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Fantasy Football Consistency Report for Week 6 Lineups

The idea of consistency has become a huge part of fantasy football, and rightfully so. You want players who are going to perform on a weekly basis and will not kill your team with constant duds. In today’s game, consistency has become a measurement of a player’s weekly finish at his position relative to other players at the position. You hear phrases like, “Player A has been an RB1 in 70% of his games while Player B has been an RB1 in only 50% of his games”. While that has meaning and relevance, it is not telling you exactly how many points a player is scoring on a weekly basis. In one week, a back may only need 10 points to be an RB1, while in other weeks it may be 20 or more. What happens to those players who are scoring 13-16 points on a weekly basis?

Another measure of a player’s overall success is his average fantasy points per game. While this may be helpful for players like Antonio Brown or David Johnson, what does it do for players like Brandin Cooks or DeSean Jackson? An average can be a very misleading and skewed statistic based on outliers. Ask a Brandin Cooks owner last year if they felt like they were getting 15.4 fantasy points per game from him. I doubt any would say yes.

What I set out to find was a new way to measure consistency on a weekly basis. As a statistics major in college, the answer was actually quite easy: standard deviation. Standard deviation is defined as a measure used to quantify the amount of variation in a dataset. In English, it measures how spread apart numbers are. Using standard deviation is a new way to quantify consistency in fantasy football in terms of points scored on a weekly basis. This series intends to present weekly scoring at each position in a new light that redefines the way we look at consistency in fantasy football.

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Consistency Reports: Weeks 1-5

**Note: the filter for each position was no more than one finish outside the top-36 at their position for QB, RB, WR. No more than one finish outside the top-24 for TE.


Looking at the quarterback position, these are the 32 most consistent quarterbacks (through five weeks) based on standard deviation. Looking at the top five, a couple names may not surprise you, like Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, and Matt Ryan. Any player that has a high average amount of points per game coupled with a very low standard deviation is elite, elite, elite. No surprises here with Brees and Rodgers, who are consistently putting up huge numbers. Looking again at the top-five, a couple names may surprise you: Mike Glennon and Jay Cutler. What is interesting about these players is they are extremely consistent, as in consistently bad. Both are averaging less than 10 points per game, but top the QB list in consistency. In the words of Adam “Pacman” Jones, garbage!

As we move on down the list, some interesting names appear. Dak Prescott has been consistently elite this year, in the tier with Brees, Rodgers and Tom Brady. Joe Flacco is another quarterback who has been consistently terrible, averaging 7.28 points per game with a 5.72 standard deviation. Alex Smith has been the talk of the first quarter of 2017. He is averaging over 23 points per game, but is in the bottom half of consistency. This shows both his high ceiling and low floor on a weekly basis. However, compared to a lot of quarterbacks, Smith is a safe weekly play with high upside.

Finally, we get down to the inconsistent quarterbacks on a weekly basis. A lot of you might be shocked to see Tom Brady this low, but so far, his game log has been fairly boom-bust in 2017. Two games over 30 points and two games under 15 will do that. This is not to say Brady is a bad QB option, but his fantasy production has been all over the place through five weeks. Another interesting name is budding star Deshaun Watson. Among quarterbacks, he has been the most inconsistent player in 2017. However, he has increased his scoring in each week throughout the season. Excluding Week 1 when he was not the starter, he has been slightly more consistent with a standard deviation around 8. He has been an ELITE option in recent weeks, but I expect his production to come back to Earth very soon. Still, his rushing ability offers a safe weekly floor and any QB throwing to DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller has a very high ceiling.


