Fantasy Football Consistency: Wide Receivers

by Bob Lung
Aug 1, 2016

A.J. Green

A.J. Green continues to be one of the most consistent WRs in the NFL

Bob Lung breaks down which wide receivers are the most consistent.

This piece is part of our article program that features quality content from experts exclusively at FantasyPros. For more insight from Bob head to Big Guy Fantasy Sports.

The NFL game is all about the pass! Therefore, it is top receivers who will now dominate the first round of the 2016 drafts. However, the old regime of the top consistent wide receivers is changing.

While some studs are still there like Julio Jones and Antonio Brown, there are many new faces, young and old. From the Jets’ combo of Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall to youngsters like DeAndre Hopkins and Allen Robinson.

I can’t emphasize enough to try and draft as many of these receivers listed below as you can. Having consistent receivers is crucial to your success, especially in a PPR format.

So, let’s review 2015 for the wide receivers and take a look at those players who were consistently good, just good and consistently not-so-good. We’re also going to look at this position for the expected and unexpected wide receivers within each tier, plus which wide receivers could be undervalued going into this year’s draft.

So, let’s start with the top tier of wide receivers as ranked by their Clutch Rating (CR).

Start preparing for your draft now with our NFL Draft Simulator >>

TIER ONE

Player Name Total Points Rank CG GP CR
Eric Decker 254.70 13 15 15 100%
Brandon Marshall 343.20 3 15 16 94%
Julio Jones 371.10 2 14 16 88%
Keenan Allen 163.50 41 7 8 88%
Antonio Brown 382.20 1 13 16 81%
DeAndre Hopkins 329.10 4 13 16 81%
Allen Robinson 304.00 6 13 16 81%
Larry Fitzgerald 284.50 7 13 16 81%
A.J. Green 275.70 8 13 16 81%
Demaryius Thomas 271.40 9 13 16 81%
Jarvis Landry 268.00 11 13 16 81%

The Expected
While you’re rubbing your eyes to be sure that you’re seeing Decker’s name as the No. 1 clutch receiver last season, let me tell you why this is kind of expected. Over the past three seasons, Decker is fourth in total clutch games. He is tied with Marshall with 34. In fact, Decker was only one clutch game in 2014 from earning a triple-double from 2013-2015. The only three receivers ahead of him were Brown, Thomas and Green. Marshall is also expected to be here as I mentioned earlier about his consistency over the past three years between Chicago and New York Jets.

Some of the expected receivers also include Jones, Brown, Green and Thomas. I wouldn’t expect much change in the output of Jones and Green in 2016. However, I would expect Brown to improve back to his more perfect years of 2013 and 2014.

Thomas is another story. The uncertainty of the quarterback situation scares me to death and it should scare you as well. I’d let someone else draft Thomas in 2016.

The Unexpected
Allen has historically been a Tier 2 or 3 receiver. However, he started 2015 on fire with an 88% Clutch Rating until injuries ended his season. He could be undervalued in most drafts this year. Keep an eye on his ADP this summer.

I have no problem admitting I’m wrong and I was definitely wrong on Hopkins last year. There is no question, he is a stud regardless of who is the quarterback. He is ranked sixth in total clutch games over the past two seasons. He’s certainly a first or second round pick in 2016.

The remaining three receivers (Robinson, Fitzgerald and Landry) are all unexpected for different reasons. Robinson is a surprise because he only earned six clutch games in 2014. There were high expectations but not this high.

Fitzgerald earned only five clutch games in 2014 and was practically written off by most fantasy owners. However, he looked like the Fitz of old last year. I’m a little concerned about a letdown in 2016, especially if his ADP gets too high.

I chose Landry as one of my top undervalued players last year, but I didn’t expect a top 11 finish in total points and tied for fifth in consistency. His value may also be a little too high in 2016 as well.

TIER TWO

Player Name Total Points Rank CG GP CR
Julian Edelman 174.50 35 7 9 78%
Alshon Jeffery 158.70 42 7 9 78%
Kamar Aiken 199.40 27 12 16 75%
Odell Beckham 319.30 5 11 15 73%
John Brown 209.50 24 11 15 73%
Martavis Bryant 172.20 39 8 11 73%
Steve Smith 131.00 53 5 7 71%
Michael Crabtree 231.20 17 11 16 69%
Sammy Watkins 218.80 20 9 13 69%

The Expected
Edelman and Jeffery are normally Tier 1 receivers and they both would probably have been there if they didn’t fall to injuries. They both could be excellent value in 2016 at draft time.

