Ultimate Fantasy Football Strategy – Week 2 in Review

Week 2 in Review

Last week I started this review discussing the surprisingly impressive performances of Michael Turner and Willie Parker so I thought it would be fitting to start this week’s review in the same manner. As I said last week, the first week means very little because we have no points of comparison for any team. This week, Michael Turner had 14 carries for 42 yards and Willie Parker had 28 carries for 105 yards. Two guys who combined for 66 fantasy points last week had only 15 this week. The second week of the NFL season is always one of the most interesting in my opinion since we now have a point of comparison for every team and it is probably the week in which we can learn the most. What I mean by that is that for example, the Panthers upset the Chargers last week and we had no idea if it was the Panthers who played well or the Chargers who played poorly. This week the Panthers defeated the Bears (who beat the Colts last week) and the Chargers should have won against the Broncos (who destroyed the Raiders last week). Yes I know things are unpredictable in the NFL but it does give us a hint that the Panthers could be for real and the Chargers aren’t as bad as their 0-2 record shows. With that said here is this week’s review:

Top 5 Performers
Brandon Marshall: 18 catches for 166 yards – 1 TD
Anquan Boldin: 6 catches for 140 yards – 3 TDs
Jay Cutler: 36 for 50 – 350 yards – 4 TDs – 1 INT (INT and fumble in the red zone almost ruined a great performance)
Santana Moss: 7 catches for 164 yards – 1 TD
Darren McFadden: 21 carries for 164 yards – 1 TD (not a top 5 fantasy performer but I had to include him)
Top 5 Disappointments
Ryan Grant: 15 carries for 20 yards – 0 TD
LaDainian Tomlinson: 10 carries for 26 yards – 2 catches for 14 yards – 0 TD
Randy Moss: 2 catches for 22 yards – 0 TD
Larry Johnson: 12 carries for 22 yards – 0 TD
Carson Palmer: 16 for 27 – 134 yards – 0 TD – 2 INT (a top 5 disappointment for the second straight week)
Biggest Upsets
San Francisco 49ers 33 – Seattle Seahawks 30
Buffalo Bills 20 – Jacksonville Jaguars 16
Carolina Panthers 20 – Chicago Bears 17
Could They Be For Real? (Teams)
Buffalo Bills: After an impressive performance against the Seahawks last week, they continued on that note and defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars in a very close game. The Seahawks lost a very close one to the San Francisco 49ers this week and last week the Jaguars had lost by seven points to the Tennessee Titans. That means the Bills would be on a similar level as the Titans and would be much better than the 49ers.

Arizona Cardinals: Great win against the Dolphins this week after a win against the 49ers last week. The Niners showed they weren’t all that bad by defeating the Seahawks and the Dolphins were in a very close game last week with the Jets. That would mean the Cardinals are also better than both the Seahawks and the Jets?

Carolina Panthers: Mentioned them already but they managed to win two close games without Steve Smith who is arguably their best player. Smith will be back next week and we’ll find out how good the Panthers really are when they face the Vikings who lost two close games to the Packers and the Colts.
Could They Be For Real? (Players)
Jay Cutler: Who would have thought that Jay Cutler would be the top fantasy player after two weeks? Not to brag or anything but here at Ultimate FF Strategy we did have him as our fifth best quarterback. In all seriousness Cutler has looked very good with over 300 passing yards in his first two games but he did make a few mental mistakes late in this game against the Chargers. He has another easy matchup next week against the Saints so we might have to wait a few more weeks to see if Cutler really is that good.

Aaron Rodgers: Another solid performance by Rodgers this week although it was against a much weaker defense in Detroit. He is another player that we were high on in the off-season and who has done very well thus far.

Calvin Johnson: In late August, Calvin Johnson started moving up draft boards because many people had a feeling he could be a top ten WR this year. After two weeks Johnson is the second best fantasy receiver and has been extremely impressive thus far. Some of our other projections don’t look all that good but I thought I’d point out that in our article on Predicting Top 10 WRs Based on Historical Trends we did have Calvin Johnson in our top five.
Looks Like We Could Be Wrong…
It is still very early in the season and although we can’t take the blame for guys who had a number of injuries on their offensive line like Joseph Addai, Maurice Jones-Drew and David Garrard, here are some players that have surprised us or disappointed us thus far:

Ryan Grant: He does have an injury and hopefully will turn it around later in the year when he gets healthy but 27 carries for 112 yards and no receptions is very disappointing thus far. Grant was a top performer in the second half of last season and after a solid game last week, he was inexistent this week against Detroit while Brandon Jackson had a good week.

Selvin Young: We moved up Young in our rankings later in the off-season thinking he would be the starting back but he has only 15 carries in two games. Young does have an impressive 7.6 yards per carry average so he could still be a top fantasy player later in the year if he starts getting 15-20 carries a game; unfortunately that seems unlikely at this point.

Brandon Marshall: We were huge fans of the Broncos offense this year and it looks like we were right about that but we thought Brandon Marshall would slow down and Darrell Jackson would have a surprising year. Marshall had 18 catches today (everyone laughed when he said he wanted to catch 150 balls this year) and Darrell Jackson has only one reception in two games.
Our Expert Leagues
FF Indepth’s IDP Challenge (0-1): Leading – 156.70 to 109.30: After a crushing loss last week it looks like this week could be a win. We have a 47 points lead and our opponent has Jason Witten, DeSean Jackson and David Akers left. This would be a solid win considering Reggie Brown is still injured, we sat Laveranues Coles because we were worried about his injury and Ryan Grant had a very disappointing game. Our defensive players pulled through this week and we feel very confident about our team in this league

Fantasy Football Website: (1-0): Leading – 70.5 to 46.6: We got lucky last week but it looks like this week will be a solid victory. We have a good 24 pts lead with still Romo left to play while our opponent has Barber and Baskett tomorrow night. Being 2-0 with Marques Colston and LaDainian Tomlinson combining for only 17.8 points in those two weeks would be excellent news.

Fantasy Players Network: (6 of 24) – 6th this week – 148.7 points: In this league we are not allowed any free agent moves and our best players every week count towards our total. This week we had no kicker (Stover had an early bye week and Mehlhaff was cut), we are still waiting on Jason Witten tomorrow night (who was our only active TE because of the injury to Watson) and we are the sixth best team this week. We are in sixth place overall and will probably move into the top five after the game tomorrow night.

Experts Projections Challenge: (12 of 14) – It is slightly embarrassing that we are currently 12th in our own projections challenge but there are still 14 weeks left and we feel confident that the first two weeks of the season don’t mean all that much. Some of the players that have hurt us thus far are Michael Turner who had one good week, Ryan Grant who is playing through an injury and both Garrard and Addai who are missing important players on their offensive line.

