Topic: What Is The Magic Formula?

So I've been around on these forums for about a year now, and one thing that I've noticed that is a lot of people here give advice based on The Magic Formula.  Awesome, right?  That means that Kevin and Lyle are succeeding in their goal to get as many of us as possible to drink the Kool-Aid and hopefully donate monies to keeping the forums and podcast afloat.  To that end, I wish the guys all the success in the world, because this Kool-Aid drinker is a zealot for The Magic Formula.  Unfortunately, there are a few heretics around here that *think* they are spreading the Word of Kevin and Lyle, but are, in truth, spreading a perversion of their holy doctrine!

*gasps, hushed whispers of disbelief, and violent statements of angry dissention*

It is true!  And, furthermore, I can prove it is true!  For those that would prefer to remain blissfully ignorant or are too weak to have their fantasy football faith shaken, you may stop reading now.  In an effort to compensate you for your time, I present to you this picture of a frolicking kitten; however, for those of you yearning for truth and self-betterment, keep reading.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_gTJMEP-c2fo/Sj09rWVqnJI/AAAAAAAANBQ/MffW3AkLlwU/s640/Cute_Kitten_Playing_Games.jpg

Alright, thanks for hearing me out, but bear with me, kiddies, because its going to be a bumpy ride.  I am now going to say something that may be sacrilegious to some sensitive patrons of this forum.  Pregnant women and those with heart conditions should not attempt to board this ride.  Viewer discretion is advised.

*ahem*


The Magic Formula is *not* "always draft three RBs in the first five rounds".


*insert the sound of millions of voices suddenly crying out in terror and becoming suddenly silenced*

I warned you!  I will pause momentarily for those that need to be revived by their friends and loved ones, or didn't heed the above warning.  I know, it is a bit shocking, but hear me out.  For those of us not passed out at our keyboards from shock at my heretical ramblings and want to see where this is going, I will continue.

The Magic Formula is a formula, not a method.  As such, it isn't a simple rule of thumb, which is how a lot of readers here seem to treat it.  Also, as its name implies, it is a formula, which implies that there are some mathematics involved in its application.  Guess what?  There are some mathematics involved!  Well, more than just counting to three before you count to five, anyway.  Allow me to elaborate.

The reason that The Magic Formula can't be boiled down to a basic rule of thumb is because the standard understanding of The Magic Formula, namely, the aforementioned "draft three RBs in the first five rounds", doesn't hold true for the scoring system of every league.  A prime example of this might be a league where you can play two QBs.

So, if The Magic Formula *isn't* "always draft three RBs in the first five rounds", what *is* it?  Well, my friend, I'm glad you asked.

*deep breath*

The Magic Formula is a way to analyze the scoring method of your fantasy football league in a way to calculate which positions have the steepest drop-off over the maximum number of players possible in those positions that can be fielded each week in order to determine which positions should receive precedence during the draft.  I'll give you a few moments to read that last bit again and digest it...gawd knows it took a few moments to compose it.  Maybe if we dissect that idea a little bit it won't sound like someone trying to describe the Pythagorean Theorem.  Keep reading...I promise this will make sense eventually.


"The Magic Formula is a way to analyze the scoring method of your fantasy football league..."

Okay, lets start with this first bit.  Its an integral part to understanding The Magic Formula, but one that gets completely ignored by most people that believe they understand it.  The important bit that they're missing is:  "...the scoring method of your league...".  That part is very important, because it means the scoring method of one league may lead to different results than a scoring method of a different league when applying The Magic Formula"But, Joos," you're thinking, "If that is true, then it means The Magic Formula isn't as simple as 'always draft three RBs in the first five round', right?"  Exactly, hoss, now you're thinking!  Here's a cookie, lets continue.

http://www.thefoodsection.com/photos/uncategorized/2008/12/09/cookie.jpg


"...in a way to calculate which positions have the steepest drop-off..."

This is pretty straight forward, but if we're dissecting the sentence, this is the next logical stop.  In a nutshell, this statement means that we will be determining the difference between players point productions.  That's right, b*tches...simple subtraction!!!  Guess what?  That's pretty much all the math there is to The Magic Formula.  If you can count and perform basic arithmetic functions you've got it made in the shade with a glass of Kevin and Lyle's Kool-Aid!  Keep reading, it gets better.


