Fantasy analysts sound a lot like general contractors with all of our talk about floors and ceilings. High floor with a low ceiling, high ceiling with a low floor, etc. Most of us understand these terms, but I always wanted a way to figure out the ceiling for myself.
To me, a player’s floor is based on two things: college production and the level of refinement their game possesses. The ceiling is all about athletic ability in my eyes. The question is how do you measure athletic ability as a whole? This is what lead me to this process seven years ago, and I’ve used it every year since then. There are and always will be some misses, but I’m pretty happy with where the metric has gone over the years.
The original inspiration for this article was to try to quantify the NFL combine as a whole, instead of just individual drills, to get an accurate picture of that all elusive “ceiling” for a player. To help evaluate the ceiling or upside, I wanted to compare incoming rookies to the receivers who are actually succeeding in the NFL right now. How much better is a 4.35 second time in the 40 yard dash than a 4.42 second time and does it matter? If a receiver runs a 4.57 time in the 40 yard dash but lights up the 3 cone and 20-yard shuttle drills, does it matter? I was curious, so I dove into the numbers to see what I could find out.