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Monday, August 5, 2013

Using Our Player Rankings

The only way to get the Brain's exclusive 2013 Top 300 Player Rankings spreadsheet is to sign up for the mailing list.  The good news is that it is completely FREE!

I've introduced some new concepts in the rankings spreadsheet, so I thought I would explain myself and show you how to use the rankings.

Okay, here we go.  The rankings only list running backs, wide receivers, quarterbacks, and tight ends.  300 of them.  No defenses or kickers.  You'll have to figure that out on your own... Well, we'll help you in other ways but they aren't listed on this spreadsheet.  (Alright, here's a quick note: In my opinion the Cleveland defense will surprise a lot of people this year and you can get them super late.  They added lots of impressive talent plus near-legendary coordinator Ray Horton.  Also, I still love Sebastian Janikowski, especially in leagues with bonus points for longer field goals.  That Oakland offense will stall a lot, which means a lot of field goal attempts.)

Across the top of the spreadsheet are column headers that have a little dropdown arrow button.  If you click that arrow you can sort the whole spreadsheet by that column... So, if you sort by passing touchdowns all of the quarterbacks will bump to the top and if you sort by player name you'll get an alphabetical list, etc.

Over to the right there is a column that is called "total points."  That is the total number of points the player will score in a standard scoring system based off of the projected statistics.  This column won't help you too much.

What will help you are the columns to the right that are labeled "VAST" and "VEST."  These columns are numbers that I have invented to show you comparative value of players, even from different positions.

VAST shows you the value of a player versus the average starter in a 12-team league ('Versus Average STarter').  I took the top twelve at quarterback and tight end and the top 30 at running back and wide receiver and found the average projected point total among those players.  I then subtracted that average from the projected point total for each individual player.

The thinking with VAST is that it shows you the value of a player against what a typical starter in your league is likely to be.  In other words, if there are twelve starting quarterbacks and the VAST for your guy is zero points, then he projects to be exactly average if you start him every week.  He has no comparative advantage over the course of the full season, but also no comparative disadvantage.  It bears noting that this number will be a negative for most of the quarterbacks since only the top six have a chance to give you a full-time comparative advantage.

There are only a few guys that you want to roll with every week without questioning their matchup.  This is something many of us know, especially here at the Brain.

VEST shows the value of a player versus the average of the extended list of starters at a position.  ('Versus Extended STarters')  All I mean by "extended" is that it is the full list of probable starters for each position.  For the default spreadsheet I assumed a 12-team league that starts one quarterback, one tight end, two running backs, two wide receivers, and one RB/WR flex.  Feel free to tweak this to match your league.

The good thing about this number is that it lets you know if you have a comparative advantage over all of the likely players that are scoring points in starting rosters any given week.  We remove bench options and free agents since they don't score any points that matter.  What you want to know with VEST is if your running back is likely to provide better than 'replacement level' production over the course of the season.  If will also show you the strength of your bench options since you can tell how far they are from being starting material. (In other words, how big is the negative VEST number?)

Again, it's all free for you.  I wanted to provide something really special for you when you sign up for my list, so I tried to provide a more interesting Top 300 list that has some additional wrinkles that are easy to understand but that provide more value to you than a typical player rankings list.

So, put your email address in the box at the top of the page (or below) and I'll send it out.  I'll do my best to get it out within 24 hours.

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