...over the maximum number of players possible in those positions that can be fielded each week...

Okay, this part is a bit wordy, but, I promise, is necessary, too.  What we learn here is that the maximum number of players you can play in each position plays an important role in The Magic Formula.  Is your league a two QB or two D/ST league?  Do you have a FLEX position in your league, and, if so, what players can be played in that FLEX?  RB/WR?  RB/WR/TE?  What about an IDP league?!?  It all matters, and will make a difference when you apply The Magic Formula correctly.  Hang in there, we're on the home stretch, bro.


...in order to determine which positions should receive precedence during the draft.

Ahhhh!  Ah-ha!!!  There is a method to the madness!  A light at the end of the tunnel!  A reason for all this thinking and math and reading"Joos," you're now saying to your computer screen, much to the chagrin of the coworker in the next cube who is furtively watching you from the corner of her eye and wondering if she should finally call security about you, "I think I get it!  You're saying The Magic Formula will tell me which players to take in every round of my draft, right?"  Well, almost.  What The Magic Formula tells you, when correctly applied, is nothing so specific as 'draft RBs first, then draft WRs, and don't even think about taking a QB until the seventh round'.  However, it does quantify which positions are the most volatile, which, in turn, will tell you which positions you should draft early and often.

*whew*

Right about now some of you are saying to your computer screens, "Joos, this is bogus!  I don't want to do math!  Isn't this forum all about trash talk, trade and lineup advice, and the softcore porn in the questions threads?!?".  Well, my friends, you're probably half right, but if you want to actually understand The Magic Formula and stop sounding like a complete numpty every time you spout the 'draft three RBs in the first three rounds' axiom you will want to keep reading.  Besides, you've followed along this far, don't you want to see how it ends?

So, we've established what The Magic Formula *isn't*, and have a working definition of what it *is*...now what?  Words cannot express how happy I am you asked; however, the following comes close:

*ahem*

So, our working definition of The Magic Formula is:

The Magic Formula - Noun - /T?H? majik fôrmy?l?/
1.  A way to analyze the scoring method of your fantasy football league in a way to calculate which positions have the steepest drop-off over the maximum number of players possible in those positions that can be fielded each week in order to determine which positions should receive precedence during the draft.

Another way to say this is:

The Magic Formula is used to quantify the difference between the top player at a given position and the nth player at the same position, where n is the maximum number of players of that position possible to field in all team rosters for your fantasy football league.

*sound of heads banging on keyboards*

"Dammit, Joos!" you're probably thinking by now, "You said it would get *better*, not worse!"  Yes, I did...and it has, because now we're getting into the formula part of The Magic Formula.  Really, its not difficult at all.  Remember what I said about counting and simple subtraction?  Well, here we go, but there are a couple of things you need to know first before we start throwing numbers around willy-nilly.

First, you need to know what positions you can field according to your league's roster rules and the number of teams in your league.  This goes back to the part we discussed before about FLEX positions, or two QB leagues.  Lets look a the following example together, shall we?

Example 1


Consider the following roster for a 10 team league:
QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, RB/WR, TE, K, D/ST

How many players of each position maximum can be used on this team?  Well, lets do a little counting, shall we?  It is possible to play 1 QB, up to 3 RBs, up to 3 WRs, 1 TE, 1 K, and 1 D/ST.  These possibilities are the same for all teams in this example league.  In order to find the sample size for this league for each position we simply multiply the maximum number of players for each position times the number of teams in the league, and we get the following:

  • 10 QBs

  • 30 RBs

  • 30 WRs

  • 10 TEs

  • 10 Ks

  • 10 D/STs

This represents the maximum number of players at each position possible for every team in the league each week...our sample size.  Now all we need to do is find the difference between the best and worst possible player for each position in order to see which position has the largest variance between the top and bottom players.  In order to do this, we will need a list of players from the previous year ranked by fantasy football points scored according to the league's scoring rules.  Luckily I have one, right here:

Quarterbacks

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  • 1.  Peyton Manning - 440.8

  • ...

