Scoreboard Accountability: Checking Every 2016 Call Mocker Made

This article revisits every call 14Team Mocker made in the 2016 offseason, right, wrong, or ugly. 

This is my third offseason writing for Rotoviz. In the first two offseasons, I wrote 106 different articles, which contained 84 different specific draft recommendations for the redraft format of fantasy football.

Comparing their ADP at the time the article was written against the player’s overall finish, 47 of those 84 were right, 32 were wrong, and five were neither. Judging by points-per-game, 47 of those 84 were right, 31 were wrong, and six were neither.

Transparency really is that simple.

Because of the way our brains work, it’s important to look back at what was predicted, why it was predicted, and not judge predictions based solely on results. Even if you’re not a writer, jot down some of your predictions at different times of the year, the reasoning why, and look back at your process with an open mind about what worked, what didn’t, whether it was bad process or bad results, and why.

The following article will be a straightforward recapping of results; but, if interested, this piece has links to the articles with every recommendation from 2016, detailing process. For 2015 articles, the beginning of my author page will have links to every article published. For a look back at results of dynasty recommendations from the last offseason, this piece from January details that.

Win rate from MFL10s is also included, to try and contextualize the impact of predictions being correct. For example, buying LeSean McCoy at RB10 and him finishing RB4 was a lot more significant than buying Golden Tate at WR20 and having him finish WR17.

The win rates give a rough quantification reflecting that difference, but also capture when something was not particularly meaningful (such as drafting Stevie Johnson and having him not make a game appearance).

Win Rates for every player in 2016 MFL10s can be found here


BUY ACTUAL23-18-256.10%11-9-155.00%34-27-355.74%
BUY PPG19-20-448.72%11-9-155.00%30-29-550.85%
SELL ACTUAL5-4-055.56%7-1-287.50%12-5-270.59%
SELL PPG8-0-1100.00%8-2-080.00%16-2-188.89%
QB ACTUAL4-3-057.14%2-3-140.00%6-6-150.00%
QB PPG4-1-280.00%3-3-050.00%7-4-263.64%
QB BUY ACTUAL3-2-060.00%1-3-125.00%4-5-144.44%
QB BUY PPG2-1-266.67%2-3-040.00%4-4-250.00%
QB SELL ACTUAL1-1-050.00%1-0-0100.00%2-1-066.67%
QB SELL PPG2-0-0100.00%1-0-0100.00%3-0-0100.00%
WR ACTUAL16-12-057.14%10-4-071.43%26-16-061.90%
WR PPG15-12-155.56%7-6-153.85%22-18-255.00%
WR BUY ACTUAL12-10-054.55%7-4-163.64%19-14-157.58%
WR BUY PPG9-12-142.86%5-5-150.00%14-17-245.16%
WR SELL ACTUAL4-2-066.67%3-0-0100.00%7-2-077.78%
WR SELL PPG6-0-0100.00%2-1-066.67%8-1-088.89%
RB ACTUAL6-5-254.55%7-2-177.78%13-7-365.00%
RB PPG6-5-254.55%9-1-090.00%15-6-271.43%
RB BUY ACTUAL6-4-260.00%3-1-075.00%9-5-264.29%
RB BUY PPG6-5-154.55%4-0-0100.00%10-5-166.67%
RB SELL ACTUAL0-1-00.00%4-1-180.00%4-2-166.67%
RB SELL PPG0-0-1-5-1-083.33%5-1-183.33%
TE ACTUAL2-2-050.00%0-1-10.00%2-3-140.00%
TE PPG2-2-050.00%1-1-050.00%3-3-050.00%
TE BUY ACTUAL2-2-050.00%0-1-10.00%2-3-140.00%
TE BUY PPG2-2-050.00%0-1-00.00%2-3-040.00%
TE SELL ACTUAL0-0-0-0-0-1-0-0-1-
TE SELL PPG0-0-0-1-0-0100.00%1-0-0100.00%

(“actual” means their overall finish in the fantasy ranks at the end of the season.)

There is a reason that the highest percentages are all “sells,” the lowest percentages are all “buys,” but I make far more buy than sell calls.

