Player Value: A Different Way to Look at Player Performance in Week 1


In Fantasy Football, points are important, but points relative to the position a player plays is more important.

Colin Kaepernick scored 30 points last week and was the second highest second highest scorer in fantasy football, but was that performance impressive when the top twelve quarterbacks—the amount of quarterbacks played in a standard league—averaged 25 points in Week 1? Not really.

(All references to points scored in this article refer to ESPN’s standard scoring system.)

This article is meant to stimulate you as a Fantasy Football player, and get you to think more analytically about player value.

How do you calculate player value?

These are the averages for points per position for the top twelve quarterbacks, top thirty wide receivers, top thirty running backs, top twelve tight ends, top twelve kickers, and top twelve D/STs: QB (25 PTS), RB (12PTS), WR (16 PTS), TE (15 PTS), D/ST (13 PTS), and K (11 PTS).

So what do these averages tell you? Points scored at running back last week were at a premium, and points at quarterback weren’t worth much at all, unless you have Peyton Manning. If you are an experienced Fantasy Football player, this information is nothing new to you. Even if you are an experienced Fantasy player, however, do you now how to translate a player’s points scored relative to their position, and know exactly how much a player’s performance was worth? It’s ok if you don’t. The answer is down below.

To determine player value, it requires simple math. First separate players by position. Then, calculate the average and standard deviation of the points scored by the players at that position. Once you have those numbers, take a players points scored, subtract that number from the average points scored at that position, and then divide that number by the standard deviation of points for that position. Do that for every player at every position, and you have the Z-Scores for each player.

Z-Scores are informative because they compute player value based upon how far away from the average performance at a position a players performance was worth. Meaning: you know how much more valuable a running back that scored twenty points was worth, compared to a quarterback that scored twenty points.

Below is a table that has the Z-Scores for players from Week 1. The PTS column represents the amount of points a player scored in an ESPN standard scoring league. The Z-SCR column has the Z-Scores by position, and the DIFF column shows the players that moved up and down the most in the rankings when you subtract their PTS rank from their Z-SCR rank.

