Revisiting the Need for Weekly Statistical Tools

Are you guilty of using year-end statistics to show how well a certain player did in Fantasy Football? We might need a special Support Group for such Fantasy Football Players. Don’t feel too bad. Most players fall into this trap because those are the easiest statistics to check out year after year. But today I will revisit why there is such a need for weekly statistical tools and two tools you can use to make your team better in 2021.

How Yearly Statistics Deceive Us

Do you value Tyler Lockett as one of the Top 10 WR options in Fantasy Football? He finished WR13 in 2019 in PPR format and WR8 this season. We all remember the big games by Lockett, but he has scored fewer than 10 points in 13 of his last 32 complete games! That’s 59.4% of being ABOVE 10 points over the past 2 seasons combined, and would rank him 41st best among all wide receivers. In Best Ball or with short starting lineups, I might want a big point potential guy like Lockett, but in most league formats, his bad games will cost you wins more often than his big games will win you the week. Consistency is only one way to look at weekly statistics.

Why Not Just Look at Weekly Rankings?

The concept of weekly statistical tools is starting to catch on among Fantasy Football Analysts, but the most popular way of looking at weekly statistics is how many times a player finished as a WR1-12 for the week. If you received points for HAVING someone finish in the Top 12 at their position, this might matter, but we play against each other based on total points! The other problem with Starting Position Weeks is that the difference between, for instance, WR12 and WR13 on any given week varies significantly. The score it takes to reach WR1-12 ranking also varies too much to be the best dynamic to track during the season. Let’s take a look at two measurements that matter more.

Points Per Game Doesn’t Work

Some Fantasy Football Analysts are starting to understand that finishing in the Top 25 at RB or WR is often more a function of staying healthy for the entire season. While that is important in Fantasy Football, it’s also very unpredictable. I would rather have a player who gives me 10-12 great starts than someone who gives me 16 average starts. Points Per Game does a better job than year-end statistics in helping us find the player we want, but what defines a “Game Played” is often lost in this mix. Not all games played are even and a part-time player who only plays 10 snaps a game most weeks is having his Points Per Game statistic lowered. What we need to discover is how that player scores WHEN he gets the chance to be a significant part of the offense. Also, many RB and WR reserves play on Special Teams and those plays count as a game played, which again lowers their Points Per Game statistic. Defining what is a Game Played for Fantasy Football purposes is very important.

Defining a Full Game Played

The strategy of how the RB and WR positions are being used in today’s NFL has changed quite a bit over the past decade. Once again, last year, the average number of offensive snaps taken in an NFL game was right around 64, which has stayed fairly constant over the past 10 seasons. What has not stayed constant is how many snaps the average RB or WR takes over the course of a game. The dreaded Running Back by Committee approach is making Fantasy Football predictions harder and harder. Statistical analysis from the last three seasons combined have yielded the following results for defining a “Full Game.”

QB- 40 Snaps RB- 20 Snaps WR- 30 Snaps TE- 30 Snaps

Consistency Rating Defined

Before a formula can be created to define “Consistency,” it is important to look at the data over the past three seasons to determine what level of scoring we can expect from different positions in Fantasy Football. Where you set the bar to determine a “Consistent Game” is less important than how you define a “Full Game” since every player will be graded against the same bar. But you have to make the number achievable by the best player at that position over a high percentage of games. If you look at all Full Games Played by position the following averages emerge for the Consistency Levels used by my rankings.

QB 20+ Points- 34.45% of all Full Games Played- 81% among Fantasy Starting QB

RB 10+ Points- 67.28% of all Full Games Played- 82.17% among Fantasy Starter RB

WR 10+ Points- 54.89% of all Full Games Played- 80.56% among Fantasy Starter WR

TE 10+ Points- 45.26% of all Full Games Played- 75.15% among Fantasy Starter TE

The Consistency Levels were established to be around 80% makable for the average Fantasy Football starter level player. The only exception was keeping the bar for TE the same as that for WR, to accurately compare the elite Fantasy TE versus the WR position. This helps a player decide when drafting an elite TE is correct based on the data of what he will mean to your team.

