With just over a week to go before the NFL season opener and
just under two weeks before most of the teams kick off, the time
to talk has passed. As such, allow me to bypass the usual pleasantries
this week and get to the good stuff.
While I will provide the bulk of my analysis this week into this
article, I will add any insights that I think are particularly
helpful to owners in standard, half-point, TFC and FFPC leagues
in those respective Big Boards as the week progresses.
Before I get to the boards, I would like to remind readers about
two key points:
1) The standard the industry uses to measure accuracy
among analysts is overall scoring, but I am more concerned with
projected consistency and matchups. Consistency tends
to lead to big fantasy numbers at the end of the season and championships
while inconsistency and bad matchups at the wrong time usually
lead to frustration. Someday, I hope the industry catches on to
my way of thinking. Until then, Iíll try to win as many titles
as possible and help you do the same.
2 ) Much like the past four seasons, I want to provide readers
with a clear risk sign. If a player is a moderate risk –
be it due to injury, off-field, etc. – you will see a
next his name. If I feel a player is a severe risk, you will see
next to his name. While I feel like I have accounted for each
player’s “risk” with their spot on the Big Board,
you may be more or less inclined to deal with that risk than I
am. This is just another way of helping you take a look at the
board and quickly identifying which players stand a good chance
to frustrate you at some point this season.
Please note the different colors to the “Pos” column
below; it is my hope taking this step will allow owners to delineate
where one tier ends (regardless of position) and where another
one begins, essentially using the same concept NFL teams do with
a horizontal board during the NFL Draft. (Although it is not a
perfect example, here is the kind of thing I am talking about
in case the term “horizontal board” is unfamiliar
to you.) When a player at one position interrupts a "run"
at another position, you can generally assume the early part of
that tier has ended. The fact each tier is a different color is
merely to easily separate tiers; there is no hidden message or
anything of that sort.
Let’s revisit the color-coding system before we start:
Red – A very difficult matchup.
For lower-level players, a red matchup means they should not be
used in fantasy that week. For a second- or third-tier player,
drop your expectations for them at least one grade that week (i.e.
from WR2 to WR3). For elite players, expect them to perform one
level lower than their usual status (i.e. RB1 performs like a
Yellow – Keep expectations
fairly low in this matchup. For lower-level players, a yellow
matchup is a borderline start at best. For a second- or third-tier
player, they can probably overcome the matchup if things fall
right. For the elite players, expect slightly better than average
White – Basically, this matchup
is one that could go either way. In some cases, I just don’t
feel like I have a good feel yet for this defense. Generally speaking,
these matchups are winnable matchups for all levels of players.
Green – It doesn’t
get much better than this. For non-elite players, the stage is
basically set for said player to exploit the matchup. For the
elite player, this matchup should produce special numbers.
OVR – Overall Rank
FPts/ G – Fantasy points/game
Success Score Index (SSI) – The sum of several
position-specific attributes that I feel are important to fantasy
production, weighted and scored. A perfect score is 1000, but it
may help to move the decimal point one spot to the left and think
of each score as a percentage. It may also help to think of that
percentage as the likelihood that player will produce at the level
I have projected him if his current environment stays roughly the
same as it is now.
Value - The Value over Replacement Player (VORP)
concept for a two-RB, two-WR league, which essentially allows me
to compare apples and oranges. At RB and WR, it gets a bit trickier.
Because I wanted to remain unbiased here, I took the standard deviation
from the 24th-ranked player at each position. All RBs and WRs who
did not fit into the first 24 at their positions were then put into
a "flex pool" and the standard deviation was taken from
the 12th-ranked player there, which explains why there are numbers
in blue this week.
Just so you know what you are getting yourself into, here are some
of the attributes I weighed and scored at each position:
Quarterback – Talent, aggressiveness
of the offensive scheme, durability, offensive line play and difficulty
Running back – Talent, job
security, durability, percentage of team's backfield touches and
Wide receiver – Talent, targets/game,
scheme fit and the quality of quarterback play.
Tight end – Talent, importance
to the team in the red zone, targets/game, scheme fit and the
quality of quarterback play.
1. This Big Board is designed for leagues which require owners
to start one quarterback, two running backs, three receivers,
a tight end and a flex.
2. "Value" and SSI are tools I use to help me set up
the Big Boards. I do not follow either one blindly, since there
has to be a human component in such endeavors in order to account
for certain "intangibles".
Here is the scoring
system that I used to rank the players in the non-PPR format:
| 0.5 PPR Big Board Doug Orth has written for FF
Today since 2006 and been featured in USA Today’s Fantasy
Football Preview magazine since 2010. He hosted USA Today’s
hour-long, pre-kickoff fantasy football internet chat every Sunday
in 2012-13 and appears as a guest analyst on a number of national
sports radio shows, including Sirius XM’s “Fantasy Drive”.
Doug is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.