Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

31 Jul 2012

KUBIAK worth the $?

Just wondering how you guys have done utilizing this spread sheet as part of your FF strategy? I was looking at the 2010 kubiak, looked up the archived stats for players and entered the scoring settings into the KUBIAK from my league. Some players were very close, some were dead on, but some were far off.

Then again I cant remember exactly how many of these players were injured, so not only do they look like kubiak gave them way too many projected points, but it obviously couldn't take into account a back up coming in and racking up points. (Isn't 2010 the year Romo got hurt and Kitna came in?)

Got all my other questions answered on the 2010 spreadsheet....

Thanks for your opinions/answers. Been playing since '06 and '06 was the only year I missed the playoffs. No championship yet however. Trying to get over the hump and this seems like a great tool. There are a ton of free tools online, but I feel like this one has a lot of work put into it.

Posted by: cutaiafromca on 31 Jul 2012

21 replies , Last at 10 Aug 2012, 9:47am by bird jam

Re: KUBIAK worth the $?
by fb29 :: Tue, 07/31/2012 - 1:45pm

for me the customization alone makes it worth it

Re: KUBIAK worth the $?
by obijuan :: Tue, 07/31/2012 - 2:37pm

I think it's worth it for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that it makes me think more than any other site's advice. The customization is nice, and I use it in conjunction with the Almanac (which is also worth the price).

I started using KUBIAK in 2009, and had a great but not championship year. I used it in 2010 and only lost 1 game, won both regular season and tournament. Last year I missed the playoffs (we send 4 of 10), but had Jamaal Charles (sigh). In each of these years, I believe KUBIAK had a positive contribution to the makeup of my team - I liken it to playing with an additional 7-10% of my auction budget. I will happily be purchasing again this year...in fact that's what I'm going to go do now.

Re: KUBIAK worth the $?
by nkowal :: Tue, 07/31/2012 - 10:15pm

Great point on "making you think more than any other site's advice." There's some good FF websites out there I read as well, but at the end of the day for me I just want to score more points.

Sometimes I think people (myself included) get lost in thinking someone will be great without thinking WHY someone will be great. KUBIAK gives you a better understanding of your expectations and what they might need to be based on.

As far as accuracy, check out the 2011 threads for "hits and misses" but you obviously cannot expect FO to predict 100%.

For the record, last year I did say "wow, FO has Cam Newton really high" at my draft last year. I still didn't leave my draft with him. Oops.

Re: KUBIAK worth the $?
by Zheng :: Wed, 08/01/2012 - 2:59am

KUBIAK has been instrumental in my nearly always finishing in the top half of all my fantasy leagues, if not making the playoffs. The customization is well worth it if there is anything unusual about your league's scoring. And KUBIAK is very good at predicting player decline--avoiding busts really helps keep your overall roster strong.

Re: KUBIAK worth the $?
by mikemarino1 :: Wed, 08/01/2012 - 9:33am

Joining in with Zheng's statement above. KUBIAK is great at many things, but it's best feature outside of league customization is that it seems to be better than most analysts at recognizing declining stars who someone in your league will overpay for. That aspect of the program has definitely made me into a much more successful fantasy football player.

If you're in a keeper league/legacy league, it's also enormously helpful at analyzing pre-draft trades for kept players. Having those FBO projections for dynamic fantasy points over baseline + ADP data has definitely been beneficial.

I could probably go on and on about this program. Can't recommend it enough.

Re: KUBIAK worth the $?
by dryheat :: Wed, 08/01/2012 - 10:13am

Yeah, I'd agree with this post. It's not foolproof -- it famously had Kevin Jones ranked #1 one year -- but it's a valuable tool. If you don't agree with someone's stat line, the ability to go change it and re-run is fantastic. For $20, it's a no-brainer.

Re: KUBIAK worth the $?
by dutchtreat :: Thu, 08/09/2012 - 11:10pm

Kubiak won't win your league, but put you in position to compete prior to the first snap of the season by highlighting over and under valued positions/players.

To put it another way, would you rather be dealt a statistically good hand or poor hand in poker?

Re: KUBIAK worth the $?
by abernethyj :: Wed, 08/01/2012 - 8:28pm

A major feature of KUBIAK that I love, among other things, is its ability to correctly value defenses...I always leave the draft with a good/great Team Defense that I got on the cheap because other players undervalued them. I rarely have to change a TDEF during the season unless it's a Bye Week Blues issue.

