Yeah, you know me. Who’s down with PPD? Every last homie. You down with PPD? Yeah you know me. Who’s down with PPD? All the homies. Are you a homie? If your response is “homey don’t play that“, then maybe instead of fantasizing about the fly girls, you should be zipping up your fly and getting down with PPD. You like how I transitioned from homie to homey? If I’m really good, I can make my way to jabroni.

So what in the Fire Marshall Bill is PPD? And how does it work? Well… Lemme show you something!!! PPD stands for points per dollar. More precisely, it’s fantasy points per dollar spent on a player at your auction. If your league doesn’t do an auction and it’s not a head-to-head points league then you can go watch an episode of In Living Color on YouTube or do whatever it is you do when you’re not reading Razzball. But for the rest of you, it’s time you learned how to put your money where your points is. Yes, I realize the grammar on that last sentence is as poor as a church mouse. Whatever that means.

“Points Per Dollar” divides the total amount of fantasy points a player scores by the dollar amount for which that player cost at the auction. So if a player cost $10 and he scored 400 points, then he has a PPD of 40. For every dollar you spent on this player he scored your team 40 points, providing you kept him all season. Otherwise you can do the math.

The purpose of this post is to introduce PPD to those of you that were unaware of its potential, and to those that are, to remind you to abide by the numbers, not your gut. This dude abides. But let me say this, my methods are in no way nearly as scientific or as well thought out as Rudy’s super stats. This is just one of the little things I’ve come up with over the years to help me make decisions in this crazy wonderful thing we call fantasy baseball.

In the coming weeks, once more mock drafts/auctions are underway and I have some substantial 2015 data to work with, I will guide you through an auction showing you how to use PPD to your advantage. But in the meantime let’s take a look back at last year’s PPD heroes and zeros.

The part about this that gets muddled is how to value players that only cost a few dollars, especially the $1 players. The reason is at $1 a player will likely have a very high, and often skewed, PPD. For the sake of this post I am going to focus on players that cost at least $5, on average, in last years auctions. Auction value averages come from the many thousands of 2014 ESPN fantasy baseball auctions. Luckily I was able to pull down that data before ESPN went into maintenance mode.

Let’s start with 2014’s, and soon-to-be 2015’s, most expensive player. For those of you that guessed Billy Butler, sadly you are wrong. Surprisingly “up your” Butler finished the season with the 13th best PPD at 39.05. How is that possible you ask given his terribly disappointing season? Billy scored 289 points and cost $7.40. The math doesn’t lie. Now one thing I’d like to point out is that real auction values are whole numbers and don’t allow us to bid cents. So a more accurate value for Butler would be to round up to $8, at which his PPD was 36.13, giving him the 14th best PPD. Once again, how is that possible? And if that’s the case, clearly this PPD thing is for the birds because there’s no way I wanted Butler on my team last year!

When analyzing previous season stats the next step is the weeding out process. And here’s how I do that. I eliminate any player with a PPG (points per game) average lower than 2. And with that, VOILA! Bye bye Billy Butler you man boob having jabroni. By the way, according to underground sources, that’s exactly what the Royals front office said after Butler signed with Oakland. Oh yeah and did you notice I hit the “jabroni” bonus.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way let’s get back to last year’s most expensive player. At $52 Mike Trout takes the honors. But what about his PPD? With 497 points, his PPD was 9.56 which was good enough for 65th best and 88th best if you include all drafted players (not just the ones that cost at least $5). Does that mean according to PPD that Trout isn’t worth going after. No sir. But I will say this, at $52 Trout got you 497 points. For that same $52 you could have gotten Ian Kinsler ($19), Albert Pujols ($18) and Josh Donaldson ($16) who combined for 1,364 points and would have given you a very nice looking infield! Ok fine, it would have actually cost you $53, but that’s a nice return on your dollar. And now you’d have three positions filled instead of one and more dollars per roster spot still left to be filled. So I don’t know, maybe I am saying to stay away from Trout in redraft auction leagues. It’s kinda how I feel about Jimmy Graham, Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning in fantasy football auctions drafts.

