Doing your own projections can give you a leg up on the rest of your leaguemates, and it’s easier than you think. If you’re a fantasy football fanatic like I am, you already have opinions on whether Eli Manning is better or worse than Matt Ryan, but how much better or worse? Where does Joe Flacco fit in with these guys, and will Josh Freeman repeat or improve on his career season from last year? Is he in the same conversation with the rest of these guys? Doing your own projections will let you turn those opinions into a positional cheat sheet so you know where you value these players in respect to each other and it will let you know which guys you think will fall short.
Now you might be telling yourself that you don’t have the time or knowledge to make projections like the professional staff writers here at Fantasy Sharks. That might be the case, but if you really want to win your league and rub it in the face of all your hometown buddies, you’re going to want to make time. Doing your own projections is easier than you think and here’s a quick how to for doing it.
The process: How to do it
First, open up Excel on your computer. If you don’t have it, get it. Excel will make things much easier on you and save you that valuable time you don’t have to waste. A small amount of Excel knowledge will take you a long way. Plus, if you’re making projections at work having Excel open is probably better than surfing the internet when your boss walks by. You don’t have to do a projection for every player in the league, just the guys that will be on your leagues starting rosters plus maybe a bench player or two. The guy that you draft in the 14th round probably isn’t going to be on your roster in week 4, unless you get lucky, so no need to do a projection for him, unless you really really want to.
Second, figure out how many guys you’re going to do projections on. So for a normal league with starting line ups similar to 1 QB, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, 1 TE, and maybe a flex RB/WR, you’ll need a list of the top 15-18 QBs, 30-35 RBs, 30-35 WRs, and 12 or so TEs. This is about 90-100 of the top fantasy players from last year, plus a couple of probable rookie starters (Mark Ingram, Daniel Thomas, AJ Green, etc.). The maximum number of guys you’ll want to project is the total number of players to be drafted by your entire league (example: 12 league mates times 15 man rosters equals 180 minus a kicker and defense for each leaguemate puts the total number of projected players at 156).
Next, copy and paste all of the players you’re going to do a projection for in your Excel spreadsheet. I’ve found it easier to make a sheet tab for each position. List all the players in one column with columns for your projections for things that gain or lose you points (i.e. rushing Yards, passing yards, receiving yards, receptions, TDs, Fumbles and Interceptions). Now simply open up your favorite statistic website and find the player you want to do a projection for, ESPN.com and NFL.com have the stats you’ll need.
For each player take a look at what your player has done last year and maybe the past few years to get a look at his potential and/or consistency. Think about what things have changed on your player’s team. Did he get a new coach? Is there another player that’s going to cut into his production? Does he have a good strength of schedule this year? Do you think he’s going to have a better year or worse year than last year? Enter into your Excel spreadsheet what you think his production will be this year, and then go on to the next player on your list. This could take a while based on how many players you’re going to be doing, but hopefully you’ve got awhile before your draft so you can always stop and continue later.
Now that you’ve got projections for each player’s production this year, you can use an excel formula to turn those projections into how many points you think each player is going to score this year. If you don’t know how to create the Excel formula ask someone at work, as long as they’re not in your league (don’t want to give away your secret recipe for winning). You can now sort these players from most points scored to least by position, and your positional cheat sheet is complete.
Contemplation: Look at your results
Did you get the results you thought you were going to? Who came out on top, Eli Manning, Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, or Josh Freeman? Were they close? Now you know exactly how you value these guys when it comes time to draft them, and you can rub it in the face of your leaguemates for taking a player way to high.
How do your projections compare to those here at FantasySharks? Don’t expect everything to match up exactly. That’s why everyone has differing opinions on who to take where. If you see a guy that is much higher on your list compared to other professional projections, that’s a guy you’re going to want to draft on your team, because you think he has good potential this year.
Now this is just a positional cheat sheet. To turn your positional cheat sheet into a top 100, or top 150, or even 200 (if you went that far), is a bit more complex, but if you’re really serious about winning your league you’re going to want to know how to develop this kind of list. Next time…