The Life in Zugzwang Fantasy Football Preview!

Greetings everyone; I wanted to try something a bit new for this post. This post is about fantasy football, if you have no interest in fantasy football, the rest of this post is going to be boring for you. I’m going to try to do this weekly so I will likely be a week behind the actual NFL season. There are reasons for this:

  • I don’t want my opponents to benefit from my insights and,
  • With the benefit of hindsight, I can ridicule the other owners in my league using facts instead of speculation.

When looking at this data it’s important to keep in mind that these are how I expect these players to finish based on fantasy value. I will only be doing this for one of my leagues, the “GBFFL”. These rankings aren’t “who I like” or “who I don’t like”. There are formulas that I used to compute each players value. In fact, some players I don’t like scored well with my formula, and I had to rethink my life choices (see: Tony Romo). My formula has some flaws; it doesn’t do well with players injuries in the middle of a season. It also doesn’t do well with rookies. I wanted to create a “Top Ten” list for each position but I realized that this wouldn’t be feasible. Instead, I’ve tried to include the top ten players from each list, which brings the total to between 15-20 players.

I didn’t bother to assign values to defense’s or kickers because their too volatile from season to season.


It’s important to keep in mind the injury to Aaron Rodgers that occurred last season, which accounts for his abysmal “LZ” rank. I assigned Andy Dalton a 20 on Matthew Berry’s list because Berry chose not to list Dalton. If I put in an “N/A” the sorting becomes ASCIIbetical instead of based on the numeric sort (it also becomes screwed up if I add an asterisks).


Berry Rank
LZ Rank
Player Name
111Peyton Manning
2221Aaron Rodgers
332Drew Brees
446Matthew Stafford
5510Andrew Luck
695Cam Newton
7718Robert Griffin III
8817Nick Foles
91024Colin Kaepernick
101512Russel Wilson
11114Matt Ryan
1267Tom Brady
13129Tony Romo
14148Philip Rivers
17203Andy Dalton

  2 comments for “The Life in Zugzwang Fantasy Football Preview!

  1. YHWH
    September 11, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    “This punishes owners unfairly for not playing “worse” bench players over their “studs”.” This is completely fair. The point of the game is to choose the players that you believe will score the most, not to assemble the best “paper” team.

    You didn’t address roster construction. Say YHWH only had one K and one D on the roster. By definition they would be best possible, even if they were crap.

    • Josh
      September 11, 2014 at 3:43 pm

      “This punishes owners unfairly for not playing “worse” bench players over their “studs”.” This is completely fair.
      – Agreed, perhaps my wording was sub-optimal; I should probably just remove the word “unfairly”.

      Excellent point on roster construction; I will address this next week when I do the numbers for week one.

      I will compute two percentages; one will be “forced” where you run the numbers using all of the players in each position; the next percentage would be “choice” which would be the positions where the player made an actual choice.

      Thank you for your insights, please let me know if you have any other ideas.

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