It’s a shame that a 40 year coaching career is best known for his epic rant-of-a-lifetime, but the late great Dennis Green will always be known for his famous “They are Who We Thought They Were” rant after losing to the Chicago Bears. The toughest thing in Fantasy Football is trying to take a player’s past statistics and come up with a logical conclusion as to where they will finish in Fantasy Football for the upcoming season. Some players are crazy erratic with boom seasons followed by bust seasons. But some players we can honor Dennis Green by exclaiming, “He Was Who We Thought He Was” from one year to the next with a high level of certainty.
Fantasy Football is a Weekly Game
You might notice I don’t usually quote year end statistics when I talk about Fantasy Football. That is because unless you play in a very strange Roto-Style league, the year end point totals do not matter. It is how a player accumulates those statistics each week that counts. The two tools I devised to improve my understanding of a player’s weekly value are called BEST 10 and CONSISTENCY. You can learn more about both in earlier articles here on FakePigSkin. For our comparisons today we will be looking at a player’s ability to score 10 or more points in a Point Per Reception (PPR) league format. Over the past two seasons wide receivers only have reached this level in 55% of their full games played.
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Tale of Two Super Stars
Amari Cooper and Brandin Cooks are two highly drafted wide receivers in Fantasy Football again this season. Cooper’s Average Draft Position in PPR leagues is WR13 at 3.07 with Cooks at WR16 at 4.04. Last year Cooper ended the season as the WR18 in PPR total points despite playing his first six games for the Oakland Raiders. Brandin Cooks ended the year as WR13 in total PPR points. But after being traded to the Dallas Cowboys Amari Cooper finished the last nine weeks of the season as the WR8 while Brandin Cooks was WR14 over that same period. But was Cooper 6 positions more valuable than Cooks on a weekly basis? Let’s examine the tale of two superstars.
Amari Cooper Consistency
While Amari Cooper’s BEST 10 value of 266 is ranked WR9 among all wide receivers over the past two seasons, his Consistency Rating is a woeful 48.1%, which is 6.8% lower than the NFL average over the past two seasons. That ranks him at WR49 in this measurement. But I hear the rabid Cooper fans saying that data includes one and a half seasons with the woeful Oakland Raiders offense. Only five complete games were played with the Raiders and Cooper posted 10+ PPR Points in two of those games. In nine games with the Cowboys he posted 10+ points in five of nine games. His combined 2018 season shows that he scored 10+ points in half of his games. In 2017 his Consistency Rating was 46% and in his career year of 2016 he still failed to score 10+ points in five of sixteen games for 68%. Dennis Green would tell us he is who we think he is when it comes to his Fantasy Football consistency.
Brandin Cooks Consistency
While Brandin Cooks’ BEST 10 value of 241 is only ranked WR16 among all wide receivers over the past two seasons, his Consistency Rating is 71%, which is 16.1% over the NFL average from the past two seasons. That ranks him WR22 in this measurement. Even more amazing in terms of Brandin Cooks’ consistency is his Consistency Rating with 3 different teams over the last 4 seasons. During the 2018 season Cooks had a Consistency Rating of 80%. In 2016 his rating was 63% with a rating of 75% in 2016 and 63% in 2015. His Consistency Rating of 70% over the last 4 seasons combined is just 1% off his 71% Consistency Rating over his last 2 seasons. Dennis Green would tell us he is who we think he is when it comes to his Fantasy Football consistency.
There are two separate but equally important statistical tools to look at to determine the weekly value of any player in Fantasy Football. Best 10 shows the ability of a player to be a big time scorer on a regular basis while the Consistency Rating shows us how often a player scores 10 or more points. Neither tool should be used independently of the other but the format of the league and the roster make-up of our team determines which tool is more important for a particular player in a particular draft. If you load up your team with Consistency Ratings super stars you are less likely to have a horrible week. If you load up your team with Best 10 super stars you are more likely to have the high score any particular week. In Best Ball format leagues where you do not set your lineup I discount the Consistency Rating for the Best 10 rating. But in typical weekly head to head leagues, whether Dynasty or Redraft I prefer to lean a little more on the Consistency Ratings.
Heading into the 2019 season I would prefer to have Brandin Cooks on my roster in all formats, with the Best Ball format more of a 50/50 decision. Since I can usually get Cooks a round later in drafts, that gives him an additional edge in all formats. While not all players show the type of ratings we saw with these two players, a remarkable number of players would get Dennis Green to say, “He is who we think he is” when it comes to his Fantasy Football potential on a weekly basis.