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The RotoViz Scouting Index – 2018 Introduction

Each year, in the run-up to the NFL draft, we produce the RotoViz Scouting Index (RSI). The RSI aggregates and compiles NFL prospect rankings from a variety of more traditional scouting outlets. This accomplishes a few things:

  • It saves time. No need to check rankings on several sites, we’ve done the work.
  • It reveals the general consensus. No need to guess which players are held in high – or rising – esteem, we’ve done the math.
  • It checks our bias. We do love us some statistical analysis, but it’s important to consider what the more traditional football community thinks about a given player. The consensus opinion is what will largely determine a player’s initial fantasy value, which is especially important for dynasty rookie drafts. It’s also possible we’re missing something; seeing which players the film community holds in higher regard might prompt us to look more closely at a prospect.
  • It reveals trends. Sometimes a player starts out highly ranked but falls through the draft season. Or, a player shoots up the ranks as the draft approaches. When that happens, we’ll be able to explore the situation and attempt to separate signal from noise.

This year’s RSI features some notable improvements over last year’s version.

The 2018 RotoViz Scouting Index

This year’s RSI will feature the technical skills of Dave Caban, which will help to generate new iterations of the RSI more quickly. Caban and Neil Dutton will also join me in providing the analysis. Mr. Caban will cover running backs, Mr. Dutton will handle quarterbacks and tight ends, and I’ll cover wide receivers.

The calculations will also change slightly from last year’s RSI. Dave Caban explains:

Points will be awarded based on a player’s percentile rank within his position. For example, CBS ranks Saquon Barkley as the RB1. As a result, he earns a “1” for his CBS rank. However, if he received a  25th percentile rank from the site, he would earn 0.25. I decided upon this methodology for two reasons. It streamlines the calculation process, but more importantly, allows me to easily scale everything to 100 percent, which is easier for readers to digest. This also allows for comparisons across positions (in terms of how much better a player is perceived to be than his peers). 

A player’s score is calculated as: ((%ile1 + %ile2 + %ile3 + %ile4 + %ile5 + %ile6)/6) * 100. The aspect of this approach that I like the most is it rewards players for being ranked by more sources. However, it does not make it so that sites that rank a lot of players get weighed in more heavily. As a result, a player’s composite RSI is equally weighting the six included sources.

We’ll also use a slightly different mix of sites from which to aggregate our scores. This year we’ll pull rankings from CBS, DraftTek, Ourlads, Rotoworld, Mike Mayock, and Optimum Scouting.

Example

Here are the top five wide receivers as of February 27, 2018.

Capture

Here’s how to read the table. Calvin Ridley is ranked first overall at the position. His average rank at each of the six component sites is 2.3. His score is 92 (out of a possible 100). He was ranked by all six sites.

In last year’s inaugural RSI, receiver Mike Williams sported an average rank of 1.2, suggesting he was thought of more favorably at this time last year than Ridley is this year. As the 2017 draft season unfolded, however, Williams saw his average ranking dip, and he was eventually passed by Corey Davis. What will happen this year? Stay tuned.

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