PayTheFan.com: (93 of a few thousands) – We had an unbelievable week with the 15th best score out of a few thousand participants. We will probably drop in the standings after the game tomorrow night since we don’t have any players left but we should still find ourselves in the top 1%. We had a pretty average week last week but as the season progresses and more data becomes available on these defenses, we’re hoping we can continue on this streak and have a chance at the top prize of $250,000.
Thanks for reading and look for our articles on players to pickup on waivers, injury report and start or sit which will be published in the next few days.

Ultimate Fantasy Football Strategy – Week 2 Waiver Suggestions

Week 4 Waiver Suggestions

Starting week four it usually gets pretty hard to find waivers but there were a few injuries this week so there are a few guys you should try to pick up. Here are our waiver suggestions for this week by position:

Quarterbacks:

When looking for quarterbacks to pick up you are looking for the ones that will start of course and that had a lot of passing yards. Try to avoid players who had strong performances because of rushing yards or because they faced a very weak defense.

Jason Campbell: To my surprise Jason Campbell was dropped in quite a few leagues after a poor performance in week one. Campbell benefited from a decimated Saints secondary in week two but he still has a solid completion percentage of 65.6% after three weeks in this new offense. He won’t be a top ten quarterback but he is a solid pickup in case of an injury to your starter and could be a good start against certain defenses.

Trent Edwards: Edwards had an impressive start in his second NFL season and seems to have a much better understanding of the new offense in Buffalo. Similar to Campbell, Edwards won’t be a top quarterback but he is a solid backup and could be worth a start against the Rams in week four.

Brian Griese: Griese had a great week because he attempted 67 pass attempts but don’t expect that from him every week. He is the starting quarterback on a pretty good offense so he could be worth picking up if your starting QB has his bye week soon.

Kyle Orton: Orton has looked surprisingly good this season this year and has likely secured his quarterback job. He had his first two touchdown passes this week so he could continue on that note in the upcoming weeks and be a decent replacement for bye weeks.

Running backs:

Injuries are starting to happen at RB and there are a few guys you should keep your eye on:

Steve Slaton: Pick him up if he is still available. He is the starting back in an offense that should get better later in the year and will probably want to give the rookie all the opportunities they can.

Rudi Johnson: Rudi looked very good this week against the 49ers and the surprising part is that he had the majority of the carries even though Kevin Smith was healthy. The Lions are one of the worst teams in the NFL and have a week off followed by a game against the Bears and the Vikings. Don’t expect much from him in the coming weeks but any time you can pick up a potential starter at RB on waivers you have to try.

Correll Buckhalter: All signs seem to indicate that Westbrook’s ankle is fine and that he will play next week but Buckhalter will probably still get a number of carries and receptions. It’s pretty clear that Buckhalter is now Westbrook’s main backup so even picking up this guy just to handcuff Westbrook or have him sit on your bench could be worth it in deep leagues.

Le’Ron McClain: The only reason you’d pick up this guy is if you previously had Ray Rice on your roster or are in a very deep league. McGahee is the starter in this offense and McClain got more carries than usual because they wanted to rest McGahee so don’t expect games like this from him every week.

T.J. Duckett: We’d suggest you stay away from him. Maurice Morris is going to be back in week five (Seattle has a bye next week) and he will limit Duckett’s carries to five or so.

Wide receivers:

Here is what I wrote a few weeks back about picking up wide receivers off waivers:

Looking at the 35 players who also had more than 10 points in the first week in previous seasons, only 12 of those finished the year with more than 150 fantasy points (approximately the top 45) while only 7 of the 55 who had between 5 and 10 points in the first week finished with more than 150. That means of the 13 that had more than 10 points this season, only four or five will probably finish the year with more than 150 points so our goal is to find those guys and avoid the others. It is very interesting to note that of the 12 players in the past three seasons that had more than 10 points in the first week and more than 150 points for the season, nine of them had at least six receptions. The “success rate” for those with at least six receptions is 60% and only 14% for those with five receptions or less. If you are confident about a certain player he could be worth the gamble but know that your odds of finding a good receiver are significantly lower if he had few receptions.

The “six receptions rules” still applies this week so I added the players who had six receptions in week three to our waivers list from last week.

Matt Jones: Looked solid again in week three and the Jacksonville offense is starting to get on track. Their offensive line is improving and will be even better once Meester comes back.

Amani Toomer: Another solid week from Toomer, he’s a good player that you can trust to have four or five receptions every week. He’s a perfect replacement with bye weeks starting in week four.

Ike Hilliard: Similar to Toomer, Hilliard is a good player that you can trust to have four or five receptions every week. He’s a perfect replacement with bye weeks starting in week four.

Brandon Lloyd: He followed his five receptions in week two with six receptions in week three and it is now clear that he is the #1 WR in Chicago. As bad as the Chicago passing game is, Bernard Berrian managed to put up solid numbers in this offense so don’t underestimate what Lloyd could do this year.

Antonio Bryant: Bryant came out of nowhere and had 10 receptions in week three after having only three in his first two games. He did benefit from Griese attempting 67 passes and that won’t happen every week but any time a WR has 10 receptions in a game, you have to expect him to keep getting four or five week in and week out.

Chansi Stuckey: We haven’t been very high on Stuckey in the first two weeks because we figured that sooner or later Coles and Cotchery would be the two main targets in this offense. That seemed to be the case this week but Stuckey still had six receptions and has had a touchdown in each of the first three games. His number won’t be as good when the Jets face tougher defenses but he could have a decent year if he remains Favre’s favorite red zone target.

Josh Reed: The #2 WR job in this offense has never been very prestigious but the Bills are 3-0 and have had over 200 passing yards in each of their first three games. I could see Reed getting over 60 receptions for the first time in his career this season.

Antwaan Randle El: He did not do much in week three, keep him if you have room on your roster but there are better options out there.

Lance Moore: Moore has very good hands but he is very small. He had seven receptions this week and could be worth picking up with Shockey out for 3 to 6 weeks, Patten possibly out and Colston still absent for a few more weeks.

Bryant Johnson: We really liked this guy in the off-season; we thought that he was a very underrated wide receiver and he’d finally get his chance this year. He had only one reception for 25 yards against Detroit in week three so he is showing that he is indeed inconsistent but he could have big weeks.

Hank Baskett: It now seems that Baskett has won the #2 WR job behind Reggie Brown. Brown will be healthy next week so Baskett won’t get as many looks and he’ll get even less when Kevin Curtis returns in two or three weeks. Baskett is a decent replacement for the next few weeks but you’ll probably want to drop him after Curtis comes back.

A few wide receivers we would stay away from even if they had six receptions:

Jabar Gaffney: Had a decent week but this offense is not what it was last year and he is behind Moss and Welker.

Steve Smith (NYG): He had seven receptions but he is still behind Burress and Toomer on the depth chart so don’t expect a whole lot from him.

Tight ends:

Unfortunately there is not enough data on tight ends to do an analysis as we did for wide receivers but the trend is likely the same. You are looking for players who had a good number of receptions and want to avoid those who had a good week because of a long catch, a touchdown or injuries to wide receivers.

