100 Fantasy Football Tips in 100 Days, Day 41: The Limitations of Value Based Drafting
At RotoWire, I explained why I think VBD has some value in fantasy football, but that value doesn’t extend into the draft:
Recently, Chris Liss sent me an e-mail with an article he wrote critiquing VBD. All of the problems he brings up are real, but the one that is most potentially damning to VBD, in my opinion, is that our choice of a baseline player is (basically) arbitrary:
“It’s easy to use RGIII as the baseline QB, but given his injury and playing style, most people probably have him projected for only 13-15 games. As such, if you were to draft him, you’d likely get 14 games of RGIII plus two other games of the No. 20 QB, or whomever you managed to pick up that week. Michael Vick presents a similar problem. Moreover, what about the owner who drafts Eli Manning and Philip Rivers and plays only optimal matchups? Or the one who hits the waiver wire and mixes and matches every week? On the downside, some owners will get burned playing matchups, and others will see their signal callers injured in the first quarter in some games. In sum, the baseline is a moving target and so the No. 12 QB’s projected line might not be a good stand-in for it.”
Chris is right. What real reasoning is there for pinpointing any particular player as the baseline? If we’re going to make draft day decisions based on a specific system, shouldn’t that system provide us with numbers that are meaningful?
My answer is twofold: first, VBD should be used solely as a ranking strategy, not as a draft strategy, and second, the strategy’s worth comes in its pragmatic qualities.