It's time to change.
While we still offer projections, it is not enough to sort
them on a fantasy scoring system and call it a ranking. The
Huddle will not be doing that this season. Why? You deserve
more and need more. To make the rankings page be as helpful
as possible, it must be not only an ordered list but provide
but insight and information that both explains the rankings
and gives you something more to go on in making your own
decision about the player. Towards that end, you will see
the demographic information for each player - height, weight,
age and years of NFL experience. For many players, these
characteristics are relevant to their ranking and should
be considered in your own assessment.
Also there are two other important indicators that may be
present for each player:
Upside - This indicator signifies
that the player has more "upside" than the average
player and that should be considered in his evaluation. Upside
comes from an improving career, a higher ceiling on his production
or a more favorable situation. These make a player more valuable
at least potentially. If choosing between two players, take
the upside guy.
Risk - This indicator signifies
that a player has more risk regarding his level of performance
than the average player. Risk can come from a player changing
teams, on a downward trend for production or being injury
prone. These make a player less valuable or at least a bigger
gamble less likely to perform as expected.
The auction value for the player is also listed considering
a standard performance league of 12 teams using a standard
roster of 18 players and 9 starters (QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, TE,
DEF and PK). There will be much more about auctions separate
from the rankings as well.
To help inform why a player is ranked at given spot, each
player will have information that explains how the player
is viewed and what his outlook appears to be. During the
summer, when a player moves in the rankings it will be accompanied
by red text indicating why he moved
and from where for easy reference. It is not enough to just shift players
around, you deserve to know the reasoning.
The intent is to make the rankings informative and provide
the reasoning behind it. All the write-ups for the players
remain there in the rankings to give a sense of how they
are related to other players and make it easy to review a
position on one page. The last two significant changes to
the rankings are these:
Why don't the rankings match the projections?
Because they shouldn't.
Projections are made for an entire season - either in total
production or "points per game" which is a derivative. As
such, projections are created making one set of assumptions
for a player. They should always assume that a player
plays a full 16 game schedule, is not injured and that performs
in the most likely scenario. There are many problems inherent
with this :
- Most quarterbacks, many runningbacks and several receivers
do not play a full season due to injury. While projections
can make an assumption that a player will miss "X" games
a year, that itself devalues the projection. In many positions,
a difference of two or three games could slide a player
down 20 spots in the rankings. Guessing how many games
a player might miss injured is placing an empirical value
to a condition that cannot be reasonably forecasted. Either
the projected numbers are doctored to get the player where
he seems appropriate or the player misses the projection
and resulting ranking by a large margin because he did
not get injured in the manner forecasted.
- Projections do not indicate the upside of a player. Proper
projections will have players arrayed so that they will
most likely outperform those with lesser projected stats.
Most third down backs, slot receivers and #4 receivers
will normally outperform deeper players but if you are
looking for a breakout player, you will not get that with
the players mentioned. Winning in fantasy football is about
having difference makers, not middle of the road players.
Rankings should take into account upside whereas projections
- Projections do not indicate the risk of a player. Some
players are rock solid but others may turn in a 1000 yard
season or a 100 yard season just as easily. They are in
a situation where the outcome is less certain and in fantasy
football, it is often better to skip the risky player -
even if reasonably they will have a good year - and take
a player that does not carry the same risk. If you live
by projections, you must doctor the numbers yet again to
give a subjective view translated into a hard number.
- Projections do not indicate the consistency of a player.
Having the occasional monster game is great, but losing
three out of four weeks because of the low weeks can kill
your chances. Players should be considered more valuable
if they are consistent and that cannot be captured in a
projected season total.
- Projections quickly lose their value after the starting
players are complete. For non-starters, projections force
a hard number that describes one most likely scenario when
the upside and risk are much bigger factors in their value
as a fantasy draft selection. Either they project low or
are artificially increased to raise their ranking spot
while then devaluing the starter's numbers that were predicated
on being the 16 game starter.
Given that projections describe only one most likely scenario
and cannot adequately capture the overall upside, risk and
consistency of a player, creating rankings straight from
projections either is misleading or the projections are artificially
adjusted to get a player to fall where his overall value
should place him and that will satisfy only that particular
scoring system. For this reason, the projections will be
updated as appropriate but the better picture of a player
value will be on the player rankings. And the two will not
always match in all cases. Lastly...
What scoring system is considered in the rankings?
The scoring system considers mostly a standard performance
scoring (yardage and touchdowns) but the exact point values
are not important. Varying point awards for positions typically
only change their value relative to other positions, not
the players within the position. The only variation from
this which has any common use are quarterbacks either having
higher points for rushing or when all yardage is combined
for a quarterback. Since the rankings considers higher rushing
points (the majority of all leagues), the only change to
the rankings for combined quarterback yardage leagues is
that the pure passsers (Manning, Gannon, Warner, etc.) become
more valuable but other than those three, there is little
effect and regardless, a rushing quarterback is a more consistently
There will be articles this summer that examine this reality.
Thanks and may your best draft ever be only weeks or days