Understanding the MVP Board
With our MVP Board
Mastering the secrets of “value based drafting” will put you head and shoulders above your league competition this year. For 15 seasons, our own online software has been helping fantasy owners create customized cheat sheets using a value-based drafting formula.
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Who was the most valuable player among these 3 for 2012?
Quarterback: Peyton Manning
Running Back: C.J. Spiller
Wide Receiver: A.J. Green
Before you go Googling their stats...
Manning had 4,658 yards passing and 37 TDs.
Spiller had 1,703 total yards and 8 TDs.
Green had 1,350 receiving yards and 11 TDs.
Got an answer yet? Well, if you said, "It depends on your league's scoring rules," you're only partly right. Customized fantasy football cheat sheets tailored to your league's scoring system are nice, but that's only the first step to dominating your draft.
If you're scratching your head and have a glazed look in your eyes, keep reading. By understanding the correct answer, you'll also understand the science of creating your very own Most Valuable Player Board — a customized fantasy football cheat sheet that does much more than just calculate fantasy points based on your league's scoring system. Your MVP Draft Board will help you dominate on draft day.
Let's start by taking a close look at the question posed. The question is, "who was the most valuable player?"
Unfortunately, most people will view the question as, "who scored the most fantasy points." Consequently, they take the stats for each player, calculate the total fantasy points according to their league scoring system - and, bingo, give you an answer (usually Manning). But, of course, that is not the right answer.
The correct answer is, "It depends on
1.) Your league's scoring rules
2.) The number of teams in your league
3.) The number of players you're required to start at each position.
4.) How many fantasy points these players scored relative to every other player at their position
Most people are on the right track when they say you have to calculate the total number of fantasy points scored by each player, so let's do that. Let's assume you're in a league that uses a basic scoring system.
Here's what our players' 2012 total fantasy pts. look like:
P. Manning scored 335 fantasy points.
C.J. Spiller scored 217 fantasy points.
A.J. Green scored 204 fantasy points.
At this point you still might be thinking, "Manning was the most valuable player because he scored the most points." Well, not so fast.
Yes, it's true that Manning scored way more points compared to Spiller and Green -- and a normal customized fantasy football cheat sheet would tell you that. But remember part 4 above says that we have to determine relative value in comparison to all other players at their position. Still not convinced? Think about this simple hypothetical while we forge on.
Suppose you played in a 3-man league. Each team had to start 1 QB, 1 RB and 1 WR. Furthermore, suppose that according to the league's scoring formula, the top three scorers at each position looked like this:
Can you figure who the most valuable player in that league was? If you think it’s Moe (the player with the 7th highest point total!!) then you're no stooge because you guessed right!
Moe was the most valuable player because he scored the most points relative to other players at his position, as well as relative to other players at their positions.
In our hypothetical 3-team league, whoever had Moe on their team scored the most fantasy points as a team -- even though Moe himself wasn't the highest point scorer. The reason is the relatively large point disparity between Moe and the rest of the players at his position -- plus the relatively small point disparity between the other players at their respective positions.
Maybe you're thinking, "Sure it works in a simple hypothetical where you can manipulate the numbers -- but how does it work in the real world of Fantasy Football?"
Well, let's look at our three players again using our basic scoring formula from the previous example. This time we'll use real numbers from 2012 to measure the rest of the players around them. In this hypothetical, let's say we play in an 8-team league. Each team has to start 1 QB, 2 RBs, 2 WRs. So you have 8 QBs, 16 RBs, and 16 WRs… Here's what we get for total fantasy points.
(For the sake of simplicity, leave out kickers, TEs, and defenses -- but calculating overall value works the same no matter how many differentpositions you throw into the mix.)
1. Drew Brees384
2. Aaron Rodgers366
3. Tom Brady358
4. Cam Newton351
5. Peyton Manning335
6. Matt Ryan335
7. Robert Griffin330
8. Andrew Luck320
1. Adrian Peterson308
2. Arian Foster264
3. Doug Martin264
4. Marshawn Lynch250
5. Alfred Morris244
6. Ray Rice221
7. C.J. Spiller217
8. Jamaal Charles210
9. Frank Gore203
10. Trent Richardson203
11. Stevan Ridley203
12. Chris Johnson183
13. Matt Forte179
14. Reggie Bush175
15. Shonn Greene169
16. Ahmad Bradshaw161
1. Calvin Johnson226
2. Brandon Marshall216
3. Dez Bryant210
4. A.J. Green204
5. Demaryius Thomas203
6. Vincent Jackson186
7. Eric Decker184
8. Andre Johnson183
9. Julio Jones182
10. Roddy White177
11. Marques Colston175
12. Wes Welker173
13. Victor Cruz169
14. Reggie Wayne165
15. Michael Crabtree164
16. James Jones162
Now we're set to answer the question. Who was the most valuable fantasy player for 2012?
