Consistency is one of the most desirable traits in a dynasty player. End-of-season points are often deceiving and may not give a true reflection of how each player helped your team in any given week. The experience of owning a player is very different from looking at a player at the end of the year and saying “X points per game sounds great,” as players score points in diverse ways. To learn more about this, I enjoy diving into weekly scores after the season ends to expose how players scored their points.
Ben Roethlisberger provides a great example of what I would consider a notable finding – he was the QB5 in 2014 with 378.3 fantasy points (23.6 PPG). However, he scored just under 25% of his points (91.1) in two games, meaning he scored 286.9 in the other 14 (20.5 PPG). That is a big difference, and one of the many examples of how a yearly total doesn’t tell the whole story. While we can’t necessarily project future consistency, looking further into each player’s past can give us an idea of what to expect.
The series begins with quarterbacks. Every owner treats the position differently, and league format/scoring should have a large impact on how much each player is worth. As a 2QB-er, I understand the importance of having a high-scoring one to rely on. Conversely, as a redraft player, I also understand that in many situations you can get away with the bare minimum at the position while winning elsewhere; and that can be translated to a dynasty setting (providing you can identify cheap guys each year). Whatever your feelings are, the data below will hopefully help you know more about who you are investing in.
We can measure consistency in a number of ways, but in a fantasy setting, a simple way I like to look at it is: how often is each player a ‘1’ (top 12) or a ‘2’ (13-24) in their position in any week they play? The general idea is that consistently placing in the top 24 is good, but being in the top 12 is great. To quantify this, I started by going through every fantasy gameweek from 2012-2014 to establish the number of points required to place in the top 12 and top 24 at every position:
- QB1: 22.0
- QB2: 13.9
After establishing what I was looking for from each player to qualify, I took all of the quarterbacks from the DLF ADP data (and added Ryan Fitzpatrick who played 39 games over the past three years), and tallied every time each player scored above the QB1 and QB2 thresholds in the last three years. Below, I have highlighted the top 12 players in various positive and negative categories.
- The data was taken from FFToday.com (http://fftoday.com/stats/playerstats.php)
- The data now shows PPR scoring
- Playoff games were not included
- I trimmed down the data to look at the last three years only, compared to the full career last year. As much as players like Maurice Jones-Drew, Steven Jackson and Larry Fitzgerald are all-time greats and scored well historically; we get a better view of current-day potential by keeping the data more recent
- I removed six players from the data who had too small a sample size to qualify – Johnny Manziel, Brock Osweiler, Jimmy Garoppolo, Logan Thomas, Tom Savage and Ryan Mallett
- GP – Number of games played (any game that they recorded passing stats)
- QB1/2 – Number of games with 13.9+ points
- QB1 – Number of games with 22.0+ points
- QB2 – Number of games with between 13.9 and 21.9 points
- % – Percentage of games that they placed in each category
The numbers to focus on when looking at each list are highlighted (green = good, red = bad).
Highest % of Weeks as QB1/2
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- One immediate standout is new Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford. The obvious question mark with him is health, but his fantasy floor was consistent in St Louis. His new situation is second to none
- Drew Brees has only had one game with fewer than 13.9 points in the last three years. Who was it against? Seattle (of course). In 2014, Brees scored 16.3 points or more every single week
- Of Aaron Rodgers’ five games out of the top 24, two of them came against… Seattle
- The player with the highest ADP who doesn’t feature on this list is Russell Wilson. Has it got to a point where he is a little overpriced? I believe he still has a lot of room to improve, and he will certainly be helped by his new passing game weapon.
- Does Matt Ryan get enough love for his reliability? In 2013, for example, he didn’t go over 29.1 points all year, but he also didn’t go under 14.1
Lowest % of Weeks as QB1/2
- While these are low top-24 numbers, some positive QB1 percentages stick out (Nick Foles and Jay Cutler)
- Mark Sanchez certainly improved his fantasy numbers in Philadelphia. He was in the top 24 seven of nine games in Philly (78%), compared to six of 15 in New York (40%)
- In Kirk Cousins’ short stints, he has done well; offering a 36.1% of high scoring games
- Geno Smith now has two seasons with not much to show. However, his situation has completely changed with a new head coach and OC which is very important
- Joe Flacco didn’t actually make it on to any list, but he was close here (75%). He has been so consistently average that he isn’t good or bad in any category. For example, in 2013, he had no games over 26.5, but only one game under 12.4
Highest % of Weeks as QB1
- Peyton Manning has had two straight years of scoring over 20 points in his first ten games (outrageous). However, in 2014, he scored fewer than 20 points in four of his last five. What can we expect from him? And for how long?