Billy Miller: Shockey is out for three to six weeks and we all know Brees loves to spread the ball. Miller is now the starting TE on one of the best offenses in the NFC and is worth starting over quite a few other TE’s in the next few weeks with Colston and Shockey out.

Jerramy Stevens: He was inactive for the first two weeks of the season but he is the starting TE on an offense that could surprise some people this year. He could be worth picking up if you are thin at the TE position or if your starter has his bye in the coming weeks.

There are a number of wide receivers that surprised this week so you have to be very careful that you pick up the right ones. For those of you that have further questions about this list, feel free to post them in our forums and an expert will answer them as quickly as possible.

Also, for those looking for start or sit advice, I’d like to remind you that every Sunday morning from 11AM until 12:30 PM ET, you can ask your questions in our forums and have them answered within 30 minutes.

Ultimate Fantasy Football Strategy – 2009 Ultimate Draft Tool

2009 Ultimate Draft Tool

Buy the Ultimate Draft Tool for only $10!

Download the Ultimate Draft Tool
Works with any version of Microsoft Excel from 97 to 2007. Does not work with Macs.

Download the unprotected version : If you are unable to edit cells for any version you can download this version. Be very careful however because you could experience problems if you change any cells that are not in green.

Once you buy the Ultimate Draft Tool, we will send you an e-mail with your password to access the file within 24 hours (generally much faster). The player rankings and average draft position rankings will be updated about once a week. All you have to do is download the program before your draft to get the most up do date version.
Updates

August 24, 2009: Added Trades and fixed a bug in the algorithm that suggests picks.


Description

The Ultimate Draft Tool is a very unique program which tells you who we believe you should pick in your fantasy draft. It adjusts itself based on your league settings, position settings, drafting tendencies, the players that other teams have picked and evidently the players you have selected. It is basically a tool which puts our player rankings and strategy articles all together.

Instructions

-Buy the Ultimate Draft Tool

Download the Ultimate Draft Tool.

-Open the file you downloaded and enter the password which we sent you by e-mail.

-Enable macros in Excel.
For Excel 97-2003: On the Tools menu, point to Macro, and then click Security. Set the security level to Low or Medium.
For Excel 2007: On the Developer tab, in the Code group, click Macro Security. In the Macro Settings category, under Macro Settings, click the option that you want. If the Developer tab is not displayed, click the Microsoft Office Button, click Excel Options, and then in the Popular category, under Top options for working with Excel, click Show Developer tab in the Ribbon.

Adjust the League Settings, Ultimate FF Strategy Rankings Percentage, Draft Tendencies and Position Settings.

-Click “Generate Draft”

-Change Team Names (if you wish) and click “Update Team Names”. If you click “Generate Draft” after you have updated the team names, they will reset to the default names.

-Select a player from the dropdown menu

-Click “Draft Player”

Note: You may also use the search box to help you find a player name. If you enter “johnson” and click “Find”, you will see Chris Johnson’s name appear. If you click one more time you will see Andre Johnson and then Calvin Johnson and so on. This is very useful later in drafts instead of scrolling through the list to find all the players.

-When it is your turn to draft you will see a list of five suggested players.
Adjustable Settings

Number of Teams: 8 to 16

Draft Type: Serpentine or Third Round Reversed (3RR)

Number of Rounds: Up to 25 for a 12-Team League

Scoring System: 4 or 6 pts per TD pass and 0 or 1 Point per Reception. The rest of the scoring system is based on the WCOFF but slight variations such as 3 pts per TD pass should not reduce the effectiveness of this tool.

Ultimate FF Strategy Rankings Percentage: From 0% to 100%. The higher the number the more you trust us and the more you will reach for players that we like. We generally recommend between 40% and 60% to have the best success. This setting can be adjusted during the draft but not when it is your turn to pick.

Draft Tendencies: If you have been in the same league for a few years you know whether QBs, RBs, WRs and TEs generally get drafted earlier or later than in the average draft. This will impact the draft strategy in this tool. This setting can be adjusted during the draft but not when it is your turn to pick.

Position Settings: The number of players that your league starts and the number that you’re allowed to draft at each of these positions: QB, RB, WR, TE, PK, Def and Flex.


How will the Ultimate Draft Tool help you?

The Ultimate Draft Tool will suggest five players from best to worst for each one of your draft picks. It will suggest players based on a number of factors which include:

-Our 2009 Player Projections

-Our Average Draft Position Analysis which looks at historical data and determines when there is good value at each position.

-Our Strategies for Drafting Depth which tells you when and where you should draft depth

-Your league’s scoring system.

-The risk factor of the players you have selected so far based on our rankings and average draft position. For example if you draft two high risk starting running backs in the second and third rounds, you will be much more likely to select another running back in the fourth round or / and to select more depth at the running back position.

-The players that should be available when your next pick comes up. For example, if you are selecting at the end of the second round and the beginning of the third round, you are very likely to select a running back with one of those picks because there will be a lot less talent left at the running back position at the end of the fourth round.


Will the Ultimate Draft Tool make me win my league?

Obviously there’s no sure thing in fantasy football but if you enjoy our articles and believe in our strategies then this is definitely the tool for you. We are using this tool for our expert drafts and our rapid draft leagues because we strongly believe that it works. It keeps track of a number of statistics and factors that are generally very hard or impossible to keep track of when you have little time to make your selection.

Limitations

This tool unfortunately has a few limitations for now. These features may or may not be added this year depending on the demand for them. This tool does not include individual defensive players, does not allow you to use your own player projections does not work for leagues with very different scoring systems and does not work in keeper leagues where your keepers replace a draft pick.

Draft Example

Click here to see the results of a draft we conducted using the Ultimate Draft Tool. This draft was done on Rapid Draft and it was done entirely using the Ultimate Draft Tool.

Note: The algorithm for the final few rounds of the draft has been adjusted slightly since we did this draft.
Screenshot

If you have any questions about this tool or suggestions to improve it, please e-mail me at phil@ultimateffstrategy.com

Ultimate Fantasy Football Strategy – UltimateFFStrategy.com Challenge – Hosted by Pay The Fan

Ultimate FF Strategy Challenge

Sponsored by FansEdge

Sign Up Now!

This year we are inaugurating the Ultimate FF Strategy Challenge sponsored by FansEdge. This challenge is hosted by PayTheFan.com which offers a top prize of $75,000 and weekly prizes of $4,000!!!


How does it work?

Every week you will select 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 PK and 1 DST and earn points based on their performance in that week. You may only use a player twice throughout the season so there is quite a bit of strategy involved. For official rules from Pay The Fan, click here.


Why sign up through Ultimate FF Strategy?

