The Deuce has tried to stay away from offering up fantasy football advice to the masses…mostly because we do not want to help out or tip our hand to our fellow fantasy leaguers we’re drafting against. In this case, we must share. University of Cincinnati professor Michael Fry (in the center of the picture) along with his students have studied and analyzed fantasy football drafts so much, they wrote a paper on it that was published in the Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports. What they found might change the way you look at the draft forever.
1. A traditional maxim in fantasy football is to draft two running backs in the first two rounds because RBs are seen as being the most valuable. However, this year our model generally recommends against this strategy. There are only a few (really two) sure-fire RBs and then a deep crop of 2nd-tier RBs. Thus, our model often recommends taking a RB first, then taking a top QB or WR next and coming back for your 2nd RB later.
2. It can often be a good decision to draft one of the top defenses (generally the Chicago Bears or Baltimore Ravens) earlier than most people would suggest. If you miss out on these top defenses, then you might as well wait until the very end of the draft as there is too much uncertainty in how other defenses will perform. The same is often true for kickers.
3. But the main point is that if you feed garbage into the model, you get garbage out. If you are convinced, for whatever misguided reason, that the Cleveland Browns QB (whoever that turns out to be) is going to be a star and you rank him first, then guess what, the model is going to tell you to draft him very high.
So there you have it, don’t do what everyone else is doing by drafing all RBs…go against the grain and get your top QB and WR picking up your 2nd RB later. Then, shoot for a defense earlier than everyone else and lock down one of the top two. Seems so easy doesn’t it? You only have yourself to blame now if you lose you dumb bastards.
The best line I’ve saved for last. Fry goes on:
“It amounts to this: you have a set of choices that people can make. They all want the best player available and sometimes people just go for that player, regardless of what they really need. All you really want to know — in fantasy and in real drafts — is what set of players is not going to be available when your turn comes up.”
That is some deep shit right there. My pants are getting tight from the excitement. Sunday, I am dominating my draft. Mr. Fry could be a true American hero…unless I finish dead last again. Then I’m coming after this braniac bitch.