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

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New Book Published on Amazon & Week 14 Values

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My new book on daily fantasy sports, Fantasy Football (and Baseball) for Smart People, is now available on Amazon. You can buy it in paperback, on Kindle, or as a PDF on my site FantasyFootballDrafting.com.

At 4for4, I posted a sample from the book:

For the most part, daily fantasy players don’t pay much for kickers. Amateurs and pros alike understand that it’s usually senseless to pay top-dollar for a position that’s not consistent from week to week. It doesn’t matter how many points a player scores and it doesn’t matter how scarce those points are if you can’t predict his performance.

We all seem to intuitively know that we shouldn’t pay for kickers, but few people extend this argument to the other positions. In leagues in which safety is the name of the game, there should be a strong positive correlation between the percentage of cap space you’re willing to spend on a player and your ability to accurately project his performance.

It’s not like any of the skill positions are unpredictable in the same way as kickers, but there’s still varying degrees of predictability. Those should undoubtedly have an influence on your decision-making. All other things equal, you could maximize your team’s long-term floor by allocating a higher percentage of the cap to the safest players.

In my first book on daily fantasy, I calculated the consistency of each position. I’m going to use the same methodology here, but with updated results. To obtain the numbers, I looked at the top fantasy scorers over the past four years. They are the players who would typically cost the most money on daily fantasy sites.

I charted the number of “startable” weeks for the players at each position. A “startable” week was defined as finishing in the top 33 percent at the position (among the top 30 quarterbacks, tight ends, defenses, and kickers and the top 75 running backs and wide receivers).

You can see that running backs have been by far the most consistent position, with the best of the bunch giving you a top 10 performance 67.0 percent of the time. Quarterbacks aren’t far behind at 61.1 percent, but no other position is close.

When you think about it, that shouldn’t be a surprise. Consider the number of opportunities each position has per game. For quarterbacks, it might be 35 attempts. For top running backs, it’s in the range of 15 to 25 touches.

Meanwhile, wide receivers and tight ends might be lucky to see 10 targets in a game, and it’s often much fewer. Just based on those numbers alone, you’d expect quarterbacks and running backs to be more consistent, and thus more predictable. It’s like asking if a baseball player will come closer to hitting at his career average after five games or after 20 games; there’s just no contest.

Taking it a step further, I analyzed the percentage of “top-tier” weeks turned in by each position. I defined “top-tier” as a top two finish for quarterbacks, tight ends, kickers, and defenses or a top five finish for running backs and wide receivers (the top 6.7 percent for each position).

Again, no contest. Quarterbacks and running backs are just far more consistent on a week-to-week basis than all other positions. When you’re paying for reliability, you should start with the quarterback and running back positions.

I also did a Week 14 Google Hangout with Josh Moore.

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