Measuring Consistency: Quarterbacks (2021 Fantasy Football)
Earlier in this (fantasy) offseason, I ran a summarized version of my Measuring Consistency series, in which I briefly highlighted the top-performing players in terms of average points scored per week and how volatile their production was in 2020. We all know Kyler Murray and Alvin Kamara were premier performers at their respective positions in fantasy football last year, but did you know they were quite volatile, on average, week-to-week? However, we all remember their ceilings and potential to win any given week for your fantasy teams, so their relative volatility wasn’t that concerning. But what about the other players at their positions?
In this series, I analyze every startable player’s weekly performances to understand their average production before clustering and indexing them against their respective positional groups. After reviewing each position group’s top players in a standard 1QB, 3WR, 2RB, 1TE league (i.e., top 18 QBs, top 24 RBs, top 36 WRs, and top 18 TEs), we can order players whom we should target in our upcoming drafts. Additionally, considering none of these players were particularly awful (they were primary startable players at their positions after all), I will spotlight stellar and middling performances depending on their average production and volatility, measured by their coefficient of variation (CV).
In this initial article, let’s focus on quarterbacks.
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Data, Visualization, & Analysis
Examining the QB landscape presented a unique takeaway: most QB1s produced well with limited volatility. Of course, this isn’t a universal truth; Russell Wilson and the Kyler Murray cooling late when managers needed them the most. Alternatively, Lamar Jackson underwhelmed fantasy managers throughout most of the season but heated up in the fantasy playoffs.
- Matt Ryan (13th highest scorer; 16.6 PPG; 49.3 CV)
- Cam Newton (16th highest scorer; 16.5 PPG; 64.4 CV)
Overall, these data suggest that in 1QB leagues, you should simply wait and take one ranked as a low-end option (e.g., Jalen Hurts or Ryan Tannehill). There’s a high likelihood that he’ll produce similar to a top option who’s way more expensive. Furthermore, even if you’re incredibly risk-averse and aren’t fully comfortable with selecting just a low-end QB1, you can simply draft another QB later in your drafts who has a high ceiling to complement your presumed starter.
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Whether you’re new to fantasy football or a seasoned pro, our Fantasy Football 101: Strategy Tips & Advice page is for you. You can get started with Starting Your Own Fantasy Football League or head to a more advanced strategy – like What is the Right Amount of Risk to Absorb on Draft Day? – to learn more.
Jared Lese is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Jared, check out his archive and follow him @JaredL_FF.