Fantasy Football Notes: Contract Years, Mock Drafts, and Rookie RBs
I’m undoubtedly the world’s premiere fantasy football owner. Not even up for debate. Here is some of my latest work:
At 4 for 4 (awesome site), I analyzed how contract year players perform. The results were surprising.
Fantasy points-per-game of players in contract years have been remarkably similar to their production in the two seasons prior to their contract seasons. Actually, their fantasy output has actually been slightly lower than anticipated in every season since 2008. The difference isn’t statistically significant, but the results indicate that there’s no real motivational factor that causes NFL players to produce superior numbers in contract years.
Also at 4 for 4, I discussed why it is valuable to draft near the end of a round (but not all the way at the end).
In snake drafts that use a reverse draft order for subsequent rounds, drafting near the end of a round allows you to accurately predict which players might get selected between your own picks. If you hold the 11th and 14th overall picks in a 12-team league, for example, you could easily bypass specific players in favor of others if you know the sole owner drafting between you doesn’t need or want the player you intend to draft in the later round.
At the Washington Times, Matt Pallister was nice enough to let me critique his draft. I was on board with every pick except for Fred Jackson in the third.
Round 1: Tom Brady, Patriots QB
Once Calvin Johnson was taken with the fifth pick, this selection was a no-brainer. I couldn’t pass up one of the Big Three. Drew Brees was available, too, but there’s uncertainty surrounding how Sean Payton’s absence will affect him.
Jonathan’s take: With the elite running backs and Aaron Rodgers off the board, Brady was the correct call. Statistically, around 60 percent of a quarterback’s fantasy points carry over from year to year, with the rest regressing toward a league mean. That’s the second-highest consistency in fantasy football, behind tight ends. With the ceiling of first-round picks naturally limited in relation to their draft slots, Matt was right to maximize the floor by taking the safest available player.
Finally, in my “According to the Data” column at RotoWire, I took a hardcore look at rookie running backs.
Perhaps no late-round picks have provided the upside of rookie running backs over the past half-decade. Despite only three rookie runners getting selected in the top-20 running backs over that time, nine (Chris Johnson, Matt Forte, Kevin Smith, Steve Slaton, Adrian Peterson, Marshawn Lynch, Reggie Bush, Joseph Addai, and Maurice Jones-Drew) have finished in the top 20 by season’s end. Seven of those nine have actually finished in the top 12 running backs, making them legitimate No. 1 players at the position.
How about the value of some of these picks:
Chris Johnson: ADP 36, Final Rank 11
Matt Forte: ADP 28, Final Rank 4
Kevin Smith: ADP 30, Final Rank 18
Steve Slaton: ADP 47, Final Rank 6
Adrian Peterson: ADP 25, Final Rank 3
Marshawn Lynch: ADP 24, Final Rank 12
Joseph Addai: ADP 27, Final Rank 11
Maurice Jones-Drew: ADP 62, Final Rank 8