If you read my first article (and I commend you for persevering through it!), you already have the foundational knowledge of calculating player value. Here is a link if you need to review it. Now we will use that knowledge to gain an advantage in your next trade offer, start-up draft or rookie draft in this crazy world of IDP, or any type of league. I hope you have found the time to build your spreadsheet (from now on, we will call this sheet the Front Office). Since you are reading this article, I will assume that you are willing to continue the journey for more knowledge. So let’s make it so number 1!
Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.Albert Einstien
Before we start…
The Dynastynerds team has started an IDP league for team members and their friends; therefore, providing me a perfect opportunity to put theory to practice. The league will be a Super-flex, tiered ppr, using our own Jordan Rains’ @50shadesofdrunk IDP123 scoring system. First, if you haven’t checked out that scoring system, then here is a link IDP123 to the article that explains it. For the rest of this series, I will be following my strategy for that league using the methods and calculations that I am writing. In other words, I am letting you into the Front Office to share my decision making on player value. Good or bad, and together we can learn from my mistakes and successes!
Forward the Foundation
As soon as I have built the initial database of players and their base values, I like to make a correction for the values based on the consistency of the position. This is not required, and honestly, inputs conjecture into the equation. However, I add this correction to devalue some positions based on the consistency of the same player seeing a repeat performance. Most of us know that there is variance in who is a top QB based on injury and variability of production each year. We can assume that the variability in player performance will also be seen in the defensive players. So, here is what I have noticed for our example league!
Calculating VORP for the new league
First, we will calculate each player’s VORP, as discussed in the previous article. We have to start 2 Linebackers in this league with a Defensive-flex position. In other words, I have three available Linebacker spots each week. I have already run the VORP calculation for the league using the same methods in the previous article. Those number gave me player values that look like this:
For context, that means that the LB1 would have the same value as WR12, RB24, and QB2! Pretty crazy for a Super-flex! But the factor of variability now comes into question.
Positional Variability and VORP
How many QB’s make it into the top 28 in subsequent years? What is the turnover rate? On average, 78% of the top 28 QB’s will repeat the following year. That shouldn’t be too surprising. There are only 32 teams, and usually, each team has only one quarterback. Now, what about linebackers? I am looking for Starters here, not Flex. That number is drastically different at 42%. That means that out of the 28 starting linebackers, only about 12 will repeat. Very different, but also understandable. Each team is starting at least two linebackers each week. They are not nearly as protected from injury as the QB by rules and purpose of the position. This variance in repeatability affects the player value of the LB when compared to QB. As a result, it should be taken into account.
Correcting Linebacker VORP
I do this by multiplying the VORP by the correction factors to receive my corrected player value number. The results provide a new table:
Here are the correction factors I use for all of the positions in this specific league:
Disappointed? Yeah, me too, a little. With these corrections inputted, LB1 is now on par with the likes of QB14, WR25, and RB39. But don’t fret. There’s better news to come! And in the meantime here is some Bobby Wagner to make you feel better:
I rarely grow tired of watching Bobby Wagner work. Anyways, back to the issue at hand.
Inserting Corrections into your spreadsheet
My corrections are now imputed into the VORP table. I did this by returning to the individual positions page of the spreadsheet (aka Front Office!). In the column next to VORP, I make the Corrected VORP column. The picture below shows the DB page. The correction factor is .27 per the table we saw earlier. The highlighted cell has the formula:
I then copy and paste it to the rest. Each VORP will be multiplied by H2, which is the correction factor. Then go to each positional page, place the position’s correction factor into the H2 cell, rinse and repeat!
OK! One last thing! If you need, go and grab a soda, beer, or, in my case, a Jameson with a splash, and let’s go to the last piece.
How to use your VORP table
Everything we have done so far would allow me to pick my team! Therefore, if I were in a redraft league, I would go straight down the table, selecting the player I have in each spot after sorting for the largest VORP. I would probably make adjustments here or there to make sure I could fill out a starting line-up. Still, I have the base document that I need to prioritize my projected players in this league. In a dynasty scenario, we still have more work to do. However, this table is still essential for us to understand player value from year to year.
VORP is essential in an Auction League
VORP is vital to the type of league in our example because it is a salary cap auction league. I love this format! For one, an auction is my favorite because I get whoever I want as long as I am willing to pay! Secondly, the Salary Cap adds the extra bit of strategy. Knowing each year, I will have to manage my contracts to ensure that I stay below the cap but maximize my scoring potential. This is where our VORP calculator shines!