Re: KUBIAK worth the $?
by dryheat :: Wed, 08/01/2012 - 8:45pm

Funny you say that. In my experience, Kubiak is very poor at rating kickers and defenses. It seems kickers on teams that don't score much get rated higher than a lot that do. Maybe because Kube thinks they'll be kicking more FGs and less XPs, which seems flawed. I can't explain the defense. For example, this year the Texans, despite returning a very good defense and 6 games vs. Indy, Tenn, & Jax, ranked something like 26th with my settings, which are largely based on points surrendered.

Re: KUBIAK worth the $?
by Zheng :: Thu, 08/09/2012 - 10:17pm

I thought the Texans lost DeMeco Ryans and a couple of other key starters? At any rate, I usually use KUBIAK to pick up two underrated DEFs and play the matchups.

As for kickers, I don't really need KUBIAK for that--I pick up a decent kicker who kicks in a dome or warm weather and whose team has a one-dimensional offense that struggles in the red zone. Not that there's a huge difference between kickers anyway.

Re: KUBIAK worth the $?
by ChrisW :: Wed, 08/08/2012 - 1:52pm

My league scores defenses on yards allowed in addition to points and turnovers, and KUBIAK has been awesome for me for defenses. There is nearly always a KUBIAK top five defense left sitting for me at the end of the draft (last year: San Francisco), so I don't even think about drafting a defense until very late and it usually works out.

Re: KUBIAK worth the $?
by alien1rock :: Thu, 08/02/2012 - 9:32am

Last season in my scoring, KUBIAK had Jets, Steelers, Bears, Eagles, Packers as 1-5. They finished 10, 7, 2, 6, 13.

ESPN's top 5 were Steelers, Packers, Jets, Eagles, Ravens who finished 7, 13, 10, 6, 3.

So very little difference, and either way I'm not spending more than $2 or a 2nd-to-last round pick on a defense.

Re: KUBIAK worth the $?
by alien1rock :: Thu, 08/02/2012 - 9:33am

Sorry, was supposed to be a reply to abernethyj

Re: KUBIAK worth the $?
by Zheng :: Fri, 08/03/2012 - 6:49pm

The problem with picking defenses is injuries. There's 11 guys in a D to get hurt, and as soon as one of them does, opposing offenses go after the resulting hole.

Re: KUBIAK worth the $?
by MatMan :: Tue, 08/07/2012 - 12:11pm

Yeah, it's worth the money. I'll tell you what I tell everybody that's not in my fantasy league:

1) Don't use it as a straight-up draft-order cheatsheet. Use it as another pre-draft analysis tool. I build my own cheatsheet based on ADP, then either bullet or downgrade players based on my personal analysis, a big part of which is KUBIAK.

2) It tends to predict declines much better than breakouts, particularly where older players are concerned. So when you see a player whose ranking differs greatly from conventional wisdom, pay attention. This is 90% of KUBIAK's value for me.

3) Customization to your league's scoring rules is fantastic. By my league rules, Tom Brady is the clear #1 QB, not Aaron Rodgers. I also get to see where --for example-- TEs appear assuming VBD. Gronk and Graham are right next to each other in the mid-teens. Then there's a huge gap before you get to Hernandez in the late 30s, then another huge gap before you see Gates & Witten. Again, based on my league's scoring. It'll be totally different for your league.

4) You can sort by any statistic. Great for ranking by, say, WR targets.

5) Despite what some others say, I've had great success with the K & DST rankings. I'm at the point where I simply draft those two positions blindly according to KUBIAK. FO knows what the best predictors are, so you'll never be That Idiot who drafted Neil Rackers in the fourth round a few years back.

6) Aside from my league fees, FOA and KUBIAK are the only football-related expenses for me each year. Even if they had no significant impact on my fantasy success (I think they do), I'd still buy them because FOA is a great read and KUBIAK is very, very fun to play with. But I am a massive nerd for this kind of thing.

Re: KUBIAK worth the $?
by dryheat :: Wed, 08/08/2012 - 11:23am

I also draft K and D blind, but I find myself regretting it most years.

