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Most Accurate Fantasy Baseball Experts (2021)

Most Accurate Fantasy Baseball Experts (2021)

After a few months of uncertainty, the MLB and MLBPA finally agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement, so we can breathe a sigh of relief that baseball will indeed be happening this year, almost on time. That means we get to dive into fantasy draft prep with confidence that the time won’t be wasted. Perhaps the most important part of preparing for your draft is figuring out who to listen to. Here at FantasyPros we like to take a scientific approach to fantasy, which means measuring whose advice actually turns out to be good. To that end, we track the accuracy of every set of expert rankings we can find. There is a strong year-over-year correlation for that accuracy, so looking at 2021’s most accurate experts is a great way to know who to listen to in 2022.

Methodology

I won’t bore you with the full detail on how we evaluate rankings here, but if your reaction to that is “bore? that sounds great!” you can check out the full breakdown. Here’s the short-ish version:

  1. Collect rankings. We hold on to the last set of draft rankings each expert published before opening day, to ensure an even playing field with respect to injury updates and the like.
  2. Determine the player pool. We rank players based on their performance in a standard 5×5 categories league, those categories being H, R, RBI, SB and AVG for hitters, and W, SV, K, ERA and WHIP for hitters. We include players who were ranked highly in the preseason or who finished highly, so breakout players and surprise busts are counted. The number of players varies by position. For example, we looked at the top 50 outfielders in the preseason Expert Consensus Rankings, and the top 50 outfielders in year-end finish. There’s quite a bit of overlap, so the total in 2021 was 72 outfielders.
  3. Rate the accuracy of rankings by calculating the “accuracy gap” of each individual rank. We interpret a rank as a prediction for that player’s VORP – Value Over Replacement Player – and compare that prediction to the actual result. If the accuracy gap – the difference between predicted and actual VORP – is low, that’s a good ranking.
  4. For each position, add together the accuracy gaps for every qualified player, to get an expert’s accuracy for that position.
  5. We add together the positional accuracy gap totals to get an overall score for an expert’s accuracy. Each player is given equal weight, so the relative importance of each position in the overalls standings is determined by the number of players in that position (so OF and SP are naturally more important than RP and C, for example).

Without further ado, it’s time to look at the results!

Overall 2021 Accuracy Standings

See the full field of experts (59 total) | Combine top experts into consensus rankings

This year’s winner is Dalton Del Don from Yahoo. If you’ve been with us for a while, that name should be familiar. He ranked second in last year’s competition. Dalton is a picture of consistency. Last year he was the only expert to rank in the top-10 and five different individual positions, and he did it again! Dalton was in the top-10 for 2B, SS, OF, SP and RP this year, and was one of only two experts to achieve that (the other being FantasyPros’ own Andrew Seifter). He’s also built an incredible track record for ranking starting pitchers, perhaps the most important position in fantasy baseball – he’s now ranked in the top 10 for SP rankings four years in a row.

Congratulations are also in order for our second place finisher, Greg Smith from Superflex.Guide. He was the #1 expert for outfielders, the most difficult and important hitting position for fantasy. Greg also  earned the distinction of being one of only six experts to finish in the top 10 for both SP and RP this year.

This is our sixth year evaluating fantasy baseball draft rankings accuracy in this way. For the first time ever, an expert has ranked in the top 10 overall in four consecutive years – and we actually had two people achieve that feat! That honor belongs to our 3rd- and 4th-place finishers Jake Ciely from The Athletic, and Andy Singleton, founder of Expand the Boxscore.

If you want to see how your favorite expert did, including ranks for each position, you can check out the full fantasy baseball draft accuracy standings here.

Top Experts by Position

In addition to the overall standings, we like to recognize the most accurate experts for each position.

 

This concludes our 2021 Fantasy Baseball Draft Rankings accuracy study. Congratulations again to Dalton Del Don for being our #1 expert!

Jacob Herlin is a Data Scientist for FantasyPros. You can find him on twitter @jacoblawherlin.

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