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With more than 100 picks in there are some early conclusions from the ongoing Superflex draft I am in. While historical Superflex data is limited, each draft can create a better feel for the pacing of positions and when positional runs will occur.
I joined a startup with my friend Tim Torch that is ongoing this week. We thought it would be a good opportunity to employ some of the principles from The Analytics of Dynasty in the startup to build a strong core.
The format is Superflex with 4PT passing TDs and 1.75 PPR scoring for TE. The remainder of the scoring is stock PPR. The total roster is 36 players deep with starting lineups of start 1QB/1RB/1WR/1TE/1SF/5 flex.
Rookie pick placeholders are in the draft with a rookie draft occurring after the NFL Draft. Continue reading Superflex Startup: An Analytics of Dynasty Build
With championship week 16 upon us, the offseason is only hours away. Now is the perfect time to get an edge in offseason trades, rookie drafts, and startups, by ordering The Analytics of Dynasty.
The Analytics of Dynasty covers a decade of statistical, ADP, efficiency, and production data that will help you make better dynasty decisions. There is a full range of dynasty league topics, including:
- Startup draft strategy
- Rookie draft strategy
- Trade strategy
- Player selection
- Roster construction
There are also new metrics and strategies that measure a player’s impact on a dynasty team’s success, including
- Wins Over Replacement Player (WORP)
- Adjusted Wins Over Replacement Player (aWORP)
- Rule of 7
- Rule of 97
The book also provides studies of a variety of topics and comes to conclusions that are contrarian to several mainstream beliefs on topics, including
- Positional efficiency
- Positional hit rates
- Rookie draft hit rates
- Optimal player selection
I hear some of these narratives every week on podcasts and read them in writing. With The Analytics of Dynasty, you will be able to exploit them in drafts and trades. The book will help you make more efficient and winning dynasty rosters.
There are two options to buy
The Analytics of Dynasty will be released in PDF form in late January. Have a startup draft before then? Let me know and I’ll get you some advanced strategy points.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and good luck in your championship games!
Through week 9 of the NFL season, James Conner has 206.5 PPR points and is currently the RB3. The impact of that has been massive both this season and historically.
James Conner’s Profile
James Conner’s profile was interesting when he was drafted. There were a lot of signs for high-level potential when he was drafted by the Steelers:
- Prototypically sized (6’1″ 233lbs)
- College career with workhorse workload
- Good offense
- Day 2 pick (105th)
Just by draft pedigree alone, he would project as an early 2nd (Picks 13-18) round rookie pick where the average RB is the 107th pick in the NFL Draft.
James Conner has 136 PPR points this season. That total would have been good for RB36 in 2017. That is a pretty good pace through 6 weeks, especially for a player thought to be a backup in season.
An RB36 season long finish in 2017 would have put Conner behind Tarik Cohen, Isaiah Crowell, Jamaal Williams and Jay Ajayi, but ahead of Orleans Darkwa, Derrick Henry, and Rex Burkhead.
If you came into the season knowing you would get a RB36 season out of Conner would you have been satisfied with season?
Asking the Right Questions
Asking about James Conner’s final season standing is terrible process. If you read or hear someone discussing Conner in the offseason saying, “yeah, but he only finished as RB 20-something” read something else or turn the channel.
The right question to ask about players, especially players like James Conner is how many wins do they add to your team? For Conner in 2018, he has added .94 wins over replacement player (WORP). Only four RBs have produced more through week 6, Gurley, Gordon, Kamara and Barkley.
WORP is a metric similar to WAR, or Wins Above Replacement, in baseball. Simply put, WORP represents how many wins a player adds above a replacement level substitute player. For the purposes of my stats, I measure WORP from weeks 1 through 13, and the replacement player is a set weekly finisher. (There is some decision making that goes into those numbers which I delve into in detail in the book.)
WORP gets to what really matters in fantasy football: winning.
Final season standings are a terrible metric to measure player, because every point counts the same. Except every point should not count the same in season value calculation.
For example: Would you rather take a Player A who scores 100 points in 5 weeks or Player B who score 100 points in 10 weeks?
Player A is only usable for a short time frame, but has a high ceiling. On the flip side, Player B is widely usable scoring a solid floor of 10 points per game.
The answer is clear: Player A. Player A has made a signficant impact in a 5 week timespan that likely has your team with a winning record. Through that period Player A has likely added you about .4 regular season wins.
Those who answer Player B are missing the significant boom weeks, and the benefit of knowing when not to play Player A. They are also starting a below replacement level player with about -.3 WORP.
In the 5 other weeks player A is not playing, in a worst case scenario, you start a player who averages 7 points. Instead of Player A scoring 100 points through 5 weeks, he and the replacement player score 135 points, a 35% increase over player B. Through my research that is a low estimate for a replacement player. Instead you can expect closer to 12-13 points, especially with the proper teambuild.
Where a player has a concentrated level of production through 6 weeks like Conner, he has an immense impact on your team. Consider, of the RBs around RB36 finished last season, Burkhead (RB39) was the best with .42 WORP, while higher seasonal finisher Jamaal Williams (34) produced -.04 WORP. If James Conner retired tomorrow, he would have more than twice as much of an impact than Burkhead in 2017, despite playing only 6 games to Burkhead’s 10.
