The Dynasty Draft Calculator  Rookie Picks

Posted 8/23 by Jeff Pasquino, Exclusive to Footballguys.com

Since the dawn of trading draft picks, everyone has tried to determine the
"fair value" for a particular selection. Calculators abound, including
our very own David Dodds' Calculator found here.
Unfortunately for leagues that span multiple years, these calculators have little
or no value. So how can you adequately calculate what a draft pick is worth
in these formats?
Dynasty vs. Redraft Leagues
First, you have to understand the difference between dynasty leagues and redraft
leagues. In a redraft league, you are essentially posing the question of "how
will Player X help me over the next few months?" In dynasty leagues, that
question is in terms of years rather than months, as you keep players multiple
seasons (perhaps their entire career). That is the essence of the problem 
how do you quantify a multiyear value?
To attempt a solution to this problem, I sought out two different sources of
information. The first was the only multiyear valuation chart that I know of
that exists  the NFL Draft Pick Chart, which gives a numerical value to every
pick in the NFL Draft. This chart is the most useful one to dynasty league players,
since the NFL is in essence a dynasty league. The value of each pick factors
in that the selected player is supposed to play for their club for years.
The second resource I needed was to answer the natural followup question,
"how many years?" With the help of fellow Footballguys, I found a
study performed at Dartmouth University regarding the average career length
of an NFL player, both in aggregate and also broken down by position. Now, many
would question the validity of using that data, as some would say that there
is no way to predict the length of a selected player's career or that a first
rounder may last longer than a fourth round selection, but that is precisely
why I selected that chart. The chart is the length of an average NFL career
regardless of the round they were drafted, or even if they were an undrafted
player. The data may vary by round (and that would be an interesting study),
but for the purposes of pick calculations I have assumed that all NFL rookies
have the same expected length of career associated with their position.
Table 1  Average Career Length of NFL Players
Position 
Years

