Fantasy Football season is about to begin. The best part, the draft, has all ready past - so let me share with you a few of my theories based a bit on data, guts and observational study.
1. When drafting one should consider players "VORP"
-VORP - Value of Replacement Player is a statistic develop by the sabermetric community in baseball, but can be used in fantasy football quite well. When deciding between a backup qb and a fourth running back near the last rounds - one should think about who will be available on the waiver wire. If there will be several quarterbacks of equal value to the one you're considering drafting, then maybe you should go a different route.
It is important to utilize the waiver wire - and realize you do not always have to draft 2 qbs, 2 tight ends, 2 defenses, and a kicker. You can always pickup the equivalent backup later on the waiver wire.
2. Old players suck - avoid them
This study suggests that players start declining at age 28 for running back, 30 for reciever, and 32 for quarterbacks.
1. It does not evaluate the percentage decrease/increase of performance
2. It evaluates all players equal - scrubs and superstars (maybe superstars - the one who matter to fantasy leagues, decline later)
3. It makes arbitrary categories on age, instead of analyzing data as continuous.
3. Draft running backs on Good Teams
"The correlation between first quarter rushing attempts and team wins is a measly .171. That means there is almost no connection between running a lot in the first quarter, and winning a lot of games. The correlation between fourth quarter rushing attempts and team wins, on the other hand, is .750. That’s a size able relationship."http://www.footballoutsiders.com/2003/07/14/ramblings/stat-analysis/3/
4. Draft receivers on Bad Teams, with decent QBs
5. Draft many more running backs and wide receivers
6. Concentrate on Yards instead of TDs
Especially for Running Backs - TDs are a lot of luck. Look at Willie Parker last year who only had 2 TDs despite being one of the leading rushers. The previous year he had 16 TDs with a similar yardage amount. Yards gained are going to be a lot more constant (less variable) than TDs, with TD vultures, etc.
7. Don't over think things
There is a lot of variability and luck in fantasy football. You cannot really control injuries for the most part, and predicting results on a week to week basis is little better than a crap shoot. Players come out of nowhere each year like Derek Anderson, Jason Witten, and Ryan Grant last year. Solid producers like Shaun Alexander, Preist Holmes and Marvin Harrison can drop off a cliff any given year. Just pick some guys you think should do well loosely based on statistics and the other above measures, then pick some guys you enjoy rooting for.
8. Finally, actually show up to the draft!
I actually missed my keeper league draft this year, and got screwed. Yahoo decided I needed 10 backup QBs like Charlie Batch. So i'll be working the waivers heavily this year.