A better way to measure running back performance
Football fans have a collective bye week with no football on Sunday in advance of next week’s Super Bowl. Now is as good of a time as any to look back at the 2015 fantasy season and take that knowledge into our offseason analysis. This piece will focus on the running back position.
Before figuring out where you’re going, you have to reflect and understand where you’ve been. There are plenty of sites that provide season-long finishes for all the fantasy-relevant positions, but are those the best way to judge player effectiveness?
A few weeks ago we dissected the usually poor early round running back results. In that analysis, we argued that looking at season-long numbers doesn’t give you an accurate view of how players’ performances actually affected real fantasy leagues. The reason is that fantasy football is a weekly game, and season-long numbers can mask the effectiveness of injured players or those who emerge later in the season. It also gives more credit to inefficient players who happened to stay healthy, but weren’t really helping their teams win weeks.
We tackled the the faults of traditional seasonal rankings based on total fantasy points, and devised a new way of quantifying 2015 performance. The system I’m calling adjusted value over replacement (VORP). VORP has been a concept in fantasy circles for years now, which in its simplest form takes total fantasy points and subtracts out a proxy for replacement-level production — usually one more than the amount of necessary starters in a 12-team league.