Ezekiel Elliott, the 2016 king of the high fantasy floor
(“Today’s Crazy Fantasy Stat” is an occasional offseason offering from PFF that highlights something that catches our eye and aids in our preparation for the 2017 fantasy season.)
It’s, say, Week 11. Your fantasy team is 6-4. Good, not great, but probably going to squeak into the playoffs. You’re favored in this week’s matchup — not by a lot, but by enough that you think you’re likely to win. You don’t need a swing-for-the-fences guy in your lineup. You just need someone who will put up a reliable few points to let the rest of your big names do what they do.
That, or something like it, is a common scenario in fantasy. When you’re a big underdog, choosing a lineup filler means the big-risk, big-reward types, the archetype once filled by Vincent Jackson and now most often given to his Tampa Bay replacement and namesake, DeSean Jackson. If these players get you 0 points, well, you were supposed to lose anyway. But if they have one of those weeks and get you 25? Well, that’s how you pull the upset.
This isn’t about those guys, though. This is about the other guys, the ones who have the high floors. We aren’t talking ceilings today.
2016 was a bad year for floors. Not only was Dallas RB Ezekiel Elliott the only running back, wide receiver, or tight end with at least 10 fantasy points in every game he played (in standard, non-fractional scoring), he was the only one with 9, 8, or 7, also. Le’Veon Bell, who sat out four games, was the only other player to put up at least 6 (no, I’m not counting Keenan Allen’s one game with 6 fantasy points).
On the receiving side of things, it was particularly bad. Mike Evans was the only wide receiver or tight end with at least 4 fantasy points in every game; he and Antonio Brown were the only two with at least 3. This after a 2015 season where nine different receivers had at least 3 fantasy points in every game. And at tight end, Delanie Walker was the only tight end in the league with at least 2 fantasy points in every game. That’s right, every single tight end not named Walker had at least one game with 1 or 0 fantasy points in 2016. That’s … that’s just gross.
Some other highlights from the floors:
- Michael Thomas, who our Brandon Marianne Lee likes to note was the only receiver with at least four catches and at least 40 yards in every game, had a zero-point floor in 2016 anyway, because in Week 10 against Denver, his four catches for 40 yards were negated by a pair of lost fumbles.
- In fact, of New Orleans’ trio of receivers, Willie Snead (floor: 2 fantasy points) was the only one of he, Thomas, and Brandin Cooks to notch positive scoring in every game played in 2016.
- Along with Elliott, Bell, and Evans, the only other player who appeared in more than five games last year and had at least 4 fantasy points a game in every one was LeGarrette Blount, who never dipped below 5 points.
- Arizona’s David Johnson was well on his way to joining Elliott at the top of these lists, entering Week 17 with at least 10 points in every game, before an injury forced him from the season finale with only 3 fantasy points. Elliott sat out Week 17 altogether, which gave fantasy owners the chance to bench him outright.
- On the quarterback side of things, Matt Ryan had the highest floor in 2016, with 12 fantasy points or more in every game. The only other quarterbacks who managed double-digit scoring in every game were Aaron Rodgers (floor: 11) and Andy Dalton (floor: 10). Andrew Luck and Kirk Cousins were the only two regular QBs who managed at least 8 per game.