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Dynasty vs Redraft: Running Backs Analysis
Dave Cherney and Dr. John Bush will research, analyze and report, through a series of articles, the relationships within and between Dynasty and Redraft leagues. We are committed to giving you sufficient leverage for success in either or both worlds.
Strength and Weakness:
Dave is a 9-year veteran in dynasty leagues while John is an expert in the redraft arena. Yet when each ventures into the others waters, they tend to sink for a reason we plan to excavate. A fusion of these two individuals’ talents and visions hope to open a pathway into development of a new interdisciplinary view of fantasy football from both perspectives.
Phase 1C – Deep Draft Analysis of Running Backs
We present a continuation of the previous two articles concerning the conundrum between Redraft vs. Dynasty drafts. We will next discuss the Running Back position in this third article and finish with our final article in this series on Wide Receivers.
Figure 7 Results
Recalling the value difference seen between redraft vs. dynasty leagues as detailed in Article 1 we present Figure 7, a large scale value view of the first 60 running backs being drafted this year. We call this our landscape view achieved by using an area graph of our D-R numbers. As previously explained we invented this D-R metric as a method to measure the level of NFL player’s desire in both Redraft and Dynasty situations. Position numbers above the X-axis indicate the player was favored by the Redraft system and negative numbers below the X-axis are players favored by the Dynasty format.
A quick analysis of the D-R landscape of RB’s (Figure 7) shows that RBs were almost the entire draft rounds more highly prized by redraft players as compared to dynasty players.
We predict that RBs will be drafted later vs. the WRs by dynasty players in redrafts. Dynasty players need to be aware they may carry this bias into a redraft leagues! Likewise the Redraft players going into dynasty leagues would be expected to value RBs too high.
In Summary, analysis from Figure 7’s data across the entire stretch of the RBs D-R numbers, the profile bias is all to the Redraft side with a few exceptions. The 3 RBs at the end of the redraft draft are being valued higher by the dynasty players because these are thought to have more future value vs. this year’s value. We will identify them in the next series of figures!
Figure 8 and 9 Results
Figure 8 presents the tabular data for the first 29 running backs. We have color-coded D-R numbers to enhance reader focus! Green positive D-R numbers denote the RBs that are highly prized by Redraft players. Red D-R negative numbers are awarded to players highly prized by Dynasty player.
It is a desert for running backs that are favored in dynasty. Ezekiel Elliot and Geo Bernard are the only two running backs favored by Dynasty players. That is roughly 7% of the 29 players. So a dynasty player going into redraft would have a tendency to undervalue many running backs in this group vs. redraft players. They could be missing the RB that can produce this year!
Figure 9 shows the next group of 31 backs. Again the D-R number guides us to the player values biased within each drafting system. Interestingly, only four RBs are highly valued by dynasty vs. redraft players. These running backs appeared later in the group. They were Jerick Mckinnon, Derick Henry, C.J. Prosise and Cameron Artis-Payne. Finally, we note that the overall D-R average of all the RBs was a +19. That is a very strong bias number toward the redraft players.
Figure 10 Results
We next present the data in an area graphical format for reader visual inspection. As we have published previously, the D-R number provides a measure of either Dyno or Redraft desirability. In the first 29th RBs D-R data, analysis reveals that 27 of 29 of these RBs are more liked by Redraft players. Note Dynasty players are somewhat focused on Ezekeil Elliot and Geo Bernard. (Red Star Highlighted). These are both very young RBs and that may explain why they are different.
Figure 11 Results
Figure 11 continues the data festival with a D-R area graph of the RBs ranked 30th to 60th! The majority of these players are also heavily desired by the average Redraft players vs. Dynasty players! The overwhelming run of these redrafted supported RBs stops at Derrick Henry (50th RB). Analysis of the 50th to 60th RB reveals that four of these 10 are Dynasty favorites. These four are young fresh RBs and have older RBs in front of them on the depth charts. We have seen that six out of 60 RBs are Dynasty Darlings while the rest are biased to Redraft players!
Discussion of Figures 7 to 11
John’s Observations and Discussion
As I look across at the tables and graphs containing the RBs, I was astounded at the redraft bias. I would expect now that bias is even higher in standard scoring leagues vs. PPR scoring leagues. The original hypothesis was that there was no difference in the two worlds as to their desirability in RBs. We can reject that hypothesis and now propose a new hypothesis that RBs in general are highly favored by redraft players. Additionally, I also hypothesize that rookie and very young RBs are more favored by Dynasty players.
The reason we propose for these hypotheses are based on the assumption that dynasty players are stockpiling the rookies and young fresh RBs for the future.
Questions for Dave:
1) “When does a Dynasty Team manager quit stockpiling? “
2) “When is it time to get rid of an older RB?”
These questions were not in my head when I was previously into running my dynasty teams. I drafted older RBs etc as redraft players would be predicted to do! I eventually found myself with a knife at the dynasty gunfight! I failed in dynasty using my redraft processes!
