NFL Fantasy Forecast: The Risks of Drafting
Long-time (and perhaps long-suffering) readers of my column know that I love digging through gigabytes of data in order to unearth fantasy football gold. In this week's Fantasy Forecast, however, I will address a "fuzzier" side of drafting.
My impetus for this approach came out of a recent request by one of our subscribers for me to evaluate his most recent mock draft. This subscriber had dutifully read all our strategy columns, studied the customized cheatsheets we generated for him and used our Draft Tracker. Now, he was taking advantage of our
After carefully reviewing his roster, I replied to his request for feedback: The team did not look all that strong. But what went wrong? He had followed all our guides and recommendations. Could it be that our strategy articles were wrong? Were our cheatsheets out of whack? No.
The reason the team looked weaker than it should have was that the subscriber was a relative newbie and did not appreciate the subtleties of putting a team together. It would be similar to someone writing a blues song where the notes, rhythm and tempo were technically correct but lacked any sort of soul. You know, like when Bruce Willis gave singing a shot.
So in this article I'll try to indentify the risks involved in drafting and how to address those risks -- something to keep in mind as you sort through all the technical information about players and draft theories.
Always identify the risk associated with any player you're considering drafting; always be able to answer the question "What is the most cynical thing I can say about this player?" For example,
What are some other risks to be aware of? Glad you asked:
When I was writing predictive analysis program for foreign exchange markets back in the early '90s, I was a good coder but not familiar with the actual nuances of trading currency. So my models tended to be a bit conservative, eschewing the more exotic currencies. One of my supervisors noticed the way my models behaved and realized what was going on; he then gave me a piece of advice for which I have always been grateful. Risk is your friend, and can be very beneficial. Just make sure you understand the risk and take steps to mitigate it.
People tend to fear risk and avoid it. But without risk, the potential return on investment is limited. Thus, the key to maximizing value is to
In the case of our subscriber, he failed to identify several of the risks listed above:
• He drafted
• Our subscriber drafted three wide receivers, all of whom were in our top 25; pretty good, right? Well those three receivers --
• According to our subscriber, he had dutifully read and studied our Best Damn Draft Method 2009 and knew that drafting a QB1 prior to the eighth round was a less than optimized plan. But what happened during the course of his mock draft is that every one of his 11 opponents took a QB1 prior to the sixth round and was already drafting backups by the time he got around to drafting his QB1. The result was him drafting a poor choice of a QB1. He should have identified the bizarre QB run and realized that the guidance of the BDDM -- to wait on the QB -- no longer applied; he should have adjusted and grabbed his QB1 a round or two earlier.
Let me conclude this treatise by saying that of all the risks I've indentified, by far the most difficult to mitigate (especially for less than experienced fantasy players) is the
Like most situations in life, there are no absolutes in fantasy drafts. As much as I am a believer in the use of metrics and analytics to guide my drafting principles, I have to acknowledge that there is a component that goes beyond the numbers ... and you should as well.