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Dynasty, in Theory: Buy Good Players

Is a certain position the key to success in dynasty? Only if "talented" is a position.

In 2015, I had a hypothesis. Point per reception scoring, or PPR, was designed for redraft leagues to bring wide receiver values into rough parity with running back values on a year-to-year basis. Wide receivers have longer careers than running backs, though, so their value was already in rough parity in dynasty leagues. As a result, I believed, using PPR scoring in a dynasty league would tilt the field too much towards wide receivers.

Like any good hypothesis, there was only one thing for me to do: try my best to prove it wrong. So I compared career fantasy value (as measured by EVoB, my own pet all-in-one value metric) to career NFL value (as measured by AV, or approximate value, a metric developed by www.pro-football-reference.com to estimate a player's contributions to his team). If my hypothesis was correct, receivers should average more EVoB per point of AV— more fantasy value per unit of NFL value— than running backs.

My hypothesis... was not correct. In fact, PPR scoring brought running back and wide receiver value into near-perfect parity, (though it murdered quarterback value in the process). In fact, if I set out to engineer a system, no matter how complex, that valued running backs as closely to wide receivers based on their contributions on the field I doubt I'd be able to do a better job.

So that was the big takeaway from a conceptual standpoint in 2015: assuming equal quality, running backs and wide receivers are equally valuable in PPR scoring. But the practical consensus of the day was markedly different: ignore running backs, build around wide receivers.

How can one person demonstrate that the positions are equal while everyone else is convinced they're markedly unequal? Like most things in dynasty, it's all about the talent.

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