Fantasy Football Is a Weekly Game- 2020 Edition

We have sent a manned private rocket back to space and successfully landed probes on Mars and still, Fantasy Football analysts show their Top 25 Ratings based on yearly statistical totals. Have I missed something? Heading into the 2020 season don’t we ALL realize that “Fantasy Football is a Weekly Game,” yet? The only statistics that should matter in Fantasy Football are games that give your team a better chance to succeed each and every week! Let’s take a look at the two statistics that do matter and some snippets of how they might apply to this year’s Fantasy Football success because Fantasy Football is a weekly game!

Consistency Versus Big Game Potential

The two weekly statistics you should be following are “Consistency” and “Big Game Potential” but you need to use the right statistic for the right league. The higher the number of starting positions in your starting lineup the more you should be concerned about consistency and the fewer the starters, you should be more concerned about big game potential. In conventional leagues putting the two tools together yields the best results. 

Consistency Misunderstood 

If you look at the statistics of all running backs who played in enough full games to be worthy of fantasy consideration for your roster, those RBs only scored 10 or more fantasy points in a PPR format in 67% of their games. If you ask 100 fantasy players, “what level of scoring they expect from their RB,” they would say somewhere between 15-20 points. But RBs only score 15 or more points 41% of the time and 20 or more points 24% of the time. When I think of consistency I want an RB that scores 10 or more points 80% of the time or more but only 11 RBs who started 20 or more games over the last 2 seasons combined met that criteria. If you lower the bar to 12 games started over the last 2 seasons combined, that number only rises to 15. That is how rare the dependable RB is in Fantasy Football. 

Big Game Ability Misunderstood 

The few Fantasy Football analysts that attempt to provide a weekly statistic, use the weekly finishing position frequency for their analysis. While being better than using year end total rankings, it is still looking at the wrong data. I do not get rewarded for my RB being a Top 5 or Top 10 finisher among his peers. I get rewarded when he scores lots of points! On any given week it might take 30 points to reach the Top 10 and on other weeks it might only take 15 points. Since my RB’s points are being totaled up along with the other positions and so many Flex starters are in the mix, I need a better tool than weekly rankings. I need to know how many points that player is likely to average in his best weeks and that led to the birth of the Best Ten Ranking. Players are graded on their Best 10 games over the past two seasons with factors in place to equalize part time players with full timers. This gives us an idea of not only the upside potential of a player but how often they can be counted on for a big game too. 

QBs by the Numbers

The minimum points to achieve the Consistency Ratings was set at 15 points, which does seem very low at first until you dissect the numbers. Counting just the starting level QBs in their full games, only 60.59% of the time did the starting QB hit that 15 point minimum. Only 34.45% scored 20 or more points and only 6.17% of the time did a QB hit the 30 point mark. Over the last 2 seasons combined, there are only 8 QBs hitting the 80% or more mark for 15 points games with a minimum of 15 starts over the last 2 seasons combined. Similar strategies were used to determine the consistency minimum for each position. Here is a look at the top 5 when it comes to their Consistency Rating of hitting 15 or more points per game. 

  • Patrick Mahomes 100%
  • Lamar Jackson 100%
  • Kyler Murray 86.7%
  • Jameis Winston 84%
  • Aaron Rodgers 83.3% 

The Best 10 rating is compiled the same for each position using the best 10 games for each player over the last 2 seasons combined. There is a statistical approach applied to account for injuries, rookies who have fewer games to choose from for their rating, and players who experienced big changes to their usage to equalize the results and show Best 10 potential going forward. Here are the top 5 at QB. 

  • Patrick Mahomes 432
  • Drew Brees 413
  • Lamar Jackson 403
  • DeShaun Watson 400
  • Aaron Rodgers 384 

Only 3 QBs qualified in the top 5 with each rating showing the elite QBs for Fantasy Football. In my next more detailed look at the position I will show how the data can be used for predicting who might have the best season in 2020. 

RBs by the Numbers

Here are the top 5 RBs when it comes to Consistency Rating over the past 2 seasons combined using 15 total games as the minimum needed to qualify for the list with a 10 point PPR minimum. 

  • Christian McCaffrey 96.8%
  • Ezekiel Elliott 93.5%
  • Dalvin Cook 91.7%
  • James Conner 90.5%
  • Alvin Kamara 89.7%

Here are the top 5 RBs based on Best 10 Rating over the past 2 seasons combined using 15 total games as the minimum needed to qualify for the list. 

  • Christian McCaffrey 384
  • Kenyan Drake 337
  • Alvin Kamara 322
  • James Conner 319
  • Saquon Barkley 318 

Only 3 RBs qualified in the top 5 in both ratings led by CMC who had an amazing 47 point edge on the next highest Best 10 Rating, in addition to the top Consistency Rating. Kenyan Drake’s numbers were adjusted using a weighted statistical formula to account for his big improvement in Fantasy value once he left Miami for Arizona. In my next, more detailed look at the position, I will show how the data can be used for predicting who might have the best season in 2020. 

WRs by the Numbers

Here are the top 5 WRs when it comes to Consistency Rating over the past 2 seasons combined using 15 total games as the minimum needed to qualify for the list with a 10 point PPR minimum. 

  • Julio Jones 93.3%
  • Tyreek Hill 92%
  • DeAndre Hopkins 90.3%
  • Davante Adams 88.9%
  • Michael Thomas 84.4% 

Here are the top 5 WRs based on Best 10 Rating over the past 2 seasons combined using 15 total games as the minimum needed to qualify for the list. 

  • Michael Thomas 325
  • Mike Evans 310
  • Amari Cooper 297
  • Julio Jones 284
  • DeAndre Hopkins 282

When it comes to the WR position only 1 player failed to make each of both lists above. This might be an indication of how much more predictable performance is at the WR position than the RB position. In my next, more detailed look at the position, I will show how the data can be used for predicting who might have the best season in 2020. 

TEs by the Numbers 

Here are the top 5 TEs when it comes to Consistency Rating over the past 2 seasons combined using 15 total games as the minimum needed to qualify for the list with a 7 point PPR minimum. 

  • Eric Ebron 93.8% 
  • Travis Kelce 90.6%
  • George Kittle 80%
  • Evan Engram 70.6%
  • Zach Ertz 67.7%

Here are the top 5 TEs based on Best 10 Rating over the past 2 seasons combined using 15 total games as the minimum needed to qualify for the list.

  • Zach Ertz 270
  • Travis Kelce 260
  • Darren Waller 246
  • George Kittle 229
  • Evan Engram 224

Looking at the quick drop in Consistency Rating among the TEs shows you why the top few are so valuable in Fantasy Football. (Whether they are worth their draft price we will discuss in future articles drilling down on the position). Four of the players qualified on both lists, including the injured, Evan Engram. While Zach Ertz’s Consistency Rating was lacking, his Best 10 ability showed why he is such a value at the position. Travis Kelce’s position as the number one TE in Fantasy Football is backed up by the data too. 

Conclusion

The old saying in poker is that if you can’t spot the sucker in the first 10 minutes at the table, that means you are the sucker! Fantasy Football statistics are so prevalent nowadays that the next way to succeed is to zig when the competition is zagging. But you need to do so based on the most solid statistical tools available! On that probe that just entered another Solar System, there is a plaque that reminds aliens that, “Fantasy Football is a Weekly Game.” OK so I made that last part up, but if you are not utilizing weekly statistical tools to improve your chances of winning, then you might be the sucker in your league.

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