The Most Accurate Fantasy Football Draft Rankings

Jul 1, 2014

Fantasy Football Draft Accuracy

In the world of fantasy football, everyone can use a little advice from time to time. Whether you’re a beginner or a fantasy vet, you’ll inevitably face a “Who should I draft…?” dilemma. And it will probably happen multiple times. Mess up and you’re stuck with a team headlined by guys like Trent Richardson and David Wilson. That’s not good for anyone…except your opponents.

Fortunately, there’s no shortage of fantasy experts willing to help out. But who offers the best advice? We’ve evaluated the draft rankings of 130 experts to find out the answer. Beyond having the intel on last year’s top pundits, we’ve also crunched the numbers to determine who the most accurate experts are over the past 4 seasons. In NFL years, that’s pretty much an eternity considering it dates back to when both Peyton Hillis and Brandon Lloyd were fantasy relevant!

Without further ado, below are the experts with the top draft rankings. You can view the full 2013 standings over in our accuracy section along with our entire multi-year accuracy leaderboard.

Top 5 Draft Experts in 2013

*Combine top experts into a cheat sheet | *Mock Draft against the experts

  Rank   Expert   PAY™
 1.  Scott Pianowski – Yahoo! Sports  65.7%
 2.  Walter Cherepinsky – Walter Football  65.3%
 3.  Joseph Dolan – Fantasy Guru  63.9%
 4.  John Paulsen – 4for4.com  63.5%
 5.  Sablich Brothers – The New York Times  63.5%

 View the entire field of 130 experts

Notes

  • Congratulations to Scott Pianowski (Yahoo! Sports) for putting together 2013’s most accurate draft rankings. If you’ve been following our accuracy competitions, you know Pianowski has consistently performed well. He’s now the only expert to have finished first in one of our Draft contests (this year) and In-Season accuracy competitions (2011). As far as where Pianowski got things right in 2013, he came through at RB (2nd highest rating), which is arguably the most important position for fantasy owners. He was notably higher than the Expert Consensus on several players that outperformed expectations: Joique Bell (+12 spots vs. consensus), Le’Veon Bell (+9 spots vs. consensus) and Zac Stacy (+8 spots vs. consensus). Pianowski also had his share of good WR picks. He showed foresight by ranking up-and-comer, Terrance Williams, above 95% of experts. He was also one of just 5 writers (out of 130) to rank breakthrough stud, Antonio Brown, as a top 14 wideout. It didn’t hurt either that Pianowski downgraded several notable players across positions that disappointed fantasy owners. Only 5 experts had Arian Foster rated outside of RB1 status and Pianowski was one of them. He also delivered the lowest rating (his WR #24) for Marques Colston and was lower on Montee Ball (his RB #35) than all but a handful of pundits.
  • Our runner-up (Walter Cherepinsky from Walter Football) is a guy who is widely respected for his NFL draft coverage. That makes it fitting that Walter Football offers top notch fantasy draft rankings as well. Arguably Cherepinsky’s best pick was his decision to rank a rejuvenated Knowshon Moreno (his RB #32) as a viable fantasy back. Only 1 expert was higher on Moreno, who turned out to be one of the best surprises of the season. Cherepinsky also had a good read on what Josh Gordon and Alshon Jeffery might become for fantasy owners. His rankings for both players were above 90% of experts. He also gets credit for delivering the industry’s lowest rankings to 2 notable under-acheivers: Doug Martin (his RB #9) and Matt Ryan (his QB #12).
  • Kudos to the Sablich Brothers (The New York Times) for cracking the upper end of our leaderboard once again. The bros’ Sablich have now rated in the top five in 4 of the 6 accuracy competitions they’ve competed in. They’re also the only experts to score in the top five of 2013’s Draft contest and 2013’s In-season accuracy competition. How’s that for a good year of fantasy advice?

Top 5 Draft Experts from 2010-2013

*Combine top experts into a cheat sheet | *Mock Draft against the experts

  Rank   Expert   PAY™
 1.  Jamey Eisenberg (CBS Sports)  64.1%
 2.  Scott Pianowski – Yahoo! Sports  64.0%
 3.  David Dodds – FootballGuys  63.8%
 4.  Pat Fitzmaurice – The Football Girl  63.6%
 5.  Staff – FFToolbox  63.2%

View the entire field of experts 

We’ve been tracking draft accuracy since 2010 so we have an increasingly good view of who the most accurate experts are. From a multi-year standpoint, no one we’ve monitored over the past 4 years has given better draft advice than Jamey Eisenberg (CBS Sports). Eisenberg’s advice was on display last year with his WR picks as he rated 8 of the NFL’s  top 10 fantasy wideouts as well or better than the Expert Consensus. This includes favorable rankings for Alshon Jeffery (+6 spots vs. consensus), Josh Gordon (+5 spots vs. consensus) and Eric Decker (+5 spots vs. consensus). Eisenberg also correctly predicted that Mike Wallace would be in for a rocky transition in Miami. His ranking (WR #34) for the Dolphins’ wideout was lower than all but 4 experts.

