Recently I found myself writing an article titled “Why Peyton Manning Isn’t Worthy of Your 1st Round Pick.” Before I was able to prove that you shouldn’t take Manning in the first round this season, I felt that I must assign a value to him for last season to see if his historic season truly made him worthy of a first round selection.

To find the value that each player provided last season, I first found a replacement average for each position using @FantasyDouche’s Value Based Drafting Revisited. If you’d like to learn more about how I created my projections or how you can create your own, I can help you with that.

Our unbiased metric to judge the true value of each player is Points Above Average or PAA. This number allows us to judge how many fantasy points each player is scoring compared to other players at his position.

Here’s the list I created to show the top 100 players last season:

1Charles, Jamaal KCC RB38025.33187.44
2Forte, Matt CHI RB339.321.21146.74
3McCoy, LeSean PHI RB331.620.73139.04
4Manning, Peyton DEN QB425.9826.62129.05
5Graham, Jimmy NOS TE303.518.97125.89
6Thomas, Demaryius DEN WR31919.94120.36
7Brown, Antonio PIT WR314.919.68116.26
8Gordon, Josh CLE WR314.422.46115.76
9Green, A.J. CIN WR306.619.16107.96
10Marshall, Brandon CHI WR305.519.09106.86
11Johnson, Calvin DET WR304.221.73105.56
12Moreno, Knowshon DEN RB296.618.54104.04
13Bryant, Dez DAL WR293.418.3494.76
14Jeffery, Alshon CHI WR284.617.7985.96
15Lynch, Marshawn SEA RB276.317.2783.74
16Decker, Eric DEN WR280.817.5582.16
17Johnson, Andre HOU WR279.717.4881.06
18Garcon, Pierre WAS WR278.517.4179.86
19Brees, Drew NOS QB371.6823.2374.75
20Jackson, DeSean PHI WR269.416.8470.76
21Murray, DeMarco DAL RB259.418.5366.84
22Nelson, Jordy GBP WR264.416.5365.76
23Edelman, Julian NEP WR251.715.7353.06
24Lacy, Eddie GBP RB243.516.2350.94
25Bush, Reggie DET RB243.217.3750.64
26Johnson, Chris TEN RB242.215.1449.64
27Boldin, Anquan SFO WR24615.3847.36
28Jackson, Vincent TBB WR242.415.1543.76
29Peterson, Adrian MIN RB235.716.8443.14
30Jackson, Fred BUF RB235.314.7142.74
31Gonzalez, Tony ATL TE218.913.6841.29
32Fitzgerald, Larry ARI WR237.214.8338.56
33Thomas, Julius DEN TE215.815.4138.19
34Davis, Vernon SFO TE21414.2736.39
35Cameron, Jordan CLE TE213.714.2536.09
36Woodhead, Danny SDC RB225.414.0932.84
37Bernard, Giovani CIN RB223.913.9931.34
38Witten, Jason DAL TE206.112.8828.49
39Bell, Joique DET RB219.713.7327.14
40Bell, Le'Veon PIT RB217.916.7625.34
41Allen, Keenan SDC WR222.614.8423.96
42Hilton, T.Y. IND WR220.913.8122.26
43Thomas, Pierre NOS RB213.213.3320.64
44Mathews, Ryan SDC RB211.413.2118.84
45Wright, Kendall TEN WR213.913.3715.26
46Newton, Cam CAR QB311.6619.4814.73
47Dalton, Andy CIN QB311.1419.4514.21
48Olsen, Greg CAR TE190.611.9112.99
49Welker, Wes DEN WR210.816.2212.16
50Clay, Charles MIA TE188.411.7810.79
51Gates, Antonio SDC TE186.211.648.59
52Smith, Torrey BAL WR203.812.745.16
53Douglas, Harry ATL WR202.712.674.06
54Rivers, Philip SDC QB300.4218.783.49
55Stafford, Matthew DET QB299.918.742.97
56Hartline, Brian MIA WR201.612.602.96
57Floyd, Michael ARI WR201.412.592.76
58Luck, Andrew IND QB299.5818.722.65
59Gore, Frank SFO RB193.912.121.34
60Colston, Marques NOS WR199.313.290.66
61Wallace, Mike MIA WR199.312.460.66
62Cruz, Victor NYG WR195.813.99-2.84
63Jones-Drew, Maurice JAC RB188.0212.54-4.54
64Bennett, Martellus CHI TE169.910.62-7.71
65Stacy, Zac STL RB184.413.17-8.16
66Jones, Marvin CIN WR188.711.79-9.94
67Morris, Alfred WAS RB182.311.39-10.26
68Tate, Golden SEA WR186.911.68-11.74
69Rice, Ray BAL RB180.112.01-12.46
70Wilson, Russell SEA QB284.1817.76-12.75
71Cooper, Riley PHI WR184.311.52-14.34
72Sproles, Darren NOS RB176.411.76-16.16
73Roethlisberger, Ben PIT QB279.8417.49-17.09
74Sanders, Emmanuel PIT WR181.511.34-17.14
75Jennings, Rashad OAK RB174.511.63-18.06
76Kaepernick, Colin SFO QB276.2817.27-20.65
77Walker, Delanie TEN TE153.110.21-24.51
78Streater, Rod OAK WR173.510.84-25.14
79Romo, Tony DAL QB270.9218.06-26.01
80Jennings, Greg MIN WR172.411.49-26.24
81Williams, DeAngelo CAR RB165.611.04-26.96
82Ellington, Andre ARI RB165.311.02-27.26
83Ryan, Matt ATL QB269.116.82-27.83
84Cook, Jared STL TE147.19.19-30.51
85Washington, Nate TEN WR167.910.49-30.74
86Smith, Alex KCC QB264.2217.62-32.71
87Cotchery, Jerricho PIT WR165.710.36-32.94
88Brady, Tom NEP QB263.5216.47-33.41
89Foles, Nick PHI QB262.1420.17-34.79
90Smith, Steve CAR WR162.510.83-36.14
91Wright, Tim TBB TE141.38.83-36.31
92Tannehill, Ryan MIA QB260.3216.27-36.61
93Fleener, Coby IND TE140.88.80-36.81
94Patterson, Cordarrelle MIN WR161.710.11-36.94
95Shorts, Cecil JAC WR161.712.44-36.94
96Spiller, C.J. BUF RB155.210.35-37.36
97Royal, Eddie SDC WR160.210.68-38.44
98Baldwin, Doug SEA WR158.49.90-40.24
99Jones, James GBP WR157.711.26-40.94
100Brown, Donald IND RB150.19.38-42.46

