Talent, Opportunity, and Why Player Evaluation Matters in Fantasy Football

James HannaLet me start by mentioning that I just published a new book on daily fantasy sports strategy—another in my Fantasy Football for Smart People series. While I’m at it, why don’t you follow me on Twitter. Also, if you live in the Philly area, you think you could pick up my laundry tonight? Okay, let’s get to it. One of my favorite stats is that, since 2000, running backs drafted in the third round or later have averaged a higher yards-per-carry than those selected in the first two rounds. I posted that nugget in the original draft of this article and Fantasy Douche pointed out that YPC is pretty volatile and probably a poor way to judge running back talent, which is right. Plus, as he noted, mid and late-rounders probably benefit from a reduced workload and maybe getting the ball in beneficial game situations. To try to account for that, I examined 2013 running back success rate. Success rate is a metric at Advanced Football Analytics that quantifies how often a play was successful, i.e. how often did it increase an offense’s expectation of scoring? A two-yard run on 3rd-and-1 is successful; a two-yard run on 1st-and-10 isn’t. The idea is that it should somewhat standardize running back touches based on situations.

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By Jonathan Bales | @BalesFootball | Archive