What Are the Odds a Specific Running Back Will Fall to You in Your Fantasy Football Draft?
You're on the clock, and you've got a tough choice on your plate. You love Jeremy Hill's touchdown upside, but you also see the potential Ameer Abdullah has in the Detroit Lions' offense. Which one do you pick?
You can go with your gut if you want. You've got Abdullah higher in the rankings you've set up, and you're ready to add that puppy to your team.
But then, a thought pops into your head: "What if I could get both?" You need two running backs, anyway, and you like Hill and Abdullah enough to warrant a selection of either. That's where math enters your corner.
As mentioned in our breakdown of using game theory in snake drafts, if you know that there's a good chance Abdullah could be available at your next pick, you could pick Hill and try to snag Abdullah on the wrap around. That's great in theory, but it's not always easy to have an idea of those exact odds.
Thankfully, the fine folks at Fantasy Football Calculator have you covered. They list both the average draft position (ADP) of each player and the standard deviation of their ADP. This allows us to create odds that a specific player will be available at each pick throughout the draft, increasing our ability and incentive to use game theory whenever we're on the clock.
Rather than blessing all of you with the opportunity to work with the beauty of bell curves, we've placed these probabilities into Google docs to help you visualize scenarios. You can find them customized for your league in the links below.
All of the numbers, again, were from Fantasy Football Calculator during drafts that took place from August 24th to August 26th. Each Sunday night, these sheets will be updated to reflect the changes in ADP over the previous week.
Obviously, these Google docs can't be open for editing. However, you can customize them to your own draft if you are so inclined.
In order to do so, simply go to the sheet, hover over "File," go to "Download As," and pick the type of file you'd like to use. The desired option would be Microsoft Excel if you have the program on your personal computer.
Once you've done that, you will have the file on your computer. If you go to the top row from columns D and to the right, you can change the numbers to reflect your picks in the draft (i.e. picks 1, 24, 25, 48, 49, etc. if you're picking first in a 12-team snake draft). This will show you the odds that each player is available at your specific pick, hopefully increasing the utility of it.
Clearly, this is all going to depend heavily on the draft you're in. If there's a run on running backs in the third round, then Dion Lewis' odds of being available at the 40th pick may end up being lower than 64.41%. This means you'll have to keep deviations within your specific draft in mind, but the probabilities should at least provide you with a generic guideline of what to expect. Similar sheets will be available here on numberFire as the week progresses for each of the other positions, and those will also be updated each week.
Game theory alone can't win you a league. At the end of the day, you still need to pick the right players, and you need a little luck to fall your way. However, utilizing it will give you a leg up on the competition, and thanks to tools such as ADP's and standard deviations, you're well on your way to holding that edge.