Sam Hendricks has won the Fantasy Index Experts Poll for the third time in five years.
Hendricks is the author of the Fantasy Football Guidebook, published annually by Extra Point Press. Competing in a field of 20 fantasy analysts, Hendricks ranked 2nd and 3rd at the RB and QB positions, and 7th at both of the pass-catching positions.
At running back, Hendricks benefitted by being the only analyst to include both Josh Jacobs and Travis Etienne in his top 20. Only five others put Jacobs in their top 20, and only two others ranked Etienne. Hendricks also helped his score by putting in a sell order on Alvin Kamara; most had Kamara in their top 10 – Hendricks was one of three to drop him all the way down to 20th.
At quarterback, Hendricks benefitted by being as high as anyone on Justin Fields (15th), and among the lowest on Matthew Stafford (12th) and Deshaun Watson (20th). That was enough to overcome ranking Lamar Jackson 3rd, Kyler Murray 5th, Russell Wilson 9th and Zach Wilson 18th. Hendricks ranked 14th and 17th at the defense and kicker positions.
All players were scored using a scoring matrix of actual production (using PPR scoring) and poll position. If an analyst ranked Harrison Butker as his No. 1 kicker, for example, that selection would be worth 2,300 points (25 times 92 – Butker scored 92 points). If the analyst ranked Butker 2nd, the pick would be worth 2,208 (24 x 92). And so on. Following that process for all 120 picks by each of the 20 analysts provides the overall totals. (The overall section isn’t factored into the scoring.)
We’ve been running the Experts Poll for over 30 years. Hendricks becomes the third three-time winner, joining Bob Henry and Scott Pianowski.
Jeff Ratcliffe of FTN Fantasy has been on a similarly impressive run. He won the competition in 2017 and in two of the last three years has finished 2nd behind Hendricks. Aaron Bland took the bronze.
The 2022 field included three qualifiers through the Fantasy Index Open (a similar contest that’s open to the general public). Those guys finished 5th, 7th and 20th.
Official scores …
|FANTASY INDEX EXPERTS POLL|
This type of competition is heavily influenced by injuries. Somebody gets hurt in the first half of the season, and it can really kill a score. So picks were separately scored using a value-based system, with a “floor” established at each position. That is, I picked a baseline at each position, then gave credit only for picks above that level (the theory being that if you picked a guy like Javonte Williams or Breece Hall, you wouldn’t be taking zero all week at the position, you would find some replacement guy on the waiver wire to get you some nominal production).
The floor levels, I will concede, were picked somewhat arbitrarily. Initially I assumed a 12-team league, making the worst-case scenario at each position the first “backup” in such a league –QB 13, RB 25, TE 13, PK 13, Def 13 and WR 37 (I assumed that in most leagues, teams would either field 3 WRs or have a flex). But that system (I thought) made the scores too dependent on simply QBs and WRs. So I switched to more of an average backup at each position, going with QB 19, RB 31, TE 19, PK 19, Def 19 and WR 37.
Using the modified scoring system, the top 2 finishers remained unchanged. Sam Hendricks was the winner, and Jeff Ratcliffe again finished in 2nd place.
|FANTASY INDEX EXPERTS POLL (alternate scoring)|
One other note on the scoring (for both categories). When we held this competition during the pandemic season, I specifically spelled out that if there were teams that played fewer games, their stats would be adjusted to level the playing field. With that precedent in place, the stats of all players for the Bengals and Bills were increased by about 6 percent (Tyler Bass, for example, scored 129 points; he was moved up to 137.1 points).