It’s a good time to be a football fan. Training camps start in less than 2 weeks and the NFL Opener is squarely in our sights (just 55 days away…yep, we’re counting!). Consider it a sign that now is a great time to get your fantasy prep in gear.
Of course, any good preparation involves knowing which experts provide the most trusted advice. We’ve detailed this extensively in the past and today we’re excited to unveil the results of our latest accuracy study. Before we get to the results, here are a few notes about our draft accuracy assessment:
- We analyzed the preseason player rankings of over 100 experts this time around (see: methodology). That’s up from 84 experts in 2011 and 34 experts in 2010.
- For the first time, you can view the accuracy of the Expert Consensus (ECR) as well as other popular expert combos that are available in our consensus rankings.
- Now that we have 7 accuracy assessments under our belt (3 for Draft & 4 for In-Season), we’ll be releasing a report of the highest rated experts across the years. Look for that in the next month.
Now for the important part: Below are the most accurate experts from 2012 (full standings here).
Top 10 Draft Experts
|1.||Staff Rankings – FFToolbox||67.4%|
|2.||Derek Lofland – Fantasy Football Maniax||67.4%|
|3.||Pat Fitzmaurice – Pro Football Weekly||66.6%|
|4.||Scott Pianowski – Yahoo! Sports||66.0%|
|5.||Brandon Funston – Yahoo! Sports||65.6%|
|6.||Bob Henry – FootballGuys||65.4%|
|7.||Jamey Eisenberg – CBS Sports||65.3%|
|8.||Mike Harmon – Swollen Dome||65.3%|
|9.||Chet Gresham – The Fake Football||65.1%|
|10.||David Dodds – FootballGuys||64.8%|
- Congratulations to the staff at FFToolbox for putting together the most accurate draft rankings! FFToolbox delivered quality advice across the board, serving as the only site to finish in the top 5 of at least three main positions tracked (QB, RB & WR). It’s easy to look back now in hindsight, but only 19% of fantasy experts had Adrian Peterson rated as a top 10 RB (ACL recovery concerns). FFToolbox was among that group and A.D.’s otherworldly performance certainly propped up their accuracy score. Their staff also showed foresight by rating several top 10 performers (Marshawn Lynch, Jamaal Charles and C.J. Spiller) above the Expert Consensus. In Spiller’s case, only 9% of experts rated the Bills RB ahead of FFToolbox. It didn’t hurt either that FFToolbox downgraded more than a few players that disappointed fantasy owners. This includes Greg Jennings, Donald Brown and Michael Vick. Those decisions ultimately contributed to a well-deserved accuracy title.
- Checking in at #2 in the standings is Derek Lofland (Fantasy Football Maniax). As the top-rated RB expert, Lofland came up big with a number of hits at the position. Perhaps most impressively, he was the only expert to give sleeper Alfred Morris a top 30 RB ranking (Shanahanigans, anyone?). He also came through by slotting C.J. Spiller 13 spots above the Expert Consensus (ahead of all but 2 experts). Lofland gets credit as well for ranking Adrian Peterson above 94% of the experts and for valuing Maurice Jones-Drew lower than all 112 pundits tracked. And, not limiting his quality picks to RBs, Lofland delivered the lowest ranking (QB #13) for Michael Vick and his rating (WR #19) for a rejuvenated Reggie Wayne was highest among the field of experts.
- If you’ve been following our accuracy competitions over the years, Pat Fitzmaurice (Pro Football Weekly) should be a familiar name. Fitzmaurice was a top 5 draft expert in 2010 and he’s had numerous strong showings in our in-season competitions. It therefore comes as little surprise that he came through again in 2012 (#3 Overall, #1 WR expert). On the WR front, Fitzmaurice delivered by ranking the 5 best fantasy performers as well or better than the Expert Consensus. This includes placing Brandon Marshall above most fantasy experts. He also showed well-founded faith in Michael Crabtree (+6 spots vs. consensus) and he correctly steered away (-12 spots vs. consensus) from a pair of disappointing breakthrough candidates: Darrius Heyward-Bey & Robert Meachem. Fitzmaurice also deserves kudos for eyeing Bryce Brown as a potential handcuff, even though many believed the rookie RB would be running 3rd string in Philly. His ranking for Brown (#77) was higher than all other experts.
- It was once again an excellent showing for the Yahoo! Staff in an accuracy competition. Both Scott Pianowski and Brandon Funston finished in the top 10 with their predictions. That makes it six times over the years (out of seven opportunities) where at least one Yahoo! pundit has cracked the top 10 in the accuracy standings. And, in all but one of those six instances, the Yahoo! crew actually had multiple experts finish as top 10 performers. That’s Aaron Rodgers-level consistency.
- One of the most common questions we’ve received in the past is: “Where would the Expert Consensus (ECR) rank in the standings?” You can view the score for ECR as well as how other popular consensus cuts did here (note: free registration is required to view consensus results). Keep in mind that there are literally thousands of possible expert combinations from our consensus rankings so we only rated the most popular ones. This includes a consensus of the top 5 experts from 2011, the top 5 positional experts from 2011 and more. These custom combinations will be available as pre-set filters in our rankings soon.
As always, there were more than a few players that performed above expectations last season. The difference between drafting or passing on those guys would have had a major impact on any team’s fantasy fortunes. Below are the experts that had the best read on these players in the preseason (i.e. they had the player ranked higher than anyone else). ADP data is included in the table below to show you just how far out on a limb each expert went with their ranking.
|Breakout Player||Position||Top Expert(s)||Expert Rank*||ADP*|
|Robert Griffin III||QB||#8||#12|
|Russell Wilson||QB||Brandon Funston (Yahoo! Sports)||#14||#22|
|Alfred Morris||RB||Derek Lofland (Fantasy Football Maniax)||#30||#59|
|C.J. Spiller||RB||Staff Rankings (Draft Calc)||#11||#37|
|Stevan Ridley||RB||Jason Smith (NFL.com)||#14||#26|
|Demaryius Thomas||WR||Paul Greco (FP911)||#8||#18|
|Eric Decker||WR||Jason Wood (FootballGuys)||#12||#26|
|Michael Crabtree||WR||Brett Talley (The Fantasy Fix)||#29||#43|
|Randall Cobb||WR||Staff Rankings (Draft Calc)||#30||#52|
|James Jones||WR||Mike Krueger (FFToday)||#44||#76|
*Ranks & ADP are at the positional level
That does it for our analysis of 2012’s expert draft rankings. Congratulations again to the staff at FFToolbox and the rest of the top 10 experts. If you’d like to view the entire standings, including breakouts by position and IDP, please check out the accuracy section of our site.
Best of luck with your draft prep!