Quick, which QB was more consistent last year, Cam Newton or Drew Brees?
A consistent player is one you can rely on.
In statistics and probability, standard deviation is a measure of consistency, or lack there of. In addition to expressing the variability of a population, the standard deviation is commonly used to measure confidence in statistical conclusions. It’s a long, complicated formula but when applied to the world of fantasy football, it is a valuable tool when making starting lineup decisions. Let’s say Player One scores 10 points every week of the season. Player Two scores 20 points in half of his games, and 0 points in the remaining games. At a glance, you would see they both average 10 points per game. Since you don’t know in advance which weeks Player Two was going to score 20 points, you’d be gambling every time you start him… what if he puts up a zero? Give me the guy who you know will score 10 every week every time. Keep in mind, a lower standard deviation means more consistency. So, when looking at the top 25 fantasy QB’s in 2013, who was the most consistent?
Well, that was anti-climactic. He was literally the 19th best fantasy QB, but gee whiz was he consistent. You probably (hopefully) weren’t starting Flacco too much last year. So maybe there’s a better way to look at this. I’m going to break up the list of top 25 QB’s into groups of five. That way, we can see, for instance, out of the top 5 fantasy QB’s… who was the most consistent?
The above players were the top five fantasy QB’s in 2013. The first thing that may jump out at you is Peyton Manning being the least consistent among the top 5 QB’s. Well, remember in week 1, when he scored over 40 fantasy points? Such a ridiculously outstanding performance ended up skewing his consistency. If you subtract that performance, his standard deviation would have been 7.69. That would have ranked 2nd in this group. Personally, I was surprised to see that Cam Newton was so consistent. I’ve always had it in my head that he was an inconsistent player, which is probably the result of his inconsistent body language (Superman when he wins, Stuperman when he loses). I’m going to need to take a better look at Newton when evaluating him this year.
There’s my boy, Russell Wilson, Mr. Consistency. I think he’s only going to get better. Give me a QB who scores 16-18 fantasy points every week. On the other end of the spectrum we have Colin Kaepernick, who has always just felt like an inconsistent fantasy QB. This data confirms it.
I have to say that I would completely disregard Nick Foles inconsistency. He had a record-tying 7 TD performance in week 9. And there were weeks where he played only a portion of the game due to injury situations. However, I was surprised to see Alex Smith’s performance was so erratic. Don’t you kinda think of him as a guy who isn’t overly spectacular, not overly dreadful, and puts up 14-16 points every week? Not the case.
I put the rest of the field into one big cluster. These are guys that you probably weren’t starting in 2013, but perhaps may be worth a look in 2014. It’s interesting that the least productive QBs are consistent in their lack of productivity.
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