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2011 Draft Prep: Why consistency matters

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It sounds obvious, but to win your Fantasy leagues year in and year out, you must first make the playoffs. That has to be the goal from Day 1: to build a team that will do well enough week in and week out to get you into the dance and give you a chance to take home the biggest prize.

Show me an owner who has made the playoffs 10 out of 10 years and never won the big one versus a player who won two titles during that span and missed the playoffs the other eight times and I'd tell you the ringless wonder is actually the better Fantasy player. Why? Because he is consistently productive and consistently in the hunt for the money and the title.

For more from Nathan check out his website at thefantasyconsultant.com

Many people are too hung up on the final season totals of a player and are not focused nearly enough on how players got to those totals. The journey to those totals is at the very least as important as the totals themselves because you need consistency on your team to win week in and week out. For example, Player A has 130 points after 13 weeks and so does Player B. Player A just chugged along with 10 solid points every single week. Player B, on the other hand, had five games of 21 points and eight games of 3.1 points. They both would finish in the exact place in the rankings, but Player A would have been the better player in eight of the 13 weeks and Player B would have had those Fantasy crippling duds in 61.5 percent of his games. Yuck.

Here is a better real world example from the last few years: In 2005 Santana Moss was the third-ranked Fantasy receiver and yet he only gave you 100-plus yards or a touchdown in six games. A closer inspection reveals that eight of his nine total touchdowns and 108 of his 202 Fantasy points came in four monster games. That's right, over 50 percent of his production occured in just four games. He had only six games of double digit Fantasy points and in his other 10 games he averaged just 7.0 points per game and had four duds with less than 60 yards and without a score.

So yes, Moss was the third-ranked Fantasy wide receiver that year, but in 10 of his 16 games he was average at best. Not surprisingly, Moss was not even among the top 20 players in terms of being on the highest percentage of championship teams that year.

In that same year, Larry Fitzgerald produced 205 Fantasy points (so he was basically the same as Moss), but he was far more consistent. Fitzgerald gave you 100-plus yards or a touchdown in 12 games that year, best among all wide receivers. He had four big games like Moss (although not quite as big) and had three duds himself, but in 12 of the 16 games you got solid, consistent and winning double-digit production. Does it shock you to learn that Fitz was the receiver on the highest percentage of championship teams from that season? Of course not, and if you had to pick between the two on Draft Day, Fitz would be the easy obvious choice despite averaging just .18 points more per week based on the end of season totals.

So how do I quantify consistency among the various positions? While we can debate on what the thresholds should be, the following is how I have been determining the consistency of a player at the various positions.

For quarterbacks: Any game with 300 yards passing (as many leagues give a nice bonus at 300 yards) or 300 total yards (to help running QBs) with a touchdown or any game with 200-plus yards and two-plus touchdowns will count.
For running backs: Any game with 100 yards rushing, 150 total yards or a game with a touchdown will count as a good game.
For wide receivers: A game with 100 yards or a touchdown.
For tight ends: A game with 60-plus yards or a touchdown.
For kickers: A game with multiple field goals made.

It should also be noted that games missed due to injury or suspension do not help your Fantasy teams, so they do not help the players in the consistency rating. It truly tells the flat percentage out of 16 games every year that a player will deliver a solid Fantasy total to your team whether they are active or not ... period. After all, truly being consistent means being on the field and producing points week after week.

So now that you can see why this matters, how do you use it to your advantage? I find that the consistency rate data is very helpful both in the preseason when drafting and also during the regular season when seeking out trade targets. For drafting purposes, a player's historical consistency rate both in the prior season and over the previous three years helps me choose between similarly ranked players and as you may have guessed, early on in my drafts, I will always go for the more consistent player to anchor my roster.

Charting the consistency data has also allowed me to identify trends among the positions which have helped me to shape my draft strategies. In a nutshell, I have found that the elite quarterbacks and the elite tight ends are the most consistent producers each year (definitely on a games played basis) and are the most reliably consistent producers year after year. On the flip side, the running back and wide receiver positions have lower consistency rates each year among the starters than the other positions, while also having much more turnover at the top year in and year out (to the tune of 50 percent year over year).

Not only do you have big bunches of running backs and wide receivers with similar consistency rates, but the individual players who are in the top 24 changes dramatically year after year. That is why, in a nutshell, I think you want to have a consistent stud quarterback and an wlite tight end on your teams while loading up on as many good running back and receiver candidates as you can possibly get. Sure, you need target some consistent anchors at running back and receiver early in the draft, but then you want to grab as many good options as possible at those spots and hope you hit on some lottery tickets.

