With only one week left in the Best Ball Mania IV regular season, we can start to analyze what the playoff field will look like. The playoff field is valuable to understand because it’s a weighted selection of the players, player combinations, and roster constructions that had the most success this season. However, when the playoffs start, we’ll see the dynamic flip. Zero running back teams anchored by Raheem Mostert and D’Andre Swift will project well in the playoffs, but they’ll have a difficult time separating from the pack due to the popularity of those players. I discussed some specific players and player combinations that I thought might provide nice leverage earlier in this series. Today we’re going to dive deeper to identify roster constructions and corresponding groups of players that could lead to tournament championships.
THE THEORY BEHIND ROSTER CONSTRUCTION LEVERAGE
I want to unpack the theory behind this kind of leverage a little more before we get to specifics. The central idea is that certain roster constructions are more likely to result in specific combinations of players. For example, a zero RB construction is much more likely to have Mostert and Swift than a robust RB team. If robust RB teams are underrepresented in the best ball playoffs, all corresponding player combinations (Christian McCaffrey, Tony Pollard, Derrick Henry, for example) are also likely to be underrepresented.
An additional wrinkle to this is that players who are typically part of certain constructions (I.E. Mostert in zero/hero RB) are more valuable when found within other constructions. For example, Mostert is more valuable as part of a robust RB team than a zero RB team this year. The robust RB team with Mostert will have more unique player combinations than a zero RB team would.
ROSTER CONSTRUCTION LEVERAGE IN THE FIELD
McCaffrey, Pollard, Mostert teams and Tyreek Hill, Chris Olave, Mostert teams have similar player-level advance rates, but the differences in roster construction mean that they’re not equally represented in the playoffs. There are 191 McCaffrey, Pollard, Mostert teams currently advancing compared to 643 Hill, Olave, Mostert teams currently advancing. That gap is an example of the leverage available in the best ball playoffs.
The visualizations below show only current playoff teams, sorted by position. The level of draft capital spent at a position is based on the entire field of teams, not just the playoff teams. Let’s take a look!