30 Responses to “Inside the Numbers: Fantasy League Draft Analysis”

  1. Coach says:

    interesting. i’ve always been one to trade out of the first round. However, my team got old and the last 2 years i’ve had 4 first round picks. (albeit late).

    Montario Hardesty
    Demaryus Thomas
    Arrelious Benn
    Ryan Williams

    They all suffered major injuries. At least Thomas seems to be coming on.

    I don’t have a first this upcoming draft because i traded it for my future franchise QB (sam bradford….ouch) i have no luck with 1st rd picks whether i keep them or trade em!

  2. Dave Hill says:

    Well done Jeff – It would be interesting to see where the top 10 players at each position over the last 6 years have been drafted in the NFL draft and then conversly in our draft. These wouldn’t necessarily be “studs”, because I’m sure a great deal of QB studs were drafted before 2004 (ie Brady, Peyton) … but rather just top ten of the players in that pool and NFL / Fantasy draft positions. Something to think about for a future article perhaps.

    Again, nice job.

    • DLF_Jeff says:

      Thanks Dave. I had actually done something like that a couple years back and may be doing it again this year if time permits. I typically will do an article or two on the past decade of NFL drafts and break down the likelihood that a first or second round pick will be a success based on his drafted position. But I’ve also swing that around and done a listing of top players in fantasy with a break down of where they came from … and the consistent factors that can be used to identify the ones from the current draft pool.

      Thanks for the comment.

  3. Michael says:

    “There can be no objective thought within a subjective mind”– I love it! I always say “you can’t use logic and reason to sway someone from an opinion they attained without the use of logic and reason” but yours is so much better.

    • DLF_Jeff says:

      Thanks Michael. It’s one that I’ve used from way back in the late 80s and early 90s when doing stock investing/trading research. I’ve always been a big proponent of “objectivity” and I needed something of a mantra to keep myself centered when I found myself wanting to jump to a conclusion before I had all the details.

      I have a ton of little sayings that I’ve been meaning to write down but I’m hoping someday perhaps that one will be quoted on the inside of a book or something like that with my name attached to it.

      Hope you enjoyed the article, thanks for the comment.

  4. Nickdib says:

    Do you think trent richardson will be the next AP?

    • No. I’m not as high on Richardson as I was in the beginning of the season. And the more I watched him the less I liked what I saw. But that said, I’m going back to watch a lot of tape with an objective mindset and doing my grading from top down on my list. I’ll be updating the list soon.

      He’ll still be me my #1 RB for sure, I can tell you that much but I don’t consider him an “elite” prospect as some of the main talking heads do. But that could change.

  5. Skip says:

    The only issue that I see is the potential of seeing increasingly inaccurate results round by round as you will get a lot more variation in round 2 than round 1…round 3 than round 2 and so on.

    In 2010 in my main league we had Mike Williams (TB), Jimmy Graham, and Rob Gronkowski all selected in the 2nd rd. Clearly two of them can be considered “studs” and one certainly looked like he had that potential.

    I don’t think that devalues the analysis, but rather I think demonstrates the volatility that could occur. Overall, I think we all accept the diminishing returns of every pick and outside of the first few picks the risks can quickly outweigh the rewards.

  6. tstafford says:

    Another conclusion one could draw from this analysis would be that it is a mistake to trade multiple late firsts for a pick in the 1.04-1.06 range. You’re better off taking two swings at the bat with the 1.11 and 1.12 than taking the best of the rest with a single 1.04-1.06 pick. That’s not something I would have expected. Of course, it might matter if you are in a salary cap league where carry two players has it’s own inherent cost.

    • Very true. I doubt this analysis will really change anyone’s mind greatly about how to approach the draft, but I honestly believe that it should tweak things. In fact, I dismissed a possible trade today because of it and the fact that I need to hold true to what the data has told me year over year.

      Good points on all fronts. I’d definitely trade a low first rounder for two close picks.

      • Nick Barnett says:

        a little caveat to back that up…. this past season I traded the 1.03 pick (who ended up being Mark Ingram after AJ Green and Julio Jones) for 1.11 and 1.12 picks. I drafted Jimmy Graham and Fred Jackson, who despite the injury helped my team to the playoffs and and eventually to the Super Bowl.

        With that being said, we roster only 17 and carry 25 during the season, so Fred Jackson didn’t make post season cuts or Jimmy Graham.

  7. Spolan says:

    You said that 80% of wrs drafted in the top 5 end up being studs. Many have projected that Justin Blackmon will go second overall to the rams. Do you think he’ll become a stud and is he worth drafting if you have the 1.01 spot?

    • If you need a WR and are in a PPR system then absolutely. Although Richardson is tough to pass up. But it’s about the needs on YOUR team and if Blackmon does become a stud, he’ll be one for a long time.