  • 10.  Carson Palmer - 355.5

Difference:  85.3

Runningbacks

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  • 1.  Arian Foster - 347.0

  • ...

  • 30.  Brandon Jackson - 130.5

Difference:  216.5

Wide Receivers

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  • 1.  Brandon Lloyd - 225.0

  • ...

  • 30.  Wes Welker - 131.6

Difference:  93.4

Tight Ends

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  • 1.  Jason Witten - 156.2

  • ...

  • 10.  Dustin Keller - 100.7

Difference:  55.5

Kickers

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  • 1.  Sebastian Janikowski - 144.0

  • ...

  • 10.  Rob Bironas - 112.0

Difference:  32.0

Defense/Special Teams

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  • 1.  New England Patriots - 188.0

  • ...

  • 10.  San Diego Chargers - 138.0

Difference:  50.0

*  the top players for each position may be different for every league based on that leagues scoring system.

By utilizing some simple subtraction we get difference between the top player and the nth player for each position.  For this league's scoring system the positions are ranked as follows:

  1. 216.5 - Runningbacks

  2. 93.4 - Wide Receivers

  3. 85.3 - Quarterbacks

  4. 55.5 - Tight Ends

  5. 50.0 - Defense/Special Teams

  6. 32.0 - Kickers

Okay...words and numbers, but what do they mean?  Well, the numbers represent the difference between the fantasy football points production of the top and "bottom"/nth players in each position according to the example league's scoring system.  This shows us how steep the drop-off in fantasy production is for each position for the example league.  Another way to say that would be that it shows us how important it is to draft which positions early compared to other positions, because the difference between drafting a higher vs. lower ranked player in one position that you must field every week is drastically different from a different position.  Yet another way to say it is the difference between drafting the #1 RB vs. the #30 RB is far greater than drafting the #1 QB or #1 WR vs. the #10 QB or #30 WR.

What does it mean?  Well, in the scoring system used in the above example league, it means it would be smart to draft RBs early and often.  Probably something along he lines of three in the first five rounds...give or take.

*collective swearing that would make Richard Pryor and Chris Rock blush*

"@#$%&#^%#$, Joosbawx!  I thought you said that The Magic Formula *wasn't* 'always draft three RBs in the first five rounds'!!??!!"  Yes, I did say that; however, I also just said '...in the scoring system used in the above example league...', which is an important distinction.  What if the scoring system or rosters were different?  Lets look at one final example to illustrate my point.

Example 2


Consider the following roster for a 10 team league:
QB, QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, WR, TE, K, D/ST

This isn't so different from the first example.  The scoring system is exactly the same, but the roster requirements are slightly different.  This is a two QB league.  So, counting up the positions we can figure out how many of each position can be fielded for the entire league each week, we get the following:

  • 20 QBs

  • 20 RBs

  • 30 WRs

  • 10 TEs

  • 10 Ks

  • 10 D/STs

This is the same as the roster tally for the first example, except that the number of QBs has doubled, and the number of RBs has diminished by one-third.  Luckily I also happen to have the rankings for the additional QBs needed to run the comparisons for this league's roster requirements:

Quarterbacks

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  • 1.  Peyton Manning - 440.8

  • ...

  • 20.  Donovan McNabb - 259.0

Difference:  181.8

Runningbacks

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  • 1.  Arian Foster - 347.0

  • ...

  • 20.  LaDanian Timlinson - 166.2

Difference:  180.8

Wide Receivers

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  • 1.  Brandon Lloyd - 225.0

  • ...

  • 30.  Wes Welker - 131.6

Difference:  93.4

Tight Ends

Toggle SpoilerSpoiler

  • 1.  Jason Witten - 156.2

  • ...

  • 10.  Dustin Keller - 100.7

Difference:  55.5

Kickers

Toggle SpoilerSpoiler

  • 1.  Sebastian Janikowski - 144.0

  • ...

  • 10.  Rob Bironas - 112.0

Difference:  32.0

Defense/Special Teams

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  • 1.  New England Patriots - 188.0

  • ...