A Few Observations:

  • First, let me mention that this model is built on full year fantasy points, NOT points per game. The scarcity of each position would change by using points per game as players like Aaron Rodgers and Rob Gronkowski would raise the averages of their respective positions. It’s an exercise that I will release in an article soon that I expect to yield different results.
  • I’m a bit surprised to see that Peyton Manning was the 4th most valuable player but keep in mind that he is coming off the best season for a quarterback ever. Manning is a good bet to regress in 2014 – it’s simply unprecedented to follow up a record-setting season with another record-breaking year.
  • Drew Brees had another “Brees-y” season but only provided the 19th most value. He’s a candidate to be overdrafted, per usual. With the quantity and quality of quarterback options, there’s no need to rush to attack the position.
  • This is the second time we’ve seen evidence that Jimmy Graham should be a first round pick. He provides you with a consistent weekly advantage that is clearly superior to other tight ends.
  • This is a reminder of how good Demaryius Thomas is. Yes, Josh Gordon and Calvin Johnson missed two games each and look to have more upside but Demaryius is a rock-solid WR1 and may have even more red-zone targets coming his way with Decker on the Jets.
  • In 14 games Calvin Johnson and Josh Gordon provided more season-long value than any running back not named Charles, Forte, or McCoy. This falls in line with why I advocate receivers with your early round selections.
  • Adrian Peterson also played 14 games – he finished 21 spots behind Gordon and 18 spots behind Megatron. If Norv Turner doesn’t help him catch more passes, he’ll also have a hard time outscoring them this season.
  • Look at Marshawn Lynch – he’ll likely be taken top 10 in PPR leagues again this season but doesn’t provide any value. He’s overdrafted and has no upside to improve unless he starts catching more passes, which is unlikely to happen in his age-28 season. As my father once told me, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”
  • Knowshon Moreno comes in as the 4th most valuable running back – this provides more ammunition for those who believe Montee Ball should be a first round pick. If Ball can see passing down work, he shouldn’t have a hard time bypassing the numbers of the less-talented Moreno.