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The Stategist

As many of you know, there is a group of Footballguys, myself included, that take great pleasure in the use of statistical analysis as a means to succeed in fantasy football. Traditionally, we do much of our work leading up to the draft, using historical trends analysis and number crunching to help fine tune our annual projections for players and teams. But statistical analysis can, when used in conjunction with logical reasoning and sound football acumen, be useful during the season, as well. With that in mind, I will attempt to address some relevant in-season issues each and every week, with a statistical slant of course…


A Look At Cumulative Value

This week an interesting discussion arose on our message board. Someone asked about the value of the 1st overall pick in 2006 redraft leagues; specifically asking how much you would be willing to give up for the right to pick LaDainian Tomlinson. As one might expect, a great many people chimed in that they would be willing to give up a small king's ransom for the chance to grab Tomlinson first overall. While I don't have an issue with taking Tomlinson 1st overall next year [presuming he's healthy of course], I DID take issue with how overwhelming people perceived the value of the 1st overall pick. My counter was…"I wouldn't give up much because I bet I could acquire the 2nd overall pick for much less and come away with near equivalent value in Shaun Alexander."

Some were surprised by this and specifically, someone commented that "he hasn't been at the level of LT for the same number of years."

This struck me as noteworthy for two reasons. 1) Alexander and Tomlinson have both been full time starters since the beginning of the 2001 season, and 2) Alexander has been exceptionally productive over that span.

In fact, here are the cumulative numbers of both backs from 2001-2005 [Week 13]

  • L. Tomlinson - 9,431 yards rushing/receiving & 78 TDs [rush/rec]
  • S. Alexander - 8,332 yards rushing/receiving & 92 TDs [rush/rec]

Using conventional scoring [1 pt per 10 yards rush/rec, 6 pts per rush/rec TD]…this equates to:

  • L. Tomlinson - 1,411.1 fantasy points
  • S. Alexander - 1,385.2 fantasy points

While Tomlinson HAS been the better player these last five years statistically, Alexander is much closer than he's given credit for. In fact, Tomlinson has only scored 1.9% more fantasy points in the last FIVE seasons…less than 0.5% differential on an annualized basis.

For fun [and because the Data Dominator does the heavy lifting], this got me wondering about the best players cumulatively over the last few seasons. Using the Data Dominator, we can easily look back to the 2002 season [i.e., almost four years]…let's take a look at the top performers at each position, shall we?


Quarterback (QB) - Cumulative Fantasy Points [2002-2005]

Rk
Quarterback
PassYds
PaTDs
INTs
Rush
RuYds
RuTDs
FanPts
1
Peyton Manning
15902
130
47
112
244
2
1304.3
2
Daunte Culpepper
13552
86
57
277
1575
17
1224.1
3
Trent Green
15203
90
51
104
447
2
1125.9
4
Aaron Brooks
13556
83
56
200
880
10
1101.8
5
Tom Brady
14335
97
50
138
256
2
1092.4
6
Brett Favre
14032
107
75
72
171
0
1071.7
7
Donovan McNabb
11896
80
34
196
1096
13
1067.7
8
Matt Hasselbeck
12962
78
49
129
535
5
994.6
9
Jake Plummer
11710
75
54
169
818
7
955.5
10
Drew Bledsoe
12805
71
54
93
177
6
924.0
11
Kerry Collins
13770
69
61
87
117
1
921.2
12
Marc Bulger
11934
71
51
66
179
8
896.0
13
Steve McNair
10506
68
40
162
800
9
891.7
14
Drew Brees
11323
75
49
120
307
3
877.8
15
Michael Vick
7626
46
32
344
2408
16
870.1
16
David Carr
10024
45
51
198
1013
6
767.5
17
Jeff Garcia
8457
50
35
167
883
13
754.8
18
Jake Delhomme
9795
66
44
83
141
2
735.9
19
Joey Harrington
9678
56
61
105
346
0
682.3
20
Chad Pennington
8440
52
31
88
240
5
653.0
21
Brad Johnson
8619
59
32
59
136
0
648.6
22
Byron Leftwich
7848
43
32
92
323
6
600.7
23
Jon Kitna
7373
46
34
70
208
4
563.5
24
Brian Griese
7793
47
40
81
152
1
558.9
25
Mark Brunell
6912
42
16
94
389
1
542.5
26
Rich Gannon
6476
35
16
61
198
3
485.6
27
Tommy Maddox
6936
41
39
45
100
0
481.8
28
Carson Palmer
6044
44
25
45
68
2
472.0
29
Jay Fiedler
5443
33
30
73
259
6
436.1
30
Vinny Testaverde
6114
26
31
32
79
3
404.6
31
Patrick Ramsey
5532
33
29
40
83
2
399.9
32
Quincy Carter
5223
27
30
104
373
2
388.5
33
Kurt Warner
6191
19
23
28
88
1
377.4
34
Josh McCown
4824
22
26
81
384
3
359.6
35
Ben Roethlisberger
4323
32
18
75
203
2
358.5
36
Jeff Blake
4418
26
27
72
292
3
345.1
37
Kyle Boller
4662
23
27
94
287
1
332.8
38
Kelly Holcomb
4131
31
24
28
9
0
307.5
39
Tim Couch
4156
25
24
32
103
1
299.8
40
Eli Manning
3855
26
21
25
102
0
286.0

