Fantasy football: When consistency meets efficiency

Fantasy football: When consistency meets efficiency

Statistical Analysis

Fantasy football: When consistency meets efficiency

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The examination of the most efficient wide receivers in 2018 fantasy football leagues led to the question of which receivers were not only efficient but also consistently effective.

There are plenty of ways of qualifying players for the characterization of “most consistent.” In this analysis, the focus is exclusive to players who were in the top 25 of the most efficient wideouts from last year. The way this worked out is those 25 players were scored with a weighted system, which is in itself subjective in nature, and given a ranking. Just because a player is efficient with his touches, it doesn’t mean he’s necessarily productive for fantasy purposes. Therefore, the minimum involvement to warrant inclusion was 50 targets.

For consistency calculations, the baseline used is a rather low standard. Of those 83 players with 50 or more targets, the average per-game stat line is four receptions, 52 yards and 0.34 touchdowns. For the sake of keeping it simple and allowing it to translate seamlessly into a composite rating system, it became a binary question of whether or not a player met this threshold. To remove grey area of a tie, any player that hit the average stats above was given the benefit of the doubt as exceeding the mark. Again, keeping it basic was the plan. It’s not about how much better than average rather than just being consistently at or above the mark.

The next step was to take all 25 players’ per-game stats and compile the number of times each category (receptions, yards, TDs) was met or not. Touchdown consistency was defined as how many separate games in which the player scored. This helps isolate guys with, say, single-game, three-TD efforts (looking at you, A.J. Green) vs. those who spread out touchdowns. Incidentally, Green rates highly in TD consistency.

Then the focus went to figuring the percentage of games at and above the pool’s average in relation to games in which said players were targeted. While sometimes a receiver fails to record a target based on their inability to get open, it’s more commonly an issue for fringe players who don’t see many snaps that game flow is the culprit. It affected three plays. Games lost due to injury were removed from the equation. The goal is to make the field as level as possible for guys seeing 150 targets and those seeing 50.

Once we’ve laid out the raw data and its associated percentages, the next step is to compile them for each category in relation to the other players involved. Then a ranking is formulated for the most consistent players in each receptions, yardage and touchdowns. Now that we have consistency rankings for each stat column — the higher the placement, the more consistent — a composite score is created. A player with a lower score was more consistent. The scores were weighted to the tune of 15 percent for receptions, 35 percent for yardage and 50 percent for touchdowns. This way helps even out the difference between reception hogs and deep-ball threats while still giving the most deference to spreading out touchdowns scored. Subjective, but a reasonable method.

A joint rating for efficiency and consistency is manufactured by combining the existing efficiency ranking and the combination of the three weighted categories. One could argue in favor of then weighting consistency over efficiency. Each way has its merits.

Without further adieu …

CON+EFF
CON rk
EFF rk
Player
Rec rk
Yds rk
TD rk
1
1
6
Julian Edelman
1
2
2
2
5
2
Alshon Jeffery
6
7
6
3
4
8
Marvin Jones
7
3
5
4
7
5
Josh Gordon
13
5
9
5
8
4
Chris Godwin
14
9
7
6
2
13
Adam Thielen
3
4
1
7
9
9
Demaryius Thomas
12
11
12
8
11
7
Allen Robinson
15
8
15
9
15
3
D.J. Moore
11
10
20
10
3
21
A.J. Green
2
1
4
11
6
19
Mike Williams
21
6
3
12
24
1
Ryan Grant
24
22
24
13
14
14
Golden Tate
4
15
17
14
13
16
Robby Anderson
19
18
8
15
12
18
Sterling Shepard
10
14
13
16
18
12
Nelson Agholor
9
17
19
17
20
10
Kendrick Bourne
22
21
14
18
16
15
Kelvin Benjamin
5
16
18
19
10
24
Rashard Higgins
18
13
10
20
23
11
Josh Doctson
20
23
22
21
19
17
Randall Cobb
8
24
16
22
17
20
Josh Reynolds
23
19
11
23
21
23
Quincy Enunwa
16
12
23
24
22
25
Chester Rogers
17
20
21
25
25
22
Laquon Treadwell
25
25
25

Godwin’s placement may intrigue me the most. He’s the only one to score top-10 placements in both consistency and efficiency while playing a full 16-game slate. It lends to the idea he should break out in a major way this season. Edelman, even though he sat four games, was insanely consistent and quite efficient in his first action after a torn ACL suffered in 2017. He’s being undervalued at this point in fantasy drafts. Moore is another popular breakout candidate, and those who hold him in high regard can utilize his decent combined placement as ammunition for their argument.

Much like the efficiency ranking, there isn’t a great deal to glean from this information in an actionable sense. It’s nice to see consistency when applied in relation to efficiency, but nothing guarantees either or both will translate into a strong 2019 season. Too much factors into what makes a wideout successful to rely heavily on anything found in either rating system.

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