How do you plan to sate your offseason withdrawal? With the Super Bowl over, it might be easy to say that the offseason has officially started-but Vikings fans know it started immediately after (perhaps during?) the wild card playoff game in Lambeau.
If you followed along in my last article, you know that I'm very interested in creating an absurdly difficult but fun fantasy football league that attempts to more realistically simulate the role of a general manager.
I want you to play.
Over the past week, I've done some playtesting and I've rebalanced the scoring system so that the offense and the defense generally score the same amount of points (using averages of the top ten, fifteen or twenty players at each position wherever appropriate) and have the same amount of distinction between the top player and the nearest available replacement (the eleventh player for tight ends, the twenty-first player for receivers, the sixth 4-3 MLB, the sixth 3-4 NT, etc.). The general difference is between 90 points and 110 points when you get rid of outliers (Adrian Peterson, J.J. Watt, Geno Atkins, Evan Mathis, Ryan Wendell, Antoine Winfield and Cameron Wake). The standard deviation among players at a position (if they play a reasonable number of snaps) is similar across different positions.
The 3-4 defense will score a similar amount of points to a 4-3 defense. A smart 4 WR offense will score as much as a smart 2-RB, 2-TE, 1WR offense.
More than that, I have the go-ahead from Pro Football Focus to form these leagues.
These re-balances have changed the scoring system in somewhat significant ways, but hopefully no one has spent time planning their three drafts for this to matter.
Passing TDs: 4
Passing Yard: 0.04
Rushing Yard: 0.12
Rushing TD: 6
Receiving Yard: 0.12
Receiving TD: 6
Run Blocking: 8 times PFF grade
Pass Block Snap: 0.5
Sacks Allowed: -5.5
Hits Allowed: -3.5
Hurries Allowed: -2.5
QB Sack: 4
QB Hit: 3.5
QB Hurry: 2.5
Batted/Defended Pass: 1
Fumble Forced: 1
Fumble Recovered: 2
Missed Tackle: -1.5
TD Allowed in coverage: -4
Yards Allowed in coverage: -0.12
Reception Allowed: -0.75
Coverage Snaps: 0.35
I've tried as much as I can to accomplish the following goals: 1) Balance Offense and Defense 2) Balance 3-4 and 4-3 defenses, 3) Make sure that each position is important, 4) Create consistent scores for offensive and defensive actions (sacks vs. sacks allowed, interceptions created vs. interceptions thrown, etc.), 5) Reduce inconsistency from week to week, 6) Generally reflect performance levels with points.
I've gone back to apply all the numbers to the past three years to produce these results, and they seem to work. There are some odd results where players will outperform their fantasy points (When I started out with balancing, I called it the "Gosder Cherilus problem"), but that happens. Just like Stafford throws a lot of passes and gets more points than his talent, his offensive line is in on a lot of pass blocking snaps and gets points there. CBs who have weak counterparts get more points, and 3-technique defensive tackles score more than 1-tech DTs or NTs.
Other quirks in the system include the fact that while 3-4 defenses generally score a little bit less than 4-3 defenses, the best 3-4 defense every week will generally outperform the best 4-3 defense every week. In each year, the "most valuable" position has been different on offense, with the greatest difference between points for fantasy starters and replacement-level players changing from tight end and quarterback in 2011 to guards in 2012. Tackles have usually least amount of starter vs. replacement player difference in general, but the difference between the top quarterback and a replacement QB changes drastically by year-it was the second-biggest difference in 2011, but the smallest difference in 2012.
3-4 defenses usually get saddled with a poor-performing defensive line, but have an extra inside linebacker to make up for it—and inside linebackers score the most of any player in the game (outscoring quarterbacks by about seven points a game in 2012).
The biggest difference-makers, however, are players who put up numbers regardless of position. The most valuable player race in this contest will always be the player who scores the highest difference between his points and a replacement-level player, divided by the cap space they cost from their contract.
The best GM Salary Cap League performers of 2012:
Geno Atkins: $658k - 172.5 points of difference (261.4 difference per million)
Evan Mathis: $2 million - 325.4 points of difference (162.7 difference per million)
Lavonte David: $631k -100.55 points of difference (159.6 dpm)
J.J Watt: $2.5 million - 343.5 points of difference (137.4 dpm)
Ryan Wendell: $950k - 121.1 points of difference (127.5 dpm)
Surprisingly, Geno Atkins ran away with the MVP award, and it's not close. As a defensive tackle who's intuitive against the run, but absolutely dominating with pressure in the passing game, Atkins was primed to put up points in this system.
