Welcome back to another article for ‘The Fantasy Detective’ series, where in this edition we will look at whether or not good players on bad teams are more valuable in fantasy.
To test this theory, I looked at fantasy performance (based on Fantasy WAR, or wins above replacement) against team performance (yards gained and allowed over expected).
Below I plotted each key position by team yards gained over expected and allowed over expected. The size of each player’s headshot corresponds to their Fantasy WAR. To make things easier, the bottom right corner of each grid is where the worst teams lie (below average for YGOE and above average for YAOE).
For WRs and TEs it is clear that the better their team is, the more effective they are in fantasy. This makes sense, as teams with good air attacks generally have high YGOE and need a good defense to feed them the ball.
Predictably, QBs are similar to WRs and TEs as the best players are shifted more towards the better performing teams. RBs on the other hand, appear to be shifted in the other direction. The best RBs seem to be on mediocre or below-average teams (at least offensively). This makes sense, as teams with weak offenses tend to lean more on their run games.
The next set of plots confirms my previous remarks, as we can see clear positive correlations between players’ WARs and their teams’ net yards over expected (YGOE – YAOE).
The same is confirmed for our QBs and RBs (RBs being a slight negative correlation). QBs actually have the highest correlation, followed by WRs and then TEs.
We have learned that all key positions (other than RB) are tied to overall team performance–good fantasy players are found on good football teams. The only time we can break free of this phenomenon is with RBs, where it is more random as to where we find our fantasy talent–they can succeed anywhere. That’s all for this article! Case closed.