Now that you have a little background on what the consistency rates are and how they can be helpful to you, here is a look at the consistency leaders by position in 2008, 2009, 2010 and then across all three years.

Glossary
Target Conversion Rate or Catch Rate (TCR): The percentage of a player's targets (passes thrown to them) that are converted into receptions. Over 60 percent is excellent, 66 percent is elite and under 52.5 percent is worrisome.
Yards per Target (YPT): A player's receiving yards divided by his targets. In other words, the numbers of yards a team gains on average every time they attempt a pass to a certain player. Over 10 is exceptional, over 8 is solid and 6 or lower is horrendous.
Red Zone Opportunities: A player's total number of pass+rush+targets inside the opponent's 20 yard line
Red Zone TD Rate: The percentage of a player's Red Zone opportunities that result in a TD
Goal Line Opportunities: A player's total number of pass+rush+targets inside the opponent's 5 yard line
Goal Line TD Rate: The percentage of a player's Goal Line opportunities that result in a TD
Consistency Rate: The percentage of quality starts a player gives you out of 16 games. For QBs that is a game with 300+ yards passing OR multiple TDs. For RBs/WRs: A game with 100+ yards rush/rec or a game with a TD. For TEs: A game with 60+ yards receiving or a TD. For a Kicker: A game with multiple FGs.
Big Game Rate: The percentage of dominant starts a player gives you out of 16 games (games missed with injury count as a bad game since they do not help your Fantasy teams). For a QB that is a game with 300+ yards and 2+ TDs or 200+ yards and 3+ TDs. For a RB/WR that is a game with 100+ combined rush/rec yards and a TD or a game with multiple TDs. For a TE that is a game of 60+ yards and a TD, 100+ yards or a game with multiple TDs.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Nathan at @TFConsultant .

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Player News
Seahawks re-sign Demarcus Dobbs
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(4:12 pm ET) The Seahawks re-signed defensive lineman Demarcus Dobbs to a one-year contract on Sunday.

Dobbs' agent, Wesley Spencer confirmed the news on Twitter.

Dobbs joined the Seahawks in November after being waived by San Francisco. He had six tackles in four games with the Seahawks. 


C.J. Anderson enters offseason as Broncos top RB
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3:19 pm ET) Broncos coach Gary Kubiak declared that C.J. Anderson was the team's starting running back entering OTAs. 

"He made a big jump as a player, and I think he's earned the right to walk in to the offseason program -- the OTAs -- and line up as our starter," Kubiak said, per DenverBroncos.com. "But he's got to continue to earn it on a daily basis. I think he's shown he has all the ability to be an excellent starter in this league, so we're really looking forward to working with him."

Anderson rushed for 849 yards and eight touchdowns last season, most coming late in the season, after Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman went down to injury. 

"All those guys are young. I think all three of those guys ... have all kind of had their little spurts of success with the club when they've had their opportunity," Kubiak said. "But they're all young. Who's going to be the bell cow, who's going to play every down, who's going to be the three-down player, they've got to sort that out. C.J. has shown the flashes of doing that."


Erin Henderson will meet with Jets
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(2:39 pm ET) Linebacker Erin Henderson has scheduled a meeting with the Jets. Henderson is looking to reenter the NFL after sitting out last season, following his release from the Vikings.

Henderson met with the 49ers GM and coach on Thursday and also had dinner with the team's linebacker coach, his agent told the Sacramento Bee


Jared Allen tells Bears 'I'm still good, really'
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(2:12 pm ET) Bears defensive end Jared Allen met with coach John Fox and GM Ryan Pace at last week's NFL Owners' Meetings to tell them he's not on the decline. 

"I was less anxious and so much more eager to talk to them," Allen said, per NFL.com. "Just to say, 'Hey guys. I know the film from last year only shows 5.5 sacks. But don't believe that's all I have left. I'm good still. Really."

Allen also said he was willing to play a stand-up pass rushing spot instead of the hand-in-the-dirt stance he's used most of his career. "It requires you to refocus and rekindle your energy," he said. "You can't get stuck in your same old patterns."


Saints' Brian Dixon arrested for resisting officer
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(11:45 am ET) Saints cornerback Brian Dixon was arrested in Miami on Sunday morning. He's been charged with resisting an officer, per the Times-Picayune.

According to the New Orleans Advocate, Dixon was pulled over for riding a moped. He questioned the officer about why that wasn't permitted, which led to his arrest. 