Thoughts…

  • Peyton Manning is top the rankings and no one is surprised
  • Daunte Culpepper, a fantasy machine, remains in the 2nd spot despite a horrible start to 2005 and a season-ending injury mid-season
  • Trent Green is the surprising #3 further adding to his reputation as fantasy football's least appreciated passer
  • Aaron Brooks 4th place ranking epitomizes the notion that fantasy value is NOT equivalent to NFL value
  • This is probably the only time you'll ever see Joey Harrington listed above Carson Palmer and Eli Manning in any fantasy-related list again

Running Back (RB) - Cumulative Fantasy Points [2002-2005]

Rk
Running Back
Rush
RuYds
RuTD
Rec
RecYd
RecTD
FanPts
1
LaDainian Tomlinson
1282
5827
61
273
1994
8
1214.7
2
Shaun Alexander
1255
5700
68
134
975
8
1123.5
3
Priest Holmes
939
4338
68
181
1730
5
1044.8
4
Tiki Barber
1154
5356
32
222
1964
4
945.0
5
Clinton Portis
1156
5495
41
135
1094
4
932.7
6
Edgerrin James
1217
5117
34
191
1368
2
863.5
7
Ahman Green
974
4549
29
166
1181
8
800.0
8
Jamal Lewis
1131
5029
29
108
905
2
779.4
9
Deuce McAllister
1034
4436
33
166
1196
3
778.2
10
Curtis Martin
1169
4807
26
155
979
2
746.6
11
Fred Taylor
1034
4708
18
142
1178
2
707.6
12
Warrick Dunn
846
3870
22
139
1174
5
666.4
13
Corey Dillon
938
3997
29
83
609
1
638.6
14
Ricky Williams
861
3565
28
112
801
2
615.6
15
Domanick Davis
745
3056
23
147
1226
4
588.2
16
Rudi Johnson
847
3559
30
58
322
0
568.1
17
Brian Westbrook
498
2227
13
179
1738
14
563.8
18
Marshall Faulk
644
2699
21
202
1322
5
556.1
19
Travis Henry
802
3337
23
87
564
2
539.1
20
Michael Pittman
672
2743
9
199
1684
6
529.7
21
Kevan Barlow
751
3067
20
113
866
2
523.3
22
Thomas Jones
751
3095
18
120
836
0
500.1
23
Stephen Davis
722
2882
27
44
378
1
493.0
24
Jerome Bettis
749
2601
32
30
229
0
479.5
25
Duce Staley
594
2463
12
98
1016
5
449.9
26
Eddie George
782
2613
21
67
501
2
449.4
27
Antowain Smith
686
2621
15
74
533
2
417.4
28
T.J. Duckett
514
2124
28
27
218
0
401.2
29
Charlie Garner
331
1626
10
148
1394
5
391.0
30
Lamont Jordan
455
1835
18
104
866
2
389.1
31
Reuben Droughns
527
2298
9
77
681
5
381.9
32
Michael Bennett
500
2278
8
88
778
4
377.6
33
Moe Williams
298
1323
19
121
1125
3
376.8
34
Larry Johnson
360
1763
21
45
509
2
365.2
35
Emmitt Smith
605
2185
16
45
303
0
348.9
36
Willis McGahee
547
2160
17
41
306
0
348.6
37
Marcel Shipp
526
1980
6
97
817
3
332.7
38
Anthony Thomas
608
2201
13
52
336
0
330.7
39
Chris Brown
457
2016
11
51
486
2
328.2
40
Garrison Hearst
413
1821
12
75
548
2
319.9
41
Amos Zereoue
442
1628
9
121
940
0
310.8
42
Mike Anderson
354
1493
15
45
408
5
309.1
43
Kevin Faulk
308
1223
4
128
1224
4
290.7
44
William Green
562
2092
9
45
277
0
289.9
45
Steven Jackson
337
1542
11
59
488
2
281.0
46
Mike Alstott
266
921
15
91
665
2
260.6
47
Kevin Jones
400
1656
10
46
278
1
259.4
48
Chester Taylor
333
1462
4
95
658
3
252.0
49
Julius Jones
381
1462
10
45
304
0
236.6
50
Tyrone Wheatley
352
1421
10
39
269
0
229.0