The first reason to sign up through this website is that we offer a 10% discount to everyone who signs up for 2009 Full Season Football through our referral code (pft-3587). We do not have a discount code but the 10% refund will be sent to you through Paypal. On top of that, you will be competing with others who signed up through our website for the following prizes:

-Championship Fantasy Football Trophy offered by Fantasy Sports Trophies

-NFL Replica Jersey of your choice offered by FansEdge

-$250 Top Prize offered by Pay The Fan (will only be awarded if we reach 25 entries)


How do I get started?

Click here to sign up for 2009 Full Season Football on Pay The Fan

E-mail us and let us know that you have signed up for the challenge. Once we have verified that you have used our referral code, we will send you your 10% refund through Paypal and will give you instructions to join our league.

-Compete against us all season long and try to take our trophy away.

 

Ultimate Fantasy Football Strategy – Top 10 WRs Based on Historical Trends

Predicting the Top 10 Wide Receivers Based on Historical Trends

We decided to look at past seasons to try and predict which players will finish in the top ten and where the top ten in pre-season rankings will end up at the end of season. As mentioned in the first article on quarterbacks and the second article on running backs, this is more of a fun article that will likely make us look foolish at the end of the season and we do not recommend drafting based on this but it offers a different perspective and hopefully will make everyone understand that there are no sure things in the NFL. Once again, these are not our actual rankings. In the final article of this series of three we will look at the wide receiver position.

Where does the pre-season top 10 end up?

Pre-season ranking (ADP) End of season ranking
1 to 5 6 to 10 11 to 15 16 to 20 21 to 30 31 and up
1 to 5 2.0 1.4 0.2 0.4 0.4 0.6
6 to 10 1.0 0.4 1.0 0.4 0.8 1.4

2008 top 5 pre-season wide receivers:
Randy Moss
Terrell Owens
Reggie Wayne
Braylon Edwards
Larry Fitzgerald

Will remain in the top five:
Our Prediction: Randy Moss and Reggie Wayne

In each of the last five seasons, exactly two wide receivers ranked in the top five in average draft position remain and in the top five at the end of the season. Randy Moss is the easy choice considering he was so dominating last season. His stats are very likely to drop but similar wide receivers who were also dominant average about 300 points in the season following their dominating year which would still make Moss a top five receiver. The harder decision to make is between Reggie Wayne and Terrell Owens since both have been top five receivers for two consecutive seasons. However, choosing between a wide receiver who is 30 years old and had 10 touchdowns versus one who is 35 years old and had 16 touchdowns is not that hard. As we have said many times, a player’s touchdown numbers are much more likely to decrease than a player’s receptions and yards numbers. For those reasons, we believe Reggie Wayne will also remain amongst the top five receivers.

Will finish in the 6 to 10 range:
Our Prediction: Larry Fitzgerald

In the last four seasons there have been six wide receivers who dropped into the six to ten range. In the last eight seasons, it has only happened once (in 2001) that the top three wide receivers from the previous year managed to remain in the top ten. Owens is very talented and is on a very good team but he has had his share of injuries in the past. It is also very hard to go against that statistic so we will say that Owens will fall outside the top ten. That leaves Braylon Edwards and Larry Fitzgerald. As you may have seen in our wide receiver rankings, we are not very high on Edwards because the Browns added Stallworth and also because his touchdown numbers were very high. That leaves Larry Fitzgerald who missed time due to injuries in 2006 but in two of his last three seasons was a top five receiver and seems to be a pretty safe choice for this year.

Will finish outside the top 15:
Our Prediction: Braylon Edwards and Terrell Owens

Many wide receivers disappoint year after year and this season we believe Edwards and Owens are the most likely to fall. Both had very high touchdown numbers last season and if they had a very respectable 10 touchdowns last season, they would have barely made the top ten wide receivers. The 22 wide receivers who had between 14 and 17 touchdowns in a season averaged only 9 in the following season; that is why we believe these two players are the most likely to drop.

2008 pre-season 6 to 10 wide receivers:
T.J Houshmandzadeh
Andre Johnson
Marques Colston
Steve Smith
Chad Johnson

Will move into the top 5:
Our Prediction: Marques Colston
Every year there is one from this group that moves into the top five and we believe that this will be Marques Colston’s year. The only wide receiver who had more fantasy points than Colston in his first two NFL seasons is Randy Moss. The only other two who come close to him are Jerry Rice and Larry Fitzgerald but Colston did it in 30 games as opposed to 32. Furthermore, Colston’s numbers in the last 10 games of last season would have made him second to only Randy Moss over a 16 games season. That is why we believe this is the year that he will become a top five wide receiver.

Will remain in the 6 to 10 range:
Our Prediction: T.J. Houshmandzadeh
Until last season there had not be any wide receivers in the previous four seasons that stayed in the six to ten range but there were two last season so we will assume that there will be one this year. It is a difficult decision between Andre Johnson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Steve Smith. Andre Johnson was excellent last season and would have been a top five wide receiver had he not missed eight games. However, he has never been a top ten wide receiver in his five NFL seasons and this could be his year but there are better choices. Steve Smith was a top ten receiver in both 2005 and 2006 but he is always an injury concern and there are question marks with the offensive line and with Delhomme. T.J. Houshmandzadeh on the other hand has been a top ten receiver for two straight years; he is entering his contract year and could be the number one receiver depending on what happens with Chad Johnson.

Will finish in the 11 to 15 range:
Our Prediction: Andre Johnson
Andre Johnson was so good last season that it is hard to believe he could finish outside the top fifteen. He has only done it once in his career but last season was the first time that he played on a decent offense with Matt Schaub as his quarterback.

Will finish outside the top 15:
Our Prediction: Steve Smith and Chad Johnson
As consistent as Chad Johnson has been (top ten wide receiver in each of the last five seasons), he is unhappy in Cincinnati and we’re not sure what will happen to him this year. Steve Smith is very talented but he has had injury problems and there are question marks in Carolina as mentioned above. Moreover, the Panthers added Hackett and Muhammad so Smith might be targeted less often (especially in the red zone).

 

Where was the top 10 drafted?

