Is your dynasty team 0-5? Are you already thinking of what players to take in next year’s rookie draft? Are you contemplating making a trade for a draft pick for next year’s draft or auction to get a top rookie?
Devonta Freeman is setting records for getting no love from fantasy football owners.
Which is surprising, since fantasy owners should be fawning over him. Last season he had 1,056 yards rushing, 11 rushing touchdowns, 578 yards receiving and 73 receptions on 97 targets. Plus, he added three receiving touchdowns. Add it all up and he led the NFL in fantasy scoring.
And he did that all in 15 games and just 13 starts.
But his ADP this year is just 17th overall in 12-team, non-PPR formats. It’s just 7th among RBs.
He’s just 18th in ADP for the National Fantasy Football Championship, which is a PPR and starts three WRs. He’s 7th among RBs there as well.
And it’s not just ADP. It’s expert leagues as well. He was the 6th most expensive RB in the recent Stopa11K auction.
Yes, he had a decline in the second half (over his last eight starts he was limited to 3.25 YPC, and he had a modest four overall TDs) and has a viable backup in Tevin Coleman. But when do you see a RB who led the league in fantasy points the year before fall out of the first round of ADP the next year?
It only happened once before and that was last season. Demarco Murray finished first in fantasy points in 2014, but fell to 14th in ADP the next preseason. Of course he had been traded from the Cowboys to the Eagles in the offseason, so his circumstances had changed significantly.
Previously since 1998, the lowest the leading fantasy point scoring RB finished in the following year’s ADP was 7th overall. Here’s the list:
|Year||RB||Overall Rank||ADP next preseason||Rank next season|
So by any measure Devonta Freeman is being discounted like a top back has never been before. He hasn’t changed teams. And while he has a viable backup, many on the list above had millage (300+ carry seasons), viable backups and changes on offense. It’s entirely possible that the market is off on Freeman’s value.
(h/t to Dalton Del Don of Yahoo! Sports for the idea of this study as after he bought Freeman in the Stopa11K auction he asked “how often do you see last year’s top fantasy scoring RB go so cheap?”)
Last year was the worst ever for first-round running backs. Fewer running backs than ever are now being taken in the first round of 2016 drafts. But was last year’s results a trend or historical anomaly?
Of the seven running backs last season in the top 15 overall of ADP (average draft position), five of them were disasters. LeVeon Bell, Jamaal Charles and Marshawn Lynch all succumbed to injury while Eddie Lacy and C.J. Anderson all failed to live up to top fantasy status for performance (and minor injuries). All five were busts, defined as not producing enough fantasy points to finish in the top 24 at their position (thus being an optimal starter in a 12-team league that starts two RB).
The first round of fantasy drafts used to be the almost exclusive domain of running backs. Twelve of the top 15 picks in drafts were used on running backs as recently as 2007. The NFL has of course changed since then becoming more of a passing league with rule changes and we’ve seen more time shares at running back to reduce punishing workloads. And last year’s performance of top backs appears to have shaken people’s confidence and accelerated the trend. Only 5 running backs are being taken in the top 15 of ADP for 2016 drafts at this point of the summer. Since 1998, no fewer than seven RB have been taken in the top 15 of ADP.
[For the purposes of this study I’m using ADP data from MyFantasyLeague.com and only for 12-team leagues with non-PPR scoring. Formats without PPR and those that started only two RB were more prevalent 10-15 years ago, so it’s a better historical comparison.]
Maybe it’s inevitable that fewer running backs would be taken in the first round in 2016. But the injury rate in 2015 looks like an aberration. The failure rate of 75% of the running backs taken in the top 15 is far above the career norm. It was by far a record high (next highest was 45% in 2013).
|RB in top 15||Busts||1st-round bust %|
It would appear that the market is overreacting to last year’s first-round busts for running backs. That could present a buying opportunity. The market has overreacted before. After a 2011 season that saw Tight ends and Quarterbacks put up record numbers, five QB and two TE went in the first 20 picks of ADP in 2012 drafts. And five QB went in the top 15 of ADP. Hard to believe, right? Not many panned out and only three QB and no TE went in the top 20 the next season. Maybe this year’s assessment of RB production will also miss the mark.
The RotoWire player database (which was RotoNews from 1997-2001) just passed its 18th anniversary. We were the first company to develop player notes in its current format (landing one founder on the “Mount Rushmore” of fantasy baseball). So we thought it would be interesting to see which players have been updated the most over that span.
Racing: Kyle Busch (784)
CBB: Tyler Hansbrough (90)
CFB: Matt Barkley (84)
MLB: Carlos Beltran (1047)
NBA: Kobe Bryant (1237)
NFL: Ben Roethlisberger (792)
NHL: Marc-Andre Fleury (1300)
Golf: Tiger Woods (832)
Soccer: Wayne Rooney (332)
We wouldn’t have guessed Marc-Andre Fleury would be the most updated player, but a successful goalie gets notes after almost every start plus we track practice movement closely to post notices and confirm who will start (really important these days for Daily Fantasy Sports and tools like our DFS Lineup Optimizer).
Tyler Hansbrough’s record is the one that may never be beat. How many college kids these days stick around long enough, and are good enough, to get that many updates? Tiger Woods may also keep his record a long time since it may be a long time until a golfer has his high profile again. He basically was everything in fantasy golf for most of the past 18 years and was our pick for top fantasy sports athlete of the last decade.
If you don’t have to draft a kicker at this point of the preseason – don’t.
The default format for Yahoo! Fantasy Football and many other leagues allow you to leave your draft without selecting a kicker. You don’t need to leave the draft with a full starting roster. You do need to pick up a kicker before Week 1 as you’d take a zero if you left that starting slot blank. Is it worth it to skip taking a kicker for an extra reserve you may just cut between now and Week 1?
I think the answer is yes. Here’s the case for not taking a kicker.
First, kickers are almost random. The fantasy football community does a poor job of predicting who will be a top kicker. Since 2006, kickers taken in the top 125 overall of ADP haven’t finished in the top 12 at the end of the season in fantasy points by a whopping 71 percent of the time (10 of 14). And those are kickers that fantasy owners were excited enough to take in the first 11 rounds of a 12-team draft.
(The following article appears in “101 Fantasy Football Tips” e-book from 50+ Fantasy Writers, a .pdf/E-Book available here)
What’s the best way to conduct a fantasy football draft or auction? Here’s some advice and tips from someone who’s in 30+ fantasy drafts/auctions per year.
First, it’s always the most convenient to just hold your draft/auction with the service that hosts your league such as ESPN, Yahoo! Sports, FoxSports, CBSSports.com, NFL.com, Fantrax.com and MyFantasyLeague.com – just to name a few. Most of the services now offer auction capability as well and support for keepers.
The upside here is clear: You draft in the same environment where you run your league and the commissioner of the league doesn’t have to go through the pain of re-entering rosters. Even if your league has traditionally drafted in person, the time savings in an online draft room spread out over 200+ draft picks can add up in a hurry. Plus if your league has some members who come unprepared or don’t even know the NFL players, they have a ready list of options or can choose to autodraft.
I’m also in several leagues that use the slick auction or draft rooms of the major providers, but hand enter the results into another commissioner service that can accommodate all that league’s idiosyncratic rules.
It’s midseason in fantasy baseball and I’m already worn out and tired of Sunday evenings.
Maybe I’m in the minority since I essentially play fantasy baseball for a living, but the grind of doing free agent bids for multiple leagues on Sunday nights gets old.
Usually I’m outside as much as possible on a nice summer weekend but have the constant thought that I must get on my computer midday Sunday to ensure I get some bids in.