Tool Of The Day - Draft Strategy Analysis

Questions Concerning the Master Draft

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tdishman
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Tool Of The Day - Draft Strategy Analysis

Post by tdishman » Thu Aug 12, 2004 7:01 am

In order to help you guys get familiar (or comfortable) with some of the lesser-known features of Master Draft, I am going to write up a review of several of the tools.

Todays Tool Of The Day (T.O.D.) is the Draft Strategy Analysis tool.

The Draft Strategy Analysis tool is available in Master Draft beginning with version 1.04. You can use this tool by clicking the View->Draft Strategy Analysis menu option.

One truth of fantasy football is that it is your team that wins games, not individual players. This truth forces us to weigh the sacrifices we must make if we decide to take Culpepper in the 2nd round, or Moss in the first round. Yes, we're getting the top player at the QB or WR position, but our team will suffer at RB because of it. In the end, however, will our team be better off for our choice?

The more I got to thinking about it, the more I thought it would be nice if there was a way to see the long-term impact of decisions you make during your draft. If I take Moss in the first, what am I going to be stuck with at RB and QB? This is where the Draft Strategy Analysis tool comes in.

What it is

The Draft Strategy Analysis tool will examine every possible combination that you could draft that would yield the roster that you desire. Let's say that you are fairly positive that you are going to take some combination of 1 QB, 2 RB's, 2 WR's and 1 TE in the first 6 rounds of you draft. Plug these numbers into the Draft Strategy Analysis tool, and every possible combination will be examined and assigned a point value. You can analyze the results and see just how much better/worse your team will be if you decide to draft a QB in the 2nd round.

How does it work

The Draft Strategy Analysis tool uses three factors to analyze draft combinations: Average Draft Information, Projected Points, and Draft Position.

Let's say that you're drafting 5th of 10 in a serpentine-style draft. We will use the above combination of players (1 QB, 2 RB's, 2 WR's, 1 TE) for our desired results.

I will examine 3 distinctly different draft strategies (although there are hundreds of variations that produce the same results):

RB-RB-WR-WR-TE-QB
RB-WR-QB-RB-WR-TE
QB-TE-RB-RB-WR-WR

All three of these combinations produce the output we want: 1 QB, 2 RB's, 2 WR's, 1 TE. However, they all take very different approaches to the task at hand.

RB-RB-WR-WR-TE-QB

RB (1.05) - Clinton Portis (ADP: 1.05, 294 pts)
RB (2.06) - Rudi Johnson (ADP: 2.10, 258 pts)
WR (3.05) - Hines Ward (ADP: 3.05, 206 pts)
WR (4.06) - Darrell Jackson (ADP: 4.09, 178 pts)
TE (5.05) - Alge Crumpler (ADP: 7.07, 107 pts)
QB (6.06) - Brett Favre (ADP: 8.02, 351 pts)
Total: 1394 pts

What I see right off the bat is that I should be able to wait a few rounds on both Crumpler and Favre, which would allow me to draft a few more RB/WR's before I would take my TE and QB. To satisfy my own curiousity, I re-ran the analysis but used 1 QB, 3 RB's, 3 WR's, and 1 TE this time. Sure enough, Favre and Crumpler were still used in the top strategy as their Points/ADP combination make them both very good value picks.

RB-WR-QB-RB-WR-TE

RB (1.05) - Clinton Portis (ADP: 1.05, 294 pts)
WR (2.06) - Hines Ward (ADP: 3.05, 206 pts)
QB (3.05) - Michael Vick (ADP: 3.10, 370 pts)
RB (4.06) - Curtis Martin (ADP: 5.05, 178 pts)
WR (5.05) - Jimmy Smith (ADP: 6.02, 166 pts)
TE (6.06) - Alge Crumpler (ADP: 7.07, 107 pts)
Total: 1321 pts

Here I notice that Curtis Martin is selected as the best back available at 4.06, but I could actually wait another round to take him. I selected this combination at random, but another similar combination (RB-WR-QB-WR-RB-TE) uses Curtis Martin in the 5th, which lets you upgrade Jimmy Smith (166 pts) with Darrell Jackson (178 pts). Keep in mind that EVERY combination is listed, and you can sort to find the strongest combination.

QB-TE-RB-RB-WR-WR

QB (1.05) - Daunte Culpepper (ADP: 2.06, 398 pts)
TE (2.06) - Tony Gonzalez (ADP: 3.09, 149 pts)
RB (3.05) - Brian Westbrook (ADP: 4.01, 194 pts)
RB (4.06) - Curtis Martin (ADP: 5.05, 178 pts)
WR (5.05) - Jimmy Smith (ADP: 6.02, 166 pts)
WR (6.06) - Isaac Bruce (ADP: 8.03, 146 pts)
Total: 1231 pts :(

I expected this to be a pretty poor strategy, and the numbers back me up. About the only good thing to say here is that you could wait another round on Isaac Bruce. However, 3 of the top 4 picks are stretching atleast 1 whole round (based on ADP).

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One thing that this type of analysis does is exploit value players. This year, for example, Brett Favre appears FREQUENTLY in the top strategies because he is the 6th ranked QB (by projected points) whose ADP ranks him as the 10th or 11th QB. Alge Crumpler is another player whose projected points far outweighs his ADP rank. He, too, appears frequently in the top strategies.

For me personally, I use this tool more to point out flawed draft strategies than I do as a roadmap for a successful one. For example, a strategy that starts out WR-WR (Stud WR?) may have a very limited upside. In the analysis I performed above, the top strategy scored 1361 pts, and the best strategy that employed WR-WR topped out at 1303 pts (I had to scroll a ways down to find it too).

Where you draft also has a lot to do with optimal strategies, because different players will be available to you with each pick. In my above analysis, the 1.01 pick HIGHLY favored going RB-RB in the first rounds. The top score here was 1453 pts, and the first non RB-RB strategy topped out at 1415 pts. From the 1.10 spot, however, selecting a WR with one of the first 2 picks didn't have nearly the impact as it would from the 1.01 spot.

Another cool by-product of this tool is that you can take traded picks or custom draft orders into account. Although my example used a serpentine-style draft, you could set up some mock trades you are thinking of making to see how your strategies are impacted. For example, if you are thinking of trading into 2 picks in the 3rd round (and losing a 4th rounder), you could set up your draft board that way, and run the analysis to see how it will impact your roster. The tool uses your actual draft picks, not a set order. If you have a keeper assigned to your 4th rounder, for example, that pick will not be used in the analysis (since it is already filled).

When you double-click on a particular strategy, you can see the players used to create the strategy. You are also shown the player (same position) that the average drafter would have taken. You can see where you are getting the most value. For example you can get Brett Favre (351 pts) in the 7th or 8th round, while the average drafter would be taking Trent Green (320 pts) or Tom Brady (301 pts). All this value adds up to the most optimal strategies.

This is by no means a perfect tool, and I'm constantly looking to improve it. You might think it's a bunch of B.S., but I ask that you check it out and see for yourself what it does. I'm always looking for ways to improve, so any suggestions are very welcome.

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