Building the salary calculation is not hard, and most of the work is already done. First, we will sum up the total VORP values using the formula:
The “C198” part may differ for your league. The important part is adding up all of those values to determine the total. Mine looks like this:
Next, we add the formula:
to the D3 cell next to our top player. Should look like this:
Since my top player is Christian McCaffery, I will describe what I have done to his salary. I have divided CMC’s VORP by the Total VOPR to determine what CMC’s percentage is worth. Later, when I multiply that percentage to the overall salary for the league, I will have an accurate number to apply to him for the salary I should be willing to pay. Copy and paste this equation to the rest of your players.
Determine how much you will spend on starters
The next calculation we use will require a little conjecture to determine the numbers. In a salary cap/auction league, we obviously have a cap that dictates our spending. I like to spend between 80% to 90% of my budget on starters, and the rest will be minimum contract values for bench players. This is a risky way to build a roster, and your style of play should dictate your starter salary. For the purpose of this calculation, I will use 85% for starter contracts. We will also assume a $1000 salary cap and a minimum deal of $5. Those numbers are not accurate to our example league, but I don’t want to write zeros a billion times.
Enter salary numbers into your spreadsheet
Make a cell for “Salary Cap” and input your cap number. Make a cell for “Starter Money” and use the formula:
This is the amount you are willing to pay for starting players. Next, substitute the .85 with whatever percentage you are ready to give your starters. Now have a cell for Total Starter money. This cell will compute the dollar value for starters if the entire league prescribes to your percentage. Most probably won’t, but it doesn’t matter. We are determining your valuation, not your league mate’s valuation. Use the formula:
Where 14 is the number of players in our example league. Should look like this:
Showing the formulas
Showing you the results
Find the players max salary
The final step is to multiply your player’s VORP percentage by the total League Starter Money value to determine how much you should be willing to pay for each player on your calculator. The formula is:
=if($G$2*D3<5, 5, $G$2*D3)
This formula gives your number 1 player’s value, in this case, Christian McCaffery. Looks like this after you push enter:
Copy and paste that formula to the rest of your players. The bottom few players should show $5 as their contract amount. This is the most complicated formula we have had to use, but the “if” statement allows us to enter the minimum contract value of $5.
Interpret the data
Alright! Take a moment to congratulate yourself! Take a breather and finish that beverage. We have covered a lot in the past two articles, and the bulk of your work is done. Use this table to find any hidden data about your league. Let us look at the implications of performing this calculation on the players in my new league at DynastyNerds.com. Remember that it is a SuperFlex/TE Premium League that utilizes the IDP123 scoring system. Another nuance is a tiered PPR system that gives .5 points to the WR, 1 point to RB, and 1.5 to the TE. The salary cap in this league is $150,000,000, with a minimum salary of $495,000.
Running Backs will get paid a lot of money
As you can see, my number 1 overall player, CMC, is worth almost a quarter of my entire salary cap!! Does this mean I should pay this much for CMC? In a redraft league definitely! In a dynasty league, there will be more to study before we make that decision. Still, if we want to be in win-now mode, then yes, I would pay that much for the potential of the highest scorer in the league at the most valuable position.
From the above picture, we can also see the implications of having a top 3 TE in our league. The “perfect” salary for the TE3 would not be very different than QB1. This is an outstanding piece of information to have in our minds when we go to our start-up draft. We can find value in paying a player like Kittle or Kelce and wait for QB later.
DL leads the league for defensive contracts
Moving further down the line, we see our first defensive player.
When I first performed these VORP calculations for IDP, I was always surprised to see DL above LB in player value, but not anymore. Depending on the scoring system, the DL can act a lot like a TE or QB. The top few are so much more valuable than the statistically “bunched up” majority.
I could keep going, but I am sure that some of you are itching to build your own “Front Office” and start discovering your league’s subtleties. However, for those of you curious to see the rest of this chart, comment below. Please give me feedback and your thoughts on the article. Your feedback will help mold future work and give you the product you want. In return, I will provide you with access to my spreadsheet to lay out my strategy for the upcoming start-up draft.
Thank you for reading!
The past two articles have attempted to establish a foundation for calculating player value. We have learned how to create spreadsheets to calculate VORP to use during our start-up drafts and trade evaluations. In the next leg of our journey, we will focus on the rookie drafting process. We will attempt to use real data to find some of the hidden secrets of IDP value when performing our yearly rookie drafts. Till then, friend, maintain your vigilance, and raise your shields when conventional wisdom starts to creep into your decision making. Be bold and buck the norm by using knowledge!