      I stand by the stats as they are correct. The only top 5 WR that hasn’t become a stud was Charles Rogers … and he was a stud for a game because I had him damn it. He played the Cardinals in his first game and scored 2 TDs. As I recall … that made up about 25% of his total career TDs.

  8. Rich Fransen says:

    I may have missed it in the column, but there is no mention of the differences that exist between an early rookie draft (mine is usually done in May or June) versus one done shortly before the start of the season. Certainty with draft choices increases over those couple of months and can absolutely mean the difference between a hit or a miss, steal or a bust.

    • Sure could. Our draft usually starts the day of the draft .. and doesn’t last more than a few days. The longer you can wait, the more information that you have to make your picks. I favor an early rookie draft myself though.

  9. JB says:

    Great read. I’m curious about your analysis of the third pick looking so strong. Seems to me you are making a statement that contradicts the mantra “always draft talent over situation”. Would love to see your thoughts on that one, as i have come to question that idea. If you have a talented guy in a great situation i will take him over a great talent in a bad situation. That great talent may rise to the top eventually (Stewart for example, maybe), but you will have about 100 opportunities to grab him between now and then. Same can’t be said for a good talent who jumps immeadiately because of a great situation (like Forte).

    • DLF_Jeff says:

      First, not so much that I’m making a statement to that as much as it is me looking for the “what is” of what the data is telling me. Secondly, in my past I’ve usually gone with the greater situation over talent and have been burned enough to now think twice before doing so each time. Steven Jackson and LeSean McCoy are two that stick out.

      I also haven’t analyzed multiple league drafts over long periods of time to see if htis data holds true for them as well. But I might be going there nexxxt.

      In the end, I would never recommend passing on someone like Riichardson to take someone like Chris Polk because of this data. It’s more just something to think about when looking to trade into or out of picks as to what can be garnered from them.

  10. Chad says:

    OK, since there are 0 studs at the 1.4 (which I have), what would you do to improve this team?

    Dynasty, PPR (.5), 12 team league, 1 qb 1-2 rb 3-4 wr 1 te, 1 flex (rb, wr, te), 1 k & 1 def

    QB: Tom Brady NE, Big Ben PIT, Kyle Orton DEN, Colin Kaepernick SF

    RB: Darren McFadden OAK, Ahmad Bradshaw NYG, BJGE NE, Brandon Jacobs NYG, C.J. Spiller BUF, Bernard Scott CIN, Montario Hardesty CLE, Evan Royster WAS

    WR: Andre Johnson HOU, Calvin Johnson DET, Larry Fitzgerald ARI, Roddy White ATL, Steve Smith CAR, Santana Moss WAS, Danny Amendola STL, Johnny Knox CHI, Kyle Williams SF

    TE: Jimmy Graham NO

    K: Stephen Gostkowski NEP

    DEF: Chargers

    • Josh G says:

      You have Megatron, Fitz, Andre Johnson and Steve Smith..and Graham..and Brady, Big Ben and McFadden? Do you play with 9 other 6 yr olds?

      Whatever..you need a rb or young good qb more than WR.

      If its a rookie draft and it goes Luck, Trent, RG3, then you can always take Blackmon and consider trading him…otherwise, you can be happy with one of the other 3 choices.

    • bigd says:

      wow….start brady, mcfadd-bradshaw, andre-calvin-roddy, jimmy, fitz at flex, gostkowski, sandy D…..get a couple of rookies for then fun of it….and start looking for a place to put the trophy. ps maybe make a couple of trades just because you can!!!!!!!

    • I have a 1.04 as well. Remember that this is just one draft and no studs at 1.04 in the past doesn’t mean none in the future.

      With your team, you don’t need studs … you need productive players and you could use a young QB like Luck or Griffin. This should be a deep enough draft for you to put that 1.04 to use. And if you don’t want to take use that pick .. trade out for a known player.

  11. Ray says:

    Do you have any data on college rbs over last ten yrs that had 3 seasons of 1000+ yards ? Curious what their success rate in NFL becomes. Own 1.4 & 1.5 picks in 2012 rookie draft. Chris Polk and Lamar Miller are my likely picks.

    • Funny that you mention that. I’m redoing my grading system for rookies and one of the things that I’m trying to take into consideration with a certain weighting is number of years of college production vs. number of carries/receptions vs. the conference/competition that they’ve played against. I don’t think I’m going to get it done for this particular draft but I’m trying to.

      Far too soon to say “likely picks” because so much can change and draft picks are always more valuable before the draft than after. If Lamar Miller goes to New England or Washingon … or New Orleans, his value will slide. If Polk goes to Dallas or Green Bay … same thing in all likelihood.

