2017 Air Yards Projection Countdown Finale: The Top 24

The Air Yards Model countdown finale! Today we wrap up the series with the final list of the top 24 ordered into a subjective ranking with tiers.

Well-validated models are the best and most unbiased forecast of NFL receiver production there is.1 However there are things that they cannot capture that are important to consider.

Changes to team composition, injuries, coaching changes, and more can affect the accuracy of a pre-season model that is based purely on numbers. Finally, many models, including mine, do not give more than an expected value forecast for a player. Point estimates are great, but it’s also crucial to understand the range of outcomes.

In this series, I’m counting down the model’s top-36 wide receivers and publishing forecasts, along with a discussion of the other important factors the model doesn’t know about. Full projections will be released next month.

The Top 24
  1. The air yards model combined four separate machine learning models into one ensemble model. The models used included a Bayesian neural net, a nearest neighbors algorithm, a random forest algorithm and a tuned generalized linear model. Preprocessing steps included data normalization (centered and scaled), the elimination of near zero variance predictors, and principal component analysis transformation. The model data used were 838 observations of 35 predictors, including age, weight, previous season player volume and efficiency data, 3 year weighted player efficiency data, and previous season team passing volume and efficiency data. The dependent variable was fantasy points per game. The data were split 80/20 into training and test sets. 10 fold cross validation was performed. The measured R^2 on the held out data was 0.66.  (back)

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By Josh Hermsmeyer | @friscojosh | Archive

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  1. B Dub says:

    this has been my most favorite series of any site all summer!

  2. Dennis says:

    awesome! thanks. how closely do u use this in drafts? Do you take Cooks over Cooper, Demarius, Baldwin, Hopkins?

  3. Thanks bdub! That's an amazing compliment considering all the great content we publish here.

  4. Hi Josh,

    Great work as always. With Shawn and Rotodoc talking about 2 TE strategy, I am curios to see how does this table changes with TEs involved, at least the 4 elite ones.. Gronk/Kelce/Reed/Olsen..


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