Thoughts…

  • This list has a precipitous drop-off point fairly quickly, emphasizing how uncommon it is for RBs of any caliber to maintain a high level of performance beyond a few year span
  • Tomlinson, Alexander and Holmes shouldn't be surprising…but I would bet very few people would've named Tiki Barber as the 4th most productive RB over the last four seasons
  • This is probably the only time you'll ever see Travis Henry listed above Larry Johnson, Willis McGahee and Steven Jackson in any fantasy-related list again

Wide Receiver (WR) - Cumulative Fantasy Points [2002-2005]

Rk
Name
Recs
RecYd
RecTD
FanPts
1
Marvin Harrison
388
4965
46
762.8
2
Torry Holt
377
5385
33
727.8
3
Randy Moss
310
4514
42
701.8
4
Terrell Owens
304
4365
42
694.9
5
Chad Johnson
325
4934
31
676.1
6
Hines Ward
343
4292
35
658.0
7
Joe Horn
297
4199
29
590.1
8
Derrick Mason
332
4216
22
547.4
9
Donald Driver
273
3800
25
534.8
10
Reggie Wayne
260
3623
28
522.9
11
Chris Chambers
246
3438
26
516.9
12
Rod Smith
305
3819
20
509.2
13
Muhsin Muhammad
258
3633
25
507.6
14
Plaxico Burress
237
3859
22
505.2
15
Santana Moss
216
3494
25
503.8
16
Jimmy Smith
255
3739
21
493.1
17
Isaac Bruce
259
3712
21
490.0
18
Laveranues Coles
319
4039
14
486.4
19
Eddie Kennison
222
3654
19
484.4
20
Darrell Jackson
246
3589
22
483.2
21
Eric Moulds
305
3592
19
468.8
22
Amani Toomer
239
3623
18
462.0
23
Keyshawn Johnson
246
3268
20
440.4
24
Steve Smith
230
3231
20
436.7
25
Joey Galloway
191
3071
21
431.7
26
Keenan McCardell
224
2907
22
416.5
27
Jerry Porter
199
2817
23
415.1
28
Drew Bennett
188
2780
18
390.2
29
Donte Stallworth
177
2536
22
385.8
30
Anquan Boldin
225
2988
14
383.6
31
Javon Walker
156
2419
22
367.1
32
Antonio Bryant
188
2799
15
366.2
33
Koren Robinson
190
2923
12
364.0
34
Ashley Lelie
157
2798
12
360.2
35
Marty Booker
222
2926
12
359.7
36
Peerless Price
209
2756
15
357.2
37
Terry Glenn
179
2808
14
357.0
38
Rod Gardner
190
2344
19
349.5
39
Dennis Northcutt
181
2447
11
334.3
40
Deion Branch
200
2551
13
329.2
41
Justin McCareins
152
2418
14
324.2
42
Andre Johnson
190
2606
11
321.8
43
Travis Taylor
172
2382
11
315.4
44
Jerry Rice
185
2501
12
315.1
45
Marcus Robinson
126
1784
22
307.4
46
Brandon Stokley
148
2036
16
300.9
47
T.J. Houshmandzadeh
170
2213
10
297.6
48
Johnnie Morton
154
2192
8
290.9
49
Larry Fitzgerald
140
1908
15
286.3
50
Bobby Engram
189
2318
9
280.8