End of season ranking Pre-season ranking (ADP)
1 to 5 6 to 10 11 to 15 16 to 20 21 to 30 31 and up
1 to 5 2.0 1.0 0.6 0.8 0.2 0.4
6 to 10 1.4 0.4 0.2 0.4 0.8 1.8

Will finish in the top five:
Three of them as we mentioned previously should come from the pre-season top ten and we believe those will be Moss, Wayne and Colston. That leaves one who could come from the 11 to 15 range (like last year) and one from the 16 to 20 range (like three of the last four years). In the 11 to 15 range the choices are Holt, Welker, Burress, Boldin and Jennings. This is actually pretty easy and the obvious choice has to be Torry Holt who was a top five receiver from 2003 to 2006 until the Rams offense collapsed last season. Their offensive line should however be much better this year and unlike Bulger and Jackson, Holt still managed to have decent statistics last season despite the offense’s troubles so we believe he can bounce back this year. In the 16 to 20 range the choices are Brandon Marshall, Roy Williams, Santonio Holmes, Hines Ward and Calvin Johnson. We have to rule out Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes since we think the Pittsburgh offense will disappoint this year and also Brandon Marshall who could be suspended for a few games. Roy Williams is a question mark year after year, has been injured often and if he does miss time it makes Calvin Johnson the number one receiver in Detroit. We are not huge fans of Johnson but many wide receivers such as Larry Fitzgerald, Torry Holt and Jerry Rice surprised in their second NFL season so we believe he is the most likely top five candidate amongst this group.
Our Prediction: R. Moss, R. Wayne, M. Colston, T. Holt, Calvin Johnson

Will finish in the 6 to 10 range:
Two of them as we mentioned previously could come from the pre-season top ten and we believe those would be Fitzgerald and Houshmandzadeh. Many receivers do surprise year after year and in the past five seasons 13 wide receivers have come from outside the top 20 to finish in the six to ten range. Our favorite from the 21 to 30 range to finish in the top ten is Dwayne Bowe. Many rookies like him really broke out in their second NFL season and the Chiefs have an improved offensive line in pass protection so could surprise. Other potential candidates are Marvin Harrison, Lee Evans and Donald Driver but we would choose Bowe ahead of those. There are two that could come from outside the top 30 and at this point it is extremely hard to predict but our first choice would be Jerricho Cotchery. He had over 80 receptions for the second consecutive season and 1,100 yards in only 15 games but he was never much of a target in the red zone. If the Jets offense can get on track like we believe it could with the improved offensive line, Cotchery has the skills to be a top ten wide receiver. Amongst the potential candidates for our second choice are Anthony Gonzalez, Reggie Brown, Javon Walker, Santana Moss, Patrick Crayton, Jerry Porter and Darrell Jackson. It is a long shot but if one of these guys is going to be a top ten receiver, it could very well be Darrell Jackson. Take out the 2007 season where he was on a dreadful offense in San Francisco and he had 388 receptions for 5,700 yards and 41 touchdowns in 80 games from 2001 to 2006. Those numbers give him an average of 241 fantasy points per 16 games in a point per reception league which makes him a top 15 receiver in most years and top 10 in some seasons. If Marshall is suspended for a few games, Jackson could become the number one receiver on a good offensive team and he could surprise.
Our Prediction: L. Fitzgerald, T. Houshmandzadeh, D. Bowe, J. Cotchery, D. Jackson

Ultimate Fantasy Football Strategy – Top 10 – Undervalued Players

Top 10 – Undervalued Players

#10 Torry Holt: He has finished in the top 15 for wide receivers for eight consecutive seasons and has only missed two games in his entire NFL career. Last season, which many considered a disappointing season, he had the same number of receptions and yards as the previous year but his touchdowns dropped from ten to seven. He finished 11th for wide receivers in a year where the Rams offense was a disaster because of injuries. Put all that together and you have a wide receiver that cannot finish worse than 11th but who has consistently shown that he can be a top five receiver.

#9 Willis McGahee: He finished last season as the ninth best running back in his first year with Baltimore and in the 14 full games that he played, he averaged 20.6 carries per game. New Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron loves to throw the ball to his running backs as we saw with Tomlinson in San Diego and last season with Ronnie Brown who had 39 receptions in only seven games. The retirement of Ogden may be a concern but his replacement, Jared Gaither, is a very good run blocker which may make the Ravens run the ball even more than last year. McGahee has only missed three games in four seasons and he will at least get as many carries as last season so he can only improve if we consider the improved line and the Cam Cameron factor.

#8 Jerricho Cotchery / Laveranues Coles: They are both being drafted in the 25 to 30 range for wide receivers even though Cotchery finished 20th last year and Coles was as good as him in points per game. The Jets line is much improved this season with the additions of Faneca and Woody as well as Ferguson and Mangold who should improve in their third season. The quarterback play is still inconsistent but it cannot be worse than it was last season. Both of these receivers have been good for two consecutive seasons so they are pretty safe picks and they also have a lot of upside because of the much improved offensive line.

#7 Maurice Jones-Drew: He is once again being drafted much lower than he should be because everyone fears that Fred Taylor will continue to steal carries away from him. He was the 8th best running back in 2006 and the 11th best in 2007 and he is only 23 years old. Those numbers alone should make him a top ten pick but his average draft position is about 13th for running backs. If you now consider that he has reached those numbers with less than 170 carries, that Fred Taylor is 32 years old, that the Jaguars line is better than last season and that it has a lot of depth, it makes him a very good safe pick in the late first or early second round.

#6 David Garrard: His numbers from weeks 11 to 16 when his offensive line was the same as it will be this year would have made him the ninth best quarterback and only ten points behind the fifth best. Of the eight quarterbacks above him, one retired, one lost his best offensive lineman and one had 70 more pass attempts than his average of the past three years. The additions of Porter and Williamson give Garrard more options this season and the depth on the offensive line makes him a pretty safe pick. The concern with Garrard is that he has yet to play 16 games in a season but it is also only the second time that he enters the season as the starter. Nonetheless, he should finish much higher than number 13, his current average draft position.

#5 Owen Daniels: He was the seventh best tight end last season in only his second NFL season and had only three touchdowns. Schaub played eight full games last season and Daniels had 41 receptions for 528 yards and 1 TD in those games which would have made him the fifth best tight end over 16 games. He is currently being drafted as the 11th best tight end which means as long as his numbers decrease by less than 10% he will be a good pick. That is a little ridiculous if you consider that he is 25 years old and his projected numbers over 16 games with Schaub are 25% higher than his actual statistics from last season.

#4 Aaron Rodgers: His average draft position is about 18th at the moment for quarterbacks even though he is on one of the best teams in the NFC. You can find a full article that explains why we believe Aaron Rodgers is much better than that here. If we assume Rodgers will run for about 150 yards and a touchdown which should not be too hard to do for him, his passing numbers only have to be 70% of what Favre’s were last season for him to finish above his average draft position.

#3 Tony Scheffler: He became the starting tight end for Denver in week 5 and still finished the year as the 11th best tight end. Over the past two seasons he has started 17 games at tight end and had 61 receptions for 768 yards and 9 touchdowns; those numbers make him a top six or seven tight end. Furthermore, last season Denver was missing two of its best offensive linemen for most of the season and their starting quarterback was playing with diabetes and did not know it. There are slight concerns about his foot injury but the season is still three months away and it should not be a concern when you are drafting a potential top five tight end in the tenth round.

#2 Marques Colston: Only ten wide receivers finished in the top 20 in each of the past two seasons and Colston only played 14 games in 2006. He is by far the best wide receiver on an offense that was first in passing yards in 2006 and third in 2007. If we look at the receivers who finished above Colston last season, Moss and Wayne should still be above; Owens is 35 years old and could slow down; Edwards could very well be a one-year wonder considering similar receivers dropped by an average of 16%; Fitzgerald has been inconsistent; Houshmandzadeh and Johnson were only slightly better and there are quite a few question marks in Cincinnati this year. On average only three or four wide receivers will remain in the top ten the following year and Colston is one of the few safe options in the top 10 from last year, yet he is only being drafted in the early third round.

