I’ve been a lot of thinking about how to use the data collected from this off-season’s ‘Searching for Consistent Greatness’ series. How much do weekly performances count compared to season-long scoring? Are the past three seasons predictive of the future? What do we really want from a fantasy player each week?
Basically, what does it all mean?
There have been mistakes (DeAndre Hopkins being the biggest, with CJ Anderson in a close second), but I also took a lot of from the studies, leading to great success (owning all the Arian Fosters last year, deciding this is the season to re-invest in Doug Martin, and more). The more information I collect and share/debate with you, the reader, the better understanding we will have of numbers and trends to look out for.
After much soul-searching, I made it back to here: I’ve re-branded the article series, eliminating the ‘Searching for’ and focusing on the ‘Consistent Greatness’. Also, thanks to advances in modern technology (and the brilliance of Scott Fish), I’m able to bring you a mid-season summary of how the top players in each position have performed so far this year. In this case, ‘mid-season’ means up-to-and-including week nine (when every team had played at least eight games).
[am4show have=’g1;’ guest_error=’sub_message’ user_error=’sub_message’ ]
We are looking at how players score their points from week to week, rather than focusing on the big picture of yearly scoring. If a player has had one huge week, but not finished with significant scores in the rest of them, I want to know. Similarly, if they haven’t had any big weeks and merely trolled along as a ‘WR2’ or ‘WR3’, we have to question whether they can be a difference-maker.
In order to explore this, we create thresholds of the scores required to be a top 12 (‘QB1’), top 24 (‘RB2’) and in some cases, top 36 (‘WR3’) at their position in any given week. Previously, I had manually calculated the thresholds each week for the previous three seasons and tallied how often a player had exceeded that number. Now, I have Scott and his data tools on my side, and the thresholds are created automatically based on previous scoring. Throughout the article, the following applies:
- GP = Games Played
- QB (/TE)1 = Number of times the player hit the top 12 threshold
- QB2 = Number of times they placed between the 13-24 scorers
- QB1/2 = Number of times they hit the top 24 threshold
- % = Percentage of games they hit that threshold
Here is an example of what to expect:
- In this case, Tom Brady has hit the top 12 threshold every single week this season, so he scores 100% for both top 12 and top 24 percentage
- He hasn’t been the QB13-24 in any week, so his ‘QB2’ percentage is zero
- The ‘1.’ next to Brady’s name shows his current position in total scoring (as of the end of week nine)
- Brady has been absurd
- Cam Newton actually has the second-highest QB1 percentage right now, despite being outscored in total points by Philip Rivers and Drew Brees
- Carson Palmer, Blake Bortles and Matt Ryan have the highest QB2 percentages in this group. For Ryan, this is no surprise, but the other two have been extremely consistent for fantasy owners
- The most unpredictable character near the top of the list has been Eli Manning. Despite duds in his three games against Dallas and Philadelphia, he’s had two games with over 35 points to bring up his total score
- Joe Flacco has had his fair share of big QB1 weeks, but has missed the top 24 twice as well; keeping him just outside the ‘QB1s’
- Ryan Tannehill, Jameis Winston and Russell Wilson have identical levels of fantasy ‘meh-ness’, scoring as QB2s three quarters of the time. We can be impressed that Winston is kicking his career off this way, but Tannehill has proven to be a consistent low-ceiling quarterback, and Wilson might be heading that way too
- Two more numbers that stand out: Kirk Cousins missing the top 24 half the time, and Josh McCown having a higher QB1 percentage than of 12 the 19 quarterbacks ahead of him
- Unsurprisingly, Ben Roethlisberger’s weekly numbers are impressive. He’s a great player to own heading into the fantasy playoffs
- Marcus Mariota and Tyrod Taylor have a higher QB1 percentage than ten of the 12 quarterbacks in the tier above them, with Taylor providing a solid weekly floor
- One of my personal favorites, Teddy Bridgewater, has yet to prove he has much firepower. I’m not as sold on him as a dynasty asset as I am on him being the Vikings’ leader moving forward
- Once again, Rob Gronkowski dominates the TE1 percentage, playing at slightly above his 85% from the last three seasons
- Look out for Jordan Reed, who is developing into the playmaker we hoped he would be when he made noise in his rookie year
- I’m not too sure about investing in Benjamin Watson, even in the short term. His two games of over 28 points might have won head-to-head fantasy matchups, but he’s been very predictable outside of them
- Tyler Eifert and Travis Kelce fall just behind Gronkowski in TE1 percentage. Who is your number two dynasty tight end?
- Antonio Gates has been the same old stud in the games in which he has played. He is supposedly not quite at 100 percent returning from a knee injury, but always offers a chance for a touchdown or two
- Eric Ebron is low in total scoring, but has definitely shown improvement in his sophomore year and could be a decent buy low right now
- The biggest disappointment, down at 23, is Zach Ertz. The whole Eagles’ offense has been a dumpster fire, but Ertz has been expected to take a fantasy step forward for a couple of years now. I’m not sure that ever happens
Things to Think About
Over the summer, I had a conversation with Twitter mind Dwayne Brown about whether it’s more helpful to have multiple dynasty teams to diversify your experiences with players, or only a small number of teams in order to stay focused and give them the treatment they deserve. Assuming we do keep fewer squads to concentrate on constantly strengthening and understanding them, how will we know what it is like to experience owning every different player? That is where consistent greatness comes in. The goal is not necessarily to predict the future, but more to make everyone aware that, for example, owning the seventh overall quarterback in scoring (Eli Manning), might look good from the outside, but may have cost you a few victories. Similarly, Russell Wilson may be a consistent top-24 scorer, but how often will he single-handedly win you a fantasy matchup?
Out of two players who have scored exactly the same number of points, would you prefer the one who has only slightly deviated from their average each week, or the one who has ‘gone big’ four times and been a disappointment in the other four? This is a question that each dynasty owner will answer differently, and one that this study encourages you to think about.
Stay tuned for a look at running backs and tight ends.
- 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