Thoughts…

  • Derrick Mason (7th) and Chris Chambers (11th) are mild surprises among the top 12; a testament to their health and consistency more than their ability to perform at truly elite levels in any given season
  • Marvin Harrison has been a man among boys, staying healthy and out of trouble unlike other elite counterparts Terrell Owens and Randy Moss
  • Eddie Kennison at 19th makes a case for his being the most underappreciated fantasy receiver of the new millennium
  • This is probably the only time you'll ever see Dennis Northcutt listed above Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh in any fantasy-related list again


Tight End (TE) - Cumulative Fantasy Points [2002-2005]

Rk
Name
Recs
RecYd
RecTD
FanPts
1
Tony Gonzalez
294
3586
26
510.1
2
Jeremy Shockey
233
2828
17
376.8
3
Antonio Gates
168
2232
23
361.2
4
Alge Crumpler
181
2466
19
356.6
5
Todd Heap
207
2459
16
331.8
6
Randy McMichael
207
2325
15
318.3
7
Marcus Pollard
142
1693
17
268.3
8
Jason Witten
172
1891
10
246.1
9
Bubba Franks
143
1251
19
241.7
10
Shannon Sharpe
123
1456
11
207.6
11
Daniel Graham
98
1153
15
205.3
12
L.J. Smith
114
1273
9
180.3
13
Erron Kinney
133
1285
8
176.5
14
Dallas Clark
83
1149
9
167.9
15
Jermaine Wiggins
142
1329
6
165.9
16
Itula Mili
112
1240
7
162.0
17
Freddie Jones
144
1301
6
157.1
18
Jerramy Stevens
96
1107
8
156.7
19
Billy Miller
108
1146
7
153.6
20
Chris Cooley
91
943
9
148.3
21
Christian Fauria
74
757
12
147.7
22
Doug Jolley
107
1181
5
147.1
23
Boo Williams
87
941
9
146.1
24
Matt Schobel
83
866
9
139.6
25
Ernie Conwell
83
976
6
138.6
26
Chad Lewis
97
997
7
137.7
27
Steve Heiden
99
879
8
134.9
28
Anthony Becht
94
775
10
134.5
29
Mark Campbell
91
846
9
133.6
30
Kyle Brady
97
943
7
131.3
31
Jim Kleinsasser
101
949
5
127.1
32
Ken Dilger
95
918
6
125.8
33
Eric Johnson
118
1146
2
125.6
34
Desmond Clark
93
955
5
123.5
35
Stephen Alexander
101
1002
3
115.2
36
Jeb Putzier
71
1003
2
111.3
37
Kris Mangum
82
820
5
109.0
38
Mikhael Ricks
65
780
5
103.0
39
Chris Baker
52
602
5
90.2
40
Brandon Manumaleuna
62
616
5
88.8

Thoughts…

  • Gonzo is the runaway favorite, no surprise
  • Shockey, Gates and Heap are all top 5 despite missing time over the 4-year span [in Gates' case due to not yet being a starter]
  • Shannon Sharpe's top 10 position despite retirement speaks to his HOF value AND the relative ineptitude at the position despite the resurgence in recent years at the top of the group

Have a Great Week!


Notes:
1) All fantasy point production assumes the Footballguys Scoring System:

  • 1 point per 25 yards passing
  • 1 point per 10 yards receiving or rushing
  • 4 points per passing TD
  • 6 points per rushing or receiving TD
  • -1 per interception thrown

2) Special thanks to Doug Drinen for providing the relevant statistical databases

3) Feel free to contact me (wood@footballguys.com) if you wish to discuss this column further or share other ideas for future issues

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