revolutionary tools.  groundbreaking articles.  proven results.

Offered for Consideration – Yet Another Theory of Draft Pick Value
8000557768_317efbfc3f_c
Image via Football Schedule/Flickr

The following is a repost from FantasyDouche.com, original post date April 17, 2012.

Here’s my general outlook on conventional wisdom: It might be right… or it might not be.  But I don’t have a lot of reverence for conventional wisdom.  I just think there are too many examples of truths that we took for granted at one point, only to find out later that those truths weren’t actually… wait for it… true.  Probably my favorite example of the idiocy of conventional wisdom is the fact that Galileo was sentenced to house arrest for supporting the heliocentric view of the solar system and questioning the earth-centric view.

It strikes me that the current debate surrounding the value of NFL draft picks is a classic debate over the value of conventional wisdom.  The Harvard Sports Analysis Collective (HSAC) has advanced a theory of draft pick value (Harvard Chart) based on some analysis that disagrees with conventional wisdom.  The Harvard Chart is often the subject of criticism from adherents of the traditional system for valuing draft picks (which I will call the Jimmy Johnson Chart).

If you want to read a criticism of the Harvard Chart, check out @SigmundBloom on Bleacher Report.  I posted a short response on Bloom’s article if you want to check that out.  But this post is going to go in another direction, so it wasn’t really appropriate as a comment.

I actually don’t think you can have just one theory of valuation for draft picks.  I think it depends on the team and what the team needs.  Good teams and bad teams aren’t going to have the same types of needs in the draft.  I’m always more interested in the shitty teams (the Patriots and the Packers don’t need any help) so let’s start there.  Here’s my general theory of how shitty football teams should think about their rosters:

  1. Football teams start 22 men (not counting special teams)
  2. Football is a violent sport which often results in losing players for games or even full seasons.
  3. Shitty teams are almost never just one player away.  If they were just one player away, they would be 8-8, not 2-14.
  4. Because of numbers 1 through 3, shitty teams should be looking to stockpile players.  They don’t just need one or two players.  They are often starting a number of players that couldn’t start on any other team.

Given those assumptions that I have about shitty teams and their draft needs, here is a chart that is based not on player value, but on how many “Games Started” you can expect to get from each pick in the draft.  image

But here’s something important.  When you’re talking about “expect”, it becomes pretty important how you define “expect”.  Should you define the expectation as being the average of games played for each draft spot?  That might not work.

Consider for example 10 hypothetical picks from the 6th round.  Let’s say that 9 of the 10 players never start an NFL game.  But let’s say the other guy starts 120 games.  The average games started for the group is 12.  But 9 out of the 10 guys were well below the average.  This is what you could call skewness.  One outlier in the group is having an outsized impact on the average.

For that reason I used median games started as the measurement in the graph below.  That creates a more accurate picture of what you can “expect” to get out of each pick.  Half of the players picked in that slot will be better than the median and half will be worse.

If we’re talking about improving shitty teams, then what we really want is to pick a number of guys who can come in and contribute right away.  We want NFL starters.  That’s what the theory of draft value that I am proposing would give you.

Let’s compare this theory of draft value to the Jimmy Johnson Chart and the Harvard Chart.

image_thumb5

My theory disagrees with the JJ Chart on the equivalent value of early picks and agrees with the JJ Chart on the worthlessness of the late picks.

image

My theory disagrees with the Harvard Chart on the value of late picks (HC says they’re worth something, I say they aren’t), but agrees more with the Harvard Chart on the value of the early picks.

I think my theory of value addresses a shortcoming in the Harvard Chart that @RumfordJohnny and I were discussing.  NFL teams have a limited ability to even evaluate all of the talent they have in camp.  Bringing in 20 guys from the 6th round isn’t that helpful when you have just a few weeks to get a look at them.  My theory of value would place very little value in those guys.

There’s also another problem with the late round picks.  They aren’t much better than undrafted free agents, which have no draft value.  It just doesn’t make sense that you would assign value to a pick that might only be slightly better than a guy you could bring in off the street.

As to the Jimmy Johnson Chart, here’s a problem with it that its defenders would have a hard time explaining.  According to the JJ Chart, the 7th and 8th picks added together don’t equal the value of the number one overall pick.  If you’re a shitty team and you have a million holes to plug, wouldn’t you rather have two top 10 picks than just the one guy at the top of the draft?  I would.

To get back to a point I made in the beginning of this post, this doesn’t have to be a one size fits all theory of drafting.  After a team compiles enough starter-level players to dig themselves out of the cellar, then they can think about whether they might be one player away.  But until then, they should keep in mind that they are playing a violent sport that starts 22 players.

One more thing to add about being “one player away”.  Two of the greatest quarterbacks to ever put on a uniform, Peyton Manning and Dan Marino, have a combined one Super Bowl win.  Football is a team sport.  The Jimmy Johnson Chart ignores that reality.

recent and related...

in case you missed it...

Bracket Busting: For All The Marbles

High-stakes writers Monty Phan and John Lapinski chronicle their entry in the FFPC Super Bracket contest. The Super Bracket regular season runs for just 11 weeks, and the league is far from decided. After a solid win last week, we’re right back in the thick of it. Here are the

Read More

Week 11 Yahoo! DFS Picks

Identifying my Week 11 NFL DFS picks was easier than it’s ever been thanks to the continued work of our apps development team. The NFL Stat Explorer, the DFS Lineup Optimizer, and our world-famous Game Splits App are three windows I never close on my screen. Let’s build a plan

Read More

Week 11 Primetime Slate DFS Breakdown

Who are the best plays for the Week 11 DFS primetime slate on DraftKings and FanDuel? Tyler Loechner runs through notes on the primetime short slate featuring SNF/MNF games.1 DSF Week 11 Primetime Slate DFS Week 11 Primetime Slate theory thoughts: The two games on this slate are dramatically different

Read More

High Staked: Hello Darkness, My Old Friend

Veteran high stakes fantasy football player Monty Phan chronicles his season. Welcome to Week 11 in FFPC high stakes, where, once again, we’re reminded that there’s a big difference between what we think should happen and what actually occurs. For a lot of teams, it’s – mercifully – the final

Read More

Week 12 Waiver Wire Advice: Top Targets At Each Position

Looking for Week 12 waiver wire advice for fantasy football? You’ve come to the right place. We’ll give you some of the top targets at each position so that when you submit a waiver claim, you do it with confidence. This article will run through the top players available in

Read More
Connect
Support

rotovizmain@gmail.com

Sign-up today for our free Premium Email subscription!

© 2019 RotoViz. All rights Reserved.