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Intro to the Rookie Guide

The universe of Dynasty analysis is starting to hit its stride. With the launch of the Rookie Guide, the Astronauts are taking prospect evaluation to the next level.

Grading System

Football is complex. Our methodology captures this complexity and simplifies it by merging film analysis and analytical profiling to the same scale. Rookie prospects are analyzed and graded in 3 categories:

  • Film - Identifying a player's on-field ability and skillset

  • Analytics - Assessing a player's production, athleticism, and draft capital profile

  • Landing Spot - Evaluating the team: the ecosystem that the player will be joining and the opportunity for touches early in his career

These three individual grades combine to form a final Overall Grade. The scale for these main grades is measured on a scale of 60-100.

The standard Overall Grade presented on the Player profile page uses a balanced distribution as its formula: Film (45%), Analytical (45%), Landing Spot (10%). Because everyone prioritizes data differently, we created a Scale Slider on the Ranks page. By adjusting the slider, users can customize the formula used to calculate the Overall Grade in the rankings table (shown below).

For example, the setting above favors Film to Analytics at a ratio of 70:30 and then adjusts the Overall Grade with 16% contribution from the Landing spot.

Trait Grading System

The Film, Analytical, and Landing Spot Grades are formed by grading individual traits of a player's profile or on-field performance. These individual traits are graded on a 5.0 scale:

Analytical Profile and Landing Spot are evaluated statistically. The analytical model features college production, age-adjusted developmental data, market share & competition analysis, athleticism data. With analytical profiling, we're identifying which components of a player's profile are most relevant to fantasy success and grading them in relation to the historical data of the past 15+ years of running back prospects. The Landing Spot grade uses a formula that identifies which teams provide the best opportunity for fantasy success. This formula calculates team and depth chart value by incorporating contractual commitments, draft capital investments and teammate performance measures. The running back Landing Spot score rates the rookie's Opportunity for early volume by evaluating the talent of the rest of the depth chart on the team AND it estimates the value of those touches by evaluating the strength of the Offensive Line and the Offensive Scheme that he will be playing in.

Film is graded differently by each individual expert. The trait categories are identical and the grade scales are built to match, but each of our analysts has the opportunity to evaluate with their own methodology. My personal model provides proof that this process is not only relevant for fantasy, it can also be the most valuable component of prospect evaluation.

Previously, Draft Capital (how high a prospect was selected in the NFL Draft) was the most important singular component of a rookie's profile. Over the last two seasons of implementation, my Film Grades outperformed Draft Capital in correlation to on-field productivity per game. To put it honestly, I'm such a stellar scout that I'm not only outperforming the NFL WR scouting collective without interviewing any of these players in person, I'm also outperforming the bias of GMs and coaches who make decisions on which players get touches according to the cost of their respective investment.

Small sample size aside, it's safe to say two things:

  1. The proof of concept for FFA's Film Grading process is legit

  2. I really am the Father of Modern Science

You don't need the backing of a billion-dollar enterprise to outperform the NFL at its own game. You just need a good telescope.

My grading process takes the five main trait categories and breaks them down further. For example, the five main wide receiver traits are Release, Route, Receiving, Yards After Catch, and Explosiveness. I divide these main traits into smaller sub-traits, thirty in total as I attempt to measure as much of a player's on-field game as I possibly can. This attention to detail helps to capture the why and how of player success. By isolating specific scenarios and skills, we capture the rich details of a player's skillset so the re-simplification back to the five main categories is a summary of depth - the abstract of a comprehensive case study.

If one component of a player's game is so particularly strong that it covers up the weaker elements, he is graded with "extra credit" up to a 6.0 grade, as seen here with Devonta Smith (who still has a very successful Release despite not being particularly physical).

Each sub-trait is graded on a 5.0 scale and its value is weighted as part of the larger trait category that it falls under. The larger Film traits are displayed in the Rookie Guide itself. The complete database featuring every sub-trait grade is available as a downloadable spreadsheet.

Comparison Tool

The Rookie Guide also features a powerful player comparison tool that displays the metrics of two prospects against each other.

Users can compare with head-to-head bar graphs:

Or with the customizable scatterplot that encapsulates the rest of the class:

Ranking Tables

Along with the downloadable database, the Rookie Guide boasts a fully sortable Rankings page (shown previously with the Scale Slider) and an Expert Film Rankings page. Here, users can use the search bar to sort by player or by film expert. Check out Nick Sarnelli's top WRs below:

Film Room

To top it off, Profile pages are also linked to our DraftBreakdown Film Room, so users can scout the incoming prospects themselves.


The Experts Behind the Guide

Ryan Keeney (@rbkeeney) - App builder, Robot overlord, QB/RB analytical modeling

J Moyer (@jmoyerfb) - QB/RB film analysis

Tendieman (@FF_Flavortown) - WR/RB/QB film analysis

Tim Bullen (@TimBullen5) - TE film analysis

Burny (@SeaSportsBros) - QB/RB/WR film analysis

Mike Kash (@FFMikeKash) - RB film analysis

JetPackGalileo (@JetPackGalileo) - Film & Analytical Modeling


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