Dynasty 101 Part Two – Stats Are For Losers
If you’ve agreed to read this piece you’ve willfully admitted to the fact that at the core of your being sits a nerd. Now, this happens to the best of us, so don’t be alarmed, but if we’ve got these nerd superpowers now we might as well use them. Baseball analytics have advanced to the point that nearly every consideration in the game can be quantified. And with a 162-game sample size per season, there is much more solidity to be taken from their metrics. While football is not near that level yet, there are a number of key metrics to look at that will give you the edge in your dynasty league competitions. Welcome to Part Two of the Dynasty 101 series. Welcome to Stats Are For Losers… Not really, dynasty statistics can help turn you into a winner!
Can’t wait for fantasy football season? Who are we kidding? It’s always dynasty time! Leagues are now forming at Fantrax.com!
QB Dynasty Statistics to Monitor
This is the single leading indicator of an incoming regression for a quarterback in fantasy circles. Season-long spikes in touchdown rate that exceed 5.5-6.5% are generally outliers and should be treated as such. For context, Aaron Rodgers and Russel Wilson are the only two modern examples of quarterbacks to match or exceed 6.0%. Patrick Mahomes had an 11.46% TD rate last year.
Completions/Attempts. Very simple, but also a very telling stat that lets you know how effective a QB is as a passer. Success rate from sites like Football Outsiders and Sharp Football Stats can add some context to this number. As a general rule, lower completion percentages must be offset by rushing production for a QB to be an effective fantasy asset.
Completion percentage over expected is a recent stat popularized by Josh Hermsmeyer on his site, Airyards.com. This compares actual completion percentage to the “expected” one, which is derived from considerations of a QBs a-DOT and level of competition faced. This helps you pinpoint passers career trajectory by attempting to separate the QB success from that of the team around him. This translates from college to the pros.
Average depth of target is just a measure of how far a QB is usually targeting his receivers down the field. The longer the pass, the more valuable the target and the more difficult it is to complete the pass intuitively.
Popularized by ProFootballReference.com, ANY/A is a measure that adds value to TDs and punishes QBs for INTs and sacks. It’s just another more accurate QBR level statistic that helps sort out elite passers from their peers.
Adjusted Sack Rate:
Found on FootballOutsiders, a team’s adjusted sack rate can tell you how much help a QB is getting from his O-line. QB hits and pass blocking efficiency are other ways to look at this to get a handle on the best pass blocking lines in the league. Year to year however, these values aren’t the most stable. That said, very few things are with only a 16-game sample size.
RB Dynasty Statistics to Monitor
Adjusted Line Yards:
Popularized by FootballOutsiders, adjusted line yards are a measure of the yards that can be attributed to OFF lines during a run play positively or negatively. OFF and DEF DVOA are also other measures to look into. DVOA is very useful midseason for start/sits.
A measure of “successful” plays based on criteria that takes down and distance into account. SharpFootballStats is the best resource for this type of information.
The first of five metrics that can be found on PlayerProfiler.com, Evaded tackles is a statistic that helps you find players that are able to overcome some loaded boxes or O-line deficiencies. This is a quantifiable representation of the “shiftiness” often mentioned in film analysis.
This metric aggregates targets and carries at the RB position but weighs targets as more valuable. This accounts for targets being “worth” more for fantasy purposes at the RB position.
Popularized by Graham Barfield of NFL.com, YC is a metric that subtracts total yards gained from yards blocked. As with any charting based metric there is some level of subjectivity to it but it helps separate talent in a way that is O-line and offense agnostic.
Pace doesn’t necessarily belong in the RB group as every skill position group benefits from more plays and more opportunities to produce fantasy points. The reason I put this in the RB group is that RB success is mostly a product of the offenses they run in. faster pace usually means more rushes or check down targets to RBs. But pace can be used to judge the viability of a fantasy offense as a whole in most circumstances.
SPARQ-x scores, size adjusted speed, burst, and agility ratings help you learn how an RB wins on the field. These aren’t an end all be all however as Arian Foster and Carlos Hyde are exceptions to this rule.
WR/TE Dynasty Statistics to Monitor
Volume is the #1 indicator for WR success at the end of the day and targets is the one stat that can help you get a feel for the group at the receiving positions. Targets are what everything else mentioned here is based on.
Receiving Success Rate:
SharpFootballStats is the best location to find detailed data on receiving success rates over the league average. Like Rushing success rate, these metrics help illuminate receivers that consistently deliver more than what the play design called for. YAC, or yards after catch, can also be grouped here.
Another airyards.com stat, RACR is receiving yards divided by air yards. It helps show what receivers are making the most of their opportunities. Air yards are the total yards from QB hands to WR hands on every target over the course of a season.
The final Hermsmeyer stat listed here, WOPR is another weighted opportunity ratio metric that measures a player’s share of total team targets against their share of total team air yards. Josh has found this to be one of the most predictive metrics of a receiving player’s success in the NFL.
Average depth of target. This helps show what type of receiver you’re looking at when compared to the field. Guys like Jarvis Landry or Keke Coutee may receive loads of targets but at limited target depths. Because of this, they are good in PPR leagues but almost nonfactors in other formats. Guys like Will Fuller and Tyler Lockett are at the other end of that spectrum, and as such, the more limited number of targets they receive are balanced out by the more valuable deep attempts.
Yards per route run shows how efficient a receiving player is in their time on the field. It helps show how involved a player is on a certain team even on the plays they aren’t targeted.
QB RTG When Targeted:
Another efficiency metric that can show the connection a receiver has with his QB. Guys like Tyler Lockett and Mike Williams have high scores here, but a lot of that can be attributed to unsustainable touchdown rates on limited numbers of targets.
TE Athleticism Metrics:
Not all TEs are pus athletes, but most of the best ones are. Because of this, stockpiling young, athletic TEs can pay off if you have the patience to do so. WRs are a different beast as some of the best ones (Keenan Allen, Adam Thielen) don’t score high in this category.
Prospect Dynasty Statistics to Monitor
While I won’t get into the predictive nature of these metrics in this article there have been plenty of articles and podcasts that focus on these topics. Devy analysts like LJ Chaney and Jason DiRienzo would be able to dive deep into these topics as would analytics-focused contributors like Peter Howard and Jesse Reeves. Read their work to get the specifics, but know that players that meet certain thresholds in these key areas have found somewhat predictive success in the league.
So remember kids. Keep these private. Don’t share them with your league mates. Win your league, let your nerd flag fly, and remember “Stats Are For Losers.”
Which Dynasty Statistics do you like to use? For more great rankings, sleepers, and analysis check out the 2019 Fantrax Fantasy Football Draft Kit.
Etan Mozia has been involved with sports as a whole for over two decades and has written about athletics in some capacity since 2005. Focused primarily on the NFL and EPL, Etan has seen his work featured on sites like FantasyPros, Advanced Sports Logic, and FFD260 among others. Currently, his work is housed on FantraxHQ and FantasyPros. An avid lover of dynasty leagues specifically, you can also listen to him on his podcast, The Dynasty Diagnostic (@DynoDiagnostic), as he breaks down rosters and provides pertinent and practical advice for dynasty squads looking to give their team an edge. Follow him on twitter @EtanMozia.
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