  • 10.  San Diego Chargers - 138.0

Difference:  50.0

Once again, by utilizing some simple subtraction we get difference between the top player and the nth player for each position.  For this league's scoring system the positions are ranked as follows:

  1. 181.8 - Quarterbacks

  2. 180.8 - Runningbacks

  3. 93.4 - Wide Receivers

  4. 55.5 - Tight Ends

  5. 50.0 - Defense/Special Teams

  6. 32.0 - Kickers

This is the point that I've been trying to make...and it took me quite awhile to see it myself.  The Magic Formula, as most people understand it, doesn't apply in this instance, because the example league's roster requirements are different.  When looking at the results in this example we can see that the difference between drafting #1 QB versus the #20 QB is heavily weighted, and actually out weighs the difference, albeit slightly, between drafting the #1 RB versus the #20 RB.

"Joosbawx," You're probably muttering through gritted teeth while catching glares over the cubicle walls on all sides by now, "You had damn well better get to the point, and get there quick!"  Fair enough, buddy.  Here it is:

The Magic Formula is *not* "always draft three RBs in the first five rounds".  It is a way to analyze the scoring method of your fantasy football league in a way to calculate which positions have the steepest drop-off over the maximum number of players possible in those positions that can be fielded each week in order to determine which positions should receive precedence during the draft.

Not only does it say which positions are most important, but it can also be used to see which positions deserve the most depth on your bench, which positions are worth taking late round fliers, which positions can be delayed until later rounds and still provide solid numbers, and when to reach for a particular position and when to sit back and take the player another guy passed over by reaching too far for a different player.

In short, The Magic Formula is invaluable, and for more useful than 'always draft three RBs in the first five rounds'.  By not understanding its full potential you are, in my humble opinion, truly missing out on a lot of what Kevin and Lyle have to share with this community.


What You Need to Know to Use The Magic Formula

  • Number of teams in your league

  • Your league's roster requirements

  • The scoring system for your league, in detail

  • A list of players ranked by fantasy points scored according to your league's scoring system

  • Basic arithmetic and counting skills

  • Optional:  MS Excel Worksheet


Thank you for reading this far and entertaining my ramblings.  I hope you find this helpful in some manner.  Good luck, and kick some fantasy football arse!

~  Joosbawx


EDIT:  I've created a pretty basic MS Excel spreadsheet (TMF_Worksheet.xlsx) that will walk you through The Magic Formula if you need a little help with the math, or just want a handy tool.  Entering your league settings in the green text areas will automatically update the rest of the spreadsheet and spit out your answers...all you need is a ranked list of players per your scoring system.  Screenshot in the spoiler below.  Enjoy!



EDIT:  I've also thrown together a quick and dirty webpages where you can run The Magic Formula numbers without having to download anything:  TMF Calculator - Online.  In order to save space I did not include more than basic instructions; however, the pages does link back to this forum thread and thefantasyfootballguys.com.  Screenshot in the spoiler below.  Enjoy!



Last edited by Joosbawx (2012-08-16 20:11:20)

Thumbs up +20

Re: What Is The Magic Formula?

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Toggle SpoilerSpoilertl;dr

Re: What Is The Magic Formula?

Lyle wrote:

tl;dr

imagine if I'd done it in comic form...

Thumbs up

Re: What Is The Magic Formula?

Seriously... this is epic... you get it...
http://gemandmax.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/I_Approve.jpg

Re: What Is The Magic Formula?

...You're right, kittens are stupid.

It is a fair wind that blew men to the ale.

Re: What Is The Magic Formula?

elliot23 wrote:

...You're right, kittens are stupid.

SAY THAT AGAIN!!!

http://merciarising.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/f-shark-cat-3136.jpg

Nobility of Intent does not Offset Stupidity of Execution

Re: What Is The Magic Formula?

MojoX wrote:

SAY THAT AGAIN!!!

Yeah, still not a fan

Last edited by elliot23 (2011-08-24 09:56:41)

It is a fair wind that blew men to the ale.

Re: What Is The Magic Formula?

how does this formula apply when return yardage counts? in my keague, KR/PR yardage afftects the top 15 RB/WRs very strongly. for example, Jacoby Ford was the #5 ranked WR, and Darren Sproles was the #5 ranked RB...

also, it seems like Foster's stats last year were ridiculously higher than even the #2 ranked RB. would you count this as an outlier and go from #2 to your #11 RB in a 10-teamer?

