The NFL has a good chunk of luck (random processes), it seems to sit somewhere between 25%-50%. Boris’ idea of tiering players essentially helps reduce this influence to help make better decisions in your weekly line up.
In my opinion, ranks are relatively meaningless when making decisions for your starting lineup. I need to understand how many points a player is projected for me to determine any sort of value when picking my lineup.
I took Boris’ concept of clustering fantasy players by rank and mashed it with my concept of measuring uncertainty each week to create this:
What Is The Graph?
The vertical axis is the player’s Fantasy PTS (FPTS) projection. The dot represents their average, while the bars represent the standard deviation in their projections. The taller the bar, the more uncertainty in the projection.
The horizontal axis is player’s average rank. This is looking at FantasyPros aggregate rankings (wisdom of the crowd). This helps give a sense of how the “experts” would sort the players.
The colors distinguish tiers of players. This is determined by a clustering algorithm which is clustering players by their projected output. Players in the same color, are expected to perform roughly the same as other players in their color – but they are expected to perform differently than tiers different from theirs.
How Do I Use This?
There are two ways to use this graph: identify uncertainty between players or identify tiers of players.
To identify uncertainty between players, examine an individual plot point and note how tall the error bar (vertical bar extending from dot) is. The taller the bar, the more uncertain their projection is. The top of the bar is the most likely “high” score, while the lower bar is their most likely “low” score.
To identify tiers of players, examine groups of players by color. If you’re trying to decide between two players, tend to choose the player with the “hotter” color (red>yellow>green>blue>pink). These players in the same color group are within the same tier, when players are in a same tier – they essentially are a wash between each other due to a randomness. This where I’d recommend to use some intuition and anything else (flip a coin?) to make a call.
I do stuff like this and more at our blog http://fantasyfootballanalytics.net
I dislike how the names are displayed within the graph. I spent about a day trying to figure out how to best get them to display so that they’re readable. Always open to suggestions, especially if you’re an R nerd like me.
Last, but not least, one more shout-out to Boris.