For discussion on app usage, see the commentary below the app.

We have a good amount of discussion here on the site as to optimal strategy for fantasy football. Last week I introduced an app that would let you optimize an auction league lineup. But the majority of fantasy leagues still utilize a snake draft, so I wanted to come up with a tool that would also help you optimize a team for your snake draft leagues.

The key part of the previous paragraph is “help” – the app below is a tool that you can use to test various draft strategies and lineup combinations using your own intuition. It relies on Fantasy Pros composite projections for scoring just because that’s a really quick way to get an accurate picture of scoring for a very large player universe.  RotoViz might disagree mildly with some of the projections but there’s an easy way to fix that (described below). Here’s a quick “how-to” on using the app:

  • Tell the app how many of each position you want to draft. The app is going to optimize for all of your players rather than starting lineup only.
  • Tell the app your desired confidence interval for ADP. For instance, Adrian Peterson sometimes falls to the 2 spot in drafts. But if you use a 75% confidence interval, you’ll only be able to take him with the 1st overall pick. Some players have a good amount of variance in their ADP. Setting the confidence interval higher will mean that it will only give you the player at a spot that you’re likely to get them. The app defaults to 75% confident.
  • Put in your league’s scoring settings.
  • Tell the app how many teams are in your league and which spot you’re drafting from.
  • Add players that you want to pre-select and also players you want to avoid. I want to get Mike Williams in most drafts and I want to avoid Percy Harvin, so I can add their names to the box and it will add their names to the list of constraints.
  • That’s all. Just play around with the app, get new draft ideas and discover new ways that your team could be built.
  • The app will throw an error if you exceed the constraints that are built in. You won’t be able to select two players that are going in the first round. Primarily this will only matter when you start pre-selecting players.
  • [edit: the app has now been updated to account for additional flex spots and TE bonus PPR scoring. This will give you quick/easy calculations on scoring but will be largely blind to the way that ADP will be changed. We'll see if there's any way to address that ADP issue going forward.]
24 comments
hardknox07
hardknox07

Sweet. Just wasted a dollar. "Replacement had 1 rows, data has 0". Picking 8th in a 10 team league blew your app's mind?

rscottpatterson
rscottpatterson

When I select that I have the 12th pick in a 12 team league I get an error message. replacement has 1 rows, data has 0

jmhanson2
jmhanson2

Keepers:


What is the correct way to account for the fact that, in my league, 12 players are kept and therefore eliminated from contention?


Closest way is to blacklist all keepers and use imagination, but ADP's are still a bit wonky and the app still forces your hand in some cases (forces you to select a 2nd QB in the first 8 rounds if you keep Brees, unrealistic).  


It would be nice if the app could account for this smoothly and provide better advice for keeper leagues.

Cwynar3
Cwynar3

my league gets 0.25 points per completion- last year that was 112.5 points for Peyton. How would this change folks' minds about taking Manning in the 7 spot? 

nxs0152
nxs0152

This is the first time I am picking 12th out of a 12 team league. Normal scoring except QB gets 6pts/Passing TD. As I lower the confidence ADP level to 60% I start getting Peyton Manning as my first pick. As I increase the level I get Julio Jones. Is Peyton Manning the only QB I should think about taking at #12 overall? I seem to have Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers available everytime I do a mock draft at the 12 spot. 

Fineprof
Fineprof

Can someone get a demo (like, with last year's stats) to see the look and feel?  I'd be a whole lot more likely to subscribe if I could see what I'm getting.

Mad Wren
Mad Wren

This is incredibly fun to play around with. Thank you! However, it would be great if there were two alterations:

1. The ability to modify the number of players being drafted. 16 rounds is great, but it'd be nice to see something closer to 20 for deeper planning.

2. I can't seem to input decimals for scoring. Passing yardage in one league is 0.05 pts per yard, but inputting that gives crazy projected points for QBs.



Brassybits
Brassybits

Hi Rotoviz.  I really love the idea of this app, but is there a way to add a box that lets you choose a specific league ADP (ESPN, Yahoo etc) to calculate against? For me that would make this an infinitely more valuable tool.  For example currently with this tool, even with max confidence adjustment, I can't get Dez in round 1 picking much lower than 6-8, where in an ESPN league (and their ADP group think) I can easily get him picking 12 or later.

meetloaf13
meetloaf13

Why does this choose AP at #1 when you've spoken more than once about the fact that he should probably fall out of the first round altogether?

rotoviz
rotoviz moderator

@hardknox07 I just changed the constraints to 8th in a 10 team league and it didn't show an error. but it will give you an error if it can't actually satisfy your requirements. like if you specify Adrian Peterson because he'll never last to 8. there are other ways it won't be able to find a solution as well. like if you specify none of the positions to be picked in the first round.

rotoviz
rotoviz moderator

@rscottpatterson when it can't find an optimal solution it will throw an error. but the 12th pick in a 12 team league isn't causing the error. there must be some other conflicting criteria. if the constraints don't allow an actual solution it will throw an error

rotoviz
rotoviz moderator

@jmhanson2 A few have asked about making it work for keepers. But that's actually a more difficult problem than it might sound like. Underlying the app's coding is a constraints algorithm that is ultimately trying to decide which players will be there at what ADP. Keepers really just throws a wrench in that. I could work on it, but it would really take next offseason to perfect.

rotoviz
rotoviz moderator

@nxs0152 If you blacklist Peyton's name it will give you the next best option. But in order to be sure that you pick QB there, you'll have to increase the minimum round to pick the other three positions.