12-team 0.5 PPR, 0.1 PPKRY/PRY QB: Romo, Orton RBs: AP, Hillis, HT, Sproles WRs: VJax, Lloyd, Marhsall, Ford, Amendola  TE: Daniels
12-team 0.5 PPR, 0.1 PPKRY/PRY QB: Freeman, Newton RBs: Charles, Turner, Greene, Jacobs, Snelling WRs: Wallace, VJAX, Bryant, AJ Green, Evans, Jacoby Jones TE: Finley

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Re: What Is The Magic Formula?

milkfingers wrote:

Jacoby Ford was the #5 ranked WR, and Darren Sproles was the #5 ranked RB...

You are still thinking in terms of "Who" not "Which Position"... The scoring system is different, and you may have different results, but the application is the same.

milkfingers wrote:

also, it seems like Foster's stats last year were ridiculously higher than even the #2 ranked RB. would you count this as an outlier and go from #2 to your #11 RB in a 10-teamer?

Sure, you can do that if you feel that Foster's stats truly were unique... The results will be the same though... RBs will still be far more valuable.

Re: What Is The Magic Formula?

First time poster here.  Started listening to the show last season mid-season and I'm hooked.  When I enter a draft I usually just go with the flow and work off of a cheat sheet that I've created my own personal tiers with.  It's worked out ok and has brought me a championship in my most competitive league within the last 5 year and runner up.  However, I would like to apply the "MF" in my draft this year.

That being said, I believe I now know how to apply the "MF" to the draft after reading around the forum and this post. in particular was helpful.  However, I still have a few question and I'll list them below.  Thanks so much for any help in advance and good luck to everyone this fantasy season!

1. When using "MF" to determine most valuable positions, do you use last years final numbers for each position/player using your scoring format or this years projections for those players with your scoring format?

2. Now this part is what really interests me.  When creating tiers using the "MF", do you use last years numbers or this years projections for each position/player?  Then what subjects you to separate  RB Tier #1 from RB Tier #2?  Your own point discretion?  Anyone have any examples?

Thanks again!

Thumbs up +1

Re: What Is The Magic Formula?

I never, ever use projections... as they are mostly useless... It's just guessing... and I don't like to guess. I definitely don't want guess work in my math.

Re: What Is The Magic Formula?

Meast wrote:

First time poster here.  Started listening to the show last season mid-season and I'm hooked.  When I enter a draft I usually just go with the flow and work off of a cheat sheet that I've created my own personal tiers with.  It's worked out ok and has brought me a championship in my most competitive league within the last 5 year and runner up.  However, I would like to apply the "MF" in my draft this year.

That being said, I believe I now know how to apply the "MF" to the draft after reading around the forum and this post. in particular was helpful.  However, I still have a few question and I'll list them below.  Thanks so much for any help in advance and good luck to everyone this fantasy season!

1. When using "MF" to determine most valuable positions, do you use last years final numbers for each position/player using your scoring format or this years projections for those players with your scoring format?

2. Now this part is what really interests me.  When creating tiers using the "MF", do you use last years numbers or this years projections for each position/player?  Then what subjects you to separate  RB Tier #1 from RB Tier #2?  Your own point discretion?  Anyone have any examples?

Thanks again!

these two questions also interest me as well man. personally i use separate a tier from another tier when i see a notable dropoff in points scored but i'm not sure this is the correct wayto do it...

12-team 0.5 PPR, 0.1 PPKRY/PRY QB: Romo, Orton RBs: AP, Hillis, HT, Sproles WRs: VJax, Lloyd, Marhsall, Ford, Amendola  TE: Daniels
12-team 0.5 PPR, 0.1 PPKRY/PRY QB: Freeman, Newton RBs: Charles, Turner, Greene, Jacobs, Snelling WRs: Wallace, VJAX, Bryant, AJ Green, Evans, Jacoby Jones TE: Finley

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Re: What Is The Magic Formula?

greatly appreciated Joos. Still one question that noone has explained to me. How do you do this for a keeper league? If you already have some positions then who would be the most important to draft?

