2016 Fantasy Football Value Projections
2016 Score+ Fantasy Football Value Rankings (Download .xlsx file)
2016 Fantasy Football Individual Player Value Projections are linked above. The "Score+" column represents a player's projected added value to a team with a score of 0 meaning no added value. The higher a player's Score+, the more value they add to your team relative to their position.
To generate the projections, I used historical position data from 2010-2015 to calculate the correlation of each individual statistic to future fantasy points performance. These correlations contributed to a composite statistic consisting of the strongest predictive statistics for each position in each across the major fantasy scoring categories.
QB: Completions, Passing TDs, Interception %, Air Yards/ Attempt, Passing Yards / Game, QBR, Rushing TDs
RB: Rushing TDs, Rush Yards/ Attempt, Rushing Yards/ Game, Rushing Attempts/ Game, Receptions/ Game
WR/TE: Targets, Receiving TDs, Receptions/ Game, Yards/ Game
K, DEF were not included.
Each individual players' 2015 statistics were then used to create this composite Score+ statistic heading into the 2016 season. This means that players who did not play in 2015 will not appear (Rookies, Suspensions, Injuries). Also suspended players Tom Brady (4 games), and Le'Veon Bell (3 games) had the worth of their suspensions replaced by the value of a replacement/average player. It's worth nothing that Brady and Bell still rank toward the top of Score+. Watch out for retired or injured players as well who are included in the rankings.
In intermediate steps of the model, each player is given a raw score, which is then converted to Score+ to standardize the scores across positional groups. Since the scores are generated by position, I think it's more beneficial to view the rankings position by position.
I'm a big believer in analytics, but I think they're best used to support and guide your decisions, not replace your ultimate decision making. I used the rankings in my leagues primarily to understand the landscape of each positional group, but secondly in comparison to the pre-draft rankings or Average Draft Position (ADP) of my respective league. As an example, Antonio Brown is ESPN's #1 player, and my Score+ #1 player. Therefore, I'd conclude that Antonio Brown is a safe selection at the top of the 1st round. In contrast, Todd Gurley is ESPN's #5 overall, #2 RB, but my Score+ has him at #35 overall, #6 RB. So Todd Gurley still projects well, but you would be passing on value to take him in the first round. Same goes with Dez Bryant who (even before the Romo injury) projected at Score+ #146 overall, and ESPN #15.
A better strategy would be to go after Antonio Brown, Julio Jones (ESPN: #4 ovr, #3 WR Score+: #2 ovr, #2 WR), Odell Beckham Jr. (ESPN: #2 ovr, #2 WR Score+: #11 ovr, #5 WR), or Adrian Peterson (ESPN: #3 ovr, #1 RB Socre+: #23 ovr, #2 RB) in the early 1st, or DeAndre Hopkins (ESPN: #7 ovr, #3 WR Score+: #8 ovr, #4 WR), Le'Veon Bell (#17 ovr, #1 RB), Devonta Freeman (ESPN: #9 ovr, #5 RB Socre+: #24 ovr, #3 RB) later in the 1st. These are players that have top value, but are only available during the 1st, maybe early 2nd round. This represents a prime example of using analytics to guide your decision, but NOT be your ultimate decision maker. Adrian Peterson is my #23 overall value player, but there is absolutely no way to expect that he'll be around past about the 5th pick of your draft. Be smart with your value, but you can only get it if it's available.
Since Score+ essentially shows you a player's value over their position, the accumulation of TEs near the top of Score + overall rankings show that there is a large range of value for tight ends, but that the position is also extremely top heavy. Score+ shows Delanie Walker, Jordan Reed, Rob Gronkowski, Greg Olsen, Zach Ertz, Travis Kelce, Antonio Gates, and Jason Witten all in the top 25 overall. it is ridiculous to suggest that all of these TEs should go in the top 25 (remember to play to pre-rankings and ADP) but there is plenty of value in that group, so it may not make complete sense to reach for Rob Gronkowski, ranked #11 overall by ESPN with the cluster of other TEs at the top. WR seems to have deep value as well, with RB looking very thin. This leads me to prefer RBs early in the draft. I've been targeting guys like Jamaal Charles, Demaryius Thomas, Allen Robinson, and Brandon Marshall in rounds 2-3, with strong value in Jarvis Landry, Keenan Allen, and Larry Fitzgerald in rounds 4-6 among a huge group of quality WRs. Notable low ranking WRs and RBs include Mike Evans, Dez Bryant, Lamar Miller, David Johnson, and Eddie Lacy.
The Quarterback position is deep just as it has been in the past, and there's not much separation in the position. So, there's no reason to reach in an early round for a QB, get your value at RB and WR. The biggest discrepancy is ESPN's #1 QB Cam Netwon comes in at #13 in Score+.
Stay away from the busts, and use Score+ to maximize your value! I'll be answering Fantasy Football questions on Twitter @msilb7 throughout the season.