The truth is “hindsight is 20/20”. It’s simple to look back and play the shoulda, woulda, coulda game. The real value in PPD is not in analyzing previous results, but instead to help you choose between players in an upcoming auction. Sure it’s helpful to look back and reflect on our decisions, but the way I use PPD is to help me eliminate players on which I don’t want to spend my auction dollars.

For example, let’s say I have to decide between Justin Upton and Michael Brantley in this year’s auction. Well based on Razzball’s Streamer projections Upton will score 312 points and Brantley 400. But how much will they cost me? According to Yahoo’s mock auctions so far they will both cost you $27. This is precisely where PPD is your friend. Upton has a PPD of 11.55 and Brantley has a PPD of 14.81. The choice is obvious. Brantley for president.

Taking it a step further, how about this game plan? Instead of spending $27 on Brantley and his 14.81 PPD, you grab Charlie Blackmon ($18) and Josh Harrison ($7) for a total of $25 and 655 points based on Streamer’s projections. That’s a PPD of 26.2 for an even better return on your dollar. Not to mention the added position eligibility of Harrison.

Like I said, PPD is far from an exact science or the nirvana of auction strategies, but it does give you something to think about. A few final thoughts before I leave you to your regularly scheduled programming. When calculating PPD for your upcoming auction, you need trustworthy projections (I suggest Razzball’s) to plug into your league’s scoring system to generate projected points, and mock auction results so you can get an idea of how much each player is going to cost you. The key here is to try and get auction results for your league type/settings. This is easier said than done, but you should still be able to get ballpark figures. I will be helping out with this in the coming weeks.

In you were wondering, the scoring system I am using for the basis of this post is as follows:
RUN (+1), RBI (+1), 1B (+1), 2B (+2), 3B (+3), HR (+4), BB (+1), KO (-1), HBP (+1), SB (+1), CS (-1), SF (+1)

I almost forgot that I wanted to mention the top PPD players of 2014. Amongst players that cost at least $5 the top 10 are:

Victor Martinez (91 PPD, 546 points/$6)
Nelson Cruz (63 PPD, 441 points/$7)
Daniel Murphy (57.33 PDD, 344 points/$6)
Jose Abreu (55.88 PPD, 447 points/$8)
Salvador Perez (50.67 PPD, 304 points/$6)
Pablo Sandoval (50 PPD, 350 points/$7)
Anthony Rizzo (46.67 PPD, 420 points/$9)
Jonathan Lucroy (45.89 PPD, 413 points/$9)
Chase Utley (43.44 PPD, 391 points/$9)
Jose Altuve (40.25 PPD, 483 points/$12)

Here are the top 10 undrafted players that cost less than $5:

Anthony Rendon (231 PPD, 462 points/$2)
Erick Aybar (181 PPD, 362 points/$2)
Howie Kendrick (179 PPD, 358 points/$2)
Jimmy Rollins (167.5 PPD, 335 points/$2)
Ben Revere (163 PPD, 326 points/$2)
Nolan Arenado (156 PPD, 312 points/$2)
Brian Dozier (141 PPD, 423 points/$3)
Brett Gardner (109.67 PPD, 329 points/$3)
Norichika Aoki (97.67 PPD, 293 points/$3)
Adam Eaton (93 PPD, 279 points/$3)

While I’m at it, let’s not leave out a few players that made anyone that owned them pretty unhappy with the dollars they spent. Minimum of 125 games played:

Chris Davis (5.82 PPD, 221 points/$38)
Ryan Braun (10.71 PPD, 332 points/$31)
David Wright (10.32 PPD, 258 points/$25)
Jay Bruce (12.89 PPD, 232 points/$18)
Allen Craig (9.65 PPD, 164 points/$17)

I’ve attached an Excel spreadsheet (below) containing 2014 PPD data. If you know your way around Excel you can make changes to the “H2H Points” worksheet to represent your league’s scoring system and the rest should automatically update. As promised earlier, in the coming weeks I will put together another PPD write-up to help guide you through your 2015 auctions. Also, this post only focused hitters, perhaps if there is enough interest I will “whip” up one on pitchers. Pun intended.

