One size fits all is bullshit. I’m 5 foot 7, one hundred forty pounds. You mean to tell me the same shirt that’s supposed to fit a dude 6 foot 4, two-sixty is going to fit me comfortably. What in the world does any of this have to do with fantasy baseball? That’s simple. There is no “one size fits all” set of rankings. Think about a league that penalizes you one point when a hitter strikeouts versus a league that does not. This would greatly affect the value of players such as Joey Gallo and Aaron Judge. How does that single set of rankings you’re using from [insert favorite website] account for this difference? Unfortunately it does not. Every, well nearly every, league is different in the points league universe. The number of different combinations of points per stat category is staggering. But at the end of the day there’s only one that matters to you.
This spreadsheet is an attempt to provide you with the most accurate rankings based on your league specific settings. More about that in a moment. Please note these are not projections. They are estimations.
As I play around with different combinations of scoring systems, there are two players that consistently leap frog each other for the top spot. If you like guessing games I’ll give you a clue. One is from New Jersey and the other is from Chesterfield, Missouri. If you were going to try and figure it out, you probably should not read this next sentence where I tell you that the players are Mike Trout and Max Scherzer. Well now that the cat is out of the bag. Wait, why was there a cat in a bag to begin with? Do people keep cats in bags? Never mind. As I focus a bit closer at the numbers, it seems that Trout has the slightest of edges on Scherzer in most points leagues. So if I had to give you a one size fits all rankings it would look something like the following.
Now before you go getting all crazy about that list, keep in mind that it really shouldn’t matter to you. First of all, you have no idea what scoring system on which I am basing those rankings.
I’m going to quote myself from last year.
“If you ask an expert for advice on your points league and they don’t ask you what your scoring system is then they are going to give you a mediocre response.” -me
Now I’m going to paraphrase myself from last year.
Circling back to the example in my intro about Joey Gallo for a moment. If you don’t know how many points a league deducts for a strikeout, how can you possible compare Gallo to say Justin Turner. In a league that subtracts one point for a strikeout, Gallo is estimated to score 291 points. Turner is looking at 384, making Turner the better pick. However in a league that does not care about strikeouts, Gallo is estimated to score about 498 points while Turner is 467. See what just happened there. One key takeaway here is that in leagues that do not deduct for whiffs, Gallo should be reasonably considered.
How about a bit of honesty. I make this spreadsheet for one reason. To help myself construct teams on draft day. However, since I love Razzball Nation I share it with you.
With this spreadsheet you have the ability to enter not only your league’s scoring system, but also the number of players you start at each position so that the spreadsheet can customize rankings based on your league specific settings.
The spreadsheet contains a tab for hitters, pitchers and one for each individual position. There is also a worksheet (tab) labeled “Rankings”. This is the sheet that displays the actual rankings. The next tab is the “Settings” tab. This is where you tell the spreadsheet about your league. The spreadsheet comes preloaded with the scoring systems of the major fantasy baseball sites. It also provides the ability for you to enter three separate custom scoring systems. This is where you will enter your league’s scoring system, unless you are using one of the predefined.
Under the “Scoring System” label there is a dropdown that allows you to select the active scoring system to be used by the spreadsheet. When you change scoring systems, or make any other change to the “Settings” tab, you will need to click the “Calculate Rankings” button to generate the new rankings and update (re-sort) each sheet. When the spreadsheet detects a change to the “Settings” tab it will let you know and tell you to click the “Calculate Rankings” button when you are done making changes. This is a difference from last year. Last year’s version automatically recalculated the rankings after every change. I found this to cause the spreadsheet to perform poorly. Now you have to click a button. If that bothers you, close the spreadsheet, right-click, and select “delete”. Problem solved.
The “Settings” tab will also allow you to specify the number of teams in your league, the number of players on each team and the number of players that are started at each position. I need this data in order to figure out the replacement level player at each position in order to generate the position-adjusted rankings.
At the bottom of the “Settings” tab you will see two options that directly affect the ranking results. The first is “Reduce RP Weight“. By default my rankings treat the RP position equal to the rest of the positions. As a result, you will see some RP in the top twenty. While mathematically this might be the case, in reality it doesn’t make sense to draft even an elite RP in the first two or three rounds (maybe more). But my spreadsheet isn’t human and doesn’t think like an irrational baseball fan. Everything is a one or a zero as far as it’s concerned, and the numbers say that Kenley Jensen has first round-ish value. By setting “Reduce RP Weight” to true my algorithm will lower the FVARz scores for relief pitchers, pushing them down a bit in the overall position-adjusted rankings. This feature is enabled by default.
