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Most Accurate Fantasy Football Experts: Draft Sharks Takes The Crown

By Lenny Pappano | July 2023

Winning Fantasy Football Accuracy Awards Since 1999 — Most Accurate Fantasy Football Rankings

Want to know how you stay in business for 25 NFL seasons in the “giving fantasy football advice” industry?  

I mean — without having the corporate money of ESPN, Yahoo, or some of the other giants of the media world? 

In the case of Draft Sharks, the secret has been to consistently outperform dozens of bigger brands in preseason fantasy football rankings and projections.

Basically, the one thing that has made us the most accurate fantasy football experts.

It started in our first season of 1999. We took down the Pro Forecast magazine “Expert’s Poll.”  Back in the day, I was the guy sweating over creating player projections.

Fast forward to 2023 — and we’ve won more than our share of accuracy awards over two-plus decades.   

Draft Sharks Wins Fantasy Pros 3-Year Rolling Accuracy Title

Every fantasy accuracy award we’ve won has been sweet. But our crowning achievement might have been this summer:

Jared Smola, our lead analyst, won the Fantasy Pros 3-Year Rolling Accuracy Title.

Smola has been the most accurate fantasy football expert over the past three seasons.

That’s a first-place finish out of 247 fantasy football analysts over a 3-year stretch!! 

What makes Jared’s win so special is the number of competitors he beat.  

Plus it shows our consistency in predicting player rankings over the past 3 years!

And now we can objectively say:

The most consistently accurate fantasy football rankings in the industry over the past three seasons drive our fantasy football tools and advice.

Static rankings are no longer good enough to win fantasy leagues.

You need a tool that evaluates player value at each moment of your draft based on things like changing team needs, positional scarcity, breakout potential, and more.

Our Draft War Room is a dynamic cheat sheet that live-syncs with your draft in real-time to show you the best player at every pick. 

Check out how it works in this quick video.

 

Creating The Most Accurate Fantasy Football Rankings … Back Then

The one constant at Draft Sharks that has helped us remain the most accurate fantasy football experts is this:

Our player rankings are based on player projections. 

That means we don’t just slide guys up and down our rankings based on “gut feelings.” There is a method (and a methodology) to how we come up with our player rankings every preseason. 

Back in 1999, I did most of my player projection research by devouring the weekly periodicals that independent media outlets did for virtually every team.

No, I’m not kidding. One of the first — and most successful — fantasy content sites on the internet did most of its fantasy football projections research by literally flipping through newspaper pages …

 

Draft Sharks founder Lenny Pappano & Jared Smola in Cuba in 2019

Trying to escape from all the American media attention after Draft Sharks won the 2018 Fantasy Sports Trade Association's Preseason Rankings Award (first out of 105 fantasy sites).

Smola won the fedora in a poker game in Havana. 

Creating The Most Accurate Fantasy Football Rankings … Today

Feel like doing your own player projections? (Or maybe just wanna know how we do ours?)

Here are a few tips and insights for you. Straight from our Draft Sharks staff:

1. Do projections for every player on all 32 teams.

Player projections should be the basis of your rankings. The projections process forces you to dig into every team. That includes analyzing coaching staffs, total play volume, play-calling tendencies, volume shares, and efficiency stats. 

Those are the basic ingredients. But how do you create player projections from all that?

TIP

Ready to draft? Check out our 12-team PPR fantasy football draft guide.

2. Player projections: Art or science?

The answer to that question is “a bit of both.” 

Most of our competition (the sites we consistently beat every year!) cobble together rankings based on gut feel. 

But the most accurate fantasy football rankings require a mix of art and science.

We study the stats we mentioned in No. 1. But we then process those subjectively … meaning, we think about them. And then factor in what we read from training camps and see in the preseason.

Art AND science.

That’s been our recipe for creating the most accurate fantasy football website, so we’re not inclined to change it.

3. Your projections don’t have to be perfect. Just better than everyone else’s.

Spoiler alert: Just about all of your projections are going to be wrong. The same is true of our projections. That’s just the reality of it.  

But the reason you sweat over doing projections is that — while you don’t have to be perfect — you have to be better than everyone else if you want to win a championship! 

Our 3-year rankings were far from perfect. But they were better than all 246 of our competitors. 

Think of baseball for a minute:  

The best hitters (.300 average) still get out 70% of the time. But the guys who hit .300 over a career are going to the Hall of Fame. The players who hit even slightly worse won’t be remembered after they retire …

That marginal difference makes all the difference.   

Projections Fuel the Most Accurate Fantasy Football Rankings

Fantasy football rankings can unfortunately be a “follow-the-crowd” game.

But the truth is — if you’re using the same player rankings as everyone else, you’re going to finish in the middle of the pack.

Sure, we’d love for you to drop a few bucks and let us help with our exclusive player rankings, powered by our Draft War Room.

But if that’s not your thing, you’re better off doing your own player projections as opposed to using someone else’s generic player rankings.

Plus you’ll enjoy doing them, and have a “pride of ownership” having done them yourself.

What to know more about how we build our rankings?

Other rankings are stale  before the 2nd round.

Draft using the best dynamic tool in the industry. Our fantasy player valuations (DMVP) change during your draft in response to...

  1. Exact league settings - direct sync
  2. Opponent and Team Needs
  3. Positional scarcity & available players
  4. Ceiling, injury risk, ADP, and more!

You need a dynamic cheat sheet that easily live-syncs with your draft board and adapts throughout your draft using 17 crucial indicators.

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