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Drafting The Most Consistent Fantasy Football Players

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As training camps begin to open across the NFL we can start to take one eye off of baseball and turn half of our fantasy-obsessed brains towards fantasy football drafts. A great way to break the ice on your 2018 fantasy football summer reading is to check out the work done by casino.ca on the most consistent fantasy football players over the past three seasons. Here we get a great sense of which players have truly been consistent fantasy point gainers and which players have hit us with frustrating up and down seasons.

Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of this project is what a fantasy team could potentially look like if an owner had the first pick in a draft or final pick in a draft (assuming a 12-team league). Using player consistency as a guiding star we find we could draft a potentially winning team even when stuck with the 12th pick in a draft. Note: consistency was determined by stats over the past three seasons using data from pro-football-reference.com.

Using ESPN’s Average Draft Position here are the following picks casino.ca was able to draft with pick 12 in a mock draft:

 

  1. Todd Gurley
  2. DeAndre Hopkins
  3. Larry Fitzgerald
  4. Mark Ingram Jr.
  5. Delanie Walker
  6. Russell Wilson
  7. Latavius Murray

 

Again, using ESPN’s Average Draft Position here are the following picks casino.ca was able to make when assuming the first overall pick:

 

  1. Antonio Brown
  2. DeAndre Hopkins
  3. Lamar Miller
  4. Mark Ingram Jr.
  5. Russell Wilson
  6. Latavius Murray
  7. Delanie Walker

 

The great takeaway from these first seven picks:  “In our models, the ideal use of the 12th-place pick would yield a maximum of 1,505 fantasy points, or 102 more than our first-pick dream team.”

So for all of us who grind our teeth when stuck with the last pick in our drafts may now have a new weapon in our arsenal (or at least a dose of Valium to calm our nerves) when participating in our fantasy football drafts this coming season: drafting the year-to-year consistent player. Essentially we are looking to year-to-year “sustained performance” to guide us in our fantasy drafts.

Furthermore, in both drafts, we are able to grab the most consistent fantasy football quarterback over the past three seasons:

And the third-most consistent wide receiver over the past three seasons:

When looking at quarterbacks we should stay focused more on Cam Newtown and Russell Wilson ahead of players like Tom Brady and Drew Brees as we get — fantasy-points-wise — an overall more consistent player.

Keeping our minds focused on the consistent player also can help us avoid overvaluing certain players coming off of career years: notably, Matt Ryan. In 2017 we saw Ryan produce a whopping 355 fantasy points only to fall back to earth in 2017 with 230 fantasy points. Keeping ourselves disciplined in our drafts by keeping recent historical data at hand can truly help an owner avoid a mistake as the minutes count down when they’re on the clock.

It should be noted that while we can use our consistent-model approach to drafting a team (especially if stuck with the 12th-pick in a draft) we don’t have to ignore those “delicious risks” as casino.ca so eloquently put it. If we can draft the core of a winning team with our first seven picks we get much more flexibility toward the end of our drafts to focus on those gambles.

There is, of course, a level of pure uncertainty going into all drafts and one injury can turn our best laid draft plans into a quick dumpster fire of a season. But if we follow the consistent-player data and do not let ourselves get wide-eyed purely over big names we at least have constructed the backbone of a fantasy team that should keep us competitive all season long.

Photo Credit: By Larry Maurer [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

ESPN’s Average Draft Position Can Be Found Here

More Information Can Be Found on Casino.ca

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