I am working on a way to equate PPD to roto auctions, but that work is highly experimental at the moment. I promise to keep you abreast of any developments.

And lastly I just wanted to list the top three PPG (points per game) players of 2014. They were: Victor Martinez (3.615), Troy Tulowitzki (3.472) and Michael Brantley (3.403).

2014 PPD Excel Spreadsheet Link

If there’s one thing to take from this just remember…

Cash, Rules, Everything, Around, Me
Get the money
Dollar, dollar bill y’all…

  1. Smokey

    Smokey says:

    abc.. PPD the east coast family

    • Gray's Sports Almanac says:

      @Smokey: Never skipped a beat, na
      While cooling on South street

      • malamoney

        malamoney says:

        @Gray’s Sports Almanac:
        Jet black Benz, plenty of friends
        And all the Philly steaks you could eat

  2. McNulty says:

    why don’t you calculate points above replacement?

    • malamoney

      malamoney says:

      @McNulty: Interesting. I have calculated FVAR for roto leagues, but haven’t really attempted to do so for head-to-head points leagues. I’m on it…

  3. CMUTIMMAH says:

    Using this data, you can dig pretty deep. Pulling the Yahoo auction data, bumping the two files together with a vlookup, you’ll be able to identify cost by position. This will then allow you to pull the values from this site to determine where the cost vs point scarcity between player positions. Holy crap… I’m going to get drunk and see if I can determine the vastness of a black hole with all of this data…

    And then I’ll realize that my league is behind the times, without auction, and pass out depressed…

    • Catcher Fever says:

      @CMUTIMMAH: I think eventually most fantasy sports will be auction leagues. It’s the natural progression with dailies, a bit more managing required, and can even extend the “drafting” experience by having player(s) be up for bid for days at a time.

      Maybe similar to the football evolution to PPR.

      • Fuzzy Dunlop says:

        @Catcher Fever: it’ll take much longer than PPR, PPR didn’t make any owner spend that much more time or learn any new skills, auction vs snake draft certain do do that.

    • malamoney

      malamoney says:

      @CMUTIMMAH: What I like most about auctions is the fact that you have the opportunity to get any player. In a snake draft, your only options are those players that are not already off the board. In an auction you can get two or possibly more players that would have gone in the first two rounds of a snake.

  4. Matt says:

    PARPD would seem to make more sense. If waiver-fodder 1B/OF scores 280 points, then Butler’s PARPD becomes ~1, and Trout’s is about 4, Brantley’s projection is also about 4. With just PPD, I’d expect the list to be heavily biased towards cheaper players. Because you pay extra at auction for an incremental performance increase, nobody expects a $30 player to put up double the stats of a $15 player, and definitely not 10 times the stats of a $3 player.

    Or if you want to get fancier, plot 2014 AAV (either for everyone or $5+) vs 2014 points, get a line of best fit, and apply it to see whose 2015 projections offer the most PPD above what you should get from that AAV.

    • malamoney

      malamoney says:

      @Matt: I like it!

    • malamoney

      malamoney says:

      @Matt: And yes, I agree with you about a $30 player not putting up double the stats of a $15 player. However, using PPD you can compare ~$30 players and rank them, helping you figure out which player(s) you want and which you probably do not…

  5. Wallpaper Paterson says:

    #16 on the Royals is fat. He must’ve eaten some live possums before the game that night.

