The Leader in the Early 2018 RB Prospect Projections Will Surprise You

The leader in Anthony Amico’s early running back projections for the 2018 draft will surprise you.

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By Anthony Amico | @amicsta | Archive

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  1. I enjoy these types of articles, but I do question the following comment.

    My thesis would be that the market is properly factoring in things like weight and the 40. Since we have information about the market in this model, the physical traits are rendered obsolete.

    Now, I don't know if you specifically knock many NFL decisions, but it seems a bit unusual for someone so into analytics that they would place one of there three variables on a perceived draft slot. Isn't the entire purpose of analytics to do away with perceptions and to use a many cold hard facts as possible? Someone like Trent Richardson may of very well had the high draft capital to look good in this model, but looking at the hard data, his lack of speed from his pro day was a hard data point that certainly showed a red flag. Note, I have seen different numbers given for his forty time, but there were some surprisingly high 40 times that should of had people questioning his future success.

  2. So I think it’s really important to remember:

    1) NFL Draft Scout is an independent website with years of scouting data on prospects
    2) Like it or not, draft position has a high correlation with success
    3) The purpose of the model
    4) What analytics really are

    I’ll start from the bottom. I think that a major misconception about analytics is that it is mutually exclusive to player scouting. All analytics really is is taking the available information, quantifying that information, and using it to make informed decisions. So while there is a scouting component to the model, it is quantifiable, testable, and significant.

    To that end, there is usually a bit of a holy war between analytics and scouting, but I do believe that a healthy mix of the two is probably best when trying to project players. If player scouting was truly a myth, then we wouldnt see the highly drafted player hit so much more frequently than the lower drafted player. Including some aspect of scouting seems reasonable if we want to maximize accuracy.

    NFL Draft Scout is a totally independent entity, but still manages to correlate extremely well with draft position. So the scouts know something we dont, or are at least managing to be relatively accurate if they are good. When I say that the market is pricing in speed correctly, I truly mean it. The scouts are weighing speed in their rankings, which have predicted draft position very well. And since draft position predicts success very well, it’s important to consider the scouts.

    Which brings me to the point of the model. Remember that the model is attempting to predict a player’s best fantasy season within the first three years of his career. The model is NOT trying to predict who the best players are for your favorite team to draft. It is fantasy based. And while overlap will certainly exist there, there is a clear difference. For instance, Trent Richardson was an RB1 in his first season. He’s a hit for fantasy, even if he ended up having an overall poor career. His immediate contributions helped dynasty and redraft owners win championships.

    So while I understand your concern (and appreciate you bringing it up), I think the scope is important to remember. If our goal is to find great fantasy players, it is very difficult to seperate that from expected draft slot. And if a player DOES stand out in the model despite draft slot (like Penny being RB1, or the Georgia RBs being way down the list), that is something to really take note of.

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