An online fantasy football calculator is one of the best tools an owner can have as draft day approaches. Fantasy football competitors who don’t do research on the latest trends and statistics often find themselves adrift when it comes to where they should draft a particular player, with nothing but their own bias for or against a player to tell them when to pull the trigger. A fantasy calculator lets you get the data to put a draft in perspective.
What Is a Fantasy Football Calculator?
A fantasy football calculator tabulates the average draft position of either real drafts or mock drafts performed on its website, on some other site, or in a database to which it has access. The best fantasy football calculators collect the results of drafts of real leagues, because the calculations are based on picks made by those actually trying to win a championship. The more common ff calculator database is going to collect information from mock drafts. Let’s take a look at each.
Fantasy Football Mock Draft Calculator
If you follow the NFL, you’re probably familiar with all the NFL mock drafts in the run-up to the yearly NFL Draft held every April. These mock drafts are put together by experts like Mel Kiper, Todd McShay, and countless other NFL insiders.
They give pro football fans some insight into where players are likely to be drafted and what the possibilities are for their favorite NFL team’s draft. Because of trades, front office personnel being canny, and unpredictable selections by teams who trust their instincts or their scouts (or don’t know what they’re doing), the mock drafts never quite look the same as the real draft order.
The same can be said about fantasy football mock drafts. You can come up with a mock draft based on your league’s draft order and what you think are the tendencies of the owners in your league, but you’re still going to face a lot of guesswork. Wishful thinking, general pessimism about the players you want falling to you, or a skewed view of your opponents’ talents might creep into the mock draft you make.
That’s where the mock draft calculator comes into play.
Why Mock Drafts Are Good
A lot fantasy football fans with the same size leagues and similar scoring systems are also practicing for their local drafts. If you get a calculator with access to a database of these mock drafts, you can extrapolate information based on the averages of these drafts. This takes into account not just your biases, but the biases of a huge cross-section of fantasy football fanatics out there. In doing so, the ff calculator arrives at an average, which is likely to be a lot closer to the average league’s draft than what you might come up with. Armed with this information, you can correct misinformation and wrong-headed assumptions you have about the upcoming draft.
Why Mock Drafts Are Bad
You’ll find problems with using mock drafts for your calculator, though. The mock draft is, by its nature, a practice run. Fantasy football owners might be testing to see what kind of team they can build drafting WR-WR–then decide that’s a bad idea later on. Since the outcome of a season doesn’t rely on this mock draft, you might not get real results all the time.
Also, mock drafts often start within weeks of the NFL Draft. You could be using information that’s several months old, which is an eternity in fantasy football. Injuries, free agent moves, coaching changes, and position battles can render the average draft position of the mock drafts rather meaningless. At the least, they’re going to be skewed by the time your local draft comes around. So it’s better to use real draft information taken as close to the time of your draft as possible–hopefully after the start of training camp and after a preseason game or two (or three).
Fantasy Football Average Draft Position
So when using a fantasy football calculator, try to find the “average draft position” calculator that collects data from real drafts. These are people trying to win a league and get an advantage on their opponents, so they’ll be on their best behavior. The information will be as close to accurate, especially if the owners involved have the latest injury news and position battle updates.
Selecting a Fantasy Football Calculator
You can select from a large number of Internet fantasy football calculators (http://fantasyfootballcalculator.com/) that have sprung up online in the last few years. These free sites are put up by real fantasy football fans who want to collect their own information for their drafts, while providing a service for other people like themselves. Like the site I linked to, a good calculator resource should have several options: average draft position lists by position, a mock draft function, and a wide variety of league sizes and scoring systems.
If you’re in a 12-team league, you want to find the ADP only from 12-team leagues.
Draft strategies change when you’re in an 8-team, 10-team, 14-team, or 16-team league, because the scarcity of certain positions mean you have to adjust. Also, if you play in a touchdown-only league, getting ADP information on a high performance league is next-to-useless. The players most coveted in one league are going to be largely the same (but not entirely) at the high end of the draft, but often not the same in the mid-to-late rounds. Starting lineup rules also matter, because strategies are going to be different for leagues that require 2 quarterbacks started, or those league that allow you to start 3 running backs.
So when you go a website with a fantasy football calculator tool, you have to make certain it accommodates your size league, its starting lineup options, and your scoring system. If you play in a league with a few unorthodox scoring rules, you might not be able to get a completely accurate scoring systems match. As long as you’re at a 95% match, it’s okay to use the information, because calculations won’t be thrown off that much–if at all.
Average Draft Position by Player Position
Finally, when searching for average draft position, make sure they have ADP lists by position. You want to know which positions the drafting public thinks are deep this year, and you want to be able to guess within half-a-round when runs are likely to happen. This lets you set your strategy to reflect this year’s realities, instead of reacting to what happened at last year’s draft.
Drafting at fantasy football is still as much of an art as it is a science. I’ve found that my local league never quite follows the national patterns of online mock drafts and ADP databases, even if the local league has knowledgeable owners. Any one draft is going to have a deviation from a national average, but using the fantasy football calculator gives you the most accurate information to make educated guesses about when you should draft a quarterback and what round the wide receiver position, or any position, starts to thin out.