The second is the “Hitters Advantage” option. Here’s what this does. When set to “yes” it will give all hitters a slight boost. It actually accomplishes this by giving all starting pitchers a slight reduction. This does not apply to relief pitchers. You can use “Reduce RP Weight” for that cause. The reason for this feature is because it is a popular strategy to draft strong hitters by focusing on the hitters in the early rounds. Many believe hitters win championships because hitters are more consistent. If you feel this way, or something like it, set “Hitters Advantage” to “yes”. It defaults to “no”.
New this year is a tab labeled “Your Team“. This will begin empty. You’ll find a section for hitters and pitchers. Each section will have headers and rows for totals and averages. These will likely contain zeros and #DIV/0! initially. Don’t worry, this is fine and expected. They will go away once you add players.
How do you add players? I’m glad I pretended you asked. On the “Rankings” worksheet (tab), you will see a column labeled “Drafted” at the far right. Initially it should be filled with the number zero (0). This means that the player has not yet been drafted. I’m hoping this spreadsheet can help a bit more on draft day. As your draft is taking place and players are being selected, you can manually update this column for the appropriate players. If they are drafted by another team, enter the number one (1). If they are drafted by you, enter the number two (2). This will result in the players being color coded and will also automatically move your players to the “Your Team” tab.
Clicking the “Clear Draft Picks” button will set all values in the “Drafted” column back to zero (0). You cannot undo this action.
Before I explain a bit more about the “Your Team” tab, let me quickly mention the “Draft Score” column on the “Rankings” sheet. This value is determined by subtracting a player’s rank from his ADP. For example, if Francisco Lindor is ranked 9th and his ADP is 25, he will have a “Draft Score” of 16. Here’s what that means. It means that if you drafted Lindor at his ADP of 25, you’d be getting him 16 picks after where he would be picked if everyone in your league picked based on your league-specific rankings.
This does not mean you should take Lindor with the 9th or 10th pick, but it serves as a gauge to let you know what kind of value you are getting from a player based on his true ranking and where he is to be drafted. In the curious case of Lindor, I’d definitely grab him in the second round.
Players with a negative “Draft Score” mean that if you draft them at their ADP, you are not getting good value. They will not be on any of my teams. Not unless they slip into a more profitable draft position.
Back to the “Your Team” tab. This is where you can see the players you have marked as drafted to your team. That means you entered a “2” (no quotes) in the players “Drafted” column on the “Rankings” tab.
If you feel the urge to modify a player’s estimation, you will need to do so in two places. Let’s say you are convinced that Rhys Hoskins is going to hit 50 home runs. You need to edit his HR total on both the “Hitters” and “1B” sheets. And since Hoskins is listed as having OF eligibility you will also have to update the “OF” tab. Unfortunately I did not have the time to sync these up automatically.
Again, back to the “Your Team” tab. As players are added the “Totals” and “Averages” rows will populate. Also, each player’s FPTS (fantasy points) column will be highlighted with one of the following colors: Green, Purple, Orange or Red. Here’s what they mean. Green indicates that the current player is estimated to score a decent amount of more points than the average player. The set of players used in this comparison is only players that are above the replacement level player.
Green: A fair amount better than average
Purple: Pretty much about average. Maybe a little over
Orange: Less than average
Red: A fair amount less than average
Keep in mind that these are experimental indicators.
If there was one bit of advice I could give you it would be this. Notice this is in bold. Do not change anything on any tabs other than “Settings” and “Rankings”. On the “Settings” tab enter your league details. Then click “Calculate Rankings”. Then go to the “Rankings” tab. Here you can indicate which players have been drafted. That’s all you need to do. If you start making changes and end up in some funky state, you should just download a fresh copy and start over.
While you can set multiple (up to three) different custom scoring systems, if you are going to use this on draft day, I suggest you create a copy of the file for each different league. It’s will just be a lot simpler to keep track of each league’s drafted players.
If you find an issue, please let me know. If you realize that a player is missing (entirely possible), let me know.
I hope this spreadsheet can bring you one step closer to a championship. In the meantime, have fun watching The Walking Dead while playing around with this spreadsheet.
Wisdom, Power and Courage!
Follow me on Twitter at @malamoney