Peyton Manning, C.J. Spiller, or A.J. Green?
We have the total fantasy points as calculated by the league's rules; we know how many teams are in the league (8); how many starters are in the league at each position (QB is 8 teams x 1 starter = 8; RB is 8 teams x 2 starters =16; WR is 8 teams x 2 starters = 16); and we know how our three players performed relative to other players.
Finally, to discover a player's true value, you simply take the total fantasy points of each player and subtract the lowest starter's total fantasy points. That gives you what we'll simply call "Most Valuable Player Points" (or MVP Points for short). This number tells you exactly how much more valuable (or invaluable) each player was in comparison to every other player. When you do, your grid looks like this:
1. Drew Brees64
2. Aaron Rodgers46
3. Tom Brady38
4. Cam Newton31
5. Peyton Manning15
6. Matt Ryan15
7. Robert Griffin10
8. Andrew Luck0
1. Adrian Peterson147
2. Arian Foster103
3. Doug Martin103
4. Marshawn Lynch89
5. Alfred Morris83
6. Ray Rice60
7. C.J. Spiller56
8. Jamaal Charles49
9. Frank Gore42
10. Trent Richardson42
11. Stevan Ridley42
12. Chris Johnson22
13. Matt Forte18
14. Reggie Bush14
15. Shonn Greene8
16. Ahmad Bradshaw0
1. Calvin Johnson64
2. Brandon Marshall54
3. Dez Bryant48
4. A.J. Green42
5. Demaryius Thomas41
6. Vincent Jackson24
7. Eric Decker22
8. Andre Johnson21
9. Julio Jones20
10. Roddy White15
11. Marques Colston13
12. Wes Welker11
13. Victor Cruz7
14. Reggie Wayne3
15. Michael Crabtree2
16. James Jones0
The higher the MVP number, the more valuable a player is in that league.
You can see that under this hypothetical league and its rules:
P. Manning has a value of 15 MVPs
C.J. Spiller has a value of 56 MVPs
A.J. Green has a value of 42 MVPs
Spiller is the MVP!
-- even though he finished with 118 fewer fantasy points than Manning!
Of course the MVP ratings would change with a different set of assumptions. For example, suppose you have an 8-team league that uses the same basic scoring system used in this demonstration. But this league requires that each team start 4 WRs. In that case, Peyton Manning would still have 15 MVPs, and C.J. Spiller still comes in with 56 MVPs.
But Green jumps from 42 MVPs to 88. That's because we're now marking his 204 total fantasy points against the 116 total fantasy points of the #32 WR (Sidney Rice), not the #16. Remember, 8 teams x 4 required starters = 32.
And thus, the scoring disparity between Green and the last starting WR in a league with 4 starting WRs rises. It's a classic case of supply and demand. The more demand there is for a particular position, the more valuable the good players at that position are.
Here's the key principle to understand. Every year, there are a finite number of fantasy points scored by a finite number of players. You're competing with everyone else to grab those players and points. Just like NFL coaches try to create mismatches on the field which favors their team, you should try to create the largest player scoring "mismatches" (the word "disparities" is more exact) within each player position.
You might think that's a fancy way of saying "I gotta score more points than my opponents," but that's not quite it. Scoring more points than your opponents is the end result of creating larger player scoring disparities within each position.
So far, we’ve been looking back at 2012 to figure the comparative value of several players. That is in essence the dilemma you face on draft day this August: how to determine value among players from different positions. Most guys can tell you that Trent Richardson is more valuable than BenJarvus Green-Ellis, another RB. But is Richardson more valuable than, say, Roddy White? The answer is, "It depends..."
Our online MVP Draft Board does all the hard work for you. And you can use our award-winning preseason projections (Draftsharks.com won the Fantasy Sports Trade Association Accuracy Award for the 2010 and 2012 seasons). Or you can change any of our projections to fit your own predictions.
Either way, you'll have a killer customizable draft tool at your fingertips.
Congratulations! Now you know how to create a printable Most Valuable Player Draft Board customized to your fantasy league. While your competition is fumbling through 4 magazines to figure out their next pick, you'll be locked and loaded!