@ByHardy

Re: What Is The Magic Formula?

Joosbawx, this thread IS awesome. another +1

" Don Shula, .... he can take his'un and beat your'un and then he can take your'un and beat his'un " - actual quote of Bum Phillips in the 1970's

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Re: What Is The Magic Formula?

hardy0109 wrote:

greatly appreciated Joos. Still one question that noone has explained to me. How do you do this for a keeper league? If you already have some positions then who would be the most important to draft?

By running the numbers for the positions and scoring system of your league you will get the results that show which positions have the greatest variance...or which positions are the more important for your league and scoring system.

Those are the positions that you want to draft.  However, in a keeper league, the only difference is that you have the option to keep some of those players from last year.  Whichever positions have the greatest difference between the "top" and "bottom" players are the ones you should prefer as keepers...as well as target in the redraft.

With a keeper league there is additional strategy because not only are YOU keeping players, but everyone else is, too.  If you know who the other teams are keeping and, therefore, who will and won't be available in the redraft that should weigh into your decision, too.

The Magic Formula doesn't tell you which players to keep, it tells you which positions are most important in your scoring system.

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Re: What Is The Magic Formula?

So using the final stats from last year I used the magic formula and I have the following results:  1. RB = 300 pt difference
2. QB = 162
3. WR = 152
4. TE = 93
5. D/ST = 86
6. K = 43

I draft 8th in my league.  Obviously I am drafting a RB with my first pick.  With the magic formula where I struggle is what do I do next.  Any help would be much appreciated.

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Re: What Is The Magic Formula?

hardy0109 wrote:

greatly appreciated Joos. Still one question that noone has explained to me. How do you do this for a keeper league? If you already have some positions then who would be the most important to draft?

Having played in a keeper league for a few years, I find that applying the MF requires extra work. But it also gives you extra opportunity. I'll try to explain what I mean.

There is no straight answer, because every keeper league is different. Can you keep 3 at any position? Can you keep one at each position? What do they cost you?

First, You can use a traditional MF calculation like Joosbawx diagrammed above to help you figure out who to keep. In a traditional scoring league, RB > WR > QB > TE, right? If you're drafting with Magic Formula, there is little chance that you have a TE worth keeping, if keeping a TE means NOT keeping a different position. You might have a QB worth keeping, if you are in a league where the cost of your keepers is equivalent to where you drafted them. But generally, if you have to choose between positions, you want to focus on keeping any RBs who you can start, and maybe a top-flight WR if you have one. Again, it's hard to offer any strategy here, because each keeper league has different rules. Just trust the magic formula, and focus on the positions with the steepest point dropoffs and treat the declaration of keepers like the first couple rounds of a draft - you want RBs, and an awesome WR or QB is worth holding if it doesn't cost you a starting RB.

Then, during draft, you'll notice that there's a lot less talent on the draft board. This is why you focused on holding RBs... the best RB options left might be like Forte and Blount. Now, here's where the hard part comes in. If everyone kept three players, then the first 3 rounds are gonna be weird, because what's left on the board is weak for the first 3 rounds; after 3 rounds, it'll normalize.  If everyone kept 5 players, then it'll take about 5 rounds to normalize.

But because different owners kept different players, their needs in the draft are different. An owner who kept 3 RBs is not going to be drafting any RBs in the first 3 rounds. A guy who kept 2 WRs and a QB is probably going to draft RB/RB/RB. So count up the total number of players KEPT at each position, and subtract them out from the total number of players that can be STARTED at each position (see Example 1 in Joosbawx's post above). Next, remove as many top scores at each position from your list of last year's top scores; these represent the keepers. Note that you're not removing scores associated with specific players... you can't predict what a given player will score. If 15 RBs were kept, then just assume they're the top 15 RB scores, and whack those. Finally, recalculate the variance (slope) at each position, again like Joosbawx did in Example 1 above.

What you'll probably find is that a ton of RBs have been kept, and, since their top scores are not in the calculations any longer, QBs and WRs are now a higher priority based on the Magic Formula. It really just depends how many of each player type were kept. But that's OK! It feels weird targeting a WR for your first round, but you're doing it because you've kept mostly RBs, right?