In 2011, the GM Salary Cap League MVPs were:
Evan Mathis: $580k - 213.3 points of difference (367.79 dpm)
NaVorro Bowman: $630k - 135.39 points of difference (214.9 dpm)
Calais Campbell: $930k - 159.7 points of difference (171.72 dpm)
LeSean McCoy: $870k - 148.07 points of difference (170.2 dpm)
Geno Atkins: $570k - 75.5 points of difference (132.46 dpm)
Rob Gronkowski: $1.7 million - 231.62 points of difference (136.25 dpm)
It was difficult to separate Gronkowski and Atkins, so I included both. You'll notice that Evan Mathis' totals were ungodly, and it continues to be the case that he's the best guard in the league (for the low, low price of $2 million in 2012, but $4 million in 2013, and $6 million in 2014). The only repeat performers were Atkins and Mathis, but that is largely because McCoy, Campbell, Gronkowski and Bowman signed new contracts. Aside from McCoy, they still all performed at a high level in 2012.
Anyone who would want to pick up Atkins should know that his cap hit will more than double for 2013 from $660k to $1.54 million in 2013. Then his contract ends, and he'll likely sign a very lucrative deal to start his 2014 year.
All sorts of moving parts and calculations will have to be made if you want to join this league, and that's what makes it fun. Will Geno Atkins will be worth keeping after he signs a new contract? What about Evan Mathis' escalating deal?
You can see why rookies are so valuable. At the same time, the cap space ($135 million in 2013) will allow you to sign some high-priced, high-performing players to round out your roster while you try to identify rookie and sophomore talent.
If anyone wants a refresher on the rules, take a look here.
People who want to join, please email me at GMSalaryCapLeague@gmail.com.
Free agency in the real NFL begins March 12th (the official end of the season), although teams can legally start contacting free agents to begin negotiations on March 9th. Expect a few deals to be announced at 4:00 PM (Eastern Time) on March 12th because of that (also because of illegal contact as well). I mention this because it'll be important to hold the first of the three drafts at the beginning of April, when the relevant free agents will all have signed.
The first draft will be a 'slow draft' that will take place over a few days, so no one has to devote a single chunk of time to an exhausting draft. Each league can do two rounds a day over the period of a day, with the first pick due at a later-to-be-determined time, like 10:00 AM the day of the draft, and every pick due an hour thereafter (not an hour after the previous pick is in, but an hour after the previous pick is due, so in this case 11:00 AM)
Right now, I feel like I have enough interest to form three leagues, although I can arrange more if enough people chime in.
All the leagues will be for stakes. One league will have a buy-in of $15, another of $50 and a third league will have a $100 buy-in. If there's not enough interest in the $100 league, we can decrease buy-ins to increase interest. Each league will have 8-12 people. No one will be asked to pay until August, before the third draft (and no one will be asked to pay for a league that isn't complete). I'll be in constant contact with league members.
Everything will be handled through LeagueSafe.com, a pretty fantastic service that provides free handling of league fees, but will charge for late deposit and a small amount to winners ($1.50 for a paper check with your earnings mailed to you, $7.00 to rush that check or $5.00 to deposit directly into your account). Thanks to cbspga to turning me towards this option. I've used it before, and it works out well.
If you want to be in the same league as another member of DN, be sure to note that in the email. If you are teaming up with someone (as manuel.niederl mentioned he was interested in doing), let me know in that email as well.
This league will be run through Google Docs, Gmail, and Google Groups and I will handle all the scoring and scheduling details. If there are enough people in the league, I'll provide weekly reports on player totals, including weekly MVPs, top performers, etc. The waiver system, questions to the commissioner, etc. can be handled through Google Groups, while lineups and scoring will be handled through Google Docs. Each owner will have their own spreadsheet that they share with me (a non-playing commissioner), and there will be a public spreadsheet with all of the updated lineups, the schedule, standings, etc.
Everyone who joins will be given a full slate of relevant statistics from 2012 and 2011, and a spreadsheet that has all the 2013 cap hits to help make their decisions. For rookies in 2013, we'll use the 2012 rookie cap hit scale, and multiply by 1.0033, as that is how the CBA proposes the rookie salary cap increases by—proportional to the NFL salary cap.
Again, if you want to join, email me at GMSalaryCapLeague@gmail.com with your name, the google account you will be using for the league, and which buy-in level you are comfortable with. If you have any questions, concerns or comments, be sure to tell me below!