Quarterback 
6.96

Running Back 
4.35

Wide Receiver 
4.54

Tight End 
4.98

Defensive Lineman 
5.05

Defensive Back 
5.51

Linebacker 
5.50

Place Kicker 
8.33

Team Defense 
n/a

All Positions 
5.33

The Dynasty Factor
There are a few different variables that enter in to calculation of a pick
value for a multiyear league. First is career length, but what about the league
itself? How many teams are there? How big or small is the roster? How deep is
the bench? How many starters? What matters, and by how much?
What I have done is rather complicated, but I have rolled all these numerous
factors into a secret formula that produces a single number that I have labeled
the "Dynasty Factor". The Dynasty Factor is the numerical
value for your entire league, and it represents how valuable your draft picks
are for your league. It can be used to compare different dynasty leagues with
different rosters and starters, and gives an independent value to each league.
Rather than have everyone see the mathematical analysis and details of the
"Secret Sauce", I will lay out some of the proportional relationships
for the Dynasty Factor that you will see when you first start to use it. I will
tell you that the following factors contribute to the Dynasty Factor
in some way:
 Roster Size
 Number of Teams in the League
 Number of Starters
 Position(s) of Starters
The influence of each of these factors is complex, but I will attempt to give
you a more intuitive feel for the tool as you start to take it for a test drive.
Roster Size  The pick values are indirectly proportional to your roster
size. That is, as your roster size increases, the values decrease. To say it
one more way, they are inversely related.
Why would that be? Well, if you have a deep bench, you can afford to put more
rookies on your roster and wait for them to develop, so there is less pressure
on you getting your picks right. You also have more room for veterans on your
squad, so both factors reduce the pressure on getting the pick right (and right
away), and thus the pick values go down accordingly. On the other hand, the
Dynasty Factor goes up as your bench gets smaller. This makes sense  you have
to "hit" on your rookies more often and they have to develop faster,
else they will get cut in favor of other players. You don't have room to develop
players over a period of years with a short bench.
Number of Teams in the League  As the number of teams increases, the
value of the picks increase. Again, this passes the sanity check in that you
have fewer draft picks and more teams are fighting for talent. Additionally,
more players are rostered in the league and thus fewer talented players are
available in free agency.
Number of Starters  As the number of starters increases (relative to
your roster size), the bench gets shorter and the pressure on getting a good
value in the draft goes up. This makes sense, as the rookie picks matter more
when you start more players. Therefore, the value also goes up, and therefore
Dynasty Factor is directly related to starters.
Position of Starters  This relationship is complicated, but suffice
it to say that the more players that you have with shorter careers, the higher
the Dynasty Factor for your league. This indicates the "rollover"
of your roster, or how fast you have to churn talent through your team. If you
are losing players every three or four years, you need a constant stream of
young talent from the draft, increasing the value of your picks.
Note  The Dynasty Factor is NOT directly proportional to the ration of the
number of starters divided my your team roster size. Why? Well, if you have
8 starters and 24 roster spots, finding starters is easier than if you have
16 starters and a bench of 48.
You Down With IDP? (Do You Know Me?)
Can the Dynasty Factor be used with IDP leagues? Absolutely. In fact, it shows
something that many who play IDP probably already knew, but could not quantify.
The addition of individual defensive players minimizes the impact of the offensive
players, and also the typical influence of rookies.
Why would that be? Well, for one thing, many IDP leagues have roughly the same
number of players on both sides of the ball. For example, that would mean eight
IDPs for eight offensive players, minimizing any standout offensive player.
In a regular league, Larry Johnson or Peyton Manning would be one out of only
eight starters, but in the IDP example he is just one of out of 16, so his individual
influence on the total team score is less in an IDP format than in a league
that uses a team defense.
Examples
Let's go over the Dynasty Draft Pick Calculator and a few examples.
I have set up two typical leagues, a regular league with eight starters and
a team defense, and another with 16 players, half IDP. Here are the respective
Dynasty Factors (See Tables 2 and 3).
Table 2 Dynasty Typical League Starters and Roster Size
Dynasty  Typical
League Starters

QB

1

RB

2

WR

3

TE

1

PK

1

Team D

1

DL

0

LB

0

DB

0

Total

9

Roster Size

27

Dynasty Factor

3.466

Table 3  Dynasty Typical IDP League Starters and Roster
Size
Dynasty  Typical IDP
League Starters

QB

1

RB

2

WR

3

TE

1

PK

1

Team D

0

DL

2

LB

3

DB

3

Total

16

Roster Size

48

Dynasty Factor

2.663

As expected, the IDP league has a smaller Dynasty Factor.
We still need frames of reference to show how this really works.
Let's compare the values of the first 100 Draft Picks for a Redraft League,
the NFL Pick Chart, and the two leagues above (see Table 4).
Table 4  Comparison of Pick Values
Pick

