Daily Fantasy Sports team optimizing – NFL Mathematics Part 4 – Using VORP Value Over Replacement Player

Daily Fantasy Sport Team Ladder Line with VORP

In part 3, we showed that the Ladder Line provides an easy to visualize graph of how your team is coming together by showing the incremental salary on the X (horizontal) axis and the average points per game on the Y (vertical) axis.  The value (reference part 1 and part 2 ) is the slope of each segment.


An optimized Daily Fantasy Team is the team that gives the maximum number of expected fantasy points for a given salary cap.  When the team is displayed on a Ladder Line, you should be looking for a curve that has a steady or consistent  slope for each player segment.


However, to get the ladder line as flat as possible we have to borrow a method from the baseball analyst’s field of Sabremetrics  : Value over Replacement Player (VORP)


The VORP concept is that there is a fictitious player who is both readily available and demonstrates average skills compared to his or her peers. 


For Daily Fantasy NFL games, there are two positions where this is very valuable :  K (Kicker) and D (Defense team).  These positions both share the unique property in the construction of a team in that there is only one per team to select from.  If you are in Daily Fantasy game where there 10 NFL games, there will be exactly 20 Defense teams and 20 Kickers and you must pick only one from each.  Contrast this to Quarterbacks, where most Daily Fantasy teams let you pick the starter, the backup and often times the third string QB as well – typically over 50 names are available.


The beauty of using VORP for K and D positions is that the design of the Daily Fantasy games makes it easy to define the points for this fictitious Replacement Player.  Simply look at all the players who are available at the base (floor) salary and average the average points for that group.   For K (Kickers), expect a replacement value of about 7.5 points and about 6 points for D (Defense).  While a replacement point value can be calculated for the other roles, it is not typically significant.


Subtract the replacement player points from the team you have selected, and you will see the ideal Ladder Line for the optimized team.  In the graph shown, the orange line displays the adjusted points for a replacement player.  The Ladder Line is smoother, particularly for the K and D positions.  This is why it is called value based drafting.


If you have comments or suggestions on this, please ContactMe .   Good picking !