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2017 Fantasy Football Draft Kit

Do Team Wins Affect A Player’s Fantasy Value?

Team Wins
Photo Credit: slgckgc

I recently read a blog post about a subject that I had heard about previously, but never really looked into that much. The topic revolved around how a number of wins a player’s team have affected his Fantasy Football production.

On the surface level, this makes total and complete sense. The more times a team wins, the more points it scores and therefore the more yards that are gained… Right? If only it was 1987 and we just played in TD-only leagues.

Normally, I would have just taken in the research and processed it into my personal opinions on players. However, there was something that seemed off. When I really looked, I noticed that it was for only non-PPR scoring and the cutoffs were obscure.

I do not want to link to this post because from my own research I found that it had bad information and I do not like calling people out. Unless, of course, they blatantly flip-flop an opinion and try to pass it off as new information.

So what exactly is the effect of how many games a player’s team wins with regard to his Fantasy production?

The Effects of Team Wins on Fantasy Production

I took the Top-24 scoring running backs, Top-36 scoring wide receivers and Top-12 scoring quarterbacks/tight ends/defenses/kickers in PPR scoring. I then referenced their team win totals with their positional ranking. With this table, I was able to get an average win total as well as the percentage of players under or over eight wins.

I used eight wins because of the extreme parity in the league. 13 teams had between 7-9 wins last season. So it just makes the most sense to draw the line at a winning or losing team.

Running Backs


 Avg. WinsAbove 8Below 8
Top-108.750%50%
Top-128.7550%42%
Top-208.0550%45%
Top-247.7942%50%

I chose running backs to start since it seems they would be the most influenced by a team’s win total. If a team is winning more, they are running the clock out more and therefore the running back should benefit.

Obviously, the average win total is going to hover in that 7-9 range. As I said, almost half the league had a win total in that range. So the real testament is where in that range does the average fall.

As you can see, for RB1’s in 10- or 12-team leagues, the average was on the higher end of that range. However, the percentage shows that it was split half and half between losing and winning teams.

Furthermore, as you go down to the rankings the Top-24 running backs actually had an average of a losing record and there was a higher percentage of losing records associated with these backs. This is still important because as we would all like to hope we get two RB1’s, the odds are we will need at least one of the RB2’s throughout the season with injuries and bye weeks.

What I gather from this data is that a team’s win total does not affect a running back’s Fantasy output in a vacuum. The real factor that jumped out is the type of backfield that was still able to score with a meager win total. It is common sense but the numbers definitely back it up: teams with less than seven wins that still had a top-scoring running back were teams that focused on a primary back.

So while teams like Atlanta, Green Bay, New England and Philadelphia had multiple running backs that were Fantasy relevant, they all had decent to great win totals. Cleveland, Chicago, San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco all had Top-20 backs but they each only had one guy that was ever start-able.

The one outlier: the New York Jets. Bilal Powell and Matt Forte were both back-end RB2’s in a 12-team league but the Jets managed just five wins. The creeping age factor with both of these guys coupled with that look that the Jets have that they are tanking the season, I am thinking I might stay away from these two, especially Forte.

Other than that, there is not much to be gained other than the fact that there is not much to be gained. I know, Yoda I am. What I mean is the notion that a running back on a losing team cannot produce Fantasy points is incorrect.

 

Wide Receivers


 Avg. WinsAbove 8 WinsBelow 8 Wins
Top-109.470%20%
Top-129.41767%25%
Top-209.2570%25%
Top-249.12567%21%
Top-368.55653%31%

If I would have had to guess which position would be the most affected by a team’s win total, wide receiver would have been quite low on the list. Yet, the top scorers at the position had the highest average win totals as well as the highest percentage of teams with winning records.

As I had said, I expected the average win totals to be in that 7-9 range, but wide receivers cleared that hurdle with 9.4 wins for WR1’s. Even more unexpected was that at least two-thirds of each group of WR1’s and WR2’s were on winning teams.

