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Fantasy Football Consistency Rankings

by Ryan Newman | Featured Writer
Jun 18, 2017

Big Ben struggled with consistency last season

Within the past 2-to-3 years fantasy sports has entered the advanced analytics arena. Numerous sites now provide die-hard players metrics beyond your father’s points-per-game averages and points-against averages. Nowadays, we can research almost everything under the sun to help make our roster and lineup decisions. However, up until recently my personal blog, and then shortly after ESPN, has there been readily available data on consistency. It only makes sense that when you’re predicting fantasy output for a given week, or season, having information on how consistent players are–their ceiling and floor–is critical.

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So, I’ve taken it upon myself to apply an extremely fundamental application of statistics to an incredibly vital aspect of putting together your team. That is, everyone knows how to use a player’s average to determine value, but by applying standard deviation and something called a “coefficient of variation” (mean/standard deviation), you can get a clearer perspective on FULL quality of player.

Take a look at an example from last football season:

You need one starting QB, and you’re choosing between:

-QB Ben Roethlisberger, 21.86 PPG
-QB Andy Dalton, 18.60 PPG

Seems like an easy pick, disregarding match-ups, remaining games SOS, etc.

Yet, take a look at their standard deviations (how far they typically skew from their average, from one game to another), i.e. their consistency:

-QB Ben Roethlisberger 12.17 points
-QB Andy Dalton 4.95 points

This tells us that although Roethlisberger gives you 20 points a game, he may get you 10 one day and 30 the next. Whereas, Andy Dalton will get you only 18 on average, but you can be relatively assured he’ll get you 13-to-23 points (his floor/ceiling). Knowing how much your player’s output typically skews from his average is critical to maximizing team points, provide valuable information on how safe/risky your roster is setup and overall, and a better feel for what to expect on any given weekend from your lineup.

Clearly, this is very valuable information yet rare to find among fantasy websites. Thus, what we have done, and will continue to do through the 2017 fantasy football season, is provide you with the data and rankings on consistency to help you better prepare for your season, and week-in-week-out lineup selections. To start, below you can find the top 25 QBs by their coefficient of variation (average/standard deviation), the metric used to depict overall quality of production. You can find the full breakdown (by position and for the entire league) by clicking here.

*All rankings only include fantasy relevant players (six-game minimum)

Player FP Avg Consistency CV GP CV Rank
Andy Dalton, Cin 18.06 4.95 3.65 16 1
Philip Rivers, SD 20.06 6.40 3.13 16 2
Matt Ryan, Atl 25.75 8.55 3.01 16 3
Andrew Luck, Ind 24.27 8.31 2.92 15 4
Aaron Rodgers, GB 28.06 9.81 2.86 16 5
Kirk Cousins, Was 21.44 7.71 2.78 16 6
Carson Wentz, Phi 14.81 5.56 2.66 16 7
Blake Bortles, Jax 19.44 7.52 2.59 16 8
Carson Palmer, Ari 19.33 7.61 2.54 15 9
Tom Brady, NE 25.58 10.27 2.49 12 10
Matthew Stafford, Det 19.81 8.34 2.37 16 11
Jameis Winston, TB 19.06 8.05 2.37 16 12
Dak Prescott, Dal 20.06 8.54 2.35 16 13
Joe Flacco, Bal 17.73 7.58 2.34 16 14
Tyrod Taylor, Buf 19.33 8.29 2.33 15 15
Sam Bradford, Min 17.00 7.33 2.32 15 16
Cam Newton, Car 18.73 8.16 2.29 15 17
Eli Manning, NYG 17.13 7.80 2.20 16 18
Drew Brees, NO 25.06 11.43 2.19 16 19
Alex Smith, KC 16.40 7.52 2.18 15 20
Colin Kaepernick, SF 20.55 9.48 2.17 12 21
Ryan Tannehill, Mia 17.00 8.41 2.02 13 22
Derek Carr, Oak 21.07 10.61 1.99 15 23
Marcus Mariota, Ten 20.27 11.13 1.82 15 24
Ben Roethlisberger, Pit 21.86 12.17 1.80 14 25

 
As you can see, there are a couple surprises, including Andy Dalton and Philip Rivers leading the way. You may also notice Derek Carr (21.07 ppg), Marcus Mariota (21.27 ppg), and Ben Roethlisberger (21.86) rounding out the bottom of the list. Although they had QB1 averages, they all had double-digit standard deviations, meaning they swayed between the 10-to-30 point mark week-to-week.

You can find the RB rankings below:

Player FP Avg Consistency CV GP CV Rank
Ezekiel Elliott, Dal 18.73 7.42 2.61 15 1
Frank Gore, Ind 10.31 4.16 2.56 16 2
David Johnson, Ari 19.75 8.28 2.46 16 3
LeGarrette Blount, NE 13.69 5.87 2.41 16 4
Doug Martin, TB 8.38 3.81 2.35 8 5
DeMarco Murray, Ten 14.50 6.40 2.34 16 6
Melvin Gordon, SD 15.46 8.21 1.96 13 7
Le’Veon Bell, Pit 19.33 10.49 1.92 12 8
Todd Gurley, LA 8.88 4.88 1.88 16 9
LeSean McCoy, Buf 15.87 9.18 1.79 15 10
Jordan Howard, Chi 12.67 7.59 1.73 16 11
Mike Gillislee, Buf 6.79 4.17 1.69 15 12
Spencer Ware, KC 10.71 6.72 1.65 14 13
Carlos Hyde, SF 12.08 7.68 1.64 13 14
Lamar Miller, Hou 10.64 6.77 1.63 14 15
C.J. Anderson, Den 11.43 7.57 1.63 7 16
Rashad Jennings, NYG 7.08 4.52 1.63 13 17
Devonta Freeman, Atl 13.56 8.65 1.62 16 18
Isaiah Crowell, Cle 9.69 6.20 1.61 16 19
Paul Perkins, NYG 3.92 2.56 1.59 14 20
Duke Johnson, Cle 4.94 3.21 1.59 16 21
Matt Asiata, Min 5.69 3.74 1.57 16 22
Latavius Murray, Oak 11.79 7.96 1.54 14 23
Giovani Bernard, Cin 7.50 5.17 1.53 10 24
Justin Forsett, Bal 4.00 2.78 1.52 9 25