For the sake of discussion, my K settings (which are pretty standard) get me a ranking that looks like:
(some left out so as not to interfere with Kubiak sales)

1. Gould
2. Crosby
3. Hanson
6. Janikowski
7. Lindell
8. NYJ
14. Suisham
14. Prater
16. Vinatieri
16. New Orleans

It seems strange to have so many cold-weather kickers at the top, but you can certainly explain that away by the belief (whether right or wrong) that Chicago, Detroit, and Buffalo figure to have proficient offenses. But what about Oakland and New York? Is there any sensible way to think that the Jets kicker is going to outscore the New Orleans kicker? Why is Vinatieri, who has no leg left and is kicking for what might be the worst offense in football, tied with New Orleans kicker? Is Sanchbow going to lead the Jets to more scoring drives than Manning will the Broncos, who have a much more reliable kicker in the advantage of the Denver altitude? Nate Kaeding is rated close to the bottom for some reason, with only 19 field goals on the year.

Again, I've bought Kubiak every year it has been on the market, and until this year, I've always drafted K and D by its rankings. Every year I end up drafting a K from a puttering office like Ryan Longwell or Ryan Succop in recent years when there've been guys from much better scoring offenses like Tynes, Kaeding, and Josh Reed available. It just seems to be a failing of the projection system.

Re: KUBIAK worth the $?
by Zac :: Wed, 08/08/2012 - 2:09pm

Detroit is a dome, btw.

Janikowski's rank is partly because of his strong leg. FO is using a projection that 15% of his FG will be 50+ yards. If your league (like most) gives more points for longer FGs, he gets a bump for that.

You also need to remember that for the most part, you want kickers who kick FGs, not XP. FGs are obviously worth at least 3x as much as XP, so a kicker on a prolific offense (that scores TDs all the time) is at a disadvantage, even with the more kicking opportunities.

NO Kicker is given 79 kick attempts (league leader is 88). 50 of them end up as XP, 7 are projected as missed FGs, and that leaves 22 successful FGs.
Adam Vinatieri is given 66 kick attempts, which belies his less successful team, but they're also only projecting 32 XP and 6 misses, which is 28 FGs. It's also worth noting that those 66 attempts are way above the 49 attempts projected for Greg Zuerlein of St. Louis, so it could be that KUBIAK is projecting a bit of an offensive improvement for Indianapolis.
Add those points up: 1*50+3*22=116 pts for NO Kicker, and 1*32+28*3=116 pts for Vinatieri.

Also it appears that you have Risk Assessment turned off. NYJ Kicker is Red, which is an admittance that he has a greater chance of falling short of his projection. With it turned on, NYJ Kicker falls to like #18.

Listing players by their rank also makes the difference seem bigger than it is. I show 12 points separating the #8 Kicker and the #20 Kicker. If there was 100% accuracy about how each players was going to end up, then that would amount to less than one point a week. Given the uncertainty, those 12 guys could probably end up in any order, which is why it doesn't make sense to pick one until the very last round of your draft.

Re: KUBIAK worth the $?
by dryheat :: Wed, 08/08/2012 - 3:30pm

double post

Re: KUBIAK worth the $?
by dryheat :: Wed, 08/08/2012 - 3:30pm

Good point about the risk thing. I started disabling it two or three years ago because it seemed so random....I think it was the year when Peyton was the only player who was blue, or to phrase it differently "We're putting out these projections for virtually every skill player in the NFL, but the only one we feel confident about is Manning. Everybody else might do worse." I'd rather see the projection and make my own opinion on how likely somebody is to reach it.

I agree with your assessment of the fg vs. xp thing, as I mentioned in my first post. Anecdotally though, this doesn't seem true. I need to do some simple fact-checking to confirm, but I'll bet the good offenses who score more touchdowns also score more field goals than bad offenses. Even the Patriots and Saints have to settle for 3 points a good percentage of the time. They probably have more good drives that bog down inside the 15 yard line than teams like the Jets and Raiders, or to re-phrase, Gostkowski and Hartley probably score more points on field goals than guys like Folk and Janikowski do.

At the end of the day though, I agree that it's a mice-nuts difference. And I do believe that one of FO's long-held tenets is that kicker performance doesn't reliably carry over one year to the next.

Re: KUBIAK worth the $?
by Zheng :: Thu, 08/09/2012 - 10:23pm

Quick note: Jets kicker could outscore the NO kicker if the Jets' offense struggles in the red zone. Whoever's kicking for NO is going to score a lot of extra points, but the Jets' kicker could easily amass lots of 3- and 4-point FGs depending on where Sanchbow bogs down.

Re: KUBIAK worth the $?
by bird jam :: Fri, 08/10/2012 - 9:47am

Yeah, this point alone illustrates one of the main reasons kicker is such a crapshoot. Unless your league has a crazy kicker-favoring scoring system (and if it does, why are you playing in that league?), it is best to draft your kicker in the last round or spend $1 in your auction.

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