#1 By: Different one, February 8th, 2019 14:13
I guess I'll start a thread, for the whatever degenerate is around this time of year reading articles.
This is a great article, and definitely opens up a lot of questions. My main thoughts... how much is priced into draft?
Career MS matters more, but I have to imagine that WR with great career numbers are generally drafted higher. The potentially of us finding value is probably low. The question I have is "which metric helps us find undervalued WRs?"
I know a few years back, someone (jon moore?) looked at this for RBs, specifically RBs that are undrafted free agents that somehow ended up making it the league, and I found it interesting that good RBs (high WR) that get overlooked due to poor athletic measures or size can make it. (Philip Lindsay this year, although I don't know the value of searching for the next Philip Lindsay in any given year).
Anyway, those are just some thoughts, I was wondering how others feel regarding how you are picking up or drafting flyers at the end of rookie, dynasty, and redraft drafts.
... besides waiting for Shawn Siegele just coming out with an article and tellings us who to get. =)
#2 By: hrr5010, February 8th, 2019 19:05
CC: @FF_Contrarian @hba24
I haven't had a chance to digest the entire article yet and synthesize it with what we know, but the main thing about RBs is that the consistent turnover at the spot creates more opportunity for them.
The key takeaway is that an early draft slot is typically the primary driver for early season opportunity. After all, you want your higher equity picks to hit than miss. In certain cases, players like Treadwell/Parker/Josh Doctson etc will wind up over drafted for a litany of reasons and that's where age-adjusted production is the key you're looking for.
Which is where the draft profile's we've been churning out come into play! So one of the guys I was targeting at the end of rookie drafts was Keke Coutee, even after the NFL Draft.
People were far too quiet about him since they didn't know what to do with his profile, but I laid out the way he became an alpha once Jonathan Giles left and how he smashed despite not playing with Patrick Mahomes. Although his combine wasn't great, his production kinda offset it for me.
Here's my pre-draft prospect profile on him: http://rotoviz.com/2017/12/2018-nfl-draft-prospect-keke-coutee/
Here's my post-draft profile: http://rotoviz.com/2018/04/keke-coutee-houston-texans/
This year, Greg Dortch is garnering the hype that should've been reserved for Coutee last year. He's lighter and smaller, and I think his best comp is Coutee. If he runs a slow combine, I'm probably out on him.
So one of the ways to look for undervalued WRs is to take guys who land on pass happy offenses with strong age-adjusted production. Its not exactly a great answer to your question, but its kinda the best I've got.
Here's rookie ADP for 2018: http://www03.myfantasyleague.com/2018/adp?COUNT=64&POS=Coach%2BQB%2BTMQB%2BTMRB%2BRB%2BFB%2BWR%2BTMWR%2BTE%2BTMTE%2BWR%2BTE%2BRB%2BWR%2BTE%2BKR%2BPK%2BTMPK%2BPN%2BTMPN%2BDef%2BST%2BOff&ROOKIES=1&INJURED=1&CUTOFF=5&FRANCHISES=12&IS_PPR=1&IS_KEEPER=2&IS_MOCK=-1&TIME=
and 2017: http://www03.myfantasyleague.com/2017/adp?COUNT=64&POS=Coach%2BQB%2BTMQB%2BTMRB%2BRB%2BFB%2BWR%2BTMWR%2BTE%2BTMTE%2BWR%2BTE%2BRB%2BWR%2BTE%2BKR%2BPK%2BTMPK%2BPN%2BTMPN%2BDef%2BST%2BOff&ROOKIES=1&INJURED=1&CUTOFF=5&FRANCHISES=12&IS_PPR=1&IS_KEEPER=2&IS_MOCK=-1&TIME=
and 2016: http://www03.myfantasyleague.com/2016/adp?COUNT=64&POS=Coach%2BQB%2BTMQB%2BTMRB%2BRB%2BFB%2BWR%2BTMWR%2BTE%2BTMTE%2BWR%2BTE%2BRB%2BWR%2BTE%2BKR%2BPK%2BTMPK%2BPN%2BTMPN%2BDef%2BST%2BOff&ROOKIES=1&INJURED=1&CUTOFF=5&FRANCHISES=12&IS_PPR=1&IS_KEEPER=2&IS_MOCK=-1&TIME=
#3 By: Blair Andrews, February 8th, 2019 22:59
It's certainly the case that WRs with great career numbers are drafted earlier, but this doesn't necessarily mean that they're not also undervalued. Here's a chart I've been playing with that illustrates the point pretty well (I think):
It shows draft position vs career YPTA broken out by hits vs misses, where success means achieving at least one 200-point PPR season in the first three years in the NFL. There's a clear relationship between draft position and career YPTA, and it's also clear that almost all the hits are in the early rounds. Yet it also appears the hits tend to outperform the misses in career YPTA regardless of draft position. (It's hard to know for sure from the chart, but it looks to me that one of the main reasons for this is that the early-round misses are mostly made up of players with career YPTA marks on the low side -- the key may be, as Hasan said, to avoid the early-round busts.)
