Analyzing Matthew Berry’s Fantasy Rankings (2016)

In 2015 we analyzed the risk of drafting running backs and wide receivers. Specifically, for running backs there was a 33% chance a ‘Top 15 RB’ would sustain a season-ending injury. Of the remaining ‘healthy backs’ there was a 70% chance that these ‘Top 15’ backs would not place in the top 15 by the end of the season. Sounds a bit like rolling the dice on what is commonly referred to as a Round 1 & 2 type of draft pick.

In 2015

33% chance that a Top 15 RB would suffer a season-ending injury

70% chance that a ‘healthy’ Top 15 RB would NOT finish in the Top 15

But, if you simply cannot resist the urge to take undue risk, you better get your research from reliable sources.

That’s why this year we analyze one of the most notorious fantasy gurus – a title previously reserved for anyone in the world other than Matthew Berry. But, the man has figured a way to make a decent living off this stuff, so kudos Matthew Berry. May your Twitter followers increase like a Kardashian.

Let’s take a look at his 2016 pre-season rankings and compare to the actual end of year rankings.

Matthew Berry's Preseason RB RankingsEnd of Year Status
1. Adrian Peterson, MIN
Season-destroying injury
2. Todd Gurley, LA
Finished #20
3. Ezekiel Elliott, DAL
Finished #2
4. David Johnson, ARI
Finished #1
5. Devonta Freeman, ATL
Finished #7
6. Le'Veon Bell, PIT
Finished #3
7. Lamar Miller, HOU
Finished #16
8. Doug Martin, TB
Season-destroying injury
9. Mark Ingram, NO
Finished #10
10. Eddie Lacy, GB
Season-ending injury
11. LeSean McCoy, BUF
Finished #3
12. Jonathan Stewart, CAR
Finished #22
13. Carlos Hyde, SF
Finished #14
14. C.J. Anderson, DEN
Finished #39
15. Jamaal Charles, KC
Season-ending injury

Similar to 2015, 2016 saw a fair amount of season-ending injuries.

Four RB’s (27%) of his Top 15 ended up on the pine before the season was over. Of the remaining 11 RBs, 7 of them (64%) did in fact finish Top 15.

But overall he successfully ranked 7 out of 15 RBs (47%). This is far superior than the 2015 analysis of ESPN’s pre-season rankings, who successfully ranked only 5 (33%) of the Top 15 RBs.

Now let’s look at wide receivers, the 2nd riskiest asset on your fantasy squad.

Matthew Berry's Preseason WR RankingsEnd of Year Status
1. Antonio Brown, PIT
Finished #3
2. Odell Beckham Jr., NYG
Finished #4
3. Julio Jones, ATL
Finished #6
4. DeAndre Hopkins, HOU
Finished #36
5. A.J. Green, CIN
Finished #32
6. Allen Robinson, JAC
Finished #30
7. Dez Bryant, DAL
Finished #21
8. Jordy Nelson, GB
Finished #1
9. Brandon Marshall, NYJ
Finished #51
10. Alshon Jeffery, CHI
Finished #53
11. Mike Evans, TB
Finished #2
12. Sammy Watkins, BUF
Season-disrupting injury
13. Brandin Cooks, NO
Finished #8
14. Amari Cooper, OAK
Finished #15
15. Demaryius Thomas, DEN
Finished #17

Matt’s pretty solid here, successfully ranking 7 WRs that did end up in the Top 15. Only Sammy Watkins suffered what can be considered a season-disrupting injury.

Considering Mr. Berry’s expertise, we can give roughly equal weight to his ranking ability for both running backs and wide receivers. But, as we’ve identified previously, running backs are incredibly risky to draft early.

Now just to round things off, let’s take a look at the most important position on the field – quarterback.

Matthew Berry's Preseason QB RankingsEnd of Year Status
1. Cam Newton, CAR
Finished #18
2. Aaron Rodgers, GB
Finished #1
3. Russell Wilson, SEA
Finished #10
4. Andrew Luck, IND
Finished #4
5. Drew Brees, NO
Finished #3
6. Ben Roethlisberger, PIT
Finished #16
7. Carson Palmer, ARI
Finished #19
8. Tom Brady, NE
Finished #12
9. Eli Manning, NYG
Finished #21
10. Blake Bortles, JAC
Finished #8
11. Philip Rivers, SD
Finished #13
12. Tyrod Taylor, BUF
Finished #11
13. Kirk Cousins, WAS
Finished #5
14. Derek Carr, OAK
Finished #9
15. Marcus Mariota, TEN
Finished #15

It’s not hard to figure out that QB’s are the easiest to predict and have the best overall durability. Of Matthew’s Top 15 preseason rankings, 11 (73%) made it into the Top 15, and none of them suffered devastating injuries.