#1 Clinton Portis: In six seasons in the NFL, Portis has never had less than 250 points per 16 games in a point per reception league. He will be only 27 years old when the season begins, he was the third best running back last season, he has missed only 12 games in six seasons in the NFL and yet he is only being drafted as the eighth or ninth best running back. Moreover, last season the Redskins were missing its two best run blockers on the offensive line for most of the season. New head coach Jim Zorn will probably use an offense similar to Seattle’s where he was quarterback coach for the past few seasons and Alexander managed to put up very solid numbers from 2001 to 2006 in that offense. Portis is a much safer option with your first round pick than someone like Marion Barber who has not proven much or Gore, Jackson and Johnson who have poor offensive lines. Portis is not a spectacular pick but remember that since 2004, only 7 of the 28 running backs that were drafted between picks 6 and 12 finished the season in the top 12. This means that if you make a pick in the middle to late first round, it has a 25% chance of living up to those expectations; Portis has shown much more consistency than any other running back taken in the middle to late first round.

Ultimate Fantasy Football Strategy – Top 10 RBs Based on Historical Trends

 

 

Predicting the Top 10 Running Backs Based on Historical Trends

We decided to look at past seasons to try and predict which players will finish in the top ten and where the top ten in pre-season rankings will end up at the end of season. As mentioned in the first article on quarterbacks, this is more of a fun article that will likely make us look foolish at the end of the season and we do not recommend drafting based on this but it offers a different perspective and hopefully will make everyone understand that there are no sure things in the NFL. In the second article of this series of three we will look at the running back position.

Where does the pre-season top 10 end up?

Pre-season ranking (ADP) End of season ranking
1 to 5 6 to 10 11 to 15 16 to 20 21 to 30 31 and up
1 to 5 2.2 1.0 0.4 0.8 0 0.6
6 to 10 0.8 1.0 0.8 1.0 0.4 1.0

2008 top 5 pre-season running backs:
LaDainian Tomlinson
Adrian Peterson
Brian Westbrook
Joseph Addai
Steven Jackson

Will remain in the top five:
Our Prediction: LaDainian Tomlinson and Joseph Addai

This may seem like a very hard choice but the hard decision was only between two guys. It is impossible to go against LaDainian Tomlinson who has been a top five running back for six consecutive seasons and although there is never anything certain, you cannot go against Tomlinson. The choice between Westbrook and Addai is a difficult one but we went with Addai simply because he is a safer option to be a top five back. Westbrook has more upside but he is also more of an injury concern and if you told us right now that only one of those two will be a top five back in 2008 then my money would be on Addai.

Will finish in the 6 to 10 range:
Our Prediction: Brian Westbrook

As good as Adrian Peterson was last season, there are too many question marks about him and we would not be surprised at all if he finished outside the top ten. Westbrook may miss some games with injuries but in five NFL seasons he has always played between 12 and 15 NFL games and even if he plays only 12, Westbrook will be a top ten running back at the end of the season

Will finish outside the top 10:
Our Prediction: Adrian Peterson and Steven Jackson

In the past four seasons, eight running backs who were ranked in the top five before the season started finished outside the top ten and one in each of the last three seasons finished outside the top thirty. Although Adrian Peterson was very impressive last season, there are a ton of expectations for him and we feel he will not be able to live up to them. We saw late last season he had some very difficult games, he had injury problems in college and last season as well and the Vikings will also have to deal with the loss of Tony Richardson and the possible suspension of McKinnie. Steven Jackson is also a very talented back but the Rams offense struggled last season and it is very rare that running backs can bounce back after such difficult years. The Rams offense is very dependent on the health of Orlando Pace and he has only played nine games in the past two years.

2008 pre-season 6 to 10 running backs:
Marion Barber
Frank Gore
Larry Johnson
Ryan Grant
Clinton Portis

Will move into the top 5:
Our Prediction: Ryan Grant
As much as we love Clinton Portis this year and have him ranked at number five in our rankings, he is not the most likely to finish in the top five. He is a very good selection because he is a very safe pick to finish in the top ten but does not have as much upside as some of these other players. It was a tough decision between Marion Barber and Ryan Grant but we went with Grant because he showed last season in the last eight games of the season that he could be a top five back. Barber is extremely talented but Felix Jones will also get some carries and it is hard to predict that a back that only had 204 carries last season will finish in the top five.

Will remain in the 6 to 10 range:
Our Prediction: Clinton Portis
Portis is the obvious choice here since he has been a top ten back in five of his six NFL seasons and he is still only 27 years of age. He is a safe pick and managed to put up very impressive numbers last season with an injury-filled offensive line.

Will finish in the 11 to 15 range:
Our Prediction: Marion Barber
Barber had 242 fantasy points in a point per reception league last season while carrying the ball only 204 times. His carries will increase and although we feel he could easily finish in the top ten, the last time three running backs ranked in the six to ten range finished the year in the top ten was 2004. No one knows how Barber will be able to handle the role of starting running back and he is also not a safe bet to have 280 to 300 carries like Grant and Portis are because the Cowboys drafted Felix Jones.

Will finish outside the top 15:
Our Prediction: Frank Gore and Larry Johnson
As we mention many times in some of our other articles, running backs between six and ten are very risky picks and in the past three seasons especially, where 10 of the 15 running backs finished outside the top 15 including 5 that finished outside the top 30. The 2003 and 2004 seasons were a little better but they still remain very high risk picks and the two highest risk guys in this group this year are Larry Johnson and Frank Gore. Both of these have bad offensive lines in run blocking, had disappointing seasons last year and the San Francisco offense will be lead by Martz whose running backs have typically carried the ball 60 to 70 times less than before he arrived and after he left. We have these two players ranked much lower than most sites and they are the most likely to finish outside the top 15.

 

Where was the top 10 drafted?

