Michael Nease was super aggressive with his running back picks in the Experts Poll last year; with seven different running backs, he ranked them higher or lower than any of the 19 other analysts. And Nease hit on enough of those picks to outperform the rest of the field at this position.
It wasn’t pretty at times. Nease ranked Todd Gurley (6th) and Saquon Barkley (12th) a lot lower than anyone else – picks that rightfully cost him a ton of points. They finished as the top-2 scoring running backs (using standard scoring).
But Nease hit on enough other picks to salvage the best score. He ranked Alvin Kamara as his No. 1 back, for example, which was about 4 spots higher than the vast majority of experts. The Kamara pick helped to essentially cancel one of his misses on Gurley and Barkley. He was also one of only two experts to rank LeVeon Bell just 5th, which paid off when Bell didn’t even play (most ranked Bell either 2nd or 3rd). Similarly, Nease ranked Devonta Freeman only 17th, about 5 spots lower than most; that also paid off big-time when Freeman missed most of the season.
Nease was also among the highest on Christian McCaffrey (13th), which ended up being a huge boon.
Total them up and Nease, who writes for Big Guy Fantasy Sports, ended up in the top spot using our complex scoring system. In this contest, you don’t draft players. Instead, everyone in your top 20 counts; the higher you rank them, the more they count towards your score.
Bob Henry of Football Guys finished 2nd in this category. Patrick Chance took 3rd. Unlike 18 of the other contestants, Chance isn’t an industry writer. Instead, he earned a berth in the competition by finishing in the top 2 in the Fantasy Index Open last year. (Speaking of the open, those scores will be released early in the week.)
|EXPERTS POLL, RUNNING BACKS (standard scoring)|
With this competition, attrition tends to play a huge role. Rank a player like LeVeon Bell, Derrius Guice or Devonta Freeman too high, and you’re screwed. Those kind of players, in fact, end up being more important than how you happened to order guys like Gurley, Barkley, McCaffrey and Ezekiel Elliott.
With that in mind, we also score the poll using more of a Value-Based Drafting system. In such a format, you pull out the starters at each position – 12 QB, K, TE and Def, 24 RB and 24 WRs – and look at who was the best at identifying them. The rest of the players, get moved to the side (you just assume that everyone else produced the same as the best backup at each position).
Using the VBD scoring system, Patrick Chance, Sam Hendricks (Extra Point Press) and Henry were the top finishers, with Nease falling back towards the middle of the pack.
It’s a reminder that these picks can be scored in various plausible ways.
|EXPERTS POLL, RUNNING BACKS (VBD scoring)|
With one position left to grade, Bob Henry is the overall leader, with Nease, Michael Nazarek, Scott Pianowski and Lenny Pappano close behind. Henry has finished 4th, 2nd and 2nd in the last three positions to overcome a slow start.
The last position, however, is the one with the most points at stake: quarterbacks. Those will be tabulated on Sunday.
|EXPERTS POLL, OVERALL (standard scoring)|
Using the VBD scoring system, Henry and Nease are also in the top 2 spots with only one position left to score.
|EXPERTS POLL, OVERALL (VBD scoring)|