Teasing out which of these metrics add signal on top of draft position is key. In general though, a lot of the metrics we like to look at -- dominator rating, breakout age, early declare, etc. -- are not, I think, adequately priced into draft position. That's not to say they aren't partially accounted for, but rather that there's an ineffiency here to be exploited. Using these metrics to help you beat the NFL draft, as it were, can also help you beat your league mates in a fantasy draft.
With RBs, some of our favorite metrics like workhorse score have proven year after year to be particularly good at finding late-round gems that scouts ignore for one reason or another. Phillip Lindsay is a perfect example of that, and also of what's wrong with NFL scouting and even more with the NFL combine selection process, since he would have crushed the combine and would have almost certainly been drafted after doing so. He was someone we loved for most of the offseason because of his excellent workhorse and backfield dominator numbers -- his pro-day 40 was kind of gravy. I'm not sure who 2019's Phillip Lindsay is yet, if there even is one, but definitely stay tuned for more on these metrics and who stands out this year.
#4 By: Different one, February 9th, 2019 14:38
Thank you for that.
It's impressive how flat that success curve looks, although it looks like there are no data points after 100? The little bump in the curve just because the last datapoint had a higher YPTA?
Overall, I agree there seems to be an advantage, if only to avoid the potential bombs in the early round that the real-world scouts end up falling in love with and hyping every year.
#5 By: devinmci, February 9th, 2019 17:22
@Differentone The flatness of the curve, as you note, has no meaning--there are just no successes outside of the first ~100 picks. Keep in mind that the bar for success is extremely high here. A 3rd year player who averages 8 ppg for 6 weeks, and then takes over the job after a Week 7 bye and averages 15 ppg the final 10 games, falls short of the threshold of success with 198 fantasy points. A more concrete example is that JuJu Smith-Schuster's rookie season was not successful in this experiment.
The graph is intriguing because it seems to show that YPTA corresponds to draft position (for both hits and misses), but that it corresponds less for WRs that are slipping to the mid/late 3rd round. Those WRs that had very strong YPTA produced several hits, whereas we see teams taking fliers in the 3rd round on WRs with YPTA below 1, which is extremely hard to do period.
I think one of the biggest edges for the fantasy player is understanding the limits of these metrics, which Blair's piece demonstrates so well. Every year there is a piece of analytics work that gets hyped up in the fantasy community by people who don't fully grasp the results of the work. In that sense, some of RotoViz's best picks are due to fading our own concepts. For example, players like Kenny Golladay and Calvin Ridley, were severely devalued by some analysts who were too hyped to incorporate concepts related to prospect age. Or Deshaun Watson who was devalued because of velocity models. Etc, etc. (Which isn't to say that RotoViz analysts don't make plenty of these same mistakes--we all do for sure--but paying close attention to which new metrics are getting over-weighted due to people wanting to be "ahead of curve" can be as important as the metrics themselves).
One example is principles relating to market share, you can already see those concepts creeping into the mainstream. I think this season may be a draft where we need to be careful about high market share WRs in less competitive situations becoming too popular.
#6 By: Blair Andrews, February 10th, 2019 09:33
Yeah, there are four data points right around pick 100 that appear to trend upward (introducing that little bump), and then nothing, and then two undrafted hits which the smoothed line bisects. So you can't read too much into the shape of the line from pick 100 on.
Here's a version using a simple linear regression rather than a local regression for smoothing:
And here's a version that shows just the top 100 picks (probably the most useful):
This last chart just barely cuts off one hit: the Mike Williams who was drafted in 2010 by the Bucs at pick 101. The two undrafted hits, FWIW, are Josh Gordon and Robby Anderson. Every other hit was picked in the top 100. (Note that this only includes FBS receivers.) But as Devin said, you also have guys like Antonio Brown and Stefon Diggs who count as misses here. Brown was about 4 points shy of 200 in his second year, and Diggs missed by 1.8 points in his third year (Both averaged right around 2.0 YPTA over their college careers.)