Team Consistency Rankings
Many fantasy football owners throughout the season are trying to build their team around consistent players. Finding consistent players with solid floors and then pairing them with more high upside players. The goal ultimately is to construct a roster that has a good chance of winning week by week. We have all had those boom-or-bust players on our rosters, and yes, they can be useful if used correctly. But more often than not, they frustrate fantasy owners. As I thought more about targeting consistent players for my rosters, I wondered what makes a player so consistent? Obviously, the elite players are consistent because they have high floors to go along with their high potentials. What does that mean for the rest of the players? I believe that one of the biggest contributors to a players’ fantasy consistency is what team they play on.
I have compiled statistics from the 2016 season that summarize the total amounts each team had for weekly fantasy finishes at each position. For example, the Arizona Cardinals had six quarterback one finishes in 2016 to go along with twelve running back one finishes, and seven wide receiver one finishes. The rankings are all based on standard scoring. The finishes are based on the following:
Quarterback one, running back one, wide receiver one, and tight end one: Top twelve finisher for the week. Running back two and wide receiver two: Between 13-24 finisher for the week.
|TM||QB #1||RB #1||RB #2||WR #1||WR #2||TE #1|
No surprise to see Green Bay, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Dallas, and New England near the top. However, what is surprising to see is Pittsburgh there with nine top twelve finishes last year. People are low on Ben Roethlisberger and despite his road/home splits he is still a very consistent fantasy quarterback. One of those finishes was Landry Jones, but still, it is hard not to see Big Ben’s production going up this year with all of his offensive weapons.
The other quarterback I was surprised to see low was Philip Rivers. Rivers only had three games last year where he finished in the top twelve. I do believe that Rivers will improve from his performance last year, with many of his offensive weapons healthy now.
Lastly, do not sleep on Brian Hoyer! The 49ers offense last year produced eight QB1 finishes. With Kyle Shanahan at the helm, I truly think he can get Brian Hoyer to produce as top twelve quarterback in fantasy. Hoyer in five games last year was a top twelve quarterback three times.
Now, this is where the chart gets interesting. Not only are running back one finishes recorded but so are running back two finishes. Everything is as expected from the running back ones (Atlanta, Buffalo, Arizona, Tennessee, Pittsburgh), but the New York Jets and New Orleans Saints were also in the mix at the top. It is shocking because they seem like polar opposites. The chart shows that both those teams had eleven running back one finishes a season ago.
Interestingly enough it then indicates that Jets only had one RB2 finish and the Saints had two running back two finishes. Looking towards 2017 this tells me that these two backfields are filled with boom-or-bust guys on a weekly basis. Basically running backs on these teams have running back one upside in favorable matchups, but then drop below a running back two in other games. It makes sense from the Saints being a pass-happy offense and the Jets…well being the Jets.
Looking more at the running back two finishes, one can find that the Patriots ranked first in that category. Where they will not necessarily win an owner his week, they do provide consistent floor output. An owner could do much worse than throwing a Patriots running back into their FLEX spot for the week.
Following the Patriots are the Eagles who ranked second in the same category. Some owners are unsure how to evaluate the Eagles running backfield. In my opinion, I would look at it the same way as the Patriots. Do not expect to win with one of those guys, but toss them into your lineup knowing that they have a solid floor.
The last thing that I would like to point is Jacksonville’s consistency. The Jaguars had only one running back one finish last year to go along with nine running back two finishes. While Leonard Fournette is a better back than any one of the team last year, the other pieces of the offense have not changed that much. His 2017 production will more likely be that of a running back two week to week, rather than a running back one.
The Green Bay Packers have some excellent wide receivers. In 2016, they had 16 wide receiver one finishes. That was broken out with eight for Jordy Nelson, six for Davante Adams, and one for both Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison. This is why I think that Cobb is a great player this year to target this year. Cheap with a wide receiver one upside.
Regarding wide receiver two finishes the team that finished with the most was the Miami Dolphins. Jarvis Landry provided a lot of steady numbers being Ryan Tannehill’s main target. However, with smokin’ Jay Cutler now calling the shots in the huddle, those targets may be headed to DeVante Parker. Parker is seen as a high upside guy by most, but perhaps he does not have as low as a floor as many people think as a wide receiver two on a team.
Coming at no surprise the Chargers had the most tight end one finishes in a combination of efforts between Hunter Henry and Antonio Gates. In 2017, you can probably expect more of the same. Philip Rivers loves targeting his tight ends in the red zone.
The next two teams for tight one finishes were the Redskins and Colts. Jordan Reed is a top five tight end on the field and Jack Doyle has the sleeper hype after Dwayne Allen departed to New England in the offseason. However, for both of these guys, injuries are concerning. Injuries for Reed himself, and injuries for Doyle’s quarterback Andrew Luck. If Luck was healthy, I would be all over the Doyle hype train. With Reed, even if he does get hurt Vernon Davis showed last year that he can fill the role.
With the last mention of tight end, I would like to point out Jason Witten. Yes, the same Jason Witten who runs like he just got out of the shower and realized he left the stove on. Witten is a tight end one for 2017 despite only having three tight end one finishes last season. Witten is overdue for some positive regression in his production. He ranked seventh in the NFL (third on Dallas) in tight end targets and ranked third in tight end red zone targets (first on Dallas). So even with all of these targets and a 60 percent completion percentage to Witten in the red zone he somehow only caught two touchdowns. With Ezekiel Elliot facing a suspension and Dak Prescott having to make more plays, I think Witten’s fantasy production will benefit.
This table offers a lot of valuable information so if you see anything else interesting that I did not point out please comment below!