Dixon was booked at 5:50 AM and was being held on $1,000 bond. The team is aware of the incident, and NFL security is investigating. 

Later in the morning, Dixon tweeted, "It hurts to know that I wasn't causing no trouble and was fully cooperating. :( "


Report: LB Desmond Bishop will visit 49ers
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Linebacker Desmond Bishop will visit the 49ers on Monday, according to csnbayarea.com.

Bishop played in two games for the 49ers last season after beginning the year with the Cardinals. After losing both Patrick Willis and Chris Borland to retirement, the team is looking for linebackers.

Over his eight-year NFL career, the 30-year-old has 299 total tackles, nine sacks, nine passes defensed, one interception and eight forced fumbles.


Packers want to keep RB Eddie Lacy fresh this season
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Packers head coach Mike McCarthy is working on ways to keep running back Eddie Lacy fresh this season, reports the Journal Sentinel.

McCarthy had talks with Lacy at the end of the last two seasons talking about his number of snaps and what he expected of the running back.

"I really felt that last year's conversation was more important than this year's, the ability to make a huge jump from Year One to Two, being a three-down player, that was something we stressed from Day One, and I thought he delivered," McCarthy said at the NFL owners meetings this week.

The head coach liked the way that the team used Lacy last season, limiting his snaps early in the year before increasing them as the season wore on.

"Maybe not run attempts," McCarthy said of hitting the target he set. "But I thought we were really smart the way we used him....I thought his pass protection he made a huge jump, and his ability to play out of the backfield.

"Eddie has excellent hands, and just his understand and his feel with Aaron, he definitely made a step."

In his first two seasons in the NFL, the 24-year-old has 2,317 yards rushing and 20 touchdowns. He has also added 77 receptions for 684 yards and four touchdown catches. 


Vikings CB Captain Munnerlyn working to earn starting spot
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Although Vikings cornerback Captain Munnerlyn likes the addition of Terence Newman to the team, he believes that he will beat him out for a starting job, reports twincities.com.

“I’m ready for the competition,’’ Munnerlyn told the Pioneer Press on Saturday. “I’m an athlete, so I never feel like anyone can beat me out. I feel I can hold onto the job. I’m betting on myself.’’

Munnerlyn, a six-year veteran, seems to embrace the competition that will be had at the cornerback spot.

“I think it’s great,’’ said Munnerlyn, a six-year veteran. “He’s a veteran. It’s great for competition. It will bring out the best in me. I’m excited about the competition. I just know that I’ve got to play a lot better than I did last year.’’

There have been a lot of questions this offseason as to whether or not he will settle in as the team's nickel back. He wants to shed the label of being relegated to the nickel spot.

“I don’t want that to happen,’’ Munnerlyn said. “I’ve been labeled my whole career as just a nickel back but I’ve been able to show people I’m more than that. But I know that I’ve got to work hard this offseason."
The 26-year-old has registered 343 total tackles, 5.5 sacks, 44 passes defensed, nine interceptions -- five of which were returned for touchdowns -- and three forced fumbles.

Packers still interested in signing FB John Kuhn
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) The Packers are still interested in signing fullback John Kuhn to the roster, reports the Journal Sentinel.

When head coach Mike McCarthy was asked if Kuhn still has value, he replied, "Absolutely."

"I've always looked at the fullback and tight end position as one. I feel you have to have flexibility and versatility within those two positions. It keeps you in and out of a number of different personnel groups."

Kuhn, 32, has spent eight of his nine seasons with the Packers, rushing for 591 yards and 18 touchdowns. As a receiving option, the fullback has 76 receptions for 516 yards and eight touchdowns.


CB Lardarius Webb wants to finish career with Ravens
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) After restructuring his contract with the Ravens, cornerback Lardarius Webb wants to finish his career with the team, according to the Baltimore Sun.

Webb recently agreed to a contract restructure that dropped his cap number from $12 million to $9.25 million.

"My goal is to retire a Raven and, while it wasn’t an easy decision, I wanted to put the team first," Webb told The Baltimore Sun. "I wanted to prove myself this year that the Ravens sticking with me was the right decision. The Ravens reached out to my agent, Marc Lillibridge, a few weeks before the scouting combine and they were talking and working hard together to get something done. I'm glad it's done."

Webb, 29, has spent his entire six-year career with the Ravens, posting 301 total tackles, two sacks, 71 passes defensed, 11 interceptions and two forced fumbles.


 
 
 
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