 
Frank Gore, Doug Martin, and Todd Gurley all were lower points/game RBs but crack the top 10 with tight consistencies. Beyond that, the top 25 is somewhat aligned with the Points/Game, or standard ratings, which adds validity to the age-old notion that RBs are in fact the most reliable players. Still, absent from the top 24 list are a few RBs with low CVs that most could have expected:

– Jay Ajayi, and his monstrous two outlying games (11.87 PPG, 9.30 SD, 1.32 CV)
– Mark Ingram (11.4375 PPG, 9.27 SD, 1.27 CV)

WR Rankings:

Player FP Avg Consistency CV GP CV Rank
Donte Moncrief, Ind 8.63 3.70 2.33 9 1
Alshon Jeffery, Chi 7.42 3.85 1.93 12 2
Demaryius Thomas, Den 8.25 4.39 1.88 16 3
Jordy Nelson, GB 12.56 6.77 1.86 16 4
Pierre Garcon, Was 7.06 3.87 1.82 16 5
Mike Evans, TB 12.50 7.07 1.77 16 6
Rishard Matthews, Ten 8.88 5.06 1.75 16 7
Michael Floyd, Ari 5.62 3.20 1.75 15 8
Antonio Brown, Pit 12.87 7.35 1.75 15 9
Marqise Lee, Jax 6.93 3.99 1.74 16 10
Michael Thomas, NO 10.60 6.28 1.69 16 11
Randall Cobb, GB 6.92 4.19 1.65 13 12
Jarvis Landry, Mia 8.13 4.92 1.65 16 13
Cole Beasley, Dal 6.56 4.07 1.61 16 14
Sterling Shepard, NYG 7.13 4.43 1.61 16 15
T.Y. Hilton, Ind 11.00 6.87 1.60 16 16
DeAndre Hopkins, Hou 7.00 4.40 1.59 16 17
Tyrell Williams, SD 8.59 5.40 1.59 16 18
A.J. Green, Cin 12.89 8.13 1.59 10 19
Mike Wallace, Bal 7.75 5.03 1.54 16 20
Anquan Boldin, Det 6.19 4.02 1.54 16 21
Tyreek Hill, KC 7.94 5.17 1.54 16 22
Jordan Matthews, Phi 6.50 4.24 1.53 14 23
Kenny Stills, Mia 8.07 5.28 1.53 16 24
Odell Beckham Jr., NYG 11.81 7.76 1.52 16 25

 
As you can imagine, the most fluctuation from game-to-game comes from the WR position, but the breakdown above has its share of surprises, including Donte Moncrief, Alshon Jeffery, and Demaryius Thomas leading the way among fantasy-relevant WRs. On the flip side, Marvin Jones, a mild 2016 fantasy surprise, led relevant WRs in lack of consistency (7.33 PPG, 7.56 SD), followed by Adam Thielen (8.07, 8.00), and Brandin Cooks (10.6, 9.19).

TE Rankings (top 12):

Player FP Avg Consistency CV GP CV Rank
Eric Ebron, Det 6.50 3.21 2.03 13 1
Kyle Rudolph, Min 7.50 4.58 1.64 16 2
Rob Gronkowski, NE 11.50 7.71 1.49 8 3
Virgil Green, Den 3.13 2.17 1.44 12 4
Gary Barnidge, Cle 4.25 2.98 1.43 16 5
Travis Kelce, KC 8.31 5.93 1.40 16 6
Greg Olsen, Car 7.56 5.45 1.39 16 7
Delanie Walker, Ten 7.31 5.29 1.38 15 8
Cameron Brate, TB 7.07 5.16 1.37 15 9
Will Tye, NYG 2.44 1.79 1.36 16 10
Julius Thomas, Jax 5.44 4.00 1.36 9 11
Hunter Henry, SD 6.50 4.83 1.35 15 12

 
Not too much overly interesting here, however, it is intriguing that the third-rated TE from last year, Jordan Reed, had one of the lowest CV ratings of all TEs based on a 6.69 spread of his 8.25 average.

This article is the first in a three-part series, all detailing game-by-game fluctuations to help you make better-informed decisions on player selection. In the next article, we will take a look at “Real Rank,” that is who put up the best numbers relative to their strength of schedule (overall points against average rank). After that, we will have a full treatment on “Points Against Sensitivity” (how much does playing the 1st vs. RB defense instead of the 32nd vs. defense affect a particular player’s output). Stay tuned.


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Ryan Newman is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Ryan, check out his archive and follow him @Ryannewman20.