Another week with our honorary stat boy, Zach Fein of Fein Sports. A contributor with as much stat muscle as anyone in the business. You may not understand what he's says and use it for your fantasy leagues, but if you're in the mood to be baffled and confused, then boy does he have you covered. Because life is one big spreadsheet.
He checks in this week with the most consistent performers on the year.
Some people you just cannot trust.
O.J. Simpson says he never killed his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson or her friend Ronald Goldman. Bill Clinton says he "did not have sexual relations with that woman, Monica Lewinsky." Roger Clemens says he did not take steroids. (Wait, that's not the right video...) Today, Chris Landry, formerly of Sportsnet.ca, denied plagiarism of Andrew Brandt and Mike Lombardi of NationalFootballPost.com.
Heck, I couldn't trust anyone that said you can trust any of those examples.
On the same note, there are some football players you can't trust week-in, week-out for your fantasy team. Last year, Chad
Johnson Ocho Cinco Ochocinco Johnson had 87.2 fantasy points in his three highest-scoring games, and 104.8 in his other 13 games. This year, his teammate T.J. Houshmandzadeh has 62 fantasy points in his three highest-scoring games, and just 43 in his other nine games.
You wouldn't want to trust either of them as your No. 1 or 2 wide receiver going into the fantasy playoffs.
Similarly, you could trust Willis McGahee last year—he had double-digit fantasy points in every game heading into the playoffs, but unfortunately burned some with two games under six fantasy points in Weeks 14 through 16 and was injured in the final week of the season.
What about this year? Who are the safest choices for your fantasy team, and who are the biggest risk/reward players?
I looked at the week-to-week consistency of the top-15 quarterbacks, top-25 running backs, and top-30 wideouts by looking at the standard deviation of their game-by-game stats. Standard deviation effectively measures how far a set of values (in this case, week-by-week production) is away from the mean; here's a more detailed definition. A lower standard deviation means that the player usually produces the same each week, a higher meaning that you can't predict the player's performance.
In order to take away from those players who seem to get five carries for 20 yards each and every week (and therefore would have a standard deviation almost near zero), I found a player's real value by dividing their fantasy points per game, by the standard deviation of the week-by-week fantasy points per game—if player X scores 15 fantasy points per game and has a standard deviation of five, his "value" would be three, 15 divided by five. Doing this makes a higher score better.
I did this for different statistics for each position, to see, for example, if a running back was getting the same amount of carries per week but much different amounts of rushing yards. Here are the results.
- Jason Campbell has been sneakily consistent this year. His week-by-week fantasy point totals are as follows: 9, 17, 18, 18, 8, 10, 11, 15, 5, 11, 15, 11. Only one single-digit game since Week Two equals fantasy playoff starter-worthy.
- No. 3 on this list is Matt Ryan, who, like Campbell, has only one single-digit fantasy point game since Week Three. Both he and Campbell are must-starts if you are sitting with Ben Roethlisberger or Jake Delhomme at quarterback. You know you'll get 12 points out of them.
- Nos. 6 through 10 are the heavyweights, if you will. Just because they are below . Let me repeat: just because they are below Campbell and Ryan does NOT mean you bench them for a rookie quarterback.
- McNabb would have a 2.53 value, just above Jay Cutler, if his -3.1-point stinker against the Ravens was taken out. Don't take too much into his low spot.
- Drew Brees is No. 2 on the passing yards value list—that is phenomenal considering he has just a bit more passing yards than Kurt Warner, who is 10 spots lower than Brees.
- Want a very nice flex play this week? Check out Derrick Ward. In his past five games, he's averaged 18 touches, 94 yards, and 11.8 fantasy points. Even with Brandon Jacobs ahead of him, he's had eight games with more than eight fantasy points since Week Two, and has had more than five fantasy points in every game on the year.
- Last year, Adrian Peterson was so inconsistent his fantasy point value was a paltry 1.24. He's silenced his critics this year with just three single-digit games on the season.
- DeAngelo Williams is No. 20 on the fantasy points value list. But if you only look at Week Five, when he started to become a real fantasy force, and beyond, his value in that category jumps to 2.23. He was incredibly consistent from Weeks One through Four, and Five through Thirteen—but if you combine them together he's not.
- Jamal Lewis is far and away the best in yards value. Just look at his week-by-week yardage total. He's as sure of a thing for 80 yards as anyone.
- Wes Welker has been considered a bust thus far, but he's near the top in fantasy points, targets, and receiving yards value. He's had at least six targets in every game, 50 yards in all but two, and five fantasy points in all but two games on the year. With the Seahawks coming up this week, he's a great start if you need a safe, reliable option.
- Near the bottom of the fantasy points list are all the long-catch guys. They either get a 60-yard touchdown catch or 30 yards on the day, which I why I like to stick with the Wes Welkers of the world over the Bernard Berrians.
- If you have Santana Moss as your No. 1 wideout, you better hope he goes off for 140 yards. Moss has six games under 60 yards receiving, and he's averaging only 6.2 fantasy points per game if you take out his three big games over 140 yards.