The simplified "3 RBs in the first 5 rounds" rule does take into account the RBs you've kept, so if you have 2 RBs, and WRs are now more valuable based on your calculations, take a WR, and get your 3rd RB in the 2nd round.

And that's how I won my champeenship last year.

I mentioned increased opportunity: This comes because you enter the draft with a strategy specifically designed for your league, and the other owners don't. The power of MATH arms you with confidence and purpose. Keeper leagues tend to AMPLIFY the bad draft habits that other owners have. When a TE goes in your first round, or when there's a run on QBs in the first round because nobody kept one, you'll smile and ride the tide, getting the best RBs and WRs in the draft and taking a perfectly competent QB in a later round.

Good luck!

Last edited by 7grain (2011-08-24 12:40:07)

You had me at Helu.  Helu Who?

Thumbs up +3

Re: What Is The Magic Formula?

Thank you for this, I love it!!!

I am new to this forum this year and this is exactly what I was searching for when I came to this sight.

After this season I had last year I had a revealation that RB is where I needed to be stronger when I draft.  The last couple of years I have went WR in the first round and it has left me with inconsistent teams.  I have applied the Magic Formula to my leagues scoring settings and now I see exactly why neglecting an RB in the first round has killed my teams. This whole preseason I have been toying with the notion of taking RBs in the first 3 rounds, it's a PPR non keeper league, because I have felt that I can get by with WRs later in the draft. I.E. Marshall, Welker, Manningham, Boldin, Holmes, Mike Williams, Harvin, Collie, Amendola.

Top end RBs are where it is at and hopefully I can ride the Magic Formula to a champioship this year!!!

QB: Newton, Goff, Trubisky
RB: Kamara, McCaffrey, Collins, Hyde
WR: Smith-Schuster, Goodwin, Crowder, John Brown, Lockett, Golladay
TE: Gronk, Njoku

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Re: What Is The Magic Formula?

HUGE thanks for this thread.  I'm with BA above; I get that in my league, given the rules and applying the actuals for 2009 & 2010 and, for curiosity, proj for 2011, my breakdown is this:

.5ppr, 1QB, 2RB, 3WR, 1W/R, 1TE, 1D, 1K
(pos, '09act, '10act, '11proj)
rb 261.5, 248.9, 175.8
wr 157.2, 144.7, 127.2
qb 138.1, 126.0, 155.0
te 88.5, 72.7, 108.9
k 39.0, 34.0, 21.7
def 26.0, 41.5, 14.4

So, based on actuals, my league clearly favors, in order, RB, WR, QB, TE, with K/Def swapping places in 2009/10.  (I also find it interesting that Lyle is so adamant about not using projections.  The MF against actuals tell a pretty different story than the projections for 2011, so I'm ignoring them.)

In the OP, Joosbawx baked out the numbers then said

Well, in the scoring system used in the above example league, it means it would be smart to draft RBs early and often.  Probably something along he lines of three in the first five rounds...give or take.

So, how does the MF tell you 3RB + 2 "others" in the top 5 rounds?  I'm not following that jump. And what are the "right" picks in later rounds, say round 6 or 8 or 10, or do I just pile on the RBs?

Also, Lyle mentioned that if we remove the outliers at the top/bottom, RBs would still be "far more valuable."  If we do that for my league, 2009 looks like:

RB: 167, WR: 137, QB: 127

Those ratios seem to be a lot more close in relation to each other.  Sure, RBs are still on top, but *only* 30 points over 16 games from WR to RB?  Just curious and trying to learn.

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Re: What Is The Magic Formula?

AstroPHX wrote:

So, how does the MF tell you 3RB + 2 "others" in the top 5 rounds?  I'm not following that jump. And what are the "right" picks in later rounds, say round 6 or 8 or 10, or do I just pile on the RBs?

Because you can't start a team of all RBs and have to fill in other positions, too.  What the TMF shows you is which positions in your league's system of scoring have the widest variance.  So you target those position(s) early because you want to limit your risk as much as possible and get higher ranked players for those positions first.