With the narrative that Le’Veon Bell is likely to come back in week 8, James Conner’s lead role looks to be closing for the time being. That presumes Bell is coming back, plays week 8, plays well, and does not get hurt. That is a lot of presumptions in an uncertain scenario. Being bullish on Conner is a good play given every risk factor points in his favor. In a worst case scenario, where Conner gets hurt and misses the rest of the season he’s still no worst than a 4th round startup pick when Bell leaves in free agency. At best, Conner is a 2nd round startup pick.
With his difference making impact, you cannot sell him low, and should instead look to buy him. For comparison, no RB in the 2019 class can approach Conner’s value.
Any points that you lose from Conner not playing in games this season can be replaced by Theo Riddick-types, trades, or other developments from backup RBs.
The narratives and talking points in dynasty football are easy to exploit if we look at them differently than the consensus. WORP is a great example. Loading up on “Conner type” RBs has a massive upside. It’s also highly efficient and practical inseason.
My work for the book is looking a lot at WORP right now. Looking for what WORP is like in startup drafts, rookie drafts, and positionally is a highly exploitable and something unique you will find in my book. The Conner example is a classic one and is an example of the efficiencies found in my research.
If you have questions, feel free to let me know on twitter @mcnamaradynasty
There are only 10 days left to pre-order The Analytics of Dynasty my upcoming ebook on dynasty football targeted at giving you a true edge in your leagues.
If you preorder for $25 on or before September 1st, you will get The Analytics of Dynasty when it is released in January and a one-on-one strategy session. The strategy session will cover team building, roster construction, and trading tips based on the research from the book. By ordering early, you will get a sneak peak of the data to use against your opponents before the book is released in January.
Some of the topics in the book include:
- Better startup decision making
- Optimized rookie draft strategies
- How to value future picks in trades
- How to hit on your picks at a higher rate.
Some of the research for the book is contrary to common narratives and can provide you with a way to exploit biases in drafts and trades.
I have detailed some of the findings from my research at analyticsofdynasty.com including
- How the “Boom Bust” narrative about Brandin Cooks is demonstrably false;
- Why Kalen Ballage is a must selection in the second round of rookie drafts;
- How truly rare Arian Foster was as a running back.
Make sure to pre-order on or before September 1st to lock in the $25 price and a strategy session!
Some of the things that get accepted as true in fantasy football are mind-numbing. The fact that Brandin Cooks is a “boom bust WR” is one of them.
My inspiration for writing The Analytics of Dynasty was discovering through my research that some of the narratives in dynasty strategy are simply not true. These are things that get said, repeated, regurgitated, become gospel and accepted as true. When these types of narratives are wrong, they become profitable areas for good dynasty owners to exploit.
The “boom bust” label on Brandin Cooks is a common narrative. The analysis of Cooks based on the narrative sounds something like “He is small, doesn’t see consistent targets, and is reliant on big plays.” As a result, the narrative says he is a highly variant from week to week. The narrative would say Cooks might have 5 or 6 big weeks, while the others are not useful and you cannot predict when they come.
I posted the poll below on my Twitter account, and it confirmed the narrative has seeped into the dynasty conscious as 62% of the respondents said they considered Brandin Cooks a “boom bust WR.”
— Jordan McNamara (@McNamaraDynasty) August 18, 2018
The problem: it just simply isn’t true.
Since 2015, Cooks has finished 13th, 11th, and 15th at the receiver position. Only 5 WRs have finished 15th or better in the past three seasons
- Julio Jones
- Antonio Brown
- Jarvis Landry
- Larry Fitzgerald
- Doug Baldwin
The narrative would says, “Fine, he finishes that high, but his production is in only a few weeks, and he has a lot of bust weeks!”
During that time, Cooks has finished with 26 starter (top 24) weeks or 54% of the time. In other words, he booms more than busts.
Julio Jones and Antonio Brown, two receivers who finished no worse than 7th in any season in the past three years, finished with the high at the position with 33.
Narrative: “See, he finishes with 2.3 fewer starter weeks per season than the elite guys!”
Since 2015, Cooks ranks 8th among WRs in starter weeks, behind only Jones, Brown, Hopkins, Demaryius Thomas, Landry, Mike Evans, and Fitzgerald. Cooks only finished two starter weeks behind “Mr. High Floor” Larry Fitzgerald.
Interestingly, over the past two seasons, Cooks finished with 19 starter weeks, 1 more than Larry Fitzgerald (18).
Over the past three years, Cooks has outpaced other “high floor” players like A.J. Green (25), Doug Baldwin (23) and Golden Tate (19). Cooks is one of just 10 WRs who has been more likely than not to finish with as a starter in a given week over the past three seasons.
Maybe we should start calling him “More Boom than Bust.” But with the easy bailout of a narrative, it seems unlikely to take hold.
There are inefficiencies and edges in the dynasty marketplace and perceived value is a powerful one. Specifically, Brandin Cooks is likely undervalued in your dynasty league because he is “boom bust.”
In my research for the book, I found a lot of these gospel ideas just are not supported by facts. I could keep exposing them here, but then I would give away your edge. If you want a true edge on your opponents, pre-order The Analytics of Dynasty. If you pre-order before September 1st, for only $25 you will get the book when it comes out in January and get a one-on-one strategy session where we can chat about more inefficiencies.