Best Ball Win Rates & the Eno Benjamin Principle (Fantasy Football)
Are you slightly curious why Eno Benjamin ended up in the title of this article?
Did you have to Google him and find out if he still plays in the NFL?
Did you second guess what you read and ask yourself ‘does he know something about Benjamin that I don’t know’?
If you’ve now read the first two sentences, hopefully, you are willing to discuss BestBall win rates a bit further and why this RB with ZERO fantasy points in 2020 ended up providing roughly the same win rate as Aaron Jones. Seriously, how is this possible?
On the Fantasy Footballers DFS podcast, I recently unveiled what I now affectionately call the ‘Eno Benjamin Principle’ when I discussed win rates. If you haven’t had a chance, I wrote an intro article entitled Best Ball Win Rates & What They Tell Us as a primer.
Let me unpack this principle and perhaps explain a portion of win rates that might be counterintuitive.
Note: Win rate data in this article is credited to the RotoViz BestBall Explorer App.
Wait… I Thought Eno Benjamin Did Nothing?!?
“That is correct.” -Chris Farley as Bus Driver in Billy Madison
Eno Benjamin was a 7th round draft pick by the Arizona Cardinals in 2020 who many thought could possibly have a shot in their backfield to make some noise. A local guy from Arizona State, Benjamin was clearly behind Kenyan Drake and Chase Edmonds in BestBall drafts routinely being taken in the 18th round as a flier. In 5,305 BestBall10 drafts used in this study, Benjamin ended up on 1,318 rosters (roughly 25 percent of teams) and the 76th most among RBs.
25 percent might not sound like a lot but here were some well-known RBs drafted in fewer 2020 Best Ball drafts than Mr. Benjamin:
- James Robinson- 7 percent
- Gus Edwards- 16.9 percent
- Frank Gore- 7.8 percent
- J.D. McKissic- 2.5 percent
Beyond where he was drafted, here is Eno Benjamin‘s stat line on the season:
Let me find it.
Zip. Nada. Zilch. Nothing.
Not even a special teams snap. He never saw the field.
With zero points scored (or as many as my grandmother as I mentioned on the pod), how is his win rate so high?
Based on Roster construction, Benjamin ended up on rosters as an end of the bench guy.
In builds last year, Benjamin was taken mostly as an RB5 or 6 which makes sense considering his 216.6 ADP. But the key to Benjamin being on rosters was who he was drafted with. Here are the RBs you likely drafted in the 1st round of Best Ball in 2020. Those six players made up 48 percent of all Benjamin squads drafted
Ok, so this is starting to clear things up hopefully. Benjamin’s win rate was entirely tied to the other players frequented on his team. If you hit with Alvin Kamara, Derrick Henry, or Dalvin Cook and paired him with our man Eno, then yes he didn’t “hurt” your team. Actually, he didn’t “help” you either. Why bring up Benjamin then?
Opportunity Cost is Everything in BestBall
Perhaps I should retitle that section to read: Opportunity Cost is Everything in Fantasy Football. I tried to hammer this home in the Win Rates article.
Where you draft players matters even more for the following reasons:
- There is no waiver wire. Your final round selection is final. The majority of 18th round picks are not going to hit. Give yourself flexibility.
- Different ADPs can produce different win rates… even for the same players.
- An 18th round zero like Benjamin didn’t necessarily help a team accomplish their goals. But he also essentially “got out of the way” from harming your team.
- This principle is common. Check out other RBs who provided better than average win rate due solely to who they were stacked with.
If you’ve made it through this exercise, hopefully, you’re seeing that Benjamin’s win rate is a flawed statistic but they can tell us how to spend your final pick. This was more a mere curiosity and a chance to dive further into defining win rates. They should NOT be used an across-the-board metric to compare players.
I will follow this up with some of the strategic thoughts behind the 18th round pick. It’s your last one. What type of mindset should you carry?