So in conclusion, redraft players should follow the crowd when playing in dynasty and stockpile the young fresh RBs. Now you have been warned! I suggest they need to dig into college much more than I did! I now have new respect for successful Dynasty players. They earn their victories.
Dave’s Observations and Discussion
Dynasty owners usually have a list of characteristics they are looking for in the running back position. Age and Longevity are typically the first two as most are looking to have a running backs maximum production for 3-5 years which is much less than the life expectancy of the wide receiver.
To answer John’s questions, dynasty owners are always churning the bottom of their rosters. Dynasty leagues go year-long and most have waivers on a weekly basis. I’m hard pressed to think of any given week where at least one transaction was not completed. Keep in mind; some leagues have quite large rosters leaving very little in the free agent player pool but even then we continue to covet the diamond in the rough.
As for how long you would keep a running back? That depends on the owner as many have different theories. For me, if I have a stud running back that I believe has several years left, I will exhaust him. I have had Adrian Peterson on my top squad since 2012. I would not receive much in a trade, so I will ride him into retirement. I’ve found that most consistently winning owners have one stud back. I do not use this theory regarding wide receivers.
In redraft, having previously started this exercise with the goal of improving my sagging game, I can now see that in most cases I was still drafting with a dynasty mindset. I found myself waiting on the position unless a true opportunity dropped into my lap. When it often wouldn’t, I would end up with level-2 / level-3 type back which would come with more than their fair share of red flags.
Phase 1D – The Precariousness of the Running Back Position
Given the fragile nature of RB and the differing views that the two worlds have, we thought it was necessary to remind both Redraft and Dynasty players about the riskiness of the position.
We present two interesting figures (12 and 13) that support the main concept of the fragile nature of the RB landscape. In Figure 12, we present in tabular form the 2013 to 2015 top 10 PPR total points scoring RBs by name and snap count (usage) rank in parentheses that year. Only Matt Forte could be found at season’s end within the top-10 group in each of the 3 years. Other RB could have made it had it not been for injury / suspension. The injury level of RBs leads to the loss of their production in fantasy. All players should expect and plan for extreme events in the RB position.
Next, we have gathered and graphed data on the last years RBs in Figure 13. The graph in that figure plots the 2015 player ranking by using end of season PPR points vs their pre-season ADP ranking. The yellow triangles plot the RB’s season ending PPR points scored from 1st to 12th positions (Freeman –1st to Martin –12th). The red box symbols and red lines map the actual preseason ADP rankings of these players. If 100% agreement existed then the red boxes and yellow triangles would be together. I other words, the public’s ADP would have been prefect. Instead of perfection, we see in reality that only 5 end of season top PPR point scoring RBs were ranked in the top preseason ADP sector of 1 to 12th. So the public was only 50% prefect! Again in your drafts of RBs be cautious!
John’s Observations and Discussion
We have covered a lot of ground within this article. We see that fragile RBs are drafted with more favor within a redraft setting. Dynasty players favor the young RBs that may need development time!
I propose that both the worlds are aware of the RB’s fragileness. I think that it is not at the forefront because the selection pressure from evolution in both universes has already produced 2 different survival strategies! In redraft, the player has a second nature of drafting RBs early and often. They have been trained to stockpile the old-dog RBs for that extreme event. So Redrafters do this stockpiling in response to this chaos. Seems like a “rule” in redraft to me!
Analysis of our data suggests that Dynasty players have developed a previously unknown strategy at least to me. They avoid the extreme events by a focus on the young fresh RBs to minimize the RB chaos. Two methods to attempt to problem solve the RB position.
Finally, I propose that the Zero RB drafting is a third way to deal with this problem! I think dynasty players will feel very good about using the zero RB as they have been kind of doing that all along but maybe not as extreme. Redrafters will be predicted to be more fearful of the Zero RB method!
Please think through your fear and that might give you a clue about your tolerance for chaos. Does the Zero RB make sense or nonsense? Then ask yourselves are you a redrafter or dynasty player!
Dave’s Observations and Discussion
These charts are certainly eye opening especially from a Dynasty perspective. I had previously mentioned that if I can get a 3-down back stud, I will ride him into the sunset. Figure 12 seems to back that thinking. Very few running backs are consistent enough to produce year to year and if you have one, think twice before selling. It is shocking to see only two backs in 2015 had made the list either of the prior two years.
Figure 13 is equally mind blowing. On an Average Points per Week basis, only three of the first 12 running backs made the cut. As John mentioned, you can now see the appeal of the Zero RB theory as you are just as likely to get a top back after the second round as your are in the first. Drafting wide receivers early and then hammering the running back position was the way to go last year. The next question to ask before drafting this year would be ‘will this happen again’?
To be continued…
Next… The fantasy monsters turn to the final part of the puzzle, Wide Receivers. What do you predict we will see in that position between Dynasty and Redraft?
Stay tuned to FakePigskin.
FakePigskin would like to thank our special guest:
Dr. John Bush @prof_fantasy1
Associate Professor of Biology
John writes for his blog; Fantasy Sports Professors and has published a fantasy football textbook “Winning Your Fantasy Football Draft: A Professor’s Textbook” (Amazon ebook).