Run The Numbers: Draft Accuracy

Updated: Dec 2, 2019


Written by Sam Ivanecky and Ben Weisel


With the National Championships now complete, it's time to go back and tally the final scores from our Fantasy XC Drafts. Not only have we been able to decide who won each draft, but we were able to run some numbers and figure out how accurate our TSR staff was with all of our draft selections!


While some of these numbers and graphs may seen overwhelming or complex, we made sure to give you a relatively simple breakdown of what this data means.


Let's get started...


Team Draft Recap


Men's Team Draft Results
Women's Teams Draft Results

Average team finish per draft round



What Does This Data Mean?

In the men’s draft, our TSR staff did a fairly good job of picking the best teams first (which seems like a somewhat obvious statement). The average finish per round increased each and every round...until the 5th and final round.


The 5th and final round was interesting because it was the only round where teams, on average, outperformed their expected finish, and they did so dramatically. In fact, teams that we drafted in the 5th round actually outperformed teams that we drafted in the 4th round.


Why is that? Well, the main 4th round culprits were Gonzaga, Princeton, and Southern Utah who did not qualify for Nationals. Meanwhile, teams like Syracuse and Florida State significantly underperformed, finishing 27th and 29th, respectively, at NCAA's.


As for the 5th round, there were still teams like Arkansas, Georgetown, and a non-qualified Eastern Kentucky team who hurt the overall average. But even then, Furman significantly exceeded expectations by finishing 14th overall while Virginia and Virginia Tech secured clutch top 20 finishes.


However, the TSR staff was much more successful in the women’s draft. The average finish per round steadily increased throughout the draft, indicating that the best teams were picked in the right order. Additionally, the women’s draft had an average differential that was within two for the first four rounds (in Lehman's terms, that's pretty good), whereas the men’s draft had an average differential over two for every round.


So, why was this case?


Well, when you look at the 4th round, only Virginia Tech and Oklahoma State did not qualify for Nationals. However, when you look at the teams drafted in the 5th round, you'll see that Georgetown, Syracuse, Butler, Penn, and Georgia Tech all failed to advance to Terre Haute. Naturally, this made the 5th round far riskier and less beneficial than the men's draft.


In other words, the women's draft was far more predictable.


The spread, for the men, was much higher than the women’s. The average spread for the men's draft was 20.6 while the women’s was only 13.4. This is another example of the men being significantly harder to predict than the women.


The 3rd round for the women's draft was the most predictable of any round, with teams missing their expected finish by an average of only 0.14 places (that is SUPER accurate).


Conversely, we saw a lot of men’s teams outperform expectations in the 5th round. Teams drafted in the final round finished an average of 8.29 places higher than they were drafted. A lot of this variance draws from the fact that the Northeast region ended up sending four teams to NCAA's which sent the scores going haywire.

Individual Draft Recap


Men's Individuals Draft Results
Women's Individuals Draft Results

What Does This Data Mean?

Looking at the total amount of All-Americans per round and the average finish of the runners in each round for the men and women, we can see how well our TSR writers did at drafting the top runners in the country.


As mentioned in our latest episode of The Blue Oval Podcast, the women were much easier to predict than the men all year long...and not just when it came to teams.


In the first three rounds of the women’s draft, 21 out of the 21 runners picked finished as All-Americans (100%). Contrast this with the men’s draft where only 14 out of the 21 runners picked were All-Americans (66%).


As expected, the men’s individuals followed suit with the teams. The men drafted in the 1st round finished right around where we expected, but the 2nd and 3rd rounds were largely variable.


Athletes like Jacob Choge, Andrew Jordan, and George Kusche really pulled the averages down and consequently, there wasn’t a big difference between picks in those three rounds. The result of many of these guys falling back made room for others to fill in up front, hence the improved average in the 4th round.


Despite the predictability of the women's draft, the final round actually exceeded expectations. In fact, the 8th and final round in the women's draft was better than the 7th round by an average of 16.14 places. This was because our supposed "risky" and "high potential" picks actually paid off or (at the very least) didn't dramatically falter in the results.


Aoibhe Richardson secured a huge 19th place finish while Winny Koskei (47th) and Sara Schmitt (58th) kept things competitive by finishing inside the top 60. However, the real key to why our final round was so successful is because no one selected in this round finished worse than 123rd place overall. Everyone we drafted in the 8th round finished in the better half of the results.

Overall Results


Overall Results (across all four drafts)
Overall Scores (in each draft)

The “Mr. Consistency” Award: Brian

He finished 3rd or 4th in four of five categories and only got last in the tightest scoring draft.


The “One-Hit-Wonder” Award: Ben

He was near the bottom in all but the women’s team draft...which he won. Even so, that win wasn't enough to stop him from losing overall.


The “Saved by the Bell” Award: Garrett

He was in the bottom three of every race until the final scores from the women’s individuals draft pulled him back into it.

The “Boom or Bust” Award: Sam

He was either in the bottom group or the top two. He never finished in the middle (3rd or 4th).


The “Double Century” Award: Maura

The only person to put up 200 points in any of our drafts (men's individuals).


The "Fifth Runner Away" Award: Brian

Brian finished 3rd in the men’s individual draft with four men who went 8-17-18-22-37. If he had another top 20 runner, then he would have won the men’s draft. Geordie Beamish finishing 37th is certainly not bad, but he needed a bit more.


The "Jaromir Jagr" Award: Logan

Jaromir Jagr, one of the greatest hockey players ever, wore number 68 during his career. Considering Logan scored 68 points in our men's team draft, which was the best score by any writer in any of our drafts, we figured this would be an appropriate award for him.


The "So Close, but So Far" Award: Brett

Competing in only the individual drafts, Brett had two chances to win. He did not do well on the women’s side, but came two points away from picking up the win on the men’s side.


The MVP: Michael

He won the overall fantasy contest and all of his teams were mediocre to good. He never had a fantasy team that performed poorly.