End of season ranking Pre-season ranking (ADP)
1 to 5 6 to 10 11 to 15 16 to 20 21 to 30 31 and up
1 to 5 2.2 0.8 0.8 0.6 0.6 0
6 to 10 1.0 1.0 1.2 0.6 0.4 0.8

Will finish in the top five:
Three of them as we mentioned previously should come from the pre-season top ten and we believe those will be Tomlinson, Addai and Grant which leaves one from the 11 to 15 range and one from outside the top 15. The choices in the 11 to 15 range are Lynch, McGahee, Maroney, Jacobs and Lewis. We ruled out Maroney and Jacobs because both are ranked much lower on our list and were not very involved in their team’s passing game last season which makes them unlikely to be top five candidates in point per reception leagues. Jamal Lewis did finish sixth last season but in most years his points total would have been barely enough to make him a top ten running backs and we do not think he can improve much over last year. It was a tough decision between Lynch and McGahee but we chose McGahee because of the x-factor that Cam Cameron brings. The Ravens line is slightly better than it was last season in run blocking and we all know how much of an impact Cameron had on Ronnie Brown last season so we believe he could make McGahee a top five fantasy running back. The other back is likely to come from the 16 to 30 range like six backs have in the past four seasons. Amongst our favorites are Maurice Jones-Drew, Reggie Bush and Earnest Graham. We have Jones-Drew ranked higher than the other two in our rankings but with Taylor in the mix he does not have that much upside. Reggie Bush may have to share carries with McAllister but Bush showed in the second half of the 2006 season that he could be a top running back even when sharing carries and he is a big receiving threat so could very well be a top five back in PPR leagues.
Our Prediction: L. Tomlinson, J. Addai, R. Grant, W. McGahee, R. Bush

Will finish in the 6 to 10 range:
Two of them as we mentioned previously could come from the pre-season top ten and we believe those would be Westbrook and Portis. Our favorite from the 11 to 15 range, for the reasons mentioned above, is Marshawn Lynch. In the 16 to 30 range the decision is very difficult between Maurice Jones-Drew and Earnest Graham. Graham certainly has a better chance of being in the top five than Jones-Drew because the Buccaneers will not hesitate to give him the ball 25 times a game which is not the case for Jones-Drew. However, Jones-Drew has shown over the past two seasons that he can be a solid fantasy running back with limited carries and he will likely see the ball more times this year with Fred Taylor being now 32 years old. From outside the top 30, it is very difficult to predict which running back can move into the top ten because often it is because of injuries that a player will be a surprise. For now, our favorite is by far Selvin Young whose current average draft position is 31. He is being drafted so low because it is always a puzzle to figure out who will be the starting running back in Denver but Young is very talented and will have a very good offensive line if Nalen and Hamilton are healthy.
Our Prediction: B. Westbrook, C. Portis, M. Lynch, M. Jones-Drew, S. Young

Ultimate Fantasy Football Strategy – Top 10 QBs Based on Historical Trends

Predicting the Top 10 Quarterbacks Based on Historical Trends

Year after year there are surprises and disappointments in the NFL even though before the season starts many seem convinced that they can predict the top five or ten players at each position. We decided to look at past seasons to try and predict which players will finish in the top ten and where the top ten in pre-season rankings will end up at the end of season. This is more of a fun article that will likely make us look foolish at the end of the season and we do not recommend drafting based on this but it offers a different perspective and hopefully will make everyone understand that there are no sure things in the NFL. In the first article of this series of three we will look at the quarterback position.

Where does the pre-season top 10 end up?

Pre-season ranking (ADP) End of season ranking
1 to 5 6 to 10 11 to 15 16 to 20 21 to 30 31 and up
1 to 5 2.4 0.6 0.8 0 0.8 0.4
6 to 10 1 1.4 1.2 0.2 0.2 1

2008 top 5 pre-season quarterbacks:
Tom Brady
Peyton Manning
Tony Romo
Drew Brees
Carson Palmer

Will remain in the top 5:
Our Prediction: Tom Brady and Peyton Manning
Tom Brady was very dominating and to drop out of the top five he would need his statistics to drop by about 35%. It is possible since Manning’s dropped by 30% after his dominating 2004 season but it is unlikely. Peyton Manning has been a top five quarterback for eight consecutive seasons so there is no reason to believe that he would not be in it next year. It is also very hard to go against Manning and Brady since neither has missed a game in six years.

Will finish in the 6 to 10 range:
Our Prediction: Drew Brees and Tony Romo
Brees has been a top ten quarterback for four consecutive seasons. Last season three of the top five remained in the top five but that has only happened once in the past three seasons. If that happens again Brees could remain in the top five but the loss of Faine could affect him more than people think and he could drop in the six to ten range. Last season was the only time in the last five years that four of the top five quarterbacks remained in the top ten and we think it will happen again but if it does not, Romo would be the most likely to drop. The main reasons that Romo could drop are that he does not have a deep receiver group, Owens is 35 years old and his offensive line is also getting up there in age.

Will finish outside the top 20:
Our Prediction: Carson Palmer
Every year there is a top five quarterback that disappoints, last year it was Bulger and this year we think it will be Carson Palmer. It is very hard to go against any of the other four and there are so many question marks in Cincinnati with Levi Jones and Chad Johnson that everything could collapse and Palmer may not be amongst the top 20 quarterbacks.

2008 pre-season 6 to 10 quarterbacks:
Derek Anderson
Ben Roethlisberger
Matt Hasselbeck
Donovan McNabb
Eli Manning

Will move into the top 5:
Our Prediction: Donovan McNabb
In each of the last four seasons a quarterback in the pre-season six to ten range has moved up into the top five. As you may have seen in our rankings, we highly doubt that Roethlisberger and Hasselbeck will match last season’s statistics because they relied heavily on touchdowns and the Giants offense is too balanced to produce a top five quarterback. This leaves Derek Anderson and Donovan McNabb and although Anderson was in the top five at the end of season, we feel McNabb has the best chance of finishing there this year. No, we would not draft McNabb ahead of Anderson mainly because McNabb has not played all 16 games in a season since 2003 but he is the one with the most upside in this group.

Will remain in the 6 to 10 range:
Our Prediction: Derek Anderson
Based on statistics one or two of these guys will remain in the six to ten group but the last time that seven top ten quarterbacks remained in the top ten was in 2004 so we had to choose only one. The decision comes down to Ben Roethlisberger or Derek Anderson and either could be a good choice. Since our choice for the 11 to 15 range is already made and it is neither of these two, the one of these two that does not finish in the top ten could drop a lot. The one most likely to drop is the one who lost his best offensive lineman and who has struggled with injuries his entire career which means that Derek Anderson is more likely to remain in this six to ten group.

Will finish in the 11 to 15 range:
Our Prediction: Eli Manning
We are not sure why Eli Manning is being drafted in the top ten since he’s finished eleventh and fourteenth in the past two seasons. He has been consistent, he is durable, has the same offensive line as last year and a very similar group of wide receivers so should remain in that 11 to 15 group.

Will finish outside the top 15:
Our Prediction: Matt Hasselbeck and Ben Roethlisberger
Matt Hasselbeck and Ben Roethlisberger are the most likely out of this group to finish outside the top 15. Both are good quarterbacks but Hasselbeck has a pretty bad supporting cast this season and last season was a bit of a fluke while Roethlisberger has struggled with injuries and will not be able to match last season’s 33 passing touchdowns.

 

Where was the top 10 drafted?

