Ultimate Team By Committee - UTBC
By Jeff Pasquino
August 27th, 2010

WHEN THE BRITISH naturalist George Shaw received a weird specimen from Australia in 1799 - one with a mole's fur, a duck's bill and spurs on its rear legs - he did what any skeptical scientist would do: He looked for the stitching and glue that would reveal it to be a hoax. "It was impossible not to entertain some distant doubts as to the genuine nature of the animal," Shaw wrote of the seemingly built-by-committee creature, which he eventually named "platypus".

Over the past few years, there have been two very popular articles written by our very own Chase Stuart that look at an interesting approach to building a fantasy team with late value picks. Based upon the theory of using both Strength of Schedule ("SOS") and taking two players as a combination to build one very good player, he has discussed both Team Defense by Committee ("TDBC") and Quarterback by Committee ("QBBC") as a general fantasy league strategy. In general I think that this is a wise move because very early on in fantasy drafts there are a ton of RB and WR prospects to go after to build a great team. While there are a few studs at QB and also a few choice defenses, I do not see a huge need in leagues to pursue either too hard in the beginning stages of a fantasy draft.

So with this in mind, I started to think about what else can be done with the committee approach. Tight end? Perhaps. Wide receiver? A possibility, but it might be better to look at third WR options than any other option. What about running back? Hmmm, that might work. What if I could put together all of this and make a total team using committees? Would that even be possible?

Yes, Virginia, there is a Team Platypus.

With all of these concepts discussed here:

  • QBBC - Quarterback By Committee (Clayton Gray)
  • RB2BC (PPR) - Running Back #2 By Committee (PPR) (Jeff Pasquino)
  • WR3BC (PPR) - Wide Receiver #3 By Committee (PPR) (Jeff Pasquino)
  • TEBC (PPR) - Tight End By Committee (PPR) (Jeff Pasquino)
  • DTBC - Defensive Team By Committee (Chase Stuart and Jeff Pasquino)

(Note that while I've used PPR articles above, the concept still translates just as well for non-PPR leagues.)

I've taken a good shot at putting together an Ultimate Team By Committee (UTBC). For the Mike Hermans of the world, I hope you don't mind that I will pass on the kicker by committee. Leave that one for some else to think about.

Let's address what we need here in Rounds 5-11. We want to get RB2BC, WR3BC and QBBC established and also mix in our first tight end. Looking back at the articles highlighted above I can now modify our earlier RB2BC and WR3BC recommendations.

If It Walks Like a Duck.....

So using the suggestions in the articles and some tweaks based on current ADP, here are the suggestions to build your very own version of Team Platypus:

Rnd
Pick Range
ADP
Selection
1
1 to 12
RB1 (w/early 1st rounder) or WR1 (w/late 1st rounder)
2
13 to 24
WR1 (w/early 1st rounder) or WR2/RB1 (w/late 1st rounder)
3
25 to 36
WR2 (w/early 1st rounder) or RB1/WR2 (w/late 1st rounder)
4
37 to 48
RB2 or WR3
5
49 to 60
67
RB2BC #1 - C.J. Spiller
6
61 to 73
65 or 73
QBBC #1 - Jay Cutler or Kevin Kolb*
7
73 to 84
91
RB2BC #2 - Michael Bush
8
85 to 96
98
WR3BC #1 - Devin Hester
9
97 to 108
107
WR3BC#2 - Santonio Holmes
10
109 to 120
118
TEBC #1 - Heath Miller
11
121 to 132
118
QBBC #2 - Ben Roethlisberger
12
133 to 144
Best Player Available
13
145 to 156
Best Player Available
14
157 to 168
189
DTBC #1 - San Diego Chargers
15
169 to 180
183 or 190
TEBC #2 - Kevin Boss or Tony Scheffler**
16
181 to 192
Best Player Available
17
193 to 204
Kicker
18
205 to 216
220+
DTBC #2 - Kansas City Chiefs

Table 1: The Ultimate Team By Committee (UTBC) Blueprint

Some of you may notice that there's a bit of inconsistency in Rounds 5 through 11. That's a good observation, and I can explain. Based on the combinations of QB, WR, RB and TE committees I had to tweak the selections to fit everyone onto the roster. I'll go over these tweaks, position by position, including the comments (denoted by 1-3 asterisks * above).

Running Back - (RB2BC): For RB2BC I have to take C.J. Spiller in Round 5 due to his rising ADP, which was the original recommendation. However the second member of RB2BC (Ahmad Bradshaw) was supposed to be taken in Round 6 - and that is just not possible here with the demands for a solid QB1 for QBBC. That means Michael Bush is substituted in Round 7 for the second half of RB2BC. Based on both original articles (PPR and non-PPR) this is only a 5-6 point penalty - Spiller/Bradshaw projected to be worth 201.3 in PPR and 162.1 in non-PPR, while Spiller/Bush have 196.9 and 156.3 projections.

(*) Quarterback - (QBBC): For QBBC we have some more compromises to make. First, Jay Cutler is the preferred leader of the pack here, but his ADP has him as a marginal Round 6 selection with an ADP of 65 as of August 20th. That means a backup plan is in order if he does not make it to your Round 6 pick - so that means Kevin Kolb is Plan B. His ADP of 73 is solid enough to ensure that he will be there all of Round 6.

