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Week 12 Consistency Report - Floors and Ceilings


As mentioned on Twitter, today’s article is going to focus on a new statistic I created to incorporate the important aspects of a player’s weekly production and consistency. After talking with a follower on Twitter (@seth_cordry), he pointed me in the direction of using Coefficient of Variation (I’ll get there) as a way to “power rank” players by a single number for consistency. I was able to take it one step further, and devised my creatively named Consistency Rating.

Now, bear with me as I dive into some mathematical terms to explain what the Coefficient of Variation (CV) is. CV is a very simple formula: standard deviation divided by the average. The output is typically a decimal or percentage between zero and one (unless the standard deviation is greater than the average). What is this used for? CV was created as a way to compare different data sets with different averages and standard deviations in a more apples-to-apples fashion. It is a big deal in the finance industry with stocks and investments with regards to return-on-investment and building a stock portfolio. In the world of stocks, the smaller the CV, the better the stock is to invest in relative to ROI. For fantasy football, the lower the CV, the better the player is for risk-reward as a weekly play.

However, when using just CV as a power ranking tool for players, I found one flaw. Player’s who are consistently bad (i.e. low averages and low standard deviations) were being scored higher than players with high averages but also higher standard deviations (usually how elite fantasy players score). For example, CV loved Martellus Bennett and scored him higher than other tight ends like Travis Kelce, Rob Gronkowski, and Evan Engram. To remedy this, I created my Consistency Rating (COR). Another easy formula, COR takes a player’s ceiling and divides it by that player’s CV. The higher the number, the better than player is for risk-reward and gives weight to players with high ceilings. If a player is consistently putting up big numbers, COR ranks them at the top of the list, and vice versa. Enough talking though, let me show you for players heading into Week 12.

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Quarterbacks

The table above (and each table in the article) is sorted by COR from largest to smallest. At the top of list are some familiar names, starting with Carson Wentz. Wentz has been consistently elite all season, and scored very well from CV and tops the list in COR. If you have Wentz, he is a set-and-forget every week. He is also the only qualified player in fantasy with a COR above 100.

Now, one place where people might question COR is by ranking Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, Marcus Mariota, and Matthew Stafford above the current QB1 in Russell Wilson. To those people, I say COR is highly based on consistency, which is measured by standard deviation. So, despite having lower averages and floors than Wilson, those four QBs score higher because each of their standard deviations is half of Wilson’s, making them more consistent plays on a weekly basis than Wilson. However, I cannot sit here as a fantasy analyst and advocate sitting Wilson for any of those QBs, given how Wilson has been playing (if anyone has that situation).

 

Running Backs

One back I would like to highlight especially on this list, and one I have already highlighted in a previous article, is Christian McCaffrey. I highlighted CMC previously due to his insane consistency on a weekly basis. A few weeks later, McCaffrey still tops the list for consistency based on standard deviation (6th among RBs in this list), but also now based on COR. His ceiling may not be as high as the players around him, but on a weekly basis, CMC blows them all out of the water. Thanks to his work through the air, McCaffrey is a PPR machine and is a high floor option as a RB2, with touchdown upside.

On the opposite side, one surprising player COR does not like very well is Jordan Howard, but rightfully so. If you own Howard, I am sure you understand the frustration that comes with playing him weekly, at least at the start of the year. One week he goes off for nearly 30 points, the next he fails to hit double digits. Because of that, Howard has the second highest CV among these 25 running backs. Despite his ceiling of almost 22 points, Howard can be seen as an almost risky play some weeks given his knack for disappearing and his high inconsistency. He is still a low-end RB1 given his ability to breakout, but should not be heavily relied upon to be a fantasy team’s main source of points from the running back position on a weekly basis.

 

Wide Receivers

Like McCaffrey, another name on this list has been not only consistent, but also elite on a weekly basis. Jarvis Landry has taken his game to the next level this year, finding the end zone more times through 11 weeks this season than any other season in his career. Perhaps it is Jay Cutler, or maybe the Dolphins have begun utilizing him more in the red zone. My biggest qualm with Landry during the offseason was his production after Jay Ajayi took control of that offense. However, even with Ajayi, Landry was producing this season and now that Ajayi is gone, his production has only increased. In PPR leagues, Landry is a borderline WR1 just on receptions alone. Now that he is finding the end zone, Landry has vaulted into an elite asset at the position on a weekly basis. Without scoring, Landry’s floor is still in the double digits as well. This is why he is ranked as the second highest receiver in terms of COR and why he is a weekly plug-and-play as a WR1.

 

Tight Ends

I remain adamant that Ben Watson is a highly undervalued fantasy tight end this year. Despite being owned in only 14% of ESPN leagues, Watson is currently the TE16, ahead of players like Hunter Henry, Julius Thomas, and Eric Ebron, all with higher ownership percentages than Watson. On top of that, Watson is ninth among tight ends in COR, making him a consistent tight end on a weekly basis. In fact, in four of his last five games, Watson has scored eight or more points per game. Extending that to the entire season, Watson has scored eight or more points in seven of his nine games (he didn’t play Week 1). If anyone is concerned about his production with Danny Woodhead back, don’t be. Watson was still productive with Javorius Allen, who averaged almost five receptions per game. If you are still looking for a solid replacement at the tight end position, or need a weekly streamer, Ben Watson is your guy and is almost guaranteed to be available in every redraft league.

 

Flex

Normally, I give two tables for flex plays, one sorted by weekly floors, the other by ceilings. This week, I have one giant table of forty flex players sorted by COR. You will notice Danny Woodhead has an insanely high COR over 170 (he does not a qualified player, so Wentz is still the only qualified above 100), but his two games played this year have been almost identical for fantasy. I included him in the table this week because I believe he is a solid flex play moving forward, especially in PPR leagues.

 

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