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Who is the Best Fantasy Asset in All Sports?

I take on the meaningless and very fun task of determining who the best fantasy asset in all major sports is. Is it my man Mookie or someone else?

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Writing about rankings, player profiles, projections, advanced stats, and other valuable topics to fantasy players is enjoyable. However, the most fun part of my “job” is writing posts like this one with minimal fantasy utility, but high levels of good clean fun. In the words of Mario the Plumber, “here we go!”

Today’s task is to determine who is the most valuable fantasy asset across all four major fantasy sports (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL). Keep in mind that I know very little about fantasy basketball and hockey, so I will rely on the work of others heavily and trust their numbers. Here’s my very (hopefully) simple methodology: using fantasy points or some other aggregate single number of player value for each sport, find out how far first place is from second place in terms of percent. The one that is farthest from second place wins. I am only looking at numbers from the most recently completed season for each sport.

First up, the NBA.

Knowing nothing about fantasy basketball, I would have assumed LeBron, Durant, and Curry would be at the top of the list for last season. Here’s the top five in terms of the ESPN Player Rater for the 2015-16 season:

Name Player Rater
Stephen Curry 23.6
James Harden 18.83
Kevin Durant 17.75
Russell Westbrook 16.24
Chris Paul 14.07

Well, I wasn’t far off. LeBron would be at #8. The number we care about, of course, is the % difference between Curry and Harden. That’s 25.33%.

On to the NHL.

Name Player Rater
Patrick Kane 18.82
Alex Ovechkin 17.23
Jamie Benn 15.81
Brent Burns 15.14
Sidney Crosby 15.08

I know even less about hockey, but I’ve heard of Kane, Ovechkin and Crosby, so I’m glad to see them in the top five of ESPN’s player rater. I haven’t heard of the other two and I’m surprised to see a defenseman in there, given that they generally don’t score goals or assists right? Again, I am out of my element here. Anyway, the difference between Kane and Ovechkin is just 9.23%, so Kane isn’t going to win this.

Next is the NFL.

Name Points
Aaron Rodgers 365
Matt Ryan 334
Drew Brees 323
David Johnson 313
Andrew Luck 297

You might have heard of this little professional sports league. They play games on Sundays in the autumn. I’ve played enough fantasy football to know that quarterbacks dominate the scoring every year, so the fact that there are four quarterbacks in the top five from 2016’s ESPN standard scoring points list doesn’t surprise me. David Johnson was able to sneak in there as a running back. Rodgers’ lead over Matty Ice isn’t enough in this competition of the best of the best, with just a 9.28% advantage.

Finally, my favorite professional sport, Major League Baseball

Name Player Rater
Mookie Betts 13.91
Jose Altuve 13.76
Mike Trout 13.15
Max Scherzer 12.93
Jonathan Villar 12.86

I must be honest and admit that I forgot that my favorite player, Mookie Betts, was actually number one on ESPN’s player rater in 2016. Trout wasn’t even number two because that belonged to Jose Altuve. The gap between Mookie and Altuve was a measly 1.09%. That means our search is now over.

Steph Curry was the best fantasy asset of 2016, by a huge margin.

Name % Difference
Stephen Curry 25.33%
Aaron Rodgers 9.28%
Patrick Kane 9.23%
Mookie Betts 1.09%

I suspect that if we stretch this exercise out to the last 3-5 years instead of just one, Mike Trout would win by a large margin, but unfortunately, I don’t have that data available. For just this one season, Curry is the champ. I will check back next year to see if he can retain his crown. Tschus!