The second portion of QBBC comes in Round 11, and we cannot move up the QB2 pick here based on other needs. That means we have to hope that Ben Roethlisberger is still there, as he matches up well with Cutler or Kolb. His ADP is close (122) so he may not be there, but Heath Miller is too important for our TEBC plans to move him down despite his higher ADP of 125. Roethlisberger is replaceable and the following chart gives us several backup plans in case he is not there in Round 11:

Backup QB
ADP
Rank
PPG w/Cutler
PPG w/Kolb
Ben Roethlisberger
122
QB16
18.3
18.1
Matthew Stafford
124
QB17
18.0
17.6
Chad Henne
127
QB18
18.2
17.7
Alex Smith
134
QB19
18.0
17.7

Table 2: Alternate QBBC Choices with Weekly Fantasy Point Averages

Wide Receiver - (WR3BC): For WR3BC we also made some different choices than originally planned, but that is not such a bad thing at all. The wide receiver ADPs have been moving the most for any position, and Johnny Knox is now well up in the Round 7 range so his ability to get into the WR committee is greatly diminished. Adding to that is the need to move the WR3BC pair down one round because of QB needs, so now WR3BC must be Round 8 and Round 9 picks, not Rounds 7 and 8. The good news is that Santonio Holmes has an ADP that places him in Round 9 comfortably, so all we need to do is find a viable partner that will make it to the end of Round 8 (ADP 96 or higher) to ensure us of a strong pair of wideouts.

Looking over the ADP information (as of August 20th), one name does stick out - and that is another Chicago Bear, Devin Hester. Hester has an ADP of 98 in PPR leagues and even higher in non-PPR (129). That means we should get both Hester and Holmes easily with back-to-back picks here.

So what are the values for the Hester / Holmes combo, and why wasn't Hester in the original article? I will answer the latter first before we get to the math. Back when I wrote the first articles, Hester was WR30 based on the ADP and he was eliminated from the discussions since he would not be available late enough in drafts to even be considered for a committee. Now that his ADP has dropped to WR37 he can be considered once again.

Doing the math for Hester and Holmes, Hester certainly counts for the first four weeks while Holmes is suspended, but it is even better that he is projected to be better than Holmes for Weeks 5 and 6 as well. That has Hester as the starter for the first seven weeks which gives Holmes two games plus his Week 7 bye to get re-acclimated to running with the starters for the Jets after his suspension. From Week 8 to Week 16 it should be all about Holmes as the starter, with only Week 13 as a toss-up between Holmes (at New England) and Hester (at Detroit) as a lineup decision.

Looking at the math for each style of scoring gives these results: Holmes and Hester combined projections total 189 points in PPR and 125.1 in non-PPR. Both of those numbers are comparable to WR18 overall in both formats, making this version of WR3BC outstanding in relative value. Taking Hester in Round 8 and Holmes in Round 9 is a bargain.

(**) Tight End - (TEBC): The tight end story is pretty straightforward and according to the original script. Heath Miller is the clear pick in Round 10 and since our whole TEBC plan hinges on getting him we cannot afford to wait another round and hope that he is still there. That bleeds back into the QBBC discussion (*) listed above.

What is important to talk about now is the second part of the TEBC duo - either Kevin Boss or the additional consideration of Tony Scheffler. I really like Scheffler more than Boss, so I will admit I would rather have him personally - but the projections here at FBG make Boss and Scheffler a close call. Given the ADPs of Boss (176) and Scheffler (190) I would let fate, the draft, and your own personal preferences select the tight end here as both are going to be rarely used (Miller had all but two starts in the original Miller-Boss combo, and one was his bye week) so it hopefully should matter very little. Take your second tight end in Round 15 after the more important pick of the Chargers in Round 14.

(***) Team Defense - (DTBC): The team defense duo is still San Diego and Kansas City, but the key part is to get the Chargers. Their ADP is right in the Round 15 range (189), but I would not want to take too big of a risk and let them sit until Round 15. Take them with confidence in Round 14 and then go ahead and grab your TE2. As for the Chiefs, they are only a viable pick in leagues with 18 or more rounds. Most of the time they will easily make it to the final round as their ADP is well down the list (beyond 260, one of the bottom 11 team defenses) so there should not be much worry in letting them fall. Doing so also allows for a slightly better choice at kicker for your team. Lastly, even if someone takes the Chiefs for some strange reason, there are other viable options (like Carolina) or the other solid choice of just going with the Chargers for the first nine weeks of the year.

The good news is that we can get three of the recommended players we originally wanted (CJ Spiller, Santonio Holmes, Heath Miller) which are all at the head of their respective committees, plus we have viable backup plans for the second half of both running back (Michael Bush) and tight end (either Kevin boss or Tony Scheffler). Swapping Bush in for Ahmad Bradshaw and also the replacement of Johnny Knox by Devin Hester complete three solid pairs for key positions. Grabbing Cutler or Kolb kicks off a solid quarterback duo and once again we have a plan in place to complete a strong committee.

No plan is infallible, so that is why we have so many alternate backup scenarios planned out before the draft. Eliminate surprises and plan for contingencies. That's what we do - we adapt. Darwin would be proud.

Best of luck this year.

As always, questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to pasquino@footballguys.com.

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