… but spreadsheets do!
I’ve been doing some work getting ready for my fantasy football draft. It’s a CBS Sports online league. 12 teams, 3 keepers per team, with a 12 round draft. 15 player roster. So you do the math:
12 teams x 3 keepers = 36 players off the board. 12 rounds x 12 teams = 144 players left. So what’s a dude to do? SPREADSHEET IT!
My strategy is to use Microsoft Office Excel 2007 to make a list of the top 200-300 players, subtract all of the keepers, and rerank. Sounds like work? Look at the search results for Fantasy Football Spreadsheets and you’ll see this is indeed a nerdly science in a jock hobby.
So what’s my plan?
First, I was on a road trip recently and put 200 players from Yahoo’s paper and ink football guide and tossed them into a doc on Open Office. This converted perfectly into Google Docs (I’m not hotlinking that, thank you). Google Docs on my netbook has a limited window size, so working in Open Office allowed for more screen real estate, but guaranteed conversion.
Next, I cross referenced it with the 400 players on CBS Sportsline’s rankings. I find their player list is easy to delimit in Excel with stats, but you’ll have to sort the stats and add some columns offsets to line up all the stats (i.e. your Wide Receivers and Tight Ends will be one column over for comp stats if you use the CBS spreadsheet model). Now if you want to get really crazy, here’s a detailed MSFT formula based sheet you can build. If you want an offline draft spreadsheet for those of you sit around in a live setting with a big board, I think this is your guy.
But for me, a lot of it comes down to the basics:
1) Best available
2) Needed positions
3) Risky picks
4) Bye week management
The spreadsheet of rankings does a few good things. I added the basic columns of position, player, pick, team, and bye.
WHAT THIS DOES: You have a very quick guide offline that allows you to filter very quickly during the draft. Here, I’ve highlighted the “keepers” in orange for the existing teams in my league. In red, I highlighted players who I want to stay away from, including injuries, people I think will have a down year, or headcases like Brett Favre. The value of doing this in Excel 2007 is that you have a filter by color option. As each player is taken, I highlight in red if taken, green if they are on my team. Then very quickly in, say, the 6th round, I can look at my team, check the available, and see best by position, or BYE WEEK. Bye weeks are huge. For my keepers, I’m spread already across the weeks so I don’t have my 3 top guys in any conflicts. I saw one person in one of my leagues recently line up 3 players in the same bye week, including 2 players of single use (Tight End, Defense, and Kicker…)
Likewise, you can/should be aware of the heavy bye weeks. There are 2 weeks where a total of 12 teams are on bye. Lots of great teams and players, but lots of potential rosters waiting for catastrophe.
The pick column also allows you to either created a sortable order (i.e. drag values from 1 on down when you’re done) or to rank guys of similar levels at the same number. If you think picking John Carlson vs Kenny Brit is a wash, just rank them the same number so your “Best Available” doesn’t leave you assuming you have to pick one over the other in the heat of the moment.
The spreadsheet is order. The spreadsheet is homework. But the spreadsheet also forces you to read names you might have skipped, and feel better going into draft night. You want to be cool, calm, and collected to fight the stress and make good decisions. Gee, that sounds like a good life lesson, eh?
And if you’re too stressed to think, just go with Carl.