Also, use the app to experiment with roster combos and see which ones you like best. The "optimization" part of the app is just meant to give you ideas, rather than dictate your draft to you.


For instance, right now I wouldn't touch Knowshon Moreno with a 10 foot pole. But the projections we used in the app like him. We'll try to update those when we can.

rotoviz
rotoviz moderator

@Fineprof hey, you should be able to get a free view every other day. so just come bookmark the page and come back in a couple of days and you can test it for free.

rotoviz
rotoviz moderator

@Mad Wren for your pass yards/pt issue you just need to change the pass yards thing to 20.  Get it? .05 pts per yard is the same as 20 yards per point.

TheRotoViz
TheRotoViz

@meetloaf13 sorry, that can be confusing. this app uses fantasy pros rankings just because that was a quick way to get a really accurate picture on a lot of players (on the site we spend most of our time looking for value plays which means we don't rank every single player, so FP is a good resource).

But also I think there has been some differing opinions on AP. I would actually take him first if I thought I could trade him.

Mad Wren
Mad Wren

@rotoviz @Mad Wren Ok, that does it, I officially need to stop posting on comment threads before my morning caffeine. 


Thanks for the shoulda-been-clear solution!

meetloaf13
meetloaf13

@TheRotoViz@meetloaf13 Very good.  Yeah, this is my first year doing a snake league (I'm an auction guy).

I'm really, REALLY loving this site.  I'm not a fantasy fanatic, I don't watch the NFL network, in fact, I don't watch too many games (I know to maximize the benefit of your tools and analysis, it helps to have my own judgement), I just don't have the time.  But, I AM a numbers guy.  I've been creating my own VBD valuations the past couple years by averaging projections from multiple sites and running a 4-tiered weighting system for valuations.  Last year I won handily as I stole on Marshall, D. Thomas (DEN), Martin, Matt Ryan...it was the beautiful arbitrage I've ever pulled off...it was a heist.  

Anyways, I decided to purchase a season membership here in hopes to save me some time and get some of your awesome analysis.  I also need help with a second league I joined this year. It is an interesting league.  QB Heavy (As in 6 pt TD, 10 yds/pt + bonuses) 2QB, 2WR, 2RB, TE, FLEX, K, D, 6 Bench, 12 Teams.  

Everyone gets to pick a keeper from last year (don't you typically pick those at the beginning of the season when you draft them?), for my keeper I'm taking Drew Brees.  Apparently there is a run on QB pretty early.  I assume most will take QBs as their keeper like I am.  I initially had planned on going RB-RB then wideouts (and maybe a TE) until the 8th-ish round for a QB...With Brees as my keeper, would it be wise to still go that route?  Or should I join in the QB run?  I'm thinking I could get a steal in rds 1 & 2 on an RB 1 (or maybe two depending on where I draft), and then I can get one of the value QBs.

Do you see any red flags there?  ( I know I will probably need to try and get a serviceable QB for the Bye week, so I may have to take a QB in R1 or R2, and then get a 3rd later on.

meetloaf13
meetloaf13

@TheRotoViz@meetloaf13

Thanks Guys, spent the better part of Sunday evening and Monday devouring your content.  Here's what I ended up with in my snake draft.  Not too shabby, right?

1.8     Drew Brees QB - NO (KEEPER)
2.17    Ben Roethlisberger QB - PIT
3.32    Ray Rice RB - BAL
4.41    Reggie Bush RB - DET
5.56    Brandon Marshall WR - CHI
6.65    Darren Sproles RB - NO
7.80    Steve Smith WR - CAR
8.89    Eric Decker WR - DEN
9.104    Owen Daniels TE - HOU
10.113    Lance Moore WR - NO
11.128    Jake Locker QB - TEN
12.137    Denver Broncos DEF
13.152    Bernard Pierce RB - BAL
14.161    Joique Bell RB - DET
15.176    Blair Walsh K - MIN
16.185    Rueben Randle WR - NYG
17.200    Heath Miller TE - PIT

meetloaf13
meetloaf13

@TheRotoViz @meetloaf13 I like that a lot.  I'll peg 2-3 and play it by ear to see where I can get them. 

 I'm doing my auction draft tomorrow evening so I'll have to change gears.  Thanks for your replies, I'll be frequenting here all season.

TheRotoViz
TheRotoViz

@meetloaf13 @TheRotoViz I think the simplest thing to do when you're playing a new format like this is figure out which guy you want (let's just say Mike Vick) and then you'll figure out how many QBs you expect to go before Vick. Then pay attention on draft night to the velocity that QBs are coming off the board and draft Vick at your pick where you think he might now last another round.

The great thing this year is that there are value QBs to be had if you miss out. I like Bradford a lot.