However, you still have to field WRs and QBs, and want to get decent players at those positions, too.  The Magic Formula isn't analyzing the players...its analyzing your scoring system.  It shows you which positions, in your scoring system, are the most volatile or least predictable or have the greatest difference between getting a top tier and a bottom tier player at that position.  The greater the variance, the more important it is to get a "better" or "reliable" or "predictable" player in that position.

AstroPHX wrote:

Also, Lyle mentioned that if we remove the outliers at the top/bottom, RBs would still be "far more valuable."  If we do that for my league, 2009 looks like:

RB: 167, WR: 137, QB: 127

Those ratios seem to be a lot more close in relation to each other.  Sure, RBs are still on top, but *only* 30 points over 16 games from WR to RB?  Just curious and trying to learn.

That statement was intended for the ever ambiguous "standard" scoring league...usually meant to mean no bonuses, 4pt QB TDs, no return yard points, etc.

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Re: What Is The Magic Formula?

Thanks again.  I think I'm getting the hang of this thing.  I've seen other posts compare later picks and I think that's the piece that's been throwing me off, but they've likely only been as examples. 

I.e. If I'm sitting in a snake repick at position 6, do I take Aaron Rodgers, Andre Johnson or LeSean McCoy?  Based on MY league's rules and the greater drop in talent from RB@6 to RB@16 versus other positions, I'm best off taking McCoy.  Later on, I want to pick the best position available but favor RBs & WRs.

Does that get the sentiment?

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Re: What Is The Magic Formula?

right!  TMF doesn't give you a laundry list of players to check off until it's your turn to pick in the draft, but it does show you which positions you should stack up on because they're less predictable according to your league's roster requirements and scoring system.

you still have to fill all your positions, and Justin Forsett will never be worth more than Aaron Rodgers or Andre Johnson just because he is a RB.  Rank your players, take value picks, dont reach for guys in lower ranked positions just because they have a big name.

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Re: What Is The Magic Formula?

I've created a pretty basic MS Excel spreadsheet (TMF_Worksheet.xlsx) that will walk you through The Magic Formula if you need a little help with the math, or just want a handy tool.  Entering your league settings in the green text areas will automatically update the rest of the spreadsheet and spit out your answers...all you need is a ranked list of players per your scoring system.  Enjoy!


http://www.joosbawx.com/tffg/TMF_Worksheet_screenshot.png

Last edited by Joosbawx (2011-08-26 04:47:02)

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Re: What Is The Magic Formula?

Very nice work Joosbawx!

10 team $ NON-PPR Keeper 1QB,2RB,2WR,1 FX,1TE,1K,1DST QB-Vick,Flacco;RB-Gore,Bradshaw,Charles,Mathews;WR-R.White,Fitz,Maclin,Wallace,S.Johnson,Bryant;TE-Keller, Gonzo;K-?;DST-PIT

10 team $ PPR 2QB,2RB,3WR,1FX,1TE,1K,1DST QB-Ben,Flacco,Hill,Campbell, Gradkowski; RB-AP, Foster,Hillis,Best,Ward; WR-White,Jennings,Maclin,Wallace; TE-Z.Miller,Shiancoe; K-?, DST-PIT

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Re: What Is The Magic Formula?

Here's a question about the MF that I've seen Lyle answer, but I'm hoping for a more in-depth answer here.

I'm in a 10 team league that is not using standard scoring, but has the standard QB, 2RB, 3WR, TE, K, D roster spots.  Now, the main question I have is whether or not to include Arian Foster in the calculation for the #1 player at RB.  Foster had a total of 331 points in the league for 2010 and the next closest back, AP, had 239.  That's a significant drop off for the #2RB in the league. 

Using the MF this is the breakdown I have come up with for the league.  I will put in parentheses next to the RB total ,the total when not including Foster.

QB - 95.3
RB - 173.9 (82.8)
WR - 88.3
TE - 55.7
K - 34
D - 55

As you can see when including Foster it would be RB, QB, WR, TE, D, K.  However, when not including him it's QB, WR, RB, TE, D, K.  The one clear thing I make of it is that QB is definitely important.  The positions change a bit though when running the numbers both ways.  So, what do you make of it?  Do you include Foster or not and how would you draft?

Thanks for all the help on this thread!

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