Just yesterday, I mentioned I was happy to get Michael Pineda in the 19th round in Lindy’s mock draft. I am not a believer he can quit getting hit around so hard and therefore lower his ERA near his FIP. I do though want the pitcher with a +9 K/9 and a walk rate under 3 BB/9.
Using NFBC average draft position data, Pineda’s is getting picked as the 230th player off the board but he has gone as early as 184th. A spread of 46 picks is about three to four rounds depending on league size. I created a simple spreadsheet to help an owner know the chances a player is still available at each of their picks thereby knowing when to wait on a player or immediately pick them up.
Merging an owner’s personal projections and the current ADP is probably one of the most important processes in a preparing for a draft. It takes some time (which I understand not everyone has) but it can give an owner a nice leg up on competition. These owners understand when they can get 5th round values in the 12th round.
In past articles, I demonstrated how to go through each round and use ADP to see which players may or may not be available. I would sort of gamble on when a player may go using the earliest and average pick. By setting up a spreadsheet to calculate the normal distribution using the draft pick data from NFBC.
Creating the spreadsheet is fairly straight forward. The inputs to the Excel normal distribution formula are the actual pick, the average pick, and the standard deviation. The only value missing is the standard deviation but it can be calculated using the Range Rule for Standard Deviation. The rule uses just the minimum and maximum values to get an estimated standard deviation. We are aiming for a general estimate of fantasy player availability, not perfection.
I decided to take this number crunching out of your hands and input the formulas into an easily downloadable spreadsheet (File -> Download As). Additionally, I went to NFBC and entered their current ADP values to finish filling out the spreadsheet.
The spreadsheet is fairly easy to work. Just put in the number of teams in the league and your pick and the chances a player is available at your picks will automatically update. For example, I could value Michael Pineda with the 60th overall pick. No one has taken him there so I can wait. It isn’t until the 16th round until he first gets taken but there is a 1% chance he will have been drafted. If I wait until the 18th round, his chance of being taken increases to 24%%, then up to 26% in the 19th round, and finally over 50% in the 20th round. I will then pencil him in for my 18th round choice and feel fairly confident I will pick him then.
Additionally, the ADP data should be updated from NFBC unless your draft is within a few weeks of this article being published. I haven’t delete any columns from the NFBC formatted tables. All a person needs to do is go to their website and copy-and-paste in the update ADP.
One issue some owners will run into is not knowing their draft position until just before their draft starts. Instead of trying to figure out all your targets right before or during the draft, I’d find targets from round 6 and on by setting the pick option to middle option like eight in a 15-team league. The targets will stay the same expect in the early rounds where the players available with the 1st and the 12th pick are completely different. I would quickly step through the top picks to see your 15th overall valued player can slide to the third round.
One item to keep in mind is the website hosting the draft. If a website has both ADP and earliest draft position, use their ADP instead of the NFBC’s values. Most websites post their own rankings and I have found unprepared owners generally stick to these site rankings when drafting. The website’s ADP will therefore closely mirror their rankings. The website’s ADP may force your hand earlier or later depending on their ranking. The problem is most websites don’t include the earliest and latest pick to help set the distribution so owners may be stuck with NFBC rankings.
I think that is it. It is a pretty straightforward resource with only two inputs. Let me know if the procedure or worksheet is unclear and needs to be adjusted.
Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first two seasons in Tout Wars, he's won the H2H league and mixed auction league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.