Statistical Trash Talk for Your Fantasy Drafts

It's time to stop being the target of verbal draft day abuse.

Every league has an Evan.

“Nice pick, bro. Did your girlfriend make that for you?”

“Really? Frank Gore? You realize this isn’t 2006, right?”

He’s the trash talker; the one who makes you feel like an idiot even if you think the pick you made was a good one. And even if he ends up taking Montee Ball in the third, he’ll find a way to make it sound like a good pick. He’s good at getting under everyone’s skin.

Though it’s annoying at times, every league needs an Evan. Without him, it’s just a community. With him, it’s fierce competition.

Your main draft day goal should always be to acquire the best team possible. Another, however, should be to throw Evan under the bus. One way to do that is to appear more knowledgeable. Be the one bringing the statistical heat to your draft, intimidating your opposition. Not only could it fluster them – they’ll be second-guessing almost every pick – but it’ll make you the new fantasy football pro amongst your group of friends.

Evan’s just a talker without any backup plan. It’s time to exploit that.

"Cool Hakeem Nicks pick, Evan. I mean, I totally get why you’d want an injury-ridden top receiver who finished with a lower receiving net expected points total than Jason Avant last year."

When Evan pulls the early trigger on Hakeem Nicks in the fourth round, lay down the law. Last season, Nicks finished with a receiving net expected points value of just 56.74; a total lower than Jason Avant, Davone Bess, Jeremy Kerley and Andre Roberts. In other words, those receivers added more points for their respective teams last season than Nicks did. He’s certainly a talented receiver, but needs to stay healthy. That’s something he’s not been able to do throughout his career.

Nicks is our 23rd-ranked receiver, and that’s with the expectation that he plays a full 16 games. Yikes.

"I remember my first draft, Ev. I, too, picked a quarterback with a negative passing NEP total from the previous season."

He may think he’s doing the right thing when he drafts his quarterback late, but then instead of snagging value, he takes Miami Dolphins’ Ryan Tannehill. Nice try, dude. Tannehill finished his rookie season with a -22.63 passing net expected points total, meaning he actually was a detriment to the Dolphins offense. Sure, they’ve got big play Mike Wallace now, but why go for a passer like Tannehill when someone like Matt Schaub or Ben Roethlisberger will be available at a comparable draft position?

"Darrius Heyward-Bey? For real? I’m pretty sure the guy who made my Wendy’s cheeseburger tonight is projected to catch more passes than him this year."

We’ve got DHB projected to hit 29 receptions this season, which is just 29 more than you and me. There’s little doubt in my mind that 2012’s NEP surprise, T.Y. Hilton, will become Andrew Luck’s second-favorite receiver once again in that offense, even without Bruce Arians. For anyone buying into the DHB potential, remember that the numbers and the tape say to stay away.

"Joique Bell’s a bad pick, you said? It’s the late rounds, man. And he finished fifth amongst all running backs last season in total net expected points…bro."

I’ve mentioned it before, but Joique Bell is a great late-round flier, especially in PPR leagues. He’s got an opportunity to take over backup duties in Detroit behind Reggie Bush, and because of their pass-first mentality, Bell could still hold value in the Lions’ air attack. To me, the upside with Bell is worth drafting him over Leshoure. Imagine his 2012 efficiency – NEP totals – with a higher volume!

"Say what you want, man. Steve Smith at the beginning of Round 7 is a steal after finishing with 14th-ranked wide receiver numbers over the last two years and contributing almost 91 real points for the Panthers last year."

Can we please get a little Steve Smith love, people? I know the Panthers have been offensively miserable in the preseason, but Smiff will get his. He ranked 18th in receiving net expected points last year, and finished seventh in the category the year before last. Since Cam entered the league two years ago, Smith has hauled in 152 grabs for 2,568 yards and 11 scores. As a WR3? Are you kidding me? If it was up to us, Smith would be a middle-of-the-road WR2.

"Man, that pick was about as good as Warner Bros. choice to cast Ben Affleck as Batman."

Alright, this one may not bring numbers to the table, but is there an insult any worse right now?