Why Build the Draft Tool???

For the 2017 season, we will be releasing a draft tool free of charge; simply asking for donations. As the season approaches, I will be posting articles about the tool to help you get a better idea of what it can do and how I recommend that you use it. I’m aiming to have a live version released by the third week in June.

The below has been adapted from the 2016 user guide and provides a solid overview of what the tool is all about.

Building things in Excel is one of my favorite things to do and as I’m obsessed with fantasy football it first started out as a fun project. However, after working through countless iterations of the tool I arrived at something that I found to be extremely useful. Further, I was able to build a tool that was entirely focused on my drafting philosophy and that provided me with the data that I wanted and only the data that I wanted.

Many of the tools that were available when I first started working on it basically did two things:

  1. Centered around Value Based Drafting(VBD)
    1. I believe this approach to be misguided, antiquated and one that removes so many important levels of context from the draft, check out our podcast episode on VBD for further information
  2. I did experiment with VBD in the past but the more research and building that I did the further I wanted to distance myself from it
  3. Told you which players to draft
    1. Many of these tools had lots of ‘Bells and Whistles’ and would tell you who to draft
    2. But there were a couple of problems with this
    3. In many cases the recommendations were simply based off order of expert rankings
  4. This misses so many elements of roster construction, opportunity cost and holistic perspective
  5. Further, they provided little context as to why the players were being recommended and how they would fit into your team
  6. As far as I could tell, they did little to consider the players you had already drafted
  7. Or some were basically just recommending the player with the highest amount of projected points

If you’ve listened to the podcast or read any of my work, you’ll understand how important I believe roster construction to be. By roster construction, I mean the way in which you are building your team and allocating roster spots and players to positions. While assembling a team, you need to think through league specifics, how many players will be usable at each position in comparison to the number that will be drafted and when and where you want to absorb risk.

For this reason, I started working on the tool and eventually arrived at the configuration we see today. For purposes of brevity, I wanted something that would organize all pertinent data into one screen while removing noise. I wanted a tool that focused on tiers, providing an efficient way to absorb the quality of available players in total, at each position and owned by each team. I view the players in a single tier and at a single position as representing a similar range of outcomes that incorporate upside, risk, situation, opportunity, age etc.

A tier boils all of these considerations down into a single metric (check out this post for an expanded discussion). This streamlines drafting and the decisions that you will make while doing so. I personally, will never include projections in the tool as they are ‘fake’ and can easily lead us into making irrational and sub-optimal decisions. This is a harder trap to succumb to when using tiers as you are focusing less on individual players and more on the tiers. Listen to the podcast for a more detailed description of what I mean. Finally, I wanted a tool that would make it easy to see how other teams were constructing their rosters.

One screen, lots of context, quicker, organized, more informed decisions. Flexibility, adaptability, insight, empowerment. That’s pretty much what the tool is all about; giving users the information they need in an easy to digest format so that they can make their own deliberate, thought out and informed decisions.

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