2012 Fantasy Football Draft Kit
At Fantasy Football Challenge we have analyzed statistics and trends from the past 15 seasons to come up with our 2012 Fantasy Player Rankings and Projections. Our fantasy football cheat sheets, trends, sleepers, busts, and player outlooks are based on formulas which look at dozens of statistical points to determine how a player will likely perform in the upcoming season. These rankings were developed purely on statistics and trends and are not based on gut instinct or personal feelings. Too often people let personal feelings about a player or other biases influence their draft decisions when the statistics may say something different. Though we have about 90 seasons of pro football / NFL stats, we felt that trends may be inaccurate if we looked at seasons in the 1940s or even the 1980s. Rules and offensive schemes change and the game is played differently. Anyone can pick names out of a hat and throw out projections based on little more than their gut feeling. We have taken the draft kit to the next level with our complex algorithm that attempts to provide a more statistically accurate approach to fantasy football player rankings, all while trying to minimize the standard deviation of error.
Fantasy Averages By Career Year
Do you know the average peak years for each position? We crunched the numbers for the last 15 seasons and found some interesting results.
You might be wondering how we come up with our fantasy football rankings and projections. Though it would be too mind-numbing and tedious to actually write out the formula, we can shed some light on many of the factors we take into account over the last 15 NFL seasons.
2012 Fantasy Football Ranking FormulaDifferent factors are weighted differently and some downgrades can be compensated by other upgrades. It is a dynamic formula that changes and reranks as the factors change.
- DEPTH CHART - If a player has gone up or down in depth chart their projection will change.
- PREVIOUS INJURY - If the player is coming off a season where they were injured and missed a number of games, their current year projection will be affected to some extent.
- NEW TEAM - If a player changes teams, clearly that can have a major impact on their production. We take this into account.
- NEW HEAD COACH - A new coach will bring a different playbook and may have a different type of offense or mindset. We can take a look at the historical trends for the specific coach and apply those to the team and player.
- FANTASY AVERAGE FOR PREVIOUS YEAR - The most recent year is the closest and usually the most accurate data set to gauge a player (barring a major injury or personal situation). Their previous year is weighted a little more than others in their career.
- FANTASY AVERAGE FOR ROUND DRAFTED - We have found interesting data when comparing the fantasy average based on the round a player was drafted. An example might be the Average Fantasy Points of QBs Drafted in Round 1. (we are talking about the NFL Draft, not a Fantasy Football Draft)
- FANTASY AVERAGE BY CAREER YEAR BY POSITION - You can look at our NFL trends pages for career years (link above) to see the data where players typically reach their peak and start to drop off. We take into account the average fantasy points of players at the position at the same stage in their career. Though there are always anomalies and less data points the the longer the career, it does help to factor age, experience, and wear & tear into their future performance. An example might be the Average Fantasy Points of QBs in their 3rd year.
- FANTASY AVERAGE FOR PREVIOUS YEAR BY POSITION - We take into account the average fantasy points in the NFL for that position the previous year. This helps create a context for a player's stats. Maybe if you look at the raw numbers a player may have appeared to go down that year compared to other years but it could have been a down year for all players at that position, so we look at how he performed versus the average.
- FANTASY AVERAGE BY TEAM BY POSITION - We've already looked at the averages of a player versus other players at the same position in the NFL. Now we look at other players at the same position and on the same team in the last 15 years. An example might be the Average Fantasy Points of QBs on the Arizona Cardinals.
- FANTASY AVERAGE BY TEAM BY CAREER YEAR BY POSITION - Now we go even more detailed by comparing other players at the same position on the same team at the same stage in their career. We all know some teams just produce more points than others based on their offensive scheme, division, etc. So to compare against other players in a similar situation can help judge their future performance. Because the criteria is so specific, there will be fewer data points which can lead to skewed results. Because of this we don't read into this factor too heavily but do take it into account. An example might be the Average Fantasy Points of QBs in their 3rd Year on the Arizona Cardinals
- FANTASY POINT DIFFERENCE FROM PREVIOUS CAREER YEAR TO NEXT CAREER YEAR BY POSITION - We not only look at how players in a particular career year typically perform but also what the increase or decrease is between those years and whether the specific player has traditionally been above or below that average.
- FANTASY AVERAGE BY CAREER - Naturally we take into account what the game fantasy average a player has had over the course of their career to date.
- FANTASY AVERAGE OVER PREVIOUS 3 YEARS - We look at the last 3 years of a player to see if we can spot any more recent trends. The last 3 years is weighted more than the entire career because it shows a more accurate projection of a player's recent performance.
- FANTASY RANKINGS FROM PREVIOUS YEAR - The previous year is actually the MOST recent performance data we can look at and therefore counts a little more than the 3 year average and career average. However, we have to be careful not to weight it too heavily and include additional checks due to circumstances that may not be a good indication of future performance. And example would be a player that retired or was benched for one year or a partial year and then came back. Also a player that was injured early in a season may have their numbers for that season skewed and may not truly represent how they would perform if they came back healthy. It is important to calculate in the potential risk of a player coming back from an injury, but not demote them so much that the projection is unrealistic.
- OFFENSIVE PLAYER CHANGE - As we know, there are other factors that can affect the performance of a player. The other players around them have a major impact. We look at the difference between the total fantasy points of the players around them compared to the new upcoming roster to judge how cuts, trades, or other roster changes can also effect the fantasy football projections.
- SCHEDULE COMPARISON FROM LAST YEAR TO THIS YEAR - The strength of schedule can be a major factor in how a player performs. Clearly, the easier the defenses are that they will be playing against, the more points they might produce.
- AVERAGE NUMBER OF GAMES PLAYED - This factor is really important when finally ranking based on the total projected fantasy points. Even a great player will not help you if they miss 4-5 games per year. We not only look at the average games a player has completed per season over the course of their career, but also within the last few years which gives us a closer look at how durable the player is.
- IN SEASON TRENDS - We have calculated probability factors that tell us which quarter of the season and which weeks of the season are a player's best and worst. This can also affect the draft strategy and how a player is ranked.
- PLAYER CONSISTENCY - When you are playing a head-to-head league, player consistency means everything. One of your players may go off for 40 fantasy points two weeks out of the season which boosts his season stats, but he may only score 5 fantasy points the other weeks when you really need him. In most league styles, you need players you can count on week to week, so we take their consistency into account.
- PREVIOUS YEAR RANKING BY POSITION - We not only look at how the player did versus the average at the position the previous year but also where they ranked in their position the previous year. Were they top 5? Top 15? The fantasy point average can be skewed by players at the extremes but where they ranked versus other players at the same position is a good comparison as to how they measure up to the rest of the league.
Although, there is correlation between some statistics and fantasy projections, correlation is not equal to causation; it is only a requirement for it. This means that even though some stats may seem to be an indicator of a predictable outcome historically, it cannot always be relied upon. All projections should be used only as an educated estimate of how a player will perform in the upcoming season. If we were 100% accurate, we wouldn't be publishing the results and would be headed to Vegas.