Introducing the Player Comp Projection Apps
An introduction to four new apps to help dominate draft season.
With the NFL Draft behind us, we are in peak drafting szn from now until opening kickoff in September. Oftentimes, we focus too much on a singular outcome when determining who to draft — namely projections.
As someone who creates his own projections each year, it can be difficult to disengage from the singular represented outcome and consider each player’s total range. That should include a projectable range using data, but also some contingency-type scenarios involving injury or other chaos.
I’ve built four new apps to help with the former, all dealing with player comp projections:
I have since condensed these apps into a single tool for easier transition and usage
The general premise behind these apps are the same: find the 20 most similar players using principal component analysis, and use them to give various pieces of information. This introduction will be given using the WR app, but applies to all four.
The side panel is where you can select your player (must have played in 2020). Immediately upon selection, the range of outcomes and arbitrage tables will update. These are fairly straightforward.
The range of outcomes table will give you the 75th, 50th (median), and 25th percentile outcomes for the selected player in points per game (PPR scoring). These are obtained by taking the percent changes in the top-20 comps and applying them to the player’s 2020 production.
The arbitrage table provides the five most similar players at that position from 2020, along with the similarity rank. This can be particularly useful in finding value in your drafts. In some cases, you will find a cheaper, very similar player in the table. Other times, you’ll notice that the players in the table are all more expensive than you have selected.
These apps are free for all to use, but please consider supporting the work that went behind them, and any future endeavors, with a subscription. You’ll gain access to some exclusive posts where I put these apps to use, along with other fantasy thoughts throughout the off-season.
Top Comps and N+1
The first two tabs of the app provide all the data on the selected player — and the 20 most similar players — in table format. This is an opportunity to take a more granular look at each of the comps. The N+1 tab will also give the average of all of the comparables in each statistic.
This tab gives you two different displays about your selected player. The first displays the percent change for each of the top-20 comps as a bar plot. This can help visualize how likely it is for a player to improve or decline from last year’s performance — and by how much.
The second visual gives a density plot of the player’s PPR range of scoring by applying those percentages to 2020 scoring. This helps to view the range of outcomes.
Perhaps the most fun tab of the app is the last one, which allows you to compare the ranges of two players.
In this comparison, we can see that Ridley has a much tighter range of outcomes, and is likely to out-score Moore a good portion of the time. There is, however, a small sliver of blue to the right indicating that maybe his absolute best outcomes are better than that of Ridley’s.
Play around with the apps and see what kinds of interesting information you can find. This is just one more piece to the puzzle when it comes to finding the right players to select in your drafts this season.