4for4 Mailbag: Preseason Week 4

Aug 31, 2016
4for4 Mailbag: Preseason Week 4

Welcome to the weekly 4for4 Mailbag, where I answer your questions about all aspects of fantasy football including redraft leagues, DFS strategy, advice on handling angry football widows, and even some pop culture. Since it will be published on Thursdays throughout the season, I won’t be tackling waiver wire advice, so be sure to check out 4for4’s valuable articles on streaming and the like, to aid with your weekly roster decisions.

To submit a question for consideration, tweet me @themondaymommy or simply use the hashtag #4for4mailbag.

@auburnpaul: In a PPR 12 Team 20 Round 3RR, what’s your preference for draft position worst to first?

JE: To clarify for those reading this that aren’t familiar with the term 3RR, it stands for third-round reversal. In this format, a regular snake draft has the third round flipped, so essentially a 12-team league’s draft would look like this: 1-12, 12-1, 12-1, 1-12, 12-1 in the first five rounds, then proceeds as a regular snake draft from there until in this question’s case, the 20th round.

The idea behind this style draft is that it balances the playing field for those selecting at the end of the draft for the first two rounds. While I am not the most stat driven or analytical mind out there in the fantasy football world, or any world for that matter, I was able to locate a study done by Peter Schoenke of Rotowire a few years ago on the value of draft slot selection for a 3RR based draft.

He used ADP data from thousands of leagues since 1998 on sites like Myfantasyleague.com, and Mockdraftcentral.com and compared the consensus preseason rankings to the final season-end numbers to see if specific players were worth their actual draft spot. He used a typical league’s standard scoring and compared each player’s fantasy points against the rest of the players at each position that season. (2005 WRs with 2005 WRs, 2010 RBs with 2010 RBs, etc.) This comparison is referred to as value-based draft value, or VBD. All of this research led to his determining the value of each draft position by adding up the combined players for the first five rounds, the rounds specifically affected by the 3RR format. This is what his findings looked like in table form:

Historical 3rd Round Reversal Value by Draft Slot
Draft Slot AVG VBD
1 166.9
2 159.61
3 175.63
4 185.67
5 172.92
6 176.43
7 186.22
8 193.25
9 175.41
10 173.83
11 155.79
12 150.68

As you can see, the 12th spot appears to be the least advantageous, followed by the 11th and second, while the number eight draft position seems to be the spot with the highest draft value.

@FP_BradCowger: Handcuffs

JE: I am going out on a limb here in that this one word question is referring to backing up your stud RBs, as opposed to any of the many other paths the word handcuff could take one’s mind down.

When it comes to drafting handcuffs for the RB1s on your roster, everyone has a different thought process. There are those who believe that you should always draft your starter’s replacement in the event of an injury. Some will even go so far as selecting a handcuff to their handcuff so that you have the entire backfield from a team covered on your bench.

I usually decide on a player-by-player basis whether to grab his backup or take a chance on another RB2 to fill that slot. Although some people frown upon this and think that’s it isn’t proper league etiquette, I will take someone else’s handcuff at times if I feel that player may see the field sooner than later and benefit my team. For example, this season I have been drafting Oakland’s DeAndre Washington on some of my teams that I may not have Latavius Murray already on my roster. I feel that he could see more playing time down the road even if Murray manages to remain healthy.

Another guy who should be in consideration this season is Spencer Ware. At RB50 with a 16th-round ADP, he makes a great choice, since the timetable for Jamaal Charles’ return as Kansas City’s bell cow is somewhat of a question mark as we start the season. With all of these aging backs in today’s NFL, drafting their handcuff is always a good idea. Frank Gore is making it seem like he could be the only player to defeat father time, however if he does break down sometime this season, snagging his replacement, which is looking like Robert Turbin (RB81) or the newly signed Stevan Ridley (RB98), is not such a bad idea.

@jtdepaul: Thoughts on antifragility in a 12 vs. 14 team league. Would you pass your first RB for a bench WR?

JE: Author Nassim Taleb coined the phrase antifragility as something that profits from chaos. When it comes to the fantasy football realm, this term is used when you want your draft to complement or benefit from the unexpected changes that occur throughout the course of the season, whether they take place due to injury, benching issues or something else entirely.

Implementing a draft strategy that profits from these changes would be antifragile, which has become a very popular approach to redraft over the past few seasons. As always, we are never rooting for injuries of any kind to a player, as they are real people with spouses, siblings, children and parents. We just want our roster to be prepared in the likely event that injuries occur, being that an NFL player has one of the most dangerous occupations out there.

The idea of waiting longer to draft your RBs is one that has become synonymous with antifragility and has steadily gained traction, especially for this year’s crop of players. As far as the difference between a 12 and 14 team league when it comes to this strategy, the pool of players is stretched thinner in a league with 14 so if you decide to go RB heavy at the start, your WRs will tend to be weaker. In turn, you will then most likely have to use an RB as your flex and gain less points overall, as most WRs will outscore RBs at a similar ADP. Also, in either size league, those who draft RBs early could find themselves with a lack of overall depth and upside.

As far as whether to pass your first RB for a bench WR, that depends on how much you are willing to work the waiver wire throughout the course of the season. Your team will have a tough time down the stretch if you don’t come up with an RB starter at some point.

When looking at John Paulson’s WR rankings with projections, guys who are given a fourth or fifth-round ADP, which would be the start of your bench if you drafted all WRs, are players like Julian Edelman, Larry Fitzgerald, Donte Moncrief and Golden Tate. Their projected fantasy points range between 230 and 234 for the 2016 season, while the RB’s in that tier with similar ADPs are Latavius Murray, Matt Forte, Thomas Rawls and Ryan Mathews, whose points are projected to fall between 183 and 199. It would appear that it could work to your benefit to grab that bench WR and wait on an RB until around the seventh, when guys like Danny Woodhead, Duke Johnson and Giovani Bernard will provide the same points value (the high 190’s) with a much lower price tag.

As always thanks so much for all your submissions this week. If I didn’t get to your question, look for it in Week 1 of the regular season. See you all next Thursday for the 4for4 Mailbag!

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