Friday, November 27, 2015

A different look at ranking fantasy players

Just looking at points scored for any certain player can ofter be misleading, especially when some have had the by while others haven't. Even averages can be skewed by a how difficult a player's opponents have been.

A different look at ranking fantasy players

(Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
(Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

Just looking at points scored for any certain player can ofter be misleading, especially when some have had the by while others haven't. Even averages can be skewed by a how difficult a player's opponents have been.

For example, four of the top six teams in points allowed against quarterbacks are the four teams that comprise the AFC North. Therefore, the quarterbacks that play 6 games a season against those teams (Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco, Colt McCoy, and Andy Daulton) are going to have lower point totals because of stiffer competition. Even the quarterbacks from the NFC West (each of whom play four games against the AFC North) are going to have lower numbers.

To help, I devised a statistic (I'm sure I'm not the only one who uses this) to rank quarterbacks on their average points above their opponents. I call it AFPD, or "Average Fantasy Point Differential."

What it measures is the how many points a quarterback averages vs. how many points his opponents allow on average. Here is what the formula looks like:

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AFPD = T/X - P/X

T = Total points scored; P = Sum of average points allowed by opponents; X = Number of weeks played

Here it is in practice:

Aaron Rodgers scored a total of 182 fantasy points this season. So far, he has played 7 games. Here is a list of his opponents, and how many fantasy points they surrender to quarterbacks on average.

Saints - 16 points
Panthers - 14.6 points
Bears - 16.8 points
Broncos - 20.3 points
Falcons - 16.1 points
Rams - 17.5 points
Vikings - 15.9 points

Therefore, AFPD = 182/7 - (16+14.6+16.8+20.3+16.1+17.5+15.9)/7


AFPD = 182/7 - 117.2/7


AFPD = 26 - 16.7 = 9.3

Aaron Rodgers has an AFPD of 9.3, but what does that mean. Simply, it means that on average, he scores 9.3 points more than his opponents allow in any given week.

I think it also shows just how much better of a season Rodgers is having than any other quarterback. And how Cam Newton isn't just the beneficiary of playing some weak defenses. I think this is a better way of handicapping (or comprising power rankings of) the top quarterbacks in the league. It takes more than average points into consideration, and is a fairly easy way to add a strength of schedule component, even though it is far from perfect.

I took the liberty (and time) to figure out who the top 10 quarterbacks were in AFPD and listed them below. I wasn't sure how telling of a statistic this would be until I looked down the list. If I had to think which 10 quarterbacks were having the best fantasy seasons, these are most of the guys I would pick.


Points Scored AFPD
 1. Aaron Rodgers, GB
182 9.3
 2. Drew Brees, NO 159 7.5
 3. Tom Brady, NE 132 7.4
 4. Cam Newton, CAR
160 6.9
 5. Matthew Stafford, DET
129 3.4
 6. Ryan Fitzpatrick, BUF 93 3.1
 7. Michael Vick, PHI
 8. Matt Schaub, HOU
109 2.2
 9. Tony Romo, DAL 94 1.9
 10. Eli Manning, NYG 103 1.3


Matt Mullin is a sports producer at You can reach him by e-mail at Follow Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin

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