An interesting thing about prognostication, and this isn’t specific to fantasy football, is that negative predictions are not as popular as positive ones.

People are less interested in reading about negative predictions and seem to take them personally, and pejoratively, when they disagree. Specific to fantasy, negative predictions also get the benefit of being right as a result of an injury. For whatever reason, negative predictions are seen as accurate in the event of being right due to injury, as opposed to positive predictions, which are not forgiven for being wrong due to injury.

Due to these factors, I write far fewer negative predictions than positive ones. It’s not only because the readers aren’t as interested in them, or because they can be right due to an injury that wasn’t predicted (which seems cheap), but because there’s also less value in them. The action of not drafting someone is far less of an investment than the action of drafting someone, and avoiding a player leaves the obvious question of “okay, well who DO I take?” unanswered.

This is also why there’s so much value in, and we at the site emphasize contrarianism or even downright cynicism. It’s much easier to be right about what won’t happen than what will, especially when your reason for why it won’t happen doesn’t have to be correct.

I revel in the fact 16 of the 19 times I said to avoid a player at their ADP, said player underperformed that ADP on a points-per-game basis. The sell calls I truly see as correct, however, were ones where the reasoning was right, the player didn’t get injured, and they massively underperformed their ADP to the point that it truly sabotaged rosters.

The best example of this from last season is DeAndre Hopkins, and the reason his picture is used for the article.


DatePlayerBuy/SellADPActualPPGWin RateWin Rate Rank
6/28/2016Joe FlaccoBuyQB23QB18QB218.20%QB18
8/2/2016Jay CutlerBuyQB24QB38QB375.50%QB32
8/15/2016Matthew StaffordBuyQB15QB7QB910.50%QB5
8/17/2016Alex SmithBuyQB25QB24QB257.90%QB19
8/26/2016Ryan TannehillBuyQB22QB25QB226.70%QB25
7/20/2016Jameis WinstonSellQB14QB10QB157.50%QB23
8/17/2016Cam NewtonSellQB1QB15QB164.70%QB37

(win rate rank is among 38 qualified QBs.)

Matt Stafford was a really nice hit as an undervalued starter in one-QB formats. I got a nice personal reward for that call, as he was instrumental in winning a 24-team dynasty league with some heavy hitters, RotoViz authors among them, as discussed here.

It’s a little comforting that being slightly right about Joe Flacco, but not being helped by it, was matched by those who were slightly right about Jameis Winston also not benefiting from their investment.

Cam Newton was an easy fade; the next time fantasy drafters get the QB1 correct will be the first time this decade.

YearADP QB1 (Real finish)
2011A. Rodgers (QB2)
2012A. Rodgers (QB2)
2013A. Rodgers (QB26)
2014P. Manning (QB4)
2015A. Luck (QB27)
2016C. Newton (QB15)

Please don’t let me write, or even think, about Jay Cutler ever again. Please.


DatePlayerBuy/SellADPActualPPGWin RateWin Rate Rank
6/19/2016Alfred MorrisBuyRB70RB76RB1085.70%RB65
7/11/2016Jonathan StewartBuyRB29RB29RB296.90%RB41
7/18/2016Ameer AbdullahBuyRB30RB96RB214.10%RB83
7/18/2016Melvin GordonBuyRB32RB7RB515.20%RB5
7/18/2016T.J. YeldonBuyRB34RB34RB447.80%RB35
7/29/2016Le'Veon BellBuyFLEX18FLEX3FLEX115.90%FLEX5
8/3/2016Jeremy HillBuyRB25RB22RB288.70%RB28
8/4/2016Frank GoreBuyRB27RB12RB2010.70%RB20
8/10/2016Christine MichaelBuyRB62RB35RB468.10%RB32
8/11/2016LeSean McCoyBuyRB10RB4RB420.50%RB2
8/17/2016Jamaal CharlesBuyRB8RB115RB813.40%RB85
8/22/2016C.J. AndersonBuyRB13RB45RB155.00%RB73
8/23/2016Ezekiel ElliottSellRB3RB2RB312.00%RB11

(win rate rank is among 88 qualified RBs.)

These calls really span the spectrum of running back speculation.

