By: Nick Citrone (@pyrollamas)
Just in time for any last-minute fantasy drafts, I have created a graph illustrating the average points per game for each position in every round of a 12-team, standard scoring fantasy league. I used the same methodology as my earlier NFL Draft analysis, fitting smooth splines to visualize the relationship between pick number and points per game between 2009 and 2015. This analysis shows how to optimize draft strategies by selecting positions in rounds where the player pool is less depleted.
Quarterbacks score the most fantasy points overall and their output declines steadily over the course of the draft. The dropoff is similar for RBs and WRs, so it’s hard to use this data to decide which round QBs fit in best. My suggestion is to draft a QB before adding depth at WR or RB, since the point variance between the best and worst quarterbacks is among the highest of any positional group. Overall, running backs still seem like the strongest relative value selection in round 1, but rounds 5 & 6 (picks 50-70) are dominated by wide receivers. The bump in WR performance could possibly be explained by the highest-projected "WR2s" tending to outperform the lower-tier "WR1s" During the same time frame, tight ends provide especially poor value, so it is safer to snag one earlier rather than later. Finally, kickers don’t depreciate much, so waiting is usually your best bet.