It’s a new year and football season is almost over. We would be remiss if we didn’t talk about how the season fared and what we learned. For this week, we’ll talk about the picks from last season. Next time we’ll finish it off by figuring out what we can do help our future best ball drafts.
Assessment of Our Drafts
Full disclosure – 2018 was a great year. 2019 was not so good. In 66 – $5 drafts, we won $168. At $4.5 ($54 pot / 12 players) expected return, the average player would have gotten $297.
We believe the overall strategies (based on data) are correct, but the specific players to pick needs some work. We’re open to suggestion, but one method could be pooling expert picks (crowd-sourcing).
Draft.com had a Best Ball Ownership feature that was very cool. It showed ownership of players across all drafts so one could see their portfolio of players. We can quickly be able to assess why this season went wrong based on owned players by position.
As a reference, for good players (ones that are drafted consistently), 1 in 12 teams drafts that player, so the average ownership of a player is 1/12 or 8.3%. Ownership above that rate means we valued that player more than the overall Best Ball community.
Below were the players and our ownership levels:
Rodgers (22%), Goff (18%), Josh Allen (13%), Carr (13%), Newton (12%), Dak (12%), Mahomes (11%)
Aside from Dak and Mahomes, the vast majority of the QBs on our rosters were mediocre to bad (fantasy value based on points scored and draft position). Our Jameis ownership was at 8% and Lamar Jackson was only at 4%. We definitely have regrets about Lamar Jackson, who was spoken in the same vein as Josh Allen, but with a leaner frame (potential injury risk).
DOnta Foreman (26%), Devonta Freeman (22%), Rashaad Penny (22%), Royce Freeman (22%), Gus Edwards (22%), Devin Singletary (22%), Josh Jacobs (20%), Kerryon Johnson (19%), Adrian Peterson (19%), Ryquell Armstead (18%), Alexander Mattison (18%), Matt Breida (16%), Chase Edmonds (16%), Joe Mixon (15%).
Also a ton of terrible picks here. These actually hurt more than the WRs since a lot of the RBs were critical early mid-round picks (except for the late round handcuffs). The Texans were talking up DOnta Foreman in preseason and it looked like he would take over for Lamar Miller sooner than later. Welp. Who knew they’d be running out Duke Johnson and Carlos Hyde 6 months ago.
Devin Singletary and Josh Jacobs were the only picks that helped salvage some of our lineups. Mixon was serviceable, but terrible value considering teams were choosing between Mixon and Cook at that spot.
None of our highly drafted handcuffs hit, although not many did this year. Usually, we’ll see a few late round RBs make a splash. Ekeler made a huge splash, but he was in the 9th round. Mostert was an RB2, but no one drafted him. Pittsburgh handcuffs had potential, but the offense wasn’t the same without Big Ben.
Albert Wilson (48%), Quincy Enunwa (45%), Mecole Hardman (44%), MVS (30%), DeSean Jackson (29%), Dante Pettis (26%), Julian Edelman (22%), Cooper Kupp (20%), Julio Jones (18%), Alshon Jeffery (18%), Taylor Gabriel (16%), DK Metcalf (16%).
We went all-in on the same late round fliers. That’s probably a flaw in strategy that we’ll talk more about in a future article. We like Mecole Hardman next year, but that just didn’t pan out this year with Tyreek Hill completely back in the fold.
Hardman, MVS, and Pettis were the painful ones as they were in the later middle rounds. Dante Pettis went from “preseason darling” to “maybe he’s not even going to start” over the course of a few weeks.
DeSean Jackson and Cooper Kupp feel like the ones that got away. Cooper Kupp was the #1 reciever through 5 weeks. He was still a solid WR asset after that, but aside from a monster Week 8, didn’t give any huge boom games.
Trey Burton (34%), Zach Ertz (19%), George Kittle (13%), OJ Howard (12%), Evan Engram (12%), Mark Andrews (11%).
After hearing the Trey Burton hernia news, we tried to shift to Mark Andrews, but it was too little too late. Still might not have mattered even if Burton was fully healthy. We actually fared ok at the TE position in most lineups given how terrible the position was this year.
Final Thoughts –
We’ll be avoiding players coming off of injury. More often than not, they have fairly disappointing seasons and it is rare to see a breakout campaign.
We need to be spreading the love. Kind of like the stock market, diversification is good. A player being in 30% of lineups seems like a good high mark.
Assessment of Our Picks Article
If you’re wondering what we wrote before the season, here’s the article:
Recap of Quarterback Picks –
Aaron Rodgers – – Had a handful of boom games against bad defenses, but otherwise did not wow us with normal Rodgers outputs. Rodgers didn’t hurt teams because he played all 16 games, but didn’t do anything to put teams over the top. This might be new norm. Our hope is that his draft stock drops a little, the Packers get some receiving weapons outside of Adams and the RBs, and the team as a whole gets a bump with another year in LaFleur’s system.
Matt Ryan – – Very similar year to Rodgers except drafted a round or two later. Similar in the case of no huge games. Should be a very safe pick but unexciting pick next year.
Drew Brees – – Drew Brees would have right up there with Dak at around #2 (based on PPG) had he not been injured. Instead, he was knocked out early in Week 2 and wasn’t able to contribute 7 weeks out of 16 (Best Ball runs to Week 16). Drew Brees has been the model of health for most of his career, so he should be a pretty good value next year.
Cam Newton – – Newton came into the season recovering from a shoulder injury and sprained his foot in the preseason. He had 2 terrible games to start the regular season and was held out in Week 3. The team teased fantasy players with the potential of his return all through the season but Newton never returned to the field. If you drafted Cam Newton, he probably didn’t put up any points for your team. It’s hard to feel good about him moving forward as he was a fantasy beast when running the ball, but the injuries have been piling up. He’s only a $2MM dead cap next year, so we don’t even know if he’ll be a Panther or not.