Week 1 Z-Scores

Peyton Manning, Den QB4613.04631628710
Adrian Peterson, Min RB2842.90267010122
Reggie Bush, Det RB2592.37384356536
Victor Cruz, NYG WR2932.3312281524-1
LeSean McCoy, Phi RB24112.19756805256
Demaryius Thomas, DenWR2852.1572559026-1
A.J. Green, Cin WR2862.1572559027-1
Chiefs D/ST23152.15232137787
Anquan Boldin, SF WR2681.8093114029-1
Jared Cook, StL TE24121.735663698102
Cowboys D/ST D/ST21191.710819556118
Julius Thomas, Den TE23161.539458237124
Greg Zuerlein, StL K14461.5322617551333
Joique Bell, Det RB20211.492466003147
Vernon Davis, SF TE21201.147047314155
Caleb Sturgis, Mia K13511.0215078371734
Dan Bailey, Dal K13501.0215078371634
Dolphins D/ST17330.8278159141815
Colin Kaepernick, SF QB3020.77522744219-17
Larry Fitzgerald, Ari WR20220.765477901202
Leonard Hankerson, Wsh WR20230.765477901212
Jason Witten, Dal TE19260.754636391224
Shane Vereen*, NE RB15420.6110884422517
Jamaal Charles, KC RB15410.6110884422417
Matt Forte, Chi RB15400.6110884422317
Julian Edelman, NE WR19280.591505651271
Jordy Nelson, GB WR19270.591505651261
Owen Daniels, Hou TE18320.558430929284
Nick Folk, NYJ K12540.5107539183024
Stephen Gostkowski, NE K12530.5107539182924
Garrett Hartley, NO K12550.5107539183124
Eli Manning, NYG QB2870.49134133732-25
Titans D/ST15430.3863140933310
Brian Hartline, Mia WR17340.24356115340
Jordan Cameron, Cle TE16350.166020006350
Frank Gore, SF RB12560.0822619063620
Ray Rice, Bal RB12570.0822619063720
Wes Welker, Den WR16360.069588938-2
DeSean Jackson, Phi WR16380.069588940-2
Randall Cobb, GB WR16390.069588941-2
Brandon Marshall, Chi WR16370.069588939-2
Michael Vick, Phi QB25100.06551217842-32
Rob Bironas, Ten K116304419
David Akers, Det K116204319
Aaron Rodgers, GB QB2413-0.07643087545-32
Andrew Luck, Ind QB2414-0.07643087546-32
Steven Jackson, Atl RB1164-0.0940136074717
Eddie Lacy, GB RB1168-0.0940136075117
Darren McFadden, Oak RB1165-0.0940136074817
Ryan Mathews, SD RB1166-0.0940136074917
DeMarco Murray, Dal RB1167-0.0940136075017
Reggie Wayne, Ind WR1544-0.1043833552-8
Vincent Jackson, TB WR1545-0.1043833553-8
Matt Schaub, Hou QB2317-0.21837392754-37
Doug Martin, TB RB1080-0.2702891195723
Darren Sproles, NO RB1078-0.2702891195523
Fred Jackson, Buf RB1079-0.2702891195623
Jets D/ST1258-0.275938638580
Eddie Royal, SD WR1448-0.278355660-12
Jerome Simpson, Min WR1449-0.278355661-12
Andre Johnson, Hou WR1447-0.278355659-12
Philip Rivers, SD QB2218-0.3603169862-44
Kellen Winslow, NYJ TE1352-0.42259637963-11
Daryl Richardson, StL RB989-0.4465646316425
Lions D/ST1170-0.496689549664
Bills D/ST1169-0.496689549654
Texans D/ST1171-0.496689549674
Brandon Myers, NYG TE1259-0.6188018468-9
Alfred Morris, Wsh RB8100-0.6228401437228
BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Cin RB898-0.6228401437028
Arian Foster, Hou RB899-0.6228401437128
Jackie Battle, Ten RB897-0.6228401436928
Marques Colston, NO WR1260-0.62630010173-13
Marlon Brown, Bal WR1261-0.62630010174-13
Matthew Stafford, Det QB2025-0.64420308676-51
Drew Brees, NO QB2024-0.64420308675-51
Eagles D/ST1081-0.717440459774
Seahawks D/ST1082-0.717440459784
Sam Bradford, StL QB1930-0.78614613880-50
Terrelle Pryor, Oak QB1931-0.78614613881-50
Matt Ryan, Atl QB1929-0.78614613879-50
Trent Richardson, Cle RB7108-0.7991156558721
Chris Johnson, Ten RB7105-0.7991156558421
DeAngelo Williams, Car RB7104-0.7991156558321
Daniel Thomas, Mia RB7106-0.7991156558521
Vonta Leach, Bal RB7103-0.7991156558221
Da'Rel Scott, NYG RB7107-0.7991156558621
Steve Smith, Car WR1172-0.80027235188-16
Hakeem Nicks, NYG WR1173-0.80027235189-16
Julio Jones, Atl WR1175-0.80027235191-16
Mike Williams, TB WR1174-0.80027235190-16
Jermichael Finley, GB TE1177-0.81500730293-16
Brent Celek, Phi TE1176-0.81500730292-16
Broncos D/ST990-0.93819136994-4
Cardinals D/ST991-0.93819136995-4
Jermaine Kearse, Sea WR1086-0.97424460199-13
Danny Amendola, NE WR1083-0.97424460196-13
Denarius Moore, Oak WR1084-0.97424460197-13
Rueben Randle, NYG WR1085-0.97424460198-13
Rashard Mendenhall, Ari RB6109-0.9753911681009
Vick Ballard, Ind RB6110-0.9753911681019
Jimmy Graham, NO TE1088-1.011212763103-15
Martellus Bennett, Chi TE1087-1.011212763102-15
Justin Tucker, Bal K993-1.021507837105-12
Phil Dawson, SF K992-1.021507837104-12
Harry Douglas, Atl WR995-1.148216851107-12
Jerricho Cotchery, Pit WR994-1.148216851106-12
Tony Gonzalez, Atl TE996-1.207418225108-12
Alex Henery, Phi K8102-1.532261755110-8
Robbie Gould, Chi K8101-1.532261755109-8

Cardinals Rams Football.JPEG-0ee5b

This is an exercise that is more meaningful when done with larger sets of data (i.e. over the course of a 16 game season), but it is still thought provoking when done from the point totals from Week 1. For example, one cannot imagine that the tight end position will average 15 points every week of the season, as a result Jared Cook’s 24-point performance would look more impressive in any other week.

Like previously noted, this exercise is meant to make you look at player value through a new, more informative lens. A 24-point week from a player is always a positive, but now you know that those points are not worth the same at every position, and how to calculate their actual value to your team.

Devon Jordan is obsessed with statistical analysis, non-fiction literature, and electronic music. If you enjoyed reading about pitcher value in Fantasy Football, follow him on Twitter @devinjjordan.



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