Does Ezekiel Elliott not getting injured and handling a historically massive workload for a rookie make the calls on Alfred Morris and him wrong? Obviously. Was it a bad process to avoid Elliott at his price point, and hold Morris at his, in the event of an Elliott injury, that despite not happening, was still firmly in the reasonable range of outcomes? Maybe… it’s very difficult to say.

Melvin Gordon is the opposite, booming because Danny Woodhead got injured, making him an incredibly valuable outperformer of ADP expectations. How likely was it for the diminutive, old Woodhead to get injured, and Gordon to stay healthy for as long as he did? Again, that’s very difficult to say.

Here’s what was written in that buy recommendation of Gordon:

Woodhead is ancient, and has never been much of rusher. The voluminous Chargers offense is expected to produce a ridiculous amount of fantasy points, boosted by their defense’s complete ineptitude.

Gordon is an incredible prospect, with incredibly expensive draft capital, and a drastically reduced ADP compared to last season. His ADP implies an expectation of only 128 fantasy points, which is only 20 more than he scored last year, in 14 games, on a team whose skill players were annihilated with injuries.

The Contrarian wrote earlier this month about why, when you consider everything about his situation, Gordon’s ADP has gone from appetizing to mouthwatering to funnel cake a la mode. He also just named him his third highest Zero RB target for the season.

If you think of fantasy football like stock options, Gordon could’ve returned your investment in a wide variety of outcomes even if Woodhead stayed healthy. When Woodhead went down, however, the profit balloons, but your price point stays the same.

Making bets that give you the best odds at hitting those situations is a more intuitive way to think about fantasy football (and investing) than “predicting the future”:

In fantasy football, if a player is priced (in terms of ADP) very close to the bottom or top of his range of outcomes, then he is mispriced. As we just discussed, no one can predict the future, but if you buy under-priced players and sell over-priced players, you are putting the odds of winning on the trade firmly in your favor.

Richard Dennis, one of the most famous traders of all time, discussed a market situation where he likes to trade and said, “It’s just an odds play. There’s a lot of volatility in the outcome, but you know the odds are in your favor”.

Le’Veon Bell was a beautiful hit, but avoiding him would have also meant avoiding Jamaal Charles. Similarly, LeSean McCoy and C.J. Anderson represented opposite outcomes of very similar situations. Does the reward of hitting on Bell and McCoy outweigh the hit taken on Charles and Anderson? That depends on exposure, but the way fantasy football payouts tend to work, being right on one thing can overcome being wrong about several.

RotoDoc once said of MFL10s (paraphrased): “You don’t want to use a strategy where you’re trying to win every one when winning one in eight is profitable.”

McCoy won more than one of every five. Bell and Gordon both won more than one of every seven.


(win rate rank is among 107 qualified WRs.)

DatePlayerBuy/SellADPActualPPGWin RateWin Rate Rank
6/23/2016Breshad PerrimanBuyWR60WR77WR925.50%WR86
6/30/2016Doug BaldwinBuyWR25WR8WR915.30%WR3
6/30/2016Jermaine KearseBuyWR75WR80WR1037.70%WR52
7/6/2016Stevie JohnsonBuyWR78N/AN/A8.50%WR46
7/11/2016Demaryius ThomasBuyWR16WR15WR1710.30%WR27
7/15/2016Victor CruzBuyWR79WR75WR866.80%WR63
8/1/2016Brandon LaFellBuyWR76WR34WR4512.30%WR18
8/1/2016Justin HardyBuyWR95WR99WR1087.60%WR54
8/2/2016Michael FloydBuyWR27WR68WR795.70%WR83
8/2/2016Larry FitzgeraldBuyWR29WR9WR1015.10%WR4
8/2/2016John BrownBuyWR30WR74WR856.20%WR73
8/4/2016Jordan MatthewsBuyWR28WR48WR409.10%WR42
8/15/2016Golden TateBuyWR20WR17WR209.80%WR31
8/15/2016Marvin JonesBuyWR37WR41WR479.50%WR36
8/15/2016Anquan BoldinBuyWR69WR42WR5011.10%WR24
8/15/2017T.Y. HiltonBuyWR16WR5WR814.40%WR7
8/17/2017Jeremy MaclinBuyWR21WR71WR714.30%WR98
8/19/2017Steve SmithBuyWR58WR38WR2811.70%WR20
8/19/2017Mike WallaceBuyWR67WR24WR3211.10%WR23
8/24/2016Vincent JacksonBuyWR53WR131WR987.20%WR57
8/29/2016Michael CrabtreeBuyWR36WR14WR1415.40%WR2
8/31/2016Brandin CooksBuyWR14WR11WR1212.60%WR14
6/30/2016Tyler LockettSellWR33WR64WR736.70%WR64
7/6/2016Travis BenjaminSellWR49WR58WR6310.10%WR27
8/2/2016Mohamed SanuSellWR55WR52WR629.80%WR33
8/2/2016Tyler BoydSellWR65WR62WR836.90%WR60
8/17/2016DeAndre HopkinsSellWR4WR27WR353.40%WR105
8/19/2016Kamar AikenSellWR46WR98WR1345.00%WR91

