Finding Value Through Advanced Stats
There are tons of statistics that you can use when trying to target values in your upcoming fantasy drafts. Point per game, strength of schedule, positive regression, etc. It's great to rank high in one statistical category, but it's obviously better to be ranked high in as many as possible. One exercise I've done over the past few years is to create rankings with these statistical categories and combine them to one list so that I can get the average ranking over all of these lists. For example: with this exercise I chose 9 categories that are good in evaluation year over year production. The categories I chose were:
- Team Pass Plays Per Game
- Target Share %
- Targets Per Game
- Receptions Per Game
- Receiving Yards Per Game
- Yards Per Reception
- Yards Per Target
- Yards Per Route Run
- Completed Air Yards Per Target
Missing from this list are stats like: Fantasy points per game, fantasy points per target, fantasy points per route run, etc. The reason I did not include these is because they include points for touchdowns. Obviously touchdowns are important and should never be ignored, but they are also fluky and can vary drastically year to year. What I like to do is get a baseline of what a player has done on the field excluding points for touchdowns, and then once I have that, I use touchdowns to either raise or lower a that player's expectation. A player like Julio Jones who has historically had a low touchdown rate I won't adjust that much, but a player like Davante Adams on the other hand will go up based on his ability to score touchdowns year in and year out. Below is the full list of the top 35 ranked players from those categories. The blue column represents the average over these 9 categories. Targets are not part of the averages, as I only used it to exclude players who received less than 50 targets.
From this list, there were 5 players that stood out to me as possible values based on their ADP pulled from FantasyData, Mike Evans, Michael Gallup, Stefon Diggs, DeVante Parker and John Brown.
Mike Evans: The fact that he finished first on this list is a good sign. There may be some questions about having a new 43 year old quarterback throwing him the football, but Evans was the WR4 in points per game last year and that includes a zero point performance against New Orleans. Currently being drafted as the WR8, there is room for him to outperform his draft slot.
Michael Gallup: The WR18 in points per game in 2019, Gallup is currently being drafted as the WR27. The concerns over CeeDee Lamb joining the team are real and he could drastically impact Gallup's 2020 season. However, ranking this high gives a little better picture of how his season went and should curb some of the concerns that he will completely fall off in 2020.
Stefon Diggs: I wasn't all that surprised to see Diggs this high on the list. He's always one of the top receivers in efficiency. While his situation from Minnesota to Buffalo isn't ideal, seeing new fellow teammate John Brown just a few spots lower on the list is encouraging. No longer having to deal with former teammate and target hog Adam Thielen, we may start to see Diggs used more in the slot, which could be HUGE for his production. We've seen Diggs be a WR1 before and being drafted as the WR22 leaves a lot of room for him to crush his ADP.
DeVante Parker: How Parker's ADP is the WR35 is beyond me. He finished as the WR11 in 2019, but was the WR3 over the last 13 games of the season once Ryan Fitzpatrick took over as quarterback. He now gets Fitzmagic as the likely full time starter for all of 2020. Sign me up.
John Brown: There are some concerns now with Diggs joining the fray as mentioned about. However, with an ADP of WR39 all the risk is taken away, so he can be drafted with confidence based on his big-play ability and efficiency. Brown is a perfect Best Ball option.
You can create similar spreadsheets using any metrics you want based on what you find important with your fantasy players and league scoring settings. Give it a try, you might be surprised what you find.
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