Footballguys
Redraft

Dynasty
Typical

Dynasty
Typical IDP

NFL
Chart

NFL Chart
Normalized

1

1889

1889.00

1889.00

3000

1889.00

2

1823

1669.93

1718.31

2600

1637.13

3

1759

1475.38

1562.32

2200

1385.27

4

1699

1308.16

1424.40

1800

1133.40

5

1642

1162.24

1300.66

1700

1070.43

6

1587

1032.79

1187.85

1600

1007.47

7

1535

920.16

1087.01

1500

944.50

8

1485

820.38

995.25

1400

881.53

9

1438

733.84

913.56

1350

850.05

10

1393

657.27

839.40

1300

818.57

11

1351

591.10

773.68

1250

787.08

12

1310

531.22

712.72

1200

755.60

13

1272

479.69

658.98

1150

724.12

14

1235

433.04

609.17

1100

692.63

15

1200

391.97

564.27

1050

661.15

16

1167

355.86

523.88

1000

629.67

17

1135

323.17

486.50

950

598.18

18

1105

294.51

453.00

900

566.70

19

1076

268.58

422.03

875

550.96

20

1049

245.93

394.41

850

535.22

21

1023

225.45

368.91

800

503.73

22

998

206.92

345.39

780

491.14

23

975

190.85

324.60

760

478.55

24

952

175.70

304.60

740

465.95

25

931

162.63

287.04

720

453.36

30

836

111.99

215.51

620

390.39

35

759

80.12

166.61

550

346.32

40

694

58.74

131.27

500

314.83

45

638

43.89

104.92

450

283.35

50

586

32.68

83.66

400

251.87

55

538

24.31

66.63

350

220.38

60

491

17.71

52.24

300

188.90

65

446

12.69

40.44

265

166.86

70

402

8.85

30.67

240

151.12

75

358

5.92

22.52

245

154.27

80

316

3.84

16.15

190

119.64

85

276

2.40

11.27

165

103.90

90

239

1.46

7.68

140

88.15

95

204

0.84

5.04

120

75.56

100

173

0.48

3.25

100

62.97

Lastly, they say a picture is worth a thousand words, and I
agree based on the next chart. This is the graph of pick values for all four
leagues, with the NFL pick chart normalized to the FBG chart (setting the
#1 pick to the same value).
Figure 1  Rookie Draft Pick Values
What can we take away from Figure 1? Well, The Normalized NFL
Draft Chart (green) decreases in value far faster than the Footballguys Redraft
Calculator (black and yellow), as we expected. The other two typical dynasty
leagues are far steeper overall in the pick value. Is that expected? I would
say without reservation that this is accurate, since the NFL chart includes
nonskill position players such as offensive linemen and kickers, which last
far longer. The skill position players (and their values) should decline rapidly,
which is exactly what the graph shows. Looks like we have something here.
Let's Get It Started
Okay, enough already. What do I need to do to try this out?
First, here is the main screen for the Dynasty Draft Pick Calculator.
Figure 2  The Dynasty Draft Pick Calculator  Rookie Values
You may download the calculator here.
The screen above appears complicated, but it isn't as daunting as you may
first think.
I have colorcoded what you are expected to enter, starting
with the orange, blue, and pink sections. In order:

Orange  Enter the number of
teams in your league and the starting positions, along with your total roster
size.

Blue  Enter the picks that
you are considering trading away (the number of the pick in integer form,
namely Pick 14, not 2.02 in a 12team league).

Pink  Enter the picks that
you are looking to obtain in a trade (again in integer form)
That's it. The math works behind the scenes, as a Dynasty Factor
is calculated for the league and the relative pick values are given to you
as a result. You can enter up to eight picks on either side of the transaction,
and the league size will adjust the selection to show it in the "round
. pick" format (e.g. Pick 14 is 2.02).
The key sections to watch are your "% Diff." and the
"Pick to Make Even" at the bottom of the screen. The color of the
"% Difference" will change to reflect the calculator's opinion of
the trade  red is a bad trade, green is a good one, and yellow indicates
a fair trade (values are close enough).
A wrinkle I added is the "Pick to Make Even". If you
enter the pick suggested here in the calculator on the suggested side (blue
or pink), the suggested trade will result in close to equal value. This helps
in trying to determine a fair trade.
Future Work
The Dynasty Factor is a brand new metric, and I hope it is revolutionary.
I do know that it is evolutionary, and it will continue to be tweaked as I
develop this calculation.
As far as I know, the Dynasty Calculator for Rookie Picks is
a first of its kind. There may be some bugs to work out, but overall I am
quite happy with how it turned out. Obviously further work can be done  there
are other league variations (keepers, startup dynasty, veterans and rookies,
etc.) to work on, as well as incorporating a few other wrinkles such as flex
positions and other factors such as players already associated with teams
in the league.
Reference:
http://www.dartmouth.edu/~chance/chance_news/recent_news/chance_news_11.02.html#item3