Like I mentioned earlier, it would make sense that if a team was losing, they would be throwing the ball downfield more to their wide receivers. This data takes that thought and rips it up like a piece of paper given to Cersei Lannister.

Even more eye-opening: not one of the Top-18 scoring PPR receivers last year was on a team that won less than seven games. Only two of the Top-24 and seven of the Top-36 highest scorers were on teams with less than seven wins. So while the adage of “they have to throw to someone” seems solid, do not expect WR1 or WR2 production.

With this in mind, I am hesitant on Allen Robinson, Keenan Allen, Jarvis Landry, Sammy Watkins and Golden Tate as they are being drafted in that range but their teams are not expected to reach the seven win mark.

 

Quarterbacks

 Avg. WinsAbove 8 WinsBelow 8 Wins
Top-108.650%30%
Top-128.6750%33%

The quarterback position is right in the middle of wide receivers and running backs with regards to the effect of a team’s win total. The percentages and average wins (50% winning records and around 8.6 total wins) are in line with the running back totals. However, like the wide receivers, there are fewer players from atrocious teams with less than seven wins that were Fantasy relevant.

Only one player in the Top-10 scoring quarterbacks had less than seven wins, and that was the soon-to-lose-his-job Blake Bortles. Andy Dalton also snuck into the Top-12 with only six wins. However, if Tyrod Taylor, Tom Brady, Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota play the whole season, then the former two are pushed back firmly into QB2 territory.

The numbers are definitely slightly skewed due to these missed games. In most years not that many QB1’s are missing significant time.

I can still gather from this information another extremely obvious point: the better the quarterback, the more team wins. I have made this next point numerous times to all of the Romo Haters. Tony Romo never led a team to a losing record over a season. Of recent quarterbacks with multiple seasons under their belts, only Tom Brady and Russell Wilson can say that as well.

The point I am getting at is a good quarterback in both Fantasy and real football should get you to at least seven wins. There are extreme outliers like Blake Bortles, but I do not want to have to count on him every week. Case in point, no quarterback in the Top 16 in ADP has a win total over/under number lower than 7.5 wins.

 

Tight Ends


 Avg. WinsAbove 8 WinsBelow 8 Wins
Top-109.150%20%
Top-129.0850%25%

While the average win totals for the top-scoring tight ends seem to tell the story that a team that wins more has a better tight end, I beg to differ. I think the number is skewed by the 10th and 11th best tight ends had 27 wins between the two of them.

The average win total of the Top-9 tight ends is closer to the middle at 8.56. Hell the Top-6 scoring tight end win totals in order: 12, 8, 6, 10, 9, and 7. I dare you to find a trend in that.

What this really reaffirms for me is I want an elite tight end. Win totals do not mean anything as Greg Olsen was the third-highest scorer at the position with over 1,000 yards and his team only won six games. The Steelers, Raiders, Packers, Falcons, Dolphins, and Giants all won 10 or more games. Not one of those teams had a tight end in the Top-20 in scoring.

As “deep” as tight end may seem, the consistency is only there with the elite guys, injuries be damned. Certain offenses and players lead to tight end production, not game flow.

 

Team Defense/Special Teams

 Avg. WinsAbove 8 WinsBelow 8 Wins
Top-109.150%30%
Top-129.0858%25%

With the D/ST’s I think I learned the most from the team win totals. The numbers are not too eye opening, although obviously, they favor winning teams. What I really learned with the Team Defense is to factor in the expectation of a team going into the season.

I mean this is what we have to use anyway right? We don’t know which teams will have winning records (except of course we KNOW that the Patriots will trounce a terrible division yet again). We are going to have to use what a team is expected to do with a win total.

