Targeting Consistency in Quarterbacks
Acquiring big numbers from a player is great, but I’ll trade some year-end production for week-to-week consistency. The fantasy season is about winning individual weeks, and the best statistical approach is to own players that offer solid performance on a weekly basis as opposed to game-breaking options that finish one week as the top overall player and another as a fringe starter. This may not be a ground-breaking idea, but you need to realize what you’re getting when you look at any experts Top Whatever players for 2014: those are the analysts best guess for who will finish the season with the best statistics. That’s all well and good, but it places no importance on consistency as these two samples would be treated as essentially equal performances.
Player A: 44.5 total fantasy points (standard format)
Week 1 – 412 passing yards, 3 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, and 22 rushing yards
Week 2 – 127 passing yards, 0 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, and 87 rushing yards
Week 3 – 150 passing yards, 0 touchdowns, 1 interception, and 20 rushing yards
Player B: 45.6 total fantasy points
Week 1 – 304 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception, and 12 rushing yards
Week 2 – 374 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, and 0 rushing yards
Week 3 – 231 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception, and 0 rushing yards
If you ranked Player A (2013 Colin Kaepernick) over Player B (2013 Matt Ryan) to start the season, you probably felt fine over three weeks, but is there any question as to which quarterback you would have rather owned?
CONSISTENCY KING: Matt Ryan
Over his six year career, Ryan has missed only two games and has seen his total number of pass attempts increase in all but one season (and even in the one season his pass attempts declined, his pass yards increased by 472). Also, prior to last season where his pass-catching options were constantly beat up and Steven Jackson resembled a shell of himself (career lows in games played, rush yards, first downs, yards per carry, and yards per catch), Ryan had a total of three “red” games by PFF’s grading system. In other words, you almost always get SOME return on investment, and that can be more influential than getting erratic elite production.
STAT OF THE DAY: Name all the quarterbacks over the last four seasons that have graded out at least an 88 on PFF’s QB grading scale while not experiencing a consistent decline in completion percentage. Drew Brees and Matty Ice. That’s it and that’s all.
HONORABLE MENTION: Over his last 47 starts in which he has recorded a significant PFF QB Rating (anything at least one point away from an “average” performance), 38 have resulted in a “green” game for Tom Brady. He may no longer have the 50 touchdown upside, but his lack of downside (he’s attempted at least 35 passes in 73 percent of his games since 2011) and 28 games with 35+ PA since 2011-2012 (including playoffs) holds significant value if you can build a solid roster around him.