By Jaboner Jackson 1 pm | Warning to Raiders fans: My analysis relies heavily on statistical concepts. With the lockout in full effect and the NFL Draft finally over, it's time to get started on building the foundation for a successful 2011 Fantasy Football season (even though we all know that there will be no 2011 season). I am going to spend most of the off-season going over strategy, and then as the season nears, I'll start reviewing actual players. The strategies I am detailing have been employed my myself and my Fantasy Football Students to great success. We have won our respective leagues for the past five years. The theories are complex but if you master them you will always make the playoffs and oftentimes win it all. Today I am going to focus on a statistical concept known as Standard Deviation (SD).
SD is a measure of variability. It is the single most important concept when building a fantasy football team and picking players to start or sit on any given week. It is best illustrated through an example from the FOOTBALLPHDS Flag Football Team aka Free Agency 2.
On our way to a disappointing 3rd place finish, our two main receivers, Doubletap Jenkins III and Rock Mayock both averaged 71 yards per game. But if we look at these numbers more in depth, we realize that they both performed very differently.
Doubletap Jenkins III had some great games and some terrible ones. He has great speed but also gets distracted at times. Whereas he hauled in 150 yards in Game 3, he only amassed 19 yards the following week. Doubletap had a standard deviation of 66.
Rock Maycok was the pillar of consistency. He has good hands and good speed but does not have the afterburner speed that Doubletap Jenkins III does. Rock had a standard deviation of 5.
The higher the standard deviation, the higher the riskiness of the player. The player is more likely to have a wonderful game but is also more likely to be shut down.
If I were playing someone over an entire season, I would take Rock because he is more consistent. This is represented by his lower standard deviation. He would give me more consistent points than Doubletap. Hence, the average points are meaningless unless you also have the standard deviation.
Intuitively, this makes sense. Those of us who had Terrell Owens on our teams in 2010 saw him put up great points one week and be shut down the next. He won us games and lost us games. He was a high standard deviation player.
When building your team, it is important to have both explosive players (high standard deviation) and consistent players (low standard deviation) as they both have different roles.
We will build on standard deviation in the next lesson...