Which player is better? Seems like a simple question right? All we are asking is which player will score more points in the upcoming season. Hindsight is 20/20 as they say so looking back at past seasons we can easily answer this question. However, when it comes to deciding on which player to draft for the upcoming season, we need a system to rank players in order to choose the best available players who are likely to score the most points at their respective positions during the season. That’s where rankings come in.
Rankings are likely the most widespread topic of fantasy football articles that you will come across. Experts and amateurs alike will have opinions on how good players are and many of them will create an ordered list to rank all of the fantasy relevant players (players who will score enough points to warrant drafting). A separate list of rankings is created for each position. For example, you will see a list of QBs ranked in order of best to worst. You will see the same thing specifically for RBs, WRs, TEs, Ks, DEF, and in some custom leagues you will even see individual defensive players ranked (IDP), although that is much less common. (I recommend fantasypros.com and idpguru.com for IDP rankings)
The astute reader may be wondering. Yeah OK Fantasy Coach Alex, that makes sense. I know how to choose a specific QB over another QB based on a list of rankings, but what about when I don’t know if I should choose a QB or a WR next in the draft? How do I compare players of different positions to each other? Don’t you worry, we will cover that in a later article dedicated to the strategy of Value Based Drafting (VBD). For now, let’s focus on determining which lists of rankings we should trust to guide us.
When you play fantasy football, you are likely to join a league hosted by one of the major websites. Yahoo! and ESPN are the two most popular ones. They each have sortable rankings built into their sites, crafted by teams of experts. I feel these rankings are pretty good, but if you really want an edge on your competition it is worth considering alternative rankings as well. My go to resources for rankings is fantasypros.com. They pull rankings from over 100 experts and consolidate them into one master rankings list for each position. If I could only use one source for rankings, this would be the one.
This isn’t to say don’t look at other websites for rankings. I do it and I recommend you do it too if you have the time to spare. This allows you to triangulate by having as many sources as possible to compare.
Alright, so we understand how to compare players of any one position to each other, but this still doesn’t tell us how many points each player will score. Without that information, how do we know how much better the first ranked QB is than the second ranked QB? If the second ranked QB is much less valuable than the first ranked QB, then they might be worth waiting on to draft. Again, hindsight is 20/20 and we can look at years past, but in terms of figuring out how much better QB1 is than QB2, we need to look at projections. Projections are speculated statistics of how well a player is expected to perform in the upcoming season. For instance, it may be speculated that the top quarterback will pass for 5,000 yards and 40 touchdowns. Thanks for huddling up with Fantasy Coach Alex. Come back next time, where I will coach you through what fantasy football player projections are and where to find them.