Alshon Jeffery, Le’Veon Bell, and Why NFL Draft Analysis Wins Fantasy Titles
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It’s easy to see NFL Draft coverage and fantasy football coverage as two completely separate entities. The NFL Draft is about reality football – teams filling reality needs and scouts determining reality player values. Fantasy football is about creating fake teams and figuring out who will have the most opportunity based on where players end up being picked. It probably won’t surprise you that I think this is something of a false dichotomy. While it’s easy to lampoon fantasy writers who do draft coverage – and that includes folks who approach it from both the scouting-based and analysis-based perspectives – as dilettantes and armchair GMs, I think they have one big advantage over draft-specific media: playing fantasy football teaches you to value the characteristics that lead to points. Fantasy players tend to be ahead of general NFL thinkers in understanding the value of wide receiver size and the value of running backs who catch passes. Many fantasy players are also experienced in drafting multiple teams, managing multiple teams, and getting weekly and yearly feedback on a wide variety of players. Frank DuPont in his iconoclastic book Game Plan theorizes that many Madden players are better playcallers than NFL coaches because they’ve called a much higher volume of plays. This is sure to offend the sensibilities of the “let the football people make the football decisions” crowd, but the literature on simulators and the effect of high volume practice is quite extensive. A similar phenomenon is probably true in the draft.