at is how many times did a particular player finish as a weekly top scoring fantasy option at his position. For example, if I’m in a league that starts two running backs, I’m looking for how many times a player finished as a top 24, or startable, running back every week. This way I can see which players consistently produce startable numbers, not just huge games one week and duds the next. Crunching these numbers can take some time I will admit, however it does give you a more accurate picture of who you can rely on. Luckily for you, if you have bought our draft kit, we have calculated all of those numbers for the quarterback, running back and wide receiver position based on last years stats.
In auction drafts you are trying to minimize the risk when spending your money, meaning you want to most consistent options possible, especially when spending the majority of your budget. These volatile, boom-or-bust type players should be saved for later in your draft when it’s not as crippling to your lineup when this player doesn’t produce in a given week.
An example of this in 2014 would be someone like T.Y. Hilton. In 2013, in a 1 point PPR, he scored 221 points and finished as the WR19. In comparison, Larry Fitzgerald had 237 points (WR17) and Kendall Wright scored 214 points (WR20).
2013 Fantasy Football Wide Receivers
We can see that even though these three receivers finished within 23 points of each other, Hilton had many more games where he finished with less than 10 points. We can also see that Fitzgerald provided owners with the most upside as he finished with almost double the top 24 games as the other two. This upside is indicative of Fitzgerald’s average auction value (AAV), as even though he is the oldest receiver of the three, most drafters would still consider him the most talented and are willing to pay more to get him. This comparison illustrates Hilton had the most dud games because even though he tied with Wright for top 24 percentage, he had a whopping 9 games with under 10 points versus Wright’s three. Therefore, based on this data, one could consider Hilton would have been a much bigger liability to your fantasy team than the other two. You can also see by each players AAV, Kendall Wright may provide you with the best value as he is the most consistent in terms of bad games and also the cheapest option of the three.
Now total fantasy points isn’t without any use. I personally like to use it to try and trade players that may be less consistent for players that are and I will use total points to try and sway an owner to make a trade. If they can see that someone with a bigger name has scored more points than the player you are offering him for, they might be inclined to make that trade even you know the bigger name offers more of a weekly risk. You may be able to trade Hilton straight up for Wright to an owner who is just looking at total fantasy points because Hilton scored more last year so the assumption is he is a better fantasy option.
You can see how certain statistics can be poor representations of predicting players success. It is important to take that into account and look at a player’s game by game production to see if you can spot tendencies or trends in fantasy output. This will allow you to find values as well as pinpoint players that may be overpriced which will allow you to avoid them on draft day. Take the time and try and develop the most accurate rankings you can by understanding the game by game tendencies of each player.
FFA Contributor @fantasyauction