Who Has the Best Fantasy Football Projections? 2015 Update

February 20, 2015
By

(This article was first published on Fantasy Football Analytics » R | Fantasy Football Analytics, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

In prior posts, I demonstrated how to download projections from numerous sources, calculate custom projections for your league, and compare the accuracy of different sources of projections (2013, 2014).  In the latest version of our annual series, we hold the forecasters accountable and see who had the most and least accurate fantasy football projections over the last 4 years.

The R Script

You can download the R script for comparing the projections from different sources here.  You can download the historical projections here and historical performance (i.e., players’ actual points scored) here.

To compare the accuracy of the projections, I use the following metrics:

For a discussion of these metrics, see here and here.

Whose Predictions Were the Best?

The results are in the table below.  The rows represent the different sources of predictions (e.g., ESPN, CBS) and the columns represent the different measures of accuracy for the last three years and the average across years.  The source with the best measure for each metric is in blue.
Source 2012 2013 2014 Average
R2 MASE R2 MASE R2 MASE R2 MASE
Fantasy Football Analytics: Average .671 .422 .503 .520 .569 .479 .581 .474
Fantasy Football Analytics: Robust Average .566 .483 .566 .483
Accuscore .457 .549 .457 .549
CBS: Jamey Eisenberg .619 .501 .388 .676 .465 .614 .491 .597
CBS: Dave Richard .619 .501 .388 .676 .512 .587 .507 .588
EDS Football .516 .527 .516 .527
ESPN .528 .577 .393 .684 .483 .591 .468 .617
FantasyPros .674 .411 .500 .520 .547 .516 .574 .482
FantasySharks .455 .547 .455 .547
FFtoday .593 .457 .442 .559 .494 .538 .510 .518
Footballguys: David Dodds .534 .527 .534 .527
Footballguys: Bob Henry .566 .479 .566 .479
Footballguys: Maurile Tremblay .527 .523 .527 .523
Footballguys: Jason Wood .549 .495 .549 .495
NFL.com .510 .642 .419 .595 .474 .612 .468 .616
numberFire .474 .596 .474 .596
Yahoo .499 .567 .499 .567
Here is how the projections ranked over the last three years (based on MASE):
  1. Fantasy Football Analytics: Average
  2. Footballguys: Bob Henry
  3. FantasyPros
  4. Fantasy Football Analytics: Robust Average
  5. Footballguys: Jason Wood
  6. FFtoday
  7. Footballguys: Maurile Tremblay
  8. EDS Football
  9. Footballguys: David Dodds
  10. FantasySharks
  11. Accuscore
  12. Yahoo
  13. CBS: Dave Richard
  14. numberFire
  15. CBS: Jamey Eisenberg
  16. FOX
  17. NFL.com
  18. ESPN

Notes: FantasyFootballNerd projections were not included because the full projections are subscription only.  WalterFootball projections were not included because they do not separate rushing from receiving touchdowns.  CBS estimates were averaged across Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard in 2012 and 2013.

Here is a scatterplot of our average projections in relation to players’ actual fantasy points scored in 2014:

Evaluate Projections

 

Interesting Observations

  1. Projections that combined multiple sources of projections (FFA Average, FantasyPros) were more accurate than single projections (CBS, NFL.com, ESPN).
  2. The R-squared of the FFA average projection was .67 in 2012, .50 in 2013, and .57 in 2014.  This suggests that players are more predictable in some years than others.  It also indicates that 1/3 to 1/2 of the variance in actual points is unexplained by projections, so there is much room for improvement in terms of prediction accuracy.
  3. There was little consistency in performance across time among sites that used single projections (CBS, NFL.com, ESPN). In 2012, CBS was the most accurate single source of projection but they were the least accurate in 2013.  Moreover, the least accurate in 2012 was NFL.com, but they were among the most accurate in 2013.  This suggests that no single source reliably outperforms the others.  While some sites may do better than others in any given year (because of fairly random variability–i.e., chance), it is unlikely that they will continue to outperform the other sites.

Conclusion

Fantasy Football Analytics had the most accurate projections over the last three years.  Why?  We average across sources.  Combining sources of projections removes some of their individual judgment biases (error) and gives us a more accurate fantasy projection.  No single source (CBS, NFL.com, ESPN) reliably outperformed the others or the crowd, suggesting that differences between them are likely due in large part to chance.  In sum, crowd projections are more accurate than individuals’ judgments for fantasy football projections.  People often like to “go with their gut” when picking players.  That’s fine—fantasy football is a game.  Do what is fun for you.  But, crowd projections are the most reliably accurate of any source.  Do with that what you will!

The post Who Has the Best Fantasy Football Projections? 2015 Update appeared first on Fantasy Football Analytics.

To leave a comment for the author, please follow the link and comment on their blog: Fantasy Football Analytics » R | Fantasy Football Analytics.

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