How To Be Overprepared

Hey, remember when I said that I would have to be insane to build a fantasy football spreadsheet?

So… I built a spreadsheet.

Okay, let’s be honest: this was always going to happen. I have a bone-deep love for spreadsheets, and I’ll take any excuse to play around with Excel. My nerd cred is strong. And I needed a visual, easy-to-use tracker to use during my upcoming draft, and a spreadsheet was the easiest way to lay that out.

Now, did I take it too far? You could certainly make that argument. I input the rankings of six different fantasy football experts, which gave me rankings on about 380 players. Then I averaged those rankings. Then I created a different way to average that weights the experts I trust more.

Yes, I feel you judging me. But I’m having fun here, okay?

So what have I learned from this excess of data?

Well, I’ve learned what a PPR league is (I’m not in one) and what handcuffed running backs are (at least I think I understand this – I also think this is a level of strategy I’m not going to pursue). I’ve learned that experts recommend waiting until later rounds to draft a QB, but I’m not sure how much I anticipate the rest of my league sticking to that strategy, so I need to know three or four guys I have my eye on and be prepared to pounce ahead of target if QBs start coming off the board. I’ve learned that since there are 16 rounds in the draft, most people will wait until Round 15 to draft a defense and Round 16 to draft a kicker – and that if you want to nab a particular one of those, you can back up those picks one round each, and the choices for position players in Round 16 will be much the same as you passed up. I plan to do this, provided I can settle on which defense and which kicker I’m targeting. I’ve learned that every single expert picked Antonio Brown as their #1 selection, and that the top of their boards is dominated by wide receivers and running backs, with a sprinkling of tight ends in for good measure. I’ve learned that many of those experts are higher on Cam Newton than I feel comfortable being, which hopefully is good – it will take draft pressure off of whatever QB I do decide I want.

I’ve also learned that you can drown in this stuff if you want to. The internet is awash in fantasy rankings and fantasy experts and people passing themselves off as fantasy experts. You can’t listen to it all. And if you try, eventually it all turns into noise.

So I have my spreadsheet, and while there’s a literal ton of other data I could spend time putting into it, I’m cutting myself off at these six experts. I will layer on a couple of other things, but they’ll be personal. For example, every Seahawk will get weighted down, as will a variety of other players I dislike for team-loyalty or other non-statistical reasons. Former Bruins and current Rams, as well as other players I have positive feelings about, will get weighted up. Gut feelings will get taken into consideration. It will all be highly scientific, I’m sure.

And then… draft on Tuesday!

One thing more to note: I’ll be live-tweeting my draft on Tuesday! (I’ll post a summary here when it’s all over, never fear.) Follow me on Twitter @megthinksaloud and get the blow-by-blow of all this data-mining in action. Or at least know it first when I throw out all of this work and rely totally on my gut.

Best of luck to those of you planning for your own upcoming fantasy drafts! What strategies do you use to choose the players you want for your roster, and how do you ensure you get them?

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