Running Back

Moving onto running backs, the first name that caught my eye is at the top of the list: Mark Ingram. I mentioned on Twitter that he is the most consistent player IN ALL OF FOOTBALL in 2017. A standard deviation less than one is remarkable, though also unsustainable. However, Ingram offers a solid weekly floor of double digit points with touchdown upside. A slight bump with Adrian Peterson gone only elevates his ceiling, but should leave his floor intact. One name at the top of the list I find more interesting is Tevin Coleman. Last year, Coleman was a sell for me after a ridiculously high touchdown rate. I argued that while the ceiling is high for Coleman, his floor makes him difficult to trust on a weekly basis. So far through 2017, however, this has not been the case. Coleman has produced only one game below 10 points this year (Week 1), scoring 9.8 fantasy points. From Weeks 2-4, Coleman has produced double digit points in all three weeks, including one RB13 performance of over 18 points in Week 4. He has been a solid standalone fantasy asset behind Devonta Freeman and should continue to be in the Falcons high-octane offense.

Moving down through the list, the landscape of running backs is fairly similar to quarterbacks. As we get to the bottom of the list, the final three names should come as no surprise. Two players in particular, Todd Gurley and Kareem Hunt, have been fantasy MVPs so far with their production. Like Deshaun Watson, Gurley and Hunt’s production has been so out-of-this-world that it must come back to Earth. Again, this is not to say these players are not safe weekly starts, but their production has warranted a high standard deviation. On the other hand, Chris Thompson had two boom weeks that vaulted his fantasy numbers. Through the first three weeks, Thompson was a waiver wire steal… and then Week 4 happened. After two monstrous games, Thompson put up a whopping 1.7 fantasy points before the bye, leaving a very sour taste in owners’ mouths. To me, he is a boom/bust player with a high ceiling but low floor. Proceed with caution.


Wide Receivers

What is nice about this list might also be its greatest problem: it’s a short list of receivers. Remember the filter I used to create these lists—no more than one finish outside the top-36. Well, these are the 15 receivers who qualify for that requirement. Receivers are fairly easy to analyze for consistency. The most consistent receivers are PPR machines who are catching 6-8 passes per game, but rarely finding pay dirt, a.k.a Keenan Allen and Jarvis Landry. They will never kill your week with a dud performance given the high reception totals each week, but their upside is capped by infrequent visits to the endzone. Julio Jones is a shock to me sitting at third through five weeks. His fantasy production has been slightly boom/bust throughout his career, but so far has been pretty consistent in 2017, though he has yet to have a breakout game.

Again, moving down through the list, the occasional Mohammed Sanu or Chris Hogan might give you some pause. With neither known for being very consistent, maybe they are exploring new waters in their fantasy careers. There is a difference between the two, however: there is a seven-point difference in their average points per game. If you are a Hogan owner, you continue to plug-and-play. Playing Sanu is more matchup-dependent or based on Julio Jones’ availability that week.

At the very bottom of the list, we see Stefon Diggs. I am sure this consistency ranking is by no means shocking to Diggs owners, who are hopeful for a 30-point performance, but are stuck with less than five. He is the living embodiment of inconsistency so far in 2017, if not his entire career. Diggs remains a high-upside play with potential to breakout on any given week, but his floor makes him almost risky to play as an every-week starter.


Tight Ends

Finally, we look at the tight end position. In terms of consistency, Zach Ertz has been the second-most consistent player in all of fantasy football through the first five weeks. After him, many tight ends have been fairly consistent, though maybe not in the right way. An example of this is Virgil Green. On paper, he is the fourth most consistent tight end in fantasy, but is consistent around a 4.83 points per game average. Compare that to a player like Zach Miller, who is just as consistent but is averaging almost twice as many fantasy points per game.

The rest of the list is the same analysis as the other three positions. Similarly, at the bottom of the list, we see Travis Kelce and Rob Gronkowski. Given their elite fantasy production, it makes sense that they would be deemed “inconsistent”, since reproducing elite fantasy numbers over 16 games is hard to do. Given their high weekly average, Gronk and Kelce are absolutely must starts every week, but you don’t need me to tell you that.

Overall, I hope this new way of looking at consistency sheds a little more light on a player's scoring potential on a weekly basis. I will continue to update the consistency charts as we move through 2017 to give a brief look at how weekly performances can change a player's outlook as a fantasy producer. Until next time, good luck!


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