So pulling up the Las Vegas totals for over/under win amounts, I saw a flashing neon sign like I was on The Strip. There were 12 teams going into last season with a wins total amount set at nine or higher. Three of those teams (Packers, Steelers, Colts) are completely built on their offense, so you should know better than to count on their defense. Of the other nine teams with a win over/under that high, EIGHT finished in the Top-13 scoring defense/special teams units. The one that did not was Cincinnati, who just had the season from hell with injuries.

Even the teams that completely let down on their wins total compared to their expectation ended up with solid Fantasy Team Defense scoring. Carolina underperformed by 4.5 wins but was 13th in scoring. Arizona underperformed by 2.5 wins and was still third in scoring.

Looking even deeper into the rankings, you can see that of the five teams ranked in the Top-13 in scoring for their D/ST not previously mentioned, three of them are clearly good defenses that their team is based around (Giants, Eagles, Texans). What this shows a good Fantasy Defense comes from a good overall team. Once again, not splitting the atom here, but it is something that gets overlooked with schedules, additions, etc.

So when selecting your Fantasy defense, you want a team that’s projected to win nine or more games. Kansas City, New England, Seattle and Tennessee all fit that mantra. Atlanta, Green Bay and Oakland also have win total over/under’s of more than nine games, but those are the types of teams that are built around their offenses.

 

Kickers

 Avg. WinsAbove 8 WinsBelow 8 Wins
Top-108.8560%20%
Top-129.8570%15%

Because of ties in total points, there were actually thirteen “Top-12” kickers last season. With that said, there might be the strongest trend yet between total wins and Fantasy production.

Not one of the Top-13 kickers had less than seven wins last season. Almost 70% of them had at least nine wins and only 15% had losing records. With an average of almost 10 wins per player, the evidence is apparent.

What can also be seen though is the grouping at the top? Of the Top-8 scoring kickers, only one had more than nine wins. The next five guys all were on teams with at least 10 wins, most 12 or more.

What I gather here is you want a good team, but not too good when selecting your kicker. If you have a great offense then they will score more touchdowns than kick field goals. Sorry for the endless stream of obvious, common sense statements, but they do get lost in our never-ending trek to project and rank.

All of the Top-8 scorers at the position were on teams with expected win totals between 7 and 9. This is the range for your kicker. Stephen Gostkowski had a few legendary years for a dominant team, but with the extra point moved back, more missed PAT’s and more 2-Point attempts, you have to rely on field goals more.

 

Wins Affecting Fantasy Production

One thing worth noting is that these wins’ metrics affecting Fantasy production are not the end-all be-all of player evaluations. The predicted win total of a player should be one of many tools you use when deciding on whom to take for your Fantasy Football team.

I also know that it is hard to know which teams will end up with winning records. To this, I say that Las Vegas knows what they are doing. Trust in their totals to be somewhat accurate on the majority of teams.

What I really wanted to get across was that there is not a blanket statement. I know I have seen analysts say to avoid players on bad offenses. Well, I proved that just last season there were plenty of running backs and wide receivers that ended the year as Fantasy assets on terrible teams.

There were also plenty of teams that had 10+ wins that failed to yield a good Fantasy Starter at a position. Is it more or less likely at different positions? Yes, of course. But it should not be an absolute, and more of a small factor.

 

2017 Fantasy Football Draft Kit
Positional Rankings | Sleepers | Busts | Player Analysis | Strategy | Preseason Analysis | Mock Drafts | Tools

If you are looking for a place to conduct a mock draft or need assistance with drafting in general, check out the Fantasy Pros Draft Wizard. This is a terrific tool that will help you dominate your league, along with So-Called Fantasy Experts, of course.

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Michael Tomlin
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Michael Tomlin

Michael Tomlin is an ESPY-nominated, former college football player who stays associated with the game through Fantasy Sports. He has been writing his personal blog, Dirkland.blogspot.com, for three years and it focuses on Fantasy Sports, as well as handicapping. He was born and raised in the DFW Metroplex, and he follows all of the Dallas teams, along with Texas Tech athletics and Manchester City F.C.
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