The Starters and Backups page shows The Machine's projected starters for all teams for future weeks and its fantasy point calculations for each starter slot based on starter and back up players on each roster.

Starting Lineup and Projected Fantasy Points - Current Week

When selecting a lineup for the current week, The Machine fills starter slots using available players with the highest projected fantasy points. At this point, injury information is already part of the player's fantasy point projections and a backup player is of no use, so you only see two fantasy point columns in the starting lineup table, Basic and Accuracy Adjusted. The Basic column shows the raw fantasy point computation of your customized player projections multipled by your leagues scoring rules. The Accuracy Adjusted column shows the mean value of the probability distribution, resulted when The Machine creates a zero-limited normal distribution, based on historic accuracy data. Since the normal distribution is clipped at zero, the accuracy adjusted projection might be slightly higher than the basic projection.

Starting Lineup and Projected Fantasy Points - Future Weeks

You can view projected points for a future week, by selecting a specific week in the drop-down menu. The Machine uses an advanced method to create fantasy point probability distributions for each starting slot of future weeks. First, it starts with the basic projection that is the result of multiplying your customized player projections by your leagues scoring rules. To create a distribution, projection variance is applied to the basic projection. The variance is a distribution that represents how the projections are expected to change as we get closer to the actual event.

Next, The Machine uses historic injury and other events that cause a player not to play, to estimate the probability that a player will not play in a future game. The "Injury Adjusted" column shows the mean fantasy points of this distribution.

Next, The Machine combines the distributions of multiple players available for a position to create a distribution that represents the effect of having backup players available for a starting slot. For example, if you have two quarterbacks at the beginning of the season that have the exact same projection for week 15 of the season, it is likely that when week 15 rolls around, the projections will have changed and one quarterback's projections will be higher than the others and then you will start the quarterback with the higher projection. You can think of this as if you have one penny and one flip, you have a 50% chance if getting heads. However, if you have two pennies you have two chances to flip heads, so now you have a 75% chance of flipping heads with at least one of the pennies. The more backups you have the more likely you one of your player's projections will improve with the season. Now let's say you have two wide receivers on your roster and two wide receiver starting slots. The first starting slot will receive the better of the two, and the second starting slot will have the worst of the two. So while the first starter slot of a particular position will always be equal to or better than your best starter, a second starting slot of the same position might be worse. The Starter/Backup Adjusted column shows the mean value fantasy point projection for this distribution.

Finally, after determining your starter slot distributions based on available players and projection variance, The Machine calculates a final projection to account for projection accuracy. For example, finally after week 15 arrives, your best quarterback might have a projection that is better than at the beginning of the season (projection variance), but when he actually plays, he has a horrible game. The difference between the final projection before the game and the actual result of the game is projection accuracy. The Accuracy Adjusted column shows the mean fantasy point value of this distribution.

Backup Players and Projected Fantasy Points

The Backup Players and Projected Fantasy Points table lists the players that The Machine projects as unlikely to be your starter in the selected week. However, their fantasy point probability distributions are factored into the starter slot distributions of future weeks. For example, should your primary starter become injured, your backup player reduces the impact of the loss of your starter.

Inner Workings

You can view the actual starter probability distributions by clicking on the Inner Workings iconsGearicon  at the right of each column. The Inner Workings icons in the last row shows the selected team's total probability distribution for the selected week. To read more about this distribution, go to the League Details/Regular Season Information page.

It's Preseason and I Have No Players, Where Do the Projections Come From?

In the preseason, The Machine fills empty roster slots with "pseudo-players". Pseudo-players are created by averaging available free agents' distributions together based on the number of teams in the league. For example, if you have an empty roster slot and The Machine has calculated that it is best filled by a running back and you have 12 teams in your league, The Machine will fill the empty roster slot with the average of the top 12 available running backs. That player will have the designation of RB1. If you need two running backs, the second running back will have the designation of RB2 which will be the average of the second set of 12 running backs.

Why Does A Defensive Team Pseudo-Player Sometimes Have Lower Fantasy Points in the Injury Adjusted Column?

The Basic column assumes a player has a 100% chance of playing and the Injury Adjusted column factors in the probability a player won't play (due to injury and other factors). In the case of pseudo-defensive teams, this effect is caused by NFL bye weeks.