  12. bigd says:

    wow stunning article. there is so much in there i have a headache trying to take it all in. i will definitly consider the info though because it does make sence. i’m more of a “gut feeling guy” when it comes to drafting. i did get stung with ryan williams this last year and just missed getting murray in the second.

    • I’d like more league data to analyze and will be asking for league history in our forums.

      Nothing wrong with the gut feeling aspect as I’m sure there is some level of logic that goes into your gut feelings … as in situation, character, skill level, etc. I try to get fantasy coaches to use their gut feelings more because I truly believe that our gut feelings are largely unprocessed and objective feelings before our consciousness gets hold of them to the point where we can twist them with “logic”.

  13. Chris R says:

    Great article and your wide receiver research got me thinking about RB’s taken in the first round of the NFL draft, and their fantasy production.

    Since 2000, only six RBs were taken as high as the 5th overall pick in the NFL draft. They were Jamal Lewis, LaDainian Tomlinson, Ronnie Brown & Cadillac Williams, Reggie Bush and Darren McFadden. While some of their career numbers may have been disappointing due to injury or situation, none could be considered a total bust.

    Within the top 10 also included Thomas Jones (late bloomer), Adrian Peterson (six teams passed on ADP!!!) and CJ Spiller (jury is out).

    First round backs who were not top 10 but became studs (or had at least one stud season) include Shaun Alexander, Deuce McAllister, Willis McGahee, Larry Johnson, Steven Jackson, DeAngelo Williams, Joseph Addai, Marshawn Lynch, Jonathan Stewart, Rashard Mendenhall,Chris Johnson and Ryan Matthews.

    Jury is still out: Felix Jones, Beanie Wells, Jahvid Best and Mark Ingram (all taken after the 20th pick).

    Busts (or major disappointments): Ron Dayne (though his Week 16 performance as a Texan won me a title back in the day), Trung Candidate, William Green (ugh), TJ Duckett, Chris Perry, Kevin Jones (so promising), Ms. Laurence Maroney, Knowshawn Moreno and Donald Brown (possssibly a late bloomer ala Thomas Jones?).

    Out of 34 RBs taken in the NFL Draft since 2000, 26% were busts…20% became uber studs…58% had a top 10 finish one year or more…and the jury is out on 14%.

    Not including Mark Ingram/CJ Spiller (too early), the only RBs taken #1 in the draft who were busts are William Green and Knowshawn Moreno. Disappointments include Ronnie Brown, Reggie Bush and Darren McFadden (depending on who you ask). Great include McGahee and Jackson (taken after the 20th pick)…and future HOFers include Jamal Lewis, Tomlinson and Adrian Peterson.

    While we can all debate true value, it appears that if you take the 1st RB off the NFL Draft board (at any spot), 77% will go on to be at least a RB2 or better. If they were drafted in the top 10, that success rate goes up even higher (though non-stud debate increases as well…Ronnie Brown, Reggie Bush).

    So, if Trent Richardson is the first RB chosen in the 2012 draft as expected, barring injury he should be a solid addition to any roster…even if he falls short of the lofty expectations and comparisons to past top RBs.

    • Josh G says:

      Interesting research/anbalysis…thanks.

      How many years (or should it be carries?) for your analysis to prove someone is a stud/respectable roster addition/bust..etc?

      For example..Knowshon Moreno and Beanie Wells..have been injured, running back by committee..etc..

      Sometimes its so tough to call unless they are the bell cow!

  14. Joe E says:

    Great article, had to read it a couple times to make sure I had a good grasp on all that info! OK, so here’s my league data:

    12 teams, 30 man roster, 15 keepers/year (8 off, 5 def, 2 off/def). Start 1QB, 3 RB/WR, 1 WR/TE, 1 TE, 2 DL, 2 LB, 2 DB, 1 D/ST, 1 K.

    My tentative Keeper List: QB Cam Newton, Sam Bradford, RB McFadden and Chris Johnson, WR Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, Dwayne Bowe, Denarius Moore, Michael Crabtree, TE Brandon Pettigrew, DL Justin Tuck and Justin Smith, LB Lawrence Timmons, Patrick Willis, and Pat Angerer

    Our rookie draft is 4 rounds deep, in April. Rosters are then filled out with a free agent auction a week before the season. In this year’s rookie draft I have picks 1.01, 1.09, 2.01, 2.05, 3.01, 4.01. Is there enough depth in the rookie draft to justify using all of my rookie picks to add some young talent/upside? Should I try trading out of a couple of those picks for other players, or maybe even trade them for picks in the 2013 rookie draft? If trading picks is my best bet, which ones should I try to sell the most? As always, any and all info/advice is much appreciated!

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