Deshaun Watson – – Watson was the QB #3 but you had to give up some draft capital to get him (around the 6th round). What helped teams out was his boom games (4 games over 30) and his health (played all 16 games that counted).
Jared Goff – – Goff was a decent fantasy QB at the beginning and end of the season and a terrible one in the middle.
Recap of Running Back Picks –
Early Round Stud
We just faded guys in this section (Gurley, Lev Bell, Zeke, Gordon) and didn’t make too much of a recommendation here. Gurley was a solid player for your team if you got him in the 2nd round, but got there on the back of 14 TDs. He didn’t have a handcuff, and certainly Darrell Henderson was a miss there. That situation seems like it will be a mess moving forward unless the Rams can fix their offensive line.
Zeke 🙂, who was a Top 4 pick, returned #4 overall value to people’s teams. Owners who drafted Zeke were probably still disappointed as they expected more boom games/upside. LeVeon Bell 😐was consistently mediocre. Gordon ☹️ flashed a few times, but didn’t make an impact for teams in most weeks.
Mid Round Value –
Miles Sanders , Josh Jacobs , David Montgomery – The trio of rookies from good to bad. As it goes every year, the value of rookies ramp up from the time of the draft until the regular season. If you were able to grab Miles Sanders early on as an 8th rounder, you were ecstatic. As a 4th or 5th, you were ok.
Rashaad Penny – – Penny is a sad face for two reasons. One, he didn’t do anything for your team. Two, he finally got a chance to take on the starter’s role in Week 12 due to Carson’s fumbling issues. After two great games, Penny got hurt early in the third game and we never got to see what he could really do.
Royce Freeman – – Freeman was on the wrong end of a Lindsay / Freeman RB timeshare in Denver. He was in every game (good) but had very low deviation (bad, no boom) and very low averages (very bad – averaging about 8 ppg).
Late Round Sleeper – a.k.a. the lottery picks
Duke Johnson, Peyton Barber, Jaylen Samuels – – Ok production for a few games where they had the opportunity to take over. Each had a handful of games that helped out your team, but nothing that made a major difference.
Dion Lewis, Gio Bernard, Nyheim Hines – – These players didn’t do much, but it’s hard to give a frown face for guys drafted so late. All three had limited work primarily on passing downs and were behind solid RBs for most of the season (Henry, Mixon, Mack).
Kalen Ballage – – Ballage was so disappointing not only due to his terrible fantasy production, but because he had so much opportunity with all the injuries in Miami’s backfield.
Recap of Wide Receiver Picks –
Potential targets as big play threats:
DeSean Jackson –
31.4 points in week 1! Early in week 2 DeSean Jackson suffered an abdominal injury, but he was supposed to come back later in the season without surgery. Turns out he did need surgery and didn’t get the procedure done until mid-season. This pick was extremely painful not only because of all the potential of winning people’s leagues, but because the entire Eagles offense wasn’t very good without him.
Albert Wilson – – Albert Wilson was a late round flier that showed flashes in the previous season. Fitzpatrick developed a strong connection with DeVante Parker before Wilson was fully recovered from injury. Wilson never really got into the flow of the offense or into your best ball lineups.
Robby Anderson – – Robby had a couple of good games, but no where near what people projected him to be (6th-7th rounder). We don’t expect to be recommending players from Adam Gase teams in the future unless they’re really late round value picks.
Potential targets for multiple TD weeks:
Mike Williams – – Before last season, the Chargers looked like a potentially explosive team (Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Hunter Henry, Melvin Gordon). Unfortunately, Rivers and the team imploded and the only fantasy asset was Austin Ekeler (who was amazing).
Donte Moncrief – – Donte Moncrief could have had a role in PIT (10 targets in Game 1). However, he he was dropping passes at a historic rate (4 dropped passes with 15 targets) and was quickly benched in favor of other receiving options like Washington and Diontae Johnson.
Alshon Jeffrey – – Alshon was on his way to a decent season despite the absence of DeSean Jackson to take the top off of defenses. However, the injury bug got to him and he missed 6 out of 15 games that count toward your Best Ball Lineup.
Potential targets for good return on value:
Larry Fitzgerald – – We were expecting a high-flying quick paced Cardinals offense this year and got that at times. The problem was that the offense spreads out the ball and Fitzgerald wasn’t a focal point. Moving forward, Fitzgerald will be great for Kyler Murray and the Cardinals offense, but isn’t going to be doing much for your fantasy team.
Mohamed Sanu – – Sanu started off the year looking like Sanu of the previous year, which would have been great given his 15th round draft value. However by mid-season, his production was taken over by Ridley and Hooper. Even with Ridley injured at the end of the season, all targets just went to Julio.
Recap of Tight End Picks –
George Kittle –– Kittle finished the season with 180 points and as the #2 TE only behind Kelce. But as a late 2nd round pick, owners were hoping for Gronk-like numbers (240+ points) or even 2018 Kittle numbers (215 points).
OJ Howard –– This year answered the question of QB tendencies vs. coach and the coach won. Jameis had historically used his TEs a lot, but Bruce Arians system doesn’t use them. Howard came into the season as the 4th or 5th TE off the board and finished as TE #29 behind his teammate Cameron Brate.
Mark Andrews – – With Lamar Jackson, the whole Baltimore offense shot out of a cannon. With that went the running game and the tight end production. Mark Andrews was drafted around the 12th round but ended as the #4 TE despite not playing part of the season at full health.
That wraps up the recap! Let us know how you fared this season and if you have any bits of wisdom to share below in the comments section below.
Written on 1/26/20 by Winston Lee