The DC Times

A New Way to Look at the Cowboys, NFL, and Fantasy Football

By Jonathan Bales

100 Fantasy Football Tips in 100 Days, Day 22: Visualizing Value

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At RotoWire, I broke down the 2012 VBD results.

I’ve been doing a lot of work with “VBD” (Value Based Drafting) lately because I think it’s a powerful metric in assessing fantasy football value. VBD is measured at Pro Football Reference as a player’s points minus the points for a specific baseline player (No. 12 QB, No. 24 RB, No. 30 WR, and No. 12 TE, e.g.). Adrian Peterson‘s 2012 VBD, for example, is his fantasy points (307 in standard leagues) minus the points for the 24th-ranked running back - Danny Woodhead (117).

VBD is useful because it naturally captures scarcity. If the No. 24-ranked running back had scored 290 points last season, Peterson’s adjusted VBD of just 17 would be miniscule. That small number represents the ability to find a comparable player later in the draft. All other things equal, we don’t necessarily want the player who will score the most points, but the player who will score the most points relative to others at his position, i.e. the biggest outlier. That’s why Rob Gronkowski has more value in the early rounds than Matthew Stafford, despite the fact that the quarterback will score more points.
To better visualize VBD in action, I graphed the 2012 results by position.


In addition to total VBD, we also want to look at the steepness of the drops. Let’s break down each position:

Quarterback

Although the total 2012 VBD for the top quarterbacks didn’t come close to matching 2011, there’s still a pretty steep drop after the first tier of passers.

If you can get value on an elite quarterback in the second or third round, go ahead and pull the trigger. However, this probably isn’t the year to draft a quarterback in the first round.

If you’re going to wait on a quarterback, you can really wait. If you go that route, consider pairing two quarterbacks in the later rounds – a Michael Vick/Sam Bradford combination, for example – as opposed to drafting just one passer.

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