  6. Reno 911 says:

    I’m in exactly this type of league, and think similarily, but instead of straight-up PPD, I try to (roughly) think abut Points-Above-Average-Per-Dollar, because you can’t just have low-dollar, 375-point scorers on your team and win. You have to have some studs, and those guys’ PPD will never be great, but their PAAPD can still be decent (if that makes sense).

    I don’t do any real calculation, but try to stick to this line of thinking during the draft, when offering trades, etc.

    • malamoney

      malamoney says:

      @Reno 911: Do you have any spreadsheets?

  7. thebearproofsuit says:

    Actually you are mistaken, the ESPN website is working just fine (according to their tech support.)

    This is the response I got after asking them for an estimate of when their site would be back:

    “I’m sorry to hear you are having problems with our site. I logged into your account and was not able to duplicate the issue you are experiencing. The website is now back up and running.”

    I think it’s been down for weeks. Kind of a pain in the ass when I’m trying to run a keeper league and hold an expansion draft.

    • malamoney

      malamoney says:

      @thebearproofsuit: TO OUR FANTASY BASEBALL PLAYERS

      Thanks for playing ESPN Fantasy Baseball. We are currently performing routine maintenance and making game improvements to ensure that you’ll have the best experience possible. We’ll keep the inconvenience to a minimum and we appreciate your patience during this update period.

  8. K/9 says:

    I like the idea of PPD but I just have a few concerns with your scoring system. First, I don’t believe a walk or HBP should be valued the same a single. How often does a BB or HBP result in an RBI? Almost never, but a single can produce runs and thus should be valued slightly more. Second, a double should not be valued as 1/2 the point total of a HR and a triple should not be valued as 3/4 the point total of a HR. While they are great, they should not be that closely valued to HRs in this era.

    • malamoney

      malamoney says:

      @K/9: These point values are pretty standard across head-to-head points leagues. How often does a walk or a HBP result in a RBI? Not often. Especially as compared to a single. But if you get a single and an RBI, you get 2 points. One for the single and one for the RBI. The walk or HBP would only net you one point. Basically, it’s one point for each total base. A solo home run is technically 6 points. Four for the home run (4 bases), one for the RBI and one for the run scored.

  9. Fuzzy Dunlop says:

    what leagues were some of those players not even drafted in? my biggest money 10 teamer i’m pretty sure at least half of those guys were (we have deeper benches, but still)

    • Fuzzy Dunlop says:

      @Fuzzy Dunlop: really, i’m thinking only aybar, and aoki were only ones that weren’t drafted.

    • malamoney

      malamoney says:

      @Fuzzy Dunlop: In the spreadsheet take a look at the “2014 ESPN Draft Results” worksheet and sort by the AVG VALUE column in ascending order. Everyone with a $0 price was not drafted in the high percentage of auctions on ESPN in 2014.

  10. Tom says:

    12 team H2H Weekly Points – Roster: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, 4 OF, 1 U, 5 SP, 2 RP (Must be Closers), 5 Bench.

    I am drafting second overall and just wanted some insight as to who I should be targeting. Still go with Stanton in this format? Should I be applying my league’s scoring to Steamer projections to compile rankings? Does your opinion on SP change at all in H2H Points leagues? Thanks!

    Scoring System:
    1B Singles 1 point
    2B Doubles 2 points
    3B Triples 3 points
    BB Walks (Batters) 0.5 points
    CS Caught Stealing -1 point
    CYC Hitting for the Cycle 10 points
    GDP Ground Into Double Plays -0.5 points
    HP Hit by Pitch 0.5 points
    HR Home Runs 4 points
    KO Strikeouts (Batter) -0.5 points
    R Runs 1 point
    RBI Runs Batted In 1 point
    SB Stolen Bases 1 point