Beckham is expected here. I know, he’s awesome! This is true. But he’s not a consistent stud….yet. He’ll still be drafted in the first round, but I’m sorry if I have a list of receivers that I would draft ahead of him. In fact, I could probably name at least five!

The Unexpected
There are ton of unexpected receivers that can be of great value in 2016. Let’s start with Aiken on the Ravens. He came from practically nowhere in 2014 to a solid 75% Clutch Rating in 2015. He should be undervalued this year as his 27th overall ranking will be overlooked. He would be a great WR3 or WR4 this year.

John Brown did earn five clutch games in 2014 and was expected to improve in 2015. However, he surprised many fantasy owners with his 24th overall ranking in total points and 73% Clutch Rating. His ADP will dictate his value, but I’m expecting he will also be overlooked.

Bryant would have been a great receiver in 2016 but his year-long suspension put an end to that. Smith is too old to even worry about drafting, so please don’t.

Crabtree really kicked it up a notch last season. He’s on a good team with a good future. If he keeps his head on straight, he’ll continue to be an excellent value as your WR2 or WR3.

Watkins is due for a big breakout! His six of his nine clutch games over the last six games of the season with Tyrod Taylor at quarterback. However, he’s already overhyped in the ADPs. I’ve seen him ranked as high as ninth! Sorry folks, not on my teams.

TIER THREE

Player Name Total Points Rank CG GP CR
Jeremy Maclin 244.90 15 10 15 67%
Emmanuel Sanders 228.40 18 10 15 67%
Allen Hurns 227.00 19 10 15 67%
Mike Evans 205.70 25 9 14 64%
Rishard Matthews 133.60 51 7 11 64%
Doug Baldwin 268.90 10 9 16 56%
Brandin Cooks 253.60 14 9 16 56%
Jordan Matthews 232.70 16 9 16 56%
Golden Tate 211.40 22 9 16 56%
T.Y. Hilton 211.40 23 9 16 56%
Pierre Garcon 185.70 31 9 16 56%
Vincent Jackson 102.90 67 5 9 56%

The Expected
Once again, I’d like to say I was wrong. This time it was Maclin. I did not expect him to do this well in Kansas City. However, with that said, I do expect to stay in this tier. He’s certainly a solid WR2 or WR3, preferably WR3.

Sanders has also always been very consistent but he falls into the same problem as Thomas with the concern at quarterback. Evans, Cooks and Jordan Matthews have good consistent tendencies. However, they did not meet the expectations of most fantasy owners in 2015. Can they improve in 2016? I would think so, but don’t set the expectations too high.

The Unexpected
While many expected Robinson to break out in 2015, the same wasn’t true for Hurns. His six clutch games in 2014 were sporadic. However, Hurns earned 10 clutch games in 2015 and looks good to do it again in 2016. His current ADP is late fifth round/early sixth. He could be great value as your WR3/WR4!

Rishard Matthews has actually been in the league since 2012. He had a nice, yet short, season for the Dolphins and was quickly picked up in free agency by the Titans. I really don’t see him upholding his 64% Clutch rating in 2016. I’d let someone else draft him.

Baldwin was a huge surprise in Seattle. He’s always had around five to seven clutch games per year and ranked around 40th or higher in total points. Can he do this again? I’m doubtful.

On the bad side of unexpected was Hilton in 2015. He was a second or third round draft pick in most leagues. While he certainly has an “alibi” in Andrew Luck missing most of the season, Hilton still could have played better. His current ADP is right where it was last season, so if you believe he’ll perform back in the Tier 1/Tier 2 level, than by all means draft him. I’m going to pass on him this year.

TIER FOUR

Player Name Total Points Rank CG GP CR
Willie Snead 185.40 32 8 15 53%
Ted Ginn 183.90 34 8 15 53%
Michael Floyd 172.90 38 8 15 53%
Amari Cooper 214.70 21 8 16 50%
Travis Benjamin 195.80 29 8 16 50%
James Jones 187.00 30 8 16 50%
Marvin Jones 173.90 36 8 16 50%
Donte Moncrief 173.30 37 8 16 50%
Anquan Boldin 171.90 40 7 14 50%
Jermaine Kearse 147.50 48 8 16 50%
Brian Hartline 110.30 60 6 12 50%

It’s tough to predict where any of these players will be in 2016, but at least some these receivers were around the 50 percent QSR mark which is better than the remaining wide receivers that didn’t make the top four tiers.

There are young receivers who I believe will improve their consistency in 2016. They are Cooper, Jones and Moncrief. Be careful of these other receivers in 2016. Their lack of consistency may kill your chances.

