NFL Fantasy Football, Ranking the Rankings: Which Experts Should You Listen To?

Joseph ClementeContributor INovember 6, 2010

Some fantasy experts told you not to start Matt Stafford last week...who were they?
Some fantasy experts told you not to start Matt Stafford last week...who were they?Leon Halip/Getty Images

2010 NFL Fantasy Football; Ranking the Rankings: Which “Experts” Should You Listen to in Week 9?

If you are like most Fantasy Football enthusiasts (or obsessed fanatics, as the case may be), deciding who to start for a given Sunday involves some pretty serious analysis.  You check stock watches, matchups and rankings lists.  You play a hunch here and there, but like to make the most informed decisions you can.  You have seen these decisions on which players to start or sit win and lose you weeks.  These weeks, in turn, win or lose you titles and cash. 

Despite the fickle and sometimes unpredictable nature of Fantasy Football, using the best information available is your fastest way to a winner. 

If you are like most, you look to the rankings provided by industry leaders as a guidepost along the path of finalizing your Sunday lineups.  Three of the most-trafficked sites for this purpose are ESPN, Rotoworld and Yahoo Sports.  Being well-trafficked, however, does not mean they are giving you good information.

Refusing to blindly follow fantasy rankings, I asked myself the question, which of the widely followed “experts” had the most accurate rankings last week? 

Below you will find the best performers last week among ESPN, Rotoworld and Yahoo Sports.  (Next week I will add CBS Sportsline to this column for your benefit.)  Each has been scored on the accuracy of their weekly rankings for the following positions: QB, WR, RB and TE.  (For instance, if site A chose Felix Jones as their 15th-ranked running back, and he finished 35th in scoring, they scored a 20 for that pick.)



These three fantasy sources did not exactly hit the mark in ranking the top 30 WRs in Week 8.

1. Yahoo Sports Score: 18.  The Yahoo crew fared the best.  Among their top 30 WR predictions, they only missed by 18 spots, on average. 

2. Rotoworld Score:19.  Rotoworld missed by an average of 19 slots, notably ranking Mike Wallace at 16th overall, while he finished outside of the top 60 WRs for the week and has typically underachieved all season long.

3. ESPN Score: 20.  Notable misses with the ESPN crew were their high rankings of Dwayne Bowe at 10th, Randy Moss at fifth and Pierre Garcon at sixth.  These receivers hardly have been producing at elite levels this year, and their point totals for Week 8 reflected their season averages more than these lofty expectations.  Bowe finished 35th, Moss 76th and Garcon 20th.



Scoring the top 30 running backs from last week, we see that, once again, predicting ranks is more an art than a science:

1. Yahoo Sports Score: 11.  Once again, the crew over at Yahoo set the pace here, and impressively were the only organization to have Mike Hart ranked as if he were going to be fantasy-worthy, ranking him 19th overall.

2. ESPN Score: 13.  ESPN places second, and of their notable and avoidable mistakes was giving Marshawn Lynch the nod to be a solid RB2 in Week 8.  Lynch had done nothing since being traded to Seattle to suggest he would be worthy of the 13th overall spot, and in fact, finished 66th overall.

3. Rotoworld Score: 14.



Scoring the top 15 TEs for the three sites, we find that there is very little difference in performance.  In fact, all three sites scored an 11, more or less.  I rank Rotoworld above the other two, however, because one faulty pick really skewed the numbers.  For some unknown reason, they ranked Tony Scheffler within the top 15 in the position, making their score 11 instead of nine.  I threw them a mulligan as I can't think of anyone who would dream of starting Tony S.  This is particularly strange when you consider they had Brandon Pettigrew (Sheffler’s fellow Detroit Lions TE) ranked in the top 12. 

1. Rotoworld Score: 11 (9).

2. ESPN/Yahoo Sports Score: 11.



Yahoo came out on top again after scoring the top 15 picks at the quarterback position:

1. Yahoo Sports Score: 6.  Yahoo was right on the money with many picks, notably predicting a better week for Matthew Stafford than any other outlet by far, ranking him seventh overall.

2. ESPN/Rotoworld Score: 8.  These two outlets once again tied in performance.  ESPN ranked Matthew Stafford a disrespectful 17, while Rotoworld had Tom Brady at seven, which I thought reflected more the high-flying Pats style than the new, resourceful Patriots team.

If past performance truly is the best indicator of future events, these rankings will shed some light on what advice for you to follow and what advice to ignore for Week 9.  If you are looking for some last-minute advice on who to start and sit and normally go to these outlets, Yahoo is coming off a much better week. 

Sit and start carefully, now all.