Cleat Geeks

Dynasty Fantasy Football – “Deception is Reality”

Dynasty Fantasy Football – “Deception is Reality”

 

Through countless conversations, I have encountered this situation more times than I can recall, as I am sure most of you have. “Where do you rank or how do you value Player X?” “Oh, well he was a WR1 last year. So as a WR1.” How are we actually valuing players and what defines a player as a WR1? Some might view weekly consistency as the determining factor, while others simply look at the end of year rankings and see the WR1 designation. In most cases, the latter of the two seems to be more widely accepted. Even though we look at the end of the season and see that WR1 status, how many games did that actually help us win? With consistent production, that number is bound to be high and fantasy football being the weekly game that it is, we should be focusing our efforts on finding players that minimize that gap between their highs and lows…and that consistency is exactly what is going to help us win as owners.

These highly volatile players put an extra strain on owners each and every week due to their unpredictable nature making it impossible to know when they are going to go off on your bench or when they are going to put up a goose egg in your starting lineup. While said player might in fact be a WR1 when the season comes to a close, most weeks they are more than likely a liability in your starting lineup and this is when you start accumulating losses.

In the first of a four-part series, I will be identifying trends within each position (QB/RB/WR/TE) and the players that deceive when it comes to end of year rankings.

I am going to lead off this series with the most volatile of positions on a weekly basis, wide receiver. Dating back to the 2010 season, the position of wide receiver has had the largest standard deviation (8.89 for WR1/7.54 for WR2) of any position, which essentially is how spread out the data is.

Between 2010 and 2015, the average yearly points (PPR format) consistently rose among WR1 and have since taken a massive hit in 2016 and 2017. I bring this up simply because, and this ties back to the “conversation” above, while a WR did end as a WR1 in either 2016 or 2017, this would not have been consistent with years past. While this article will not spend time on the reasons for this decline, I can say that it directly coincides with the decrease in average yearly points for QB1 over the past 2 years. For reference, throughout this series, I am referring to a top 12 player at a certain position when mentioning QB1, WR1, etc.

 

Season Average Yearly Points Among WR1 (PPR)
2010 267.99
2011 277.72
2012 289.97
2013 294.55
2014 299.88
2015 304.27
2016 267.25
2017 256.37

 

I am going to be looking into two different buckets of players: Boom or bust WR1, as well as slightly less boom or bust WR2 that are more consistent but have a lower ceiling than the first category.

 

The first group I would like to discuss are the players that fell into the end of season WR2 tier while producing some weekly WR1 output, but still maintained a low variance from week to week. While neither AJ Green nor Mike Evans finished 2017 in the WR1 range, both offered plenty of upside despite their slight boom or bust tendencies. Both Green and Evans finished 2017 with 8 weekly performances in which they were a WR1 or WR2 and had posted standard deviations of 8.2 and 5.95 (again, how spread out the data is), respectively. These are the types of players, while even though not end of season WR1, many would consider WR1 due to their consistent weekly output. These are also the types of players that help you accumulate wins and make weekly start/sit decisions an easy one.

 

 

I wanted to discuss this category of WR second, as it certainly is the one that is the most polarizing in the fantasy football community and when it comes to boom or bust players, I don’t think people will ever agree on their true value. While there are many receivers that fit this mold, only one divides the fantasy football community the way Julio Jones does. Julio Jones is the driving force behind this entire article, as almost anybody you talk to will say “Absolutely. Julio Jones is a WR1.”, but is he really? As I tend to focus on a dynasty perspective, this article is no different. Julio has undoubtedly been a WR1 in the past, but can we really say a player is an upper echelon type dynasty asset if he is not a top 24 producer at his position in 11 out of 16 games he played in last season and is quickly approaching 30 years old? With the previous standard deviations I have discussed, 5.95 and 8.2, Julio tipped the scales at a whopping 10.4, showing extremely volatility on a weekly basis. While putting up a respectable 251 points (again, PPR format), 39% of those points came in 3 games, with the remaining 61% coming in 13 games. In those 13 games, Julio Jones averaged an eye opening 11.87 PPG while falling outside of the WR2 range in 11 of those 13 weeks. An average of 11.87 PPG extrapolated out over the course of the 2017 season would have resulted in a WR28 finish.

From a dynasty perspective, in a typical PPR scoring format, I am always going to value the more consistent weekly option over the highly volatile boom or bust player. Now I am not saying go out and trade Julio Jones for ANY player that consistently produces the same output on a weekly basis, but I will gladly take a more consistent player in the same tier over a boom or bust player any chance I get. Consistency is what allows an owner to sleep at night, knowing he or she does not have to worry about a big fat zero in the points column from their top tier players. A team filled with consistent options is a team that will not only carry you to the playoffs, but will give you your best chance to win a championship. So the next time you begin a negotiation and your counterpart responds with “Yes. Julio Jones is a WR1.” you can point out the WR3 production for 80%+ of the 2017 season…unless you’re attempting to sell him. In that case, we can keep that between us.

 

Check out next week’s article when I cover running backs!

 

Connect on Twitter: @TheBauerClub

Data Source: www.ffstatistics.com

2 Comments

  1. Cam

    July 31, 2018 at 5:04 am

    For me in fantasy for WR it’s all about consistent targets and yards. JJ delivers this like none other and is easily a WR1. The randomness of last year’s up and down season can be simply attributed to TD variance. Sprinkle in a few TDs and you have a completely different picture. Anyone selling him for cheap is making a huge mistake

  2. johnbauer

    July 31, 2018 at 11:38 am

    Cam, love the feedback! For me, it’s not that I’m selling Julio at a discount. It’s more than I’m not buying him at his current ADP/value. This isn’t a one season thing either. He went from 12 WR1/2 weeks in 2015 to 9 in 2016 and that has been reduced to 5 in 2017. It’s the WR28 extrapolated rank over those other 11 games that really worries me. I’m not a fan of that wild variance from week to week.

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