    BBI Walks Issued (Pitchers) -0.5 points
    BS Blown Saves -2 points
    CG Complete Games 3 points
    ER Earned Runs -1 point
    HB Hit Batsmen -0.5 points
    INN Innings 1.5 points
    K Strikeouts (Pitcher) 1 point
    L Losses -6 points
    NH No-Hitters 15 points
    PG Perfect Games 20 points
    QS Quality Starts 1 point
    S Saves 6 points
    W Wins 6 points

    • malamoney

      malamoney says:

      @Tom: I would definitely be plugging in my league’s scoring system to Streamer’s projections or whatever set of projections you feel most comfortable with. Sometimes that’s an average of a few sets of projections. Then you can look at what each player’s projected points are. I should have a post coming out in the next week that will make it easy for you to plug you scoring system into Streamer, but in the meantime I did it for you on my laptop. Do pitchers not get penalized for giving up hits in your scoring system? Either way, based on the scoring system you listed here are the top 10 hitters and pitchers based on Streamer’s projections:

      Clayton Kershaw 548.3
      Max Scherzer 512.6
      Felix Hernandez 501.55
      Miguel Cabrera 510.5
      Mike Trout 494.25
      Chris Sale 474.4
      Jose Abreu 470.35
      David Price 468.2
      Jose Bautista 465.5
      Edwin Encarnacion 462.3
      Stephen Strasburg 461.1
      Corey Kluber 459.9
      Madison Bumgarner 459.1
      Giancarlo Stanton 457.8
      Andrew McCutchen 455
      Yu Darvish 454.6
      Jon Lester 444.45
      Anthony Rizzo 443.75
      Adrian Beltre 437.3
      Troy Tulowitzki 437.05

      In my head-to-head points league the scoring system heavily skewed towards pitching. We have +10 for wins and save and only -5 for losses and blown saves. Plus we get a +3 for an inning pitched and +1 for a strikeout. In our league the top pitchers are way more valuable because they put up a lot more points. But… There are way more pitchers than stud hitters. If I had the first pick in a H2H points league, I am taking Kershaw. Then Felix. Then one of Trout, Cabrera or Scherzer. Is this a re-draft league?

      • Tom says:

        @malamoney: Wow thanks for that response! You are correct that there is no penalty for hits allowed. It’s something I’ve brought up before because a pitcher could get rocked but not let up many runs and still have a solid outing.

        We are allowed one keeper each season and I currently have the choice between Kluber in the 20th or Arenado in the 22nd. Last season the top 5 pitchers/hitters looked like this:

        Kershaw 646
        Kluber 619
        Cueto 613.5
        Felix 601.5
        Price 583

        Trout 529.5
        Brantley 516
        V Mart 515.5
        Bautista 497.5
        Miggy 492.5

        I would think Kershaw’s numbers from last season will be hard for him to duplicate, but with Miggy’s health still in question I was thinking I’d start with Kershaw at 2 and Kluber as my keeper and load up on bats from there. The owner at 1 intends on taking Trout.

        • malamoney

          malamoney says:

          @Tom: Yes, take Kershaw and keep Kluber and then you can focus on bats for the next few rounds. In my league we can keep 5 and it doesn’t matter what round. I am keeping Felix, Strasburg, Goldschmidt and Tulo. The last choice is between Braun and Greinke and as much as I love Braun (I’ve had him since the minor leagues), Greinke will score more points.

          Trout is awesome, but I’m taking Kershaw 10 out of 10 times in most H2H points leagues. Not all because some scoring systems do a good job at evening out the points between hitters and pitchers.

          • Tom says:

            @malamoney: Wow that’s a great start. Do you find yourself streaming two start pitchers most weeks in this format as well?

            • malamoney

              malamoney says:

              @Tom: Depends. I mean I usually start Felix, Strasburg and Greinke every week. My 4th spot is up in the air. It depends one the following:

              1. How many starts I am getting out of those 3
              2. Do I have a decent 4th option on my bench (preferably a two-start option)
              3. How many starts my opponent has. If he has a lot and I don’t I will try pretty hard to find a viable two-start streamer.

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