Introducing Consistency PLUS Rating

Over the past 3 seasons I have been playing with a new statistical tool called Consistency PLUS. The idea was to develop a formula that rewarded a player for scoring well above the Consistency Bar while punishing them for games where they scored well below that Consistency Bar. This defines the ultimate Fantasy Player you want on your roster. A guy whose scores win you many more games than they lose you. It should be no surprise who the Kings of Consistency PLUS are by position based on the last two seasons worth of data.

QB Top 5

Lamar Jackson 151.7

Justin Herbert 140

Patrick Maholmes 139.3

Deshaun Watson 129

Dak Prescott 123.8

RB Top 10

CMC 184.2

Dalvin Cook 145.4

James Robinson 135.7

Austin Ekeler 128

Alvin Kamara 124.1

Derrick Henry 119.4

Ezekiel Elliott 112.9

Chris Carson 104

Nick Chubb 103.7

Aaron Jones 103.3

WR Top 10

Tyreek Hill 136

Davante Adams 134.6

DeAndre Hopkins 122.6

Julio Jones 118.2

Michael Thomas 117.4

Allen Robinson 115.6

Keenan Allen 114.3

Calvin Ridley 107.4

Stefon Diggs 106.7

Chris Godwin 103.8

TE Top 5

Travis Kelce 138.7

George Kittle 95.2

Darren Waller 90.6

Mark Andrews 90.5

Jared Cook 77.8

One thing that Consistency PLUS shows very well is how few elite Fantasy Players are available at the TE position! Position scarcity is a very important concept to understand as you build a roster.

Best 10 Rating

The last weekly statistical tool that has been developed is called, Best 10. This takes a look at the hypothetical case of what could we expect out of a player for his Best 10 games based on the data from the last two seasons. Once this figure is calculated for each player it gives us a figure that shows not only a player’s big game potential but how often we can expect those big games. Since this data is computed based on the last 2 seasons’ worth of data, it’s important to come up with a formula that takes away the advantaged of a healthy player having more games to throw out when computing this rating. This also provides a better look at what we can expect from a typical rookie in the future since MOST rookies only get about 10-12 Full Games in their rookie year. How will these rookies progress in year two? Best 10’s fudge factor aims to answer that question for rookies or player who encountered injuries. Each player’s top scoring game is thrown out before calculating their Best 10. Let’s take a look at the top Best 10 scores by position.

QB Top 3

Patrick Maholmes 405

Russell Wilson 405

Dak Prescott 402

RB Top 5

CMC 360

Derrick Henry 313

Alvin Kamara 297

Aaron Jones 284

Dalvin Cook 283

WR Top 5

Davante Adams 310

Michael Thomas 274

Mike Evans 265

Tyreek Hill 265

Tyler Lockett 259

TE Top 3

Travis Kelce 242

Darren Waller 233

Mark Andrews 216

Best 10 shows us a few things. Travis Kelce’s rating is equal to that of the 14th best WR which shows how elite he is at his position. Tyler Lockett who we faded in our rankings because of Consistency Rating shows that in Best Ball and Small Lineup leagues he is quite valuable as the 5th ranked WR in Best 10 Rating.

Fantasy Football is a Weekly Game

Why do we continue to compare year end statistics when Fantasy Football is a weekly game? Building a team of players who win more games than they lose us games is the best way to create a winning roster in Fantasy Football. If you dig even deeper into the statistics, you will see that the Consistency PLUS All Stars are also less matchup sensitive than other players. Using these weekly tools not only helps us build a better roster, but lets us know when you play those matchups and when to stick with our studs! In the next article I will break down the weekly data for the QB position. In the meantime, repeat after me…

“Fantasy Football is a Weekly Game that Demands the Use of Weekly Statistical Tools”  

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