Buy calls on three of the top four and four of the top-seven WRs in win rate is really quite lovely to go along with a sell call of the third-worst WR in win rate. Patting yourself on the back and thinking you have it all figured out because of recent success, however, is a really surefire way to overconfidently fail in the future.

Therefore, looking a little more closely:

The Doug Baldwin buy coupled with the Tyler Lockett sell played out beautifully, and the notion that Jermaine Kearse had a far more similar outlook to Lockett than Baldwin looks to have been intuitive.

Alternatively, Larry Fitzgerald‘s success is diminished by his buy recommendation being in concert with buying disaster-picks Michael Floyd and John Brown.

That was the opposite of the Lions, who were a far more generous and balanced group, with all three finishing in the top 36 for win rate, to go along with Stafford’s top-5 win rate. All hail Cooter!

Buying Steve Smith and Mike Wallace while fading Kamar Aiken was overwhelmingly profitable, but unfortunately came only after heavily investing in a badly overpriced Breshad Perriman.

The Seahawks, Cardinals, Lions, and Ravens really represent the gamut of how arbitrage plays involving teammates can play out. Being mispriced in comparison to each other, or as a group compared to the larger WR market, can turn out fortuitously or apocalyptically, while still falling in a plausible section of the realistic range of outcomes.

Again, like with RBs, it’s about giving yourself the best odds to profit in an unknown and chaotic future.

T.Y. Hilton followed Brandon Marshall‘s path to making this article look prophetic two years in a row, and the pressure is now on to find that guy for a third straight season. I’ll let you know as soon as I do.


(win rate rank is among 41 qualified TEs.)

DatePlayerBuy/SellADPActualPPGWin RateWin Rate Rank
8/15/2016Julius ThomasBuyTE9TE32TE206.90%TE27
8/15/2016Eric EbronBuyTE14TE14TE137.60%TE22
8/22/2016Zach ErtzBuyTE23TE6TE410.70%TE8
8/23/2016Austin Seferian-JenkinsBuyTE20TE55TE644.90%TE40

Oh, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, you big dumb bastard, bless your heart.

Tight end is a position where real-life skill and success doesn’t translate to fantasy as well as the other positions, and TD randomness makes their scoring very erratic and unreliable.

Perfectly encapsulating this were some good hits in my six articles guessing what would be the best and worst mid and late-round picks at each position, but the only one that actually came true was Kyle Rudolph being 2016’s version of 2015 Jordan Reed.

Even though Rudolph led all TEs in win rate (and targets), it was likely the result of a completely unforeseeable series of events, including Teddy Bridgewater and Adrian Peterson appearing in three games combined and the Vikings acquiring Sam Bradford.

To reiterate from earlier, it’s important to realize when your prediction was right but your reasoning was not. This also speaks to playing in a way where your opportunity to profit isn’t narrow or specific to one particular outcome but rather positioning yourself to capitalize on, and benefit from, chaos.

(P.S. T.J. Yeldon did outscore and out touch Chris Ivory, but Keenan Allen‘s seven targets on the season did not lead the league. Win some, lose some… and write post-mortem articles about all.)

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