End of season ranking Pre-season ranking (ADP)
1 to 5 6 to 10 11 to 15 16 to 20 21 to 30 31 and up
1 to 5 2.4 1 1 0.2 0.2 0.2
6 to 10 0.6 1.4 1 0.8 1 0.2

Will finish in the top 5:
Three of them as we mentioned previously should come from the pre-season top ten in Manning, Brady and McNabb which leaves one from the 11 to 15 range and one from outside the top 15. The choices in the 11 to 15 range are Bulger, Rivers, Cutler, Garrard and Rodgers, the last three being quarterbacks that we have ranked higher than most sites. Jay Cutler is our favorite of the three; he is entering his third NFL season with his improved line and we feel could very well finish amongst the top five quarterbacks. Although we feel stronger about Garrard and Rodgers moving into the top five, one quarterback outside of the top 15 has moved up in the top five in each of the last three seasons. Our two best guesses would be Matt Leinart or Alex Smith. Last season the Cardinals were fifth in passing yards and fourth in passing touchdowns so if Leinart wins the starting job (which he should), he definitely has the supporting cast to be a sleeper at quarterback. Alex Smith on the other hand will be running Mike Martz’s complicated offense which did wonders in Detroit for Jon Kitna but his supporting cast is not very good so Leinart would be our first choice.
Our Prediction: T. Brady, P. Manning, D.McNabb, J. Cutler, M. Leinart

Will finish in the 6 to 10 range:
Three of them as we mentioned previously should come from the pre-season top ten in Brees, Romo and Anderson which leaves one from the 11 to 15 range and one from outside the top 20. In each of the last two seasons only one quarterback from the top ten finished in the six to ten range but we feel those three are pretty safe picks. Amongst our favorite sleepers at quarterback are David Garrard and Aaron Rodgers, both of whom we feel very strongly about and we think both could move up into this group. If we had to choose only one though it would be David Garrard since he showed last year that he had the talent to be a top ten quarterback but he missed time because of injuries. As mentioned earlier, Alex Smith could be a top ten candidate and even though his group of wide receivers is still pretty weak, it is better than last year and so is his offensive line. On a side note, Matt Schaub showed last year that he has the talent to be a solid quarterback in this league and could also be a potential top ten if he stays healthy.
Our Prediction: D. Brees, T. Romo, D. Anderson, D. Garrard, A. Smith

Ultimate Fantasy Football Strategy – Weekly Consistency – Summary

Weekly Consistency – Summary

Draft Recommendation: Do not pay attention to a player’s consistency, a good player has more value than a consistent player.

The idea for this article came from FFToday, a site well-known for its Crank Scores. “Crank Scores rank the consistency of a player (Crank = Consistency-Rank). Crank Scores is a concept designed to help identify players that consistently give the best performance on a weekly basis in head-to-head leagues.”  I noticed they explained why they prefer to have consistent players on their team but without backing it up with any statistics.

I also noticed that quarterbacks and running backs are much more consistent than wide receivers so following that theory, a top QB or RB would have more value than a top WR because odds are that the top QB or RB won’t let you down as often as the top WR might. I decided to test this out to determine if the consistency of players at specific positions can affect your overall draft strategy.

The first step to this analysis was to find out which position is more consistent than others. I used the coefficient of variation to measure this on statistics from 2005 to 2008 and, as I had previously believed, quarterbacks are much more consistent than the other positions while wide receivers and tight ends are the most inconsistent. In theory this should increase the value of quarterbacks over wide receivers and tight ends since come playoff time, your top QB is less likely to let you down that your top WR is. However, I decided to test this and find out if this was also true for a starting lineup of nine players.

Using two fictional fantasy teams that averaged the same total of fantasy points, I saw that a team filled with very consistent players will defeat a team filled with very inconsistent players only 51.12% of the time. To put this in perspective, I created two more fictional teams that both have the same consistency and the team that scored only 1.8 points per week more than the other team won 52.36% of the time.

This does not even account for the fact that it is quite difficult to predict a player’s consistency from year to year. If we assume that: you can predict how consistent a player will be from week to week and you can draft the most consistent players on your team, your advantage will be the equivalent of about eight fantasy points in a season or less than half a point per week for your entire team.

There is no statistical evidence that shows you should stay away from Terrell Owens or Randy Moss because they are inconsistent players. Although in theory a more consistent player should help your fantasy team win more games, with nine players on your team there are always some that will have good weeks and bad weeks so it neglects the effect of a single player’s inconsistency. Moreover, there are no NFL players that are consistent or inconsistent enough from week to week for this theory to have a real impact.

In conclusion, if another manager in your league says he is staying away from Randy Moss because he has a low “Crank Score”, give him a fake smile and be very happy to draft him (if he’s the best player available of course).

See the complete analysis

Ultimate Fantasy Football Strategy – Weekly Consistency

Weekly Consistency

The idea for this article came from FFToday, a site well-known for its Crank Scores. “Crank Scores rank the consistency of a player (Crank = Consistency-Rank). Crank Scores is a concept designed to help identify players that consistently give the best performance on a weekly basis in head-to-head leagues.”  I noticed they explained why they prefer to have consistent players on their team but without backing it up with any statistics.

I also noticed that quarterbacks and running backs are much more consistent than wide receivers so following that theory, a top QB or RB would have more value than a top WR because odds are that the top QB or RB won’t let you down as often as the top WR might. I decided to test this out to determine if the consistency of players at specific positions can affect your overall draft strategy.

The first step to this analysis is to find out which position is more consistent than others. In order to determine this, I copied the statistics of the top 16 quarterbacks, top 40 running backs, top 55 wide receivers as well as the top 16 tight ends, kickers and defenses from 2005 to 2008 into a spreadsheet. I obtained all those statistics from one of my leagues on MFL. Afterwards, I calculated the standard deviation of each player’s fantasy points for weeks one to sixteen (I never use week seventeen in my calculations since many players are resting for the playoffs). One of the problems with standard deviation is that players with higher average scoring will have a higher standard deviation. For that reason I used the coefficient of variation which is equal to the standard deviation of the player’s fantasy points divided by his average points per week. All you really need to understand is that the lower the number, the more consistent the player is but if you would like to know more you can look here. After this, I took the average of these coefficients by position over four years and compiled them in the following chart:

  AVG 2008 2007 2006 2005
QB 0.398 0.378 0.399 0.440 0.375
RB 0.565 0.567 0.579 0.536 0.578
WR 0.608 0.591 0.588 0.622 0.630
TE 0.655 0.704 0.638 0.631 0.647
PK 0.509 0.459 0.553 0.513 0.511
Def 0.582 0.586 0.599 0.566 0.577

As I had previously believed, quarterbacks are much more consistent than the other positions while wide receivers and tight ends are the most inconsistent. In theory this should increase the value of quarterbacks over wide receivers and tight ends since come playoff time, your top QB is less likely to let you down that your top WR is. For example, imagine the season lasts only three weeks and one player has 10 points in all three weeks while the other has 5 points for two of the weeks and 20 points in the third week. In a head to head league, the consistent player would be better than the inconsistent for two of the three weeks. However, I decided to test this and find out if this was also true for a starting lineup of nine players.

 

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