- Only five players have been QB1s in more than half of their games. Four of them would be unanimously considered ‘elite’… Then there is Matt Stafford. While I do not believe he is in that tier of talent, we can’t ignore his numbers. With a healthy Calvin Johnson, he should still be able to keep them up
- Wilson has remarkably similar percentages to Carson Palmer
- Palmer only missed the top 24 in three games out of 22 in Arizona, while still providing a good QB1 upside
- Ryan has had 23 QB1 games and 23 QB2 games in the last three years. Again, extremely dependable
Lowest % of Weeks as QB1
- EJ Manuel. Oof. He has only scored more than 21.2 points once
- Considering the ADP/prices of Colin Kaepernick and Ryan Tannehill; should we be worried seeing them on this list? Kaep is out of my price range, but at least Tannehill’s situation and production have progressively improved throughout his career
- Alex Smith has provided an ‘okay’ floor, but zero upside. In 2014, he didn’t score more than 25.2 points, but only had one game under 12.5 points
Highest % of Weeks as QB2
- For starting fantasy quarterbacks, a high QB2% is good as long as the QB1% is also relatively high. Unfortunately, we can’t say that for Manuel, Bradford, Tannehill, Geno Smith, Brian Hoyer and Mike Glennon
- Since the first week of 2013, Tannehill has only had two weeks out of the top 24
- Tony Romo, Ben Roethlisberger and Philip Rivers are all good examples of “you get what you pay for” – they are low QB1/high QB2s who generally live up to their price tag
- Andrew Luck is the only player on the list to have a higher QB1 percentage than QB2. He actually started his outstanding 2014 with ten straight QB1 weeks. By week eight, he had already scored enough to be a QB2 for the whole year
Lowest % of Weeks as QB2
- Low QB2% with a high QB1% is great, but guys who also have a low QB1% are worrying (Sanchez)
- Manning is too busy going big to worry about being a QB2
- Wilson has another similar percentage match: Robert Griffin III
- Considering the amount of games the three big-name rookie starters played, they didn’t impress. However, Teddy Bridgewater did provide a good QB1%
- I like the idea of trading Blake Bortles and Derek Carr as second year players who have maintained their rookie value. I expect only slightly improved numbers in 2015 (if at all), and you can get better production from more established guys
- Zach Mettenberger’s dynasty value hinges on Tennessee’s draft choice, as Eric Hardter mentioned in last week’s DLF mailbag.
‘Superstar weeks’ are an extra look into what separates the great fantasy players. To decide what qualified as a superstar week, I used the difference between the QB1 benchmark (22.0 points) and the average top overall weekly score over the last three years (38.2 points) to get a number: 30.1. Scoring over this amount will give any team a great chance to win their weekly matchup. Here are the results:
- The top four are the ‘fantasy elite’, and have all provided SS weeks close to a third of the time
- Some surprise names on there include Andy Dalton, RGIII and Cousins
- Six of Dalton’s eight SS weeks came in 2013
- I expected Stafford to be on the list coinciding with Calvin Johnson’s big weeks, but he has only had four in 48 games (8%)
The main goal of the series is to dive deep into scoring. As I think points scored are the result of a player’s talent, situation, opponents, teammates, coaches and many other things combined; the data is more to be informative and part of a process than ‘leading’. For example, Russell Wilson scored similarly to Carson Palmer and RGIII, but that doesn’t mean they are all now tied for my dynasty QB3, or that Wilson falls out of the top five. Rather, it makes me ask questions: Has Wilson performed as well as his dynasty ADP suggests? Should I gamble on Griffin considering that when he plays, he performs? Is Carson Palmer a strong late round target considering he can provide solid production when healthy? Rankings and beliefs on a player should be a collection of any knowledge and information possible, and this data has only helped me. I hope it can help you.
The data also provides more insight into scoring by each position as a whole, not just for individual players. The 12th ranked player on the high QB1/QB2% scored at least 13.9 points over 80% of the time, reinforcing the idea that by waiting on quarterback, you can still have decent production. I also learned from last year’s data that new situations completely change expectations, whereas we should be wary towards expecting change from an individual when everything around them has stayed the same. It is something to bear in mind when looking at the numbers.
What stood out to you? Who are some winners and losers? I hope you enjoy following along as I get through running backs, wide receivers and tight ends.
James is searching for consistent tweeting greatness @JS_Football. Also, be sure to check out one of the all-time great consistency articles in Ryan McDowell’s ‘Quality Starts’ from 2012 (http://dynastyleaguefootball.com/2012/07/07/quality-starts-quarterbacks/).
Below is the full list of data, sorted by ADP:
As well as editing for DLF, James writes for Sky Sports and can be found on Twitter at @JS_Football