If you’re curious about how the experts have fared over different time frames, we have that info available too (see links below). Note that there is a benefit to looking at the more recent views (e.g. 2 or 3 years) because these cuts include a deeper pool of experts.

2 year Accuracy Ratings (2012-2013)
3 year Accuracy Ratings (2011-2013)
4 Year Accuracy Ratings (2010-2013)

Surprise Players

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.

 Player   Position   Top Expert(s) Expert Rank* ADP*
 Knowshon Moreno  RB  Adam Rank – NFL.com  28 47
 Eddie Lacy  RB  13 21
 Zac Stacy  RB  Michael Sherman – Fantasy Team Advice  37 56
 Danny Woodhead  RB  Matt Waldman – FootballGuys  29 41
 Josh Gordon  WR  Staff – Draft Calc  16 38
 Alshon Jeffery  WR  Site Projections – scoutPRO  33 47
 Keenan Allen  WR  Keet Bailey – Breaking Football  44 84
 Julian Edelman  WR  Davis Mattek – Sports Wunderkind  46 73
 Riley Cooper  WR  Michael Pichan – Fantasy Alarm  45 76
 Julius Thomas  TE  Staff – Draft Calc  7  20
 Jordan Cameron  TE  Jeff Boggis – Fantasy Football Empire  5 11
 Philip Rivers  QB  Staff – KFFL  15 23

*Ranks & ADP are at the positional level

Busts

On the flip side, here are the notable disappointments from 2013 along with the experts that went against popular opinion with their rankings. Note that some players (e.g. Doug Martin) are not listed if their seasons were completely derailed by an unforeseen injury.

*Warning: Cover your eyes if you drafted any of these guys last year. Giants’ fans may want to do the same.

 Player   Position   Top Expert(s) Expert Rank* ADP*
 Trent Richardson  RB  Brandon Funston – Yahoo! Sports 14 8
 Ray Rice  RB  Zach Greubel – Gridiron Experts 15 7
 David Wilson  RB  Darren Collette – Gridiron Experts 31 16
 Lamar Miller  RB  KJ – Fantasy Team Advice 31 22
 Daryl Richardson  RB  Jonathan Bales – Fantasy Football Drafting 56 28
 C.J. Spiller  RB  Dave Major – XN Sports 20 5
 Arian Foster  RB  Davis Mattek – Sports Wunderkind 17 3
 Roddy White  WR  Site Projections – scoutPRO  20 9
 Danny Amendola  WR  Matt Waldman – FootballGuys  47  15
 Victor Cruz  WR  Darren Collette – Gridiron Experts  23 12
 Hakeem Nicks  WR  Staff – Fantasy Knuckleheads  36  19
 Dwayne Bowe  WR  Michael Pichan – Fantasy Alarm  36 13
 Matt Ryan  QB  Walter Cherepinsky – Walter Football  12 6
 Robert Griffin III  QB  Too many experts to fit in this space  13 9

*Ranks & ADP are at the positional level

That wraps up our analysis of the experts’ draft accuracy. Congratulations again to Scott Pianowski, Jamey Eisenberg and the rest of the top 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.

Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook to stay on top of our latest updates. We’ll have plenty in store leading up to and during the football season. Stay tuned!

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3Michael Thomas (NO)WR
4Tyreek Hill (KC)WR
5Damien Williams (KC)RB
6Julian Edelman (NE)WR
7Robert Woods (LAR)WR
8Brandin Cooks (LAR)WR
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17Chris Conley (KC)WR
18Ted Ginn (NO)WR
19Phillip Dorsett (NE)WR
20Keith Kirkwood (NO)WR
21Spencer Ware (KC)RB
22Chris Hogan (NE)WR
23Tre'Quan Smith (NO)WR
24Cordarrelle Patterson (NE)WR
25Rob Gronkowski (NE)TE
26Gerald Everett (LAR)TE
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28James Develin (NE)RB
29John Kelly (LAR)RB
30Austin Carr (NO)WR
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3Jose Ramirez (CLE)2B,3B
4Francisco Lindor (CLE)SS
5Nolan Arenado (COL)3B
6J.D. Martinez (BOS)LF,RF
7Max Scherzer (WSH)SP
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16Bryce Harper (FA)CF,RF
17Aaron Judge (NYY)RF,DH
18Paul Goldschmidt (STL)1B
19Freddie Freeman (ATL)1B,3B
20Giancarlo Stanton (NYY)LF,RF
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22Justin Verlander (HOU)SP
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