Well, there is your quality game consistency rankings for the wide receivers in 2015. If you didn’t make the playoffs and you had Hilton or Cooks on your team and can’t understand why, I hope this helped clear things up.

Subscribe: iTunes | StitcherSoundCloud | RSS

What's your take? Leave a comment

Fantasy Games
FanDuel photo
Play for your share of $1m+
for FREE with first deposit
DRAFT photo
Play fantasy drafts for cash with a money back guarantee
CBS Sports photo
Serious Fantasy Football
Get our Mobile App!

Enter your phone number below, and we'll text you a link to download the app.

1Le'Veon Bell (PIT)RB
2Todd Gurley (LAR)RB
3LeSean McCoy (BUF)RB
4Antonio Brown (PIT)WR
5Alvin Kamara (NO)RB
6Mark Ingram (NO)RB
7Leonard Fournette (JAC)RB
8Melvin Gordon (LAC)RB
9Jordan Howard (CHI)RB
10Devonta Freeman (ATL)RB
 View all Flex Rankings 
11Julio Jones (ATL)WR
12Kareem Hunt (KC)RB
13Kenyan Drake (MIA)RB
14Michael Thomas (NO)WR
15Keenan Allen (LAC)WR
16Carlos Hyde (SF)RB
17Marshawn Lynch (OAK)RB
18Alex Collins (BAL)RB
19Jamaal Williams (GB)RB
20Adam Thielen (MIN)WR
21DeAndre Hopkins (HOU)WR
22Rex Burkhead (NE)RB
23A.J. Green (CIN)WR
24Brandin Cooks (NE)WR
25Christian McCaffrey (CAR)RB
26Lamar Miller (HOU)RB
27Jay Ajayi (PHI)RB
28Rob Gronkowski (NE)TE
29Alfred Morris (DAL)RB
30Doug Baldwin (SEA)WR
1Jose Altuve (HOU)2B
2Paul Goldschmidt (ARI)1B
3Nolan Arenado (COL)3B
4Mike Trout (LAA)CF,DH
5Mookie Betts (BOS)RF
6Charlie Blackmon (COL)CF
7Max Scherzer (WSH)SP
8Joey Votto (CIN)1B
9Kris Bryant (CHC)1B,3B
10Chris Sale (BOS)SP
 View All Rankings 
11Manny Machado (BAL)3B,SS
12Anthony Rizzo (CHC)1B,2B
13Corey Seager (LAD)SS
14Giancarlo Stanton (NYY)RF
15Clayton Kershaw (LAD)SP
16Corey Kluber (CLE)SP
17Daniel Murphy (WSH)1B,2B
18Nelson Cruz (SEA)RF,DH
19George Springer (HOU)CF,RF
20Freddie Freeman (ATL)1B,3B
21Francisco Lindor (CLE)SS
22Edwin Encarnacion (CLE)1B,DH
23Josh Donaldson (TOR)3B,DH
24Yu Darvish (FA)SP
25Robinson Cano (SEA)2B
26Bryce Harper (WSH)RF
27Miguel Cabrera (DET)1B,DH
28J.D. Martinez (FA)RF
29Madison Bumgarner (SF)SP
30Jose Abreu (CWS)1B,DH
1Kevin Durant (GSW)SF,PF
2Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL)SF,PF
3James Harden (HOU)PG,SG
4Stephen Curry (GSW)PG,SG
5Russell Westbrook (OKC)PG
6Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)C
7Anthony Davis (NOR)PF,C
8Kawhi Leonard (SAS)SG,SF
9LeBron James (CLE)SF,PF
10Nikola Jokic (DEN)PF,C
 View All Rankings 
11John Wall (WAS)PG
12DeMarcus Cousins (NOR)PF,C
13Chris Paul (HOU)PG
14Damian Lillard (POR)PG
15Jimmy Butler (MIN)SG,SF
16Rudy Gobert (UTH)C
17Kyrie Irving (BOS)PG,SG
18Hassan Whiteside (MIA)C,PF
19Myles Turner (IND)PF,C
20Paul George (OKC)SG,SF
21Kyle Lowry (TOR)PG
22Draymond Green (GSW)SF,PF
23Kristaps Porzingis (NYK)PF,C
24Kemba Walker (CHA)PG
25CJ McCollum (POR)PG,SG
26Mike Conley (MEM)PG
27Bradley Beal (WAS)SG
28Klay Thompson (GSW)SG,SF
29Marc Gasol (MEM)C
30Kevin Love (CLE)PF,C