One thing I’ve always deemed extremely important in dynasty football is how a player scores their points throughout a fantasy year, not just the total amount they have at the end of it. Therefore, when I examined Percy Harvin in my last piece, I compared his weekly rankings to some players around him, as it is a crucial part of how I evaluate a player. I was intrigued as to how he would measure up with other receivers and wanted to investigate who stood out in their weekly performances, so this piece looks at the top 50 receivers in the DLF rankings.
I often find point totals at the end of the year can incorrectly determine a player’s overall rank and give us a false sense of what to expect from them. I refer to it as the ‘Doug Martin Effect’ – he finished as a top three running back in 2012, but he scored 32% of his points in just two weeks and I didn’t feel he gave me a consistent chance at being a top player for the rest of the year. While I like Martin as a player, I don’t like his dynasty value as much as most.
My idea of ‘consistent greatness’ in dynasty football is not simply how close a player is to their average score, but rather how often they score the amount of points required to place in the top 12 or 24 receivers. Someone can be extremely consistent at producing WR3 numbers, but they never place very high in the rankings, whereas the players who show up every few weeks at the top make much more of a difference. I am looking for consistently good with a chance of great.
How did I go about measuring consistency? I took the weekly number of points needed to be a WR1 or WR2 every week for the last three seasons to find the average required to place within each tier. Here is what I established:
- Points required to be a WR1: 14.1
- Points required to be a WR2: 9.8
I then took the top 50 ranked wide receivers in the DLF rankings and applied these numbers to find out how often each player placed in each category in the weeks they played, identifying the best and worst players throughout their careers which I have outlined below. The top 15 players within each category have been shown, unless there was a tie for 15th in which case extra players may have been added. Because of the small sample size for rookies, they were put in their own group.
Note: I used non-PPR scoring and playoff games were not included
- G – Total games since they entered the league
- GP – Number of those games they have played in
- WR1 – Number of games they scored 14.1+ points
- WR2 – Number of games they scored between 9.8 and 14.1 points
- WR1/2 – Number of games they scored 9.8+ points
- % – Percentage of games played that they placed in each category
The numbers to focus on within each category are marked in bold.
Highest % of Weeks as a WR1/WR2
- Only seven players in the league have placed as a WR1 or WR2 more times than they have missed out – Harvin is maybe the biggest surprise inclusion on that list
- Unsurprisingly, the older players that have stuck around in the NFL have consistently scored well
- Of all the rookies, only Keenan Allen would place on this list with the same percentage as Josh Gordon (47)
- Marques Colston is the lowest DLF ranked player on this list (WR47)
- Randall Cobb is the only top ten DLF ranked player not on this list (WR7)
Lowest % of Weeks as a WR1/WR2
- There is a big gap between Kendall Wright and Pierre Garcon that must be recognized
- The players with 19% or less have not been very productive, but there is an expectation that young players such as Wright, Michael Floyd and Rueben Randle will take the ‘next step’ in 2014
- The bottom part of this list highlights some highly ranked players who have played a lot of games without production (Garcon, Antonio Brown and Jordy Nelson)
- Big free agent signings Emmanuel Sanders and Golden Tate saw their values rise with a change of team – I am a big fan of selling these guys as I don’t believe their production and potential matches their value
Highest % of Weeks as a WR1
- Calvin Johnson has been a WR1 more times than he has finished outside the top 24 (40% to 37%). Insane.
- No one else comes close except Julio Jones, who has the same amount of WR1 finishes as finishes outside the top 24 (35%)
- While we can’t expect the veterans to play at a high level forever, players like Colston and Vincent Jackson have consistently performed and could be solid buy-low options to plug and play next year for those of you who need immediate starters
- DeSean Jackson and Victor Cruz stand out as players with big-game potential
Lowest % of Weeks as a WR1
- Sanders has only had one WR1 week in his whole career and his highest point total is 14.8
- Jeffery was a surprise for me because his 200-yard games were memorable, but apart from those two games he only had one other WR1 week last year. However, he did have a large number of WR2 weeks
Highest % of Weeks as a WR2
- A high WR2% means reliability and consistency, but paired with a low WR1% it can make me question a player’s weekly upside
- Dwayne Bowe’s 2010 season is a good example of the deception of point totals at the end of the year – He finished second overall, had six weeks with 20+ points, but didn’t finish as a WR1 for any of the other ten
- Marvin Jones has had a good number of WR2 weeks, but does he have a good chance to have a big week?
- Eric Olinger recently identified Roddy White as someone to target at his current value – I would have to agree at his March ADP of WR37
Lowest % of Weeks as a WR2
- This helps to identify some ‘boom/bust’ players. If they don’t have a lot of WR2 weeks but have a lot of WR1 weeks then it indicates their scoring is up and down without consistency
- DeSean Jackson is exactly who we think he is – 20% more WR1 weeks than WR2 weeks
- Cruz and Gordon have very similar numbers
- Nelson, Garcon and Torrey Smith show up as players who have had a good number of big weeks but have also had a large number of quiet weeks
Most Games Played
- All these players have played in over 90% of the possible games since they entered the league – Guys that play a lot and consistently score a lot are worth having in your teams (Larry Fitzgerald I’m talking about you)
Most Games Missed
- A combination of games missed and low % of placing in the top 24 is worrying. Are they worth the risk?
- What is your idea of ‘injury prone’? The players at the top of this list have all missed a large amount of time with one specific season-ending injury (or suspension) – Does that mean they are injury prone?
- Players who have missed time but perform well when they do play can be great buys (Harvin, Cruz or even Jeremy Maclin, as Dan Meylor suggests.
‘Superstar weeks’ was something I added to give an indication of who really stands out as having the ability to single-handedly win a week for you. It takes 28.1 points to be the top overall player, but there can be more than one huge difference-maker each week. For example, if your top receiver scores 19.6 points, they are scoring as many points as two WR2s. I used 20 points as requirement for a superstar week.
(SS refers to the number of games they scored 20+ points)
- This helps to separate the players at the top of the pack
- The highly-valued names fill this list, but some players stand out as surprises (Cruz in particular)
- Does DeSean Jackson get the love he deserves? At only 27 years old, he still provides you with great potential to have huge games
- Allen’s percentage numbers are identical to Gordon
- Both of Cordarrelle Patterson’s WR1 weeks were big ones, showing us the superstar potential
There is no way of guaranteeing who will be the best performers next season and beyond, but past fantasy points are an indicator of what to expect. The difference between a player finishing as a WR2 and WR1 can be so minimal (an overthrow by the quarterback, an end-around that went wrong, etc) but as long as you judge the data within context then it can be a helpful tool.
Furthermore, whether or not you like a player based on the data also depends on the structure of your team. You may want a boom/bust player as your WR3 or Flex as opposed to someone who is a consistent scorer but has a lower ceiling. This data may be able help you decide between two similarly ranked players. Would you prefer the player who will have a 200-yard game followed by two quiet weeks of 50, or the one that will have three 100-yard games in a row? I hope this piece encourages you to question everything about a player, and specifically when looking at point totals:
- Did the points at the end of the year reflect how well player X actually played?
- Were they reliable?
- Most importantly – were they consistently good with a chance of great?
The full list of players researched is below and if you have any questions or observations, get in touch with James on Twitter @EaglesMusings
- Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Update: Quez Watkins, WR PHI - July 15, 2020
- Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Update: John Hightower, WR PHI - July 7, 2020
- Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Update: Jerry Jeudy, WR DEN - May 16, 2020