Consistency Factor

It's one of many time proven variables used
in our Classic Cheat Sheet Ranking Process

A few years ago, certain NFL players had minimal fantasy impact, yet they ended the regular season as elite red-hot Fantasy Football studs. In a nutshell, they were Dazzling Finishers.

On the flip side, other NFL players a had a huge drop in productivity during the second half of the NFL season. For various reasons, as the year progressed, output steadily declined, often by 40-60%.

At the start of each NFL season, based on prior year performance, two groups can be formed: the Dazzling Finishers and the Fading Heroes. For the serious Fantasy Football enthusiast, this raises several questions and some corresponding opportunity.


1) Should extra credit and consideration be given to last year’s Dazzling Finishers?

2) Likewise, in preparing for the upcoming season, should Fading Heroes be devalued due to their recent late season decline?

3) How large should the above adjustments be?

Below, we'll briefly address the three questions above and give you something you can use. To do this, we’ll determine appropriate historical odds and then show you how to apply this information.

Over 31,000 NFL player performances were examined over many NFL seasons. Each NFL season examined was divided into two periods. The Early Season (NFL Week 1-8) and the Late Season (NFL Week 9-17).

A precise definition for Dazzling Finisher was crafted. For a given year, a player had to satisfy two conditions in order to be considered a Dazzling Finisher.

1) A player’s Late Season Fantasy Point production had to be at least 50% greater than his Early Season production.

2) A player’s Late Season output needs to be dazzling, or at very least visible on the Fantasy Football radar screen. Example: for running backs and wide receivers, this essentially equates to about 60 yards and 0.3 TDs per game.

With our working definition of a Dazzling Finisher in place, we now turn to the Fading Hero. In order for a player to fall into this segment, he would have to meet the following criteria.

1) A player’s Late Season Fantasy Point production must have decreased by at least 30%, when compared to his Early Season output from that same year. However, the production drop could not be traced to a reported issue. In other words, we will not categorize a player as a Fading Hero if his decrease in productivity is a direct result of significant missed playing time. In short, the Fading Hero segment is limited to men that played in 5 or more games over the last nine weeks of the season.

2) A player’s Early Season Fantasy Point average must have exceeded a reasonable level (again for RB and WR that works out to 60 yards and 0.3 TDs per game).

So, in essence, a Fading Hero is a serviceable or stud-like player that suits up for 5-9 games over the last 9 weeks of the NFL regular season, but his Late Season Fantasy output is no greater than 70% of his Early Season production.

Finally, a segment for players displaying consistency over the course of a season was created. We fondly called this group Steady Eddy (+).

Criteria for membership into this segment consisted of two conditions.

1) A player’s Early and Late Season Fantasy Point production had to be very similar. Both the Early and Late Season production levels had to be within 20% of each other. If not, the player was excluded from this segment.

2) Player production had to reach a respectable fantasy level. Again, for WR and RB this works out to 60 yards and 0.3 TD per game.

With formal definitions completed, it’s now time to arm you with some historically proven information. Information you can use to gain a competitive advantage.

To determine historical odds, computer analysis was used to exhaustively examine years of NFL action and find every occurrence of a player meeting either the Fading Hero, Dazzling Finisher or Steady Eddy (+) criteria. If, in a given year, a player did not fall into any of the three segments, he was assigned to the ‘All Other’ bucket. We then carefully aggregated Fantasy point production by segment and computed averages for both the Early and Late Season timeframes.

Next, we examined how each player actually performed the following season. Table I contains the results.

Table I - Player Output, Following Season

Segment Early
Season FF
Season FF
Point Avg.
FF Point
Fading Hero 12.2 6.7 7.3
Dazzling Finisher 5.7 12.6 6.9
Steady Eddy (+) 12.8 12.8 9.6

There are several key points to be made here.

First, don’t overreact to 2nd half NFL performance. Don’t outsmart yourself and assign extra value to a player because he ended last season in strong fashion (note the word extra was underlined).

On average, don’t expect last year’s Dazzling Finishers to sustain their Late Season high-level pace for the duration of the upcoming season. If you do, you’re fighting the odds and over the long run, point blank, you won’t make it. Let’s be clear here, on average, the data tells us this group will not generate Fantasy Football points over the entire upcoming season with the same proficiency as they did over the 2nd half of last year. This isn’t just advice, it’s a fact based on exhaustive review of years of NFL action. In the long run, it’s like saying 2+2=4 or a fair coin will come up heads 50% of the time.

Overall, the odds of a Dazzling Finisher having a top-rate Fantasy Football season next year are actually equivalent to that of a player from our dubious Fading Herosegment. In fact, from Table I, we see a Dazzling Finisher, on average, actually generates 5% fewer points the following year than his counterpart, the rather suspicious Fading Hero.

Bottom line? Remember, on average, a Fading Hero is just as likely to have a good statistical year, over the course of the upcoming season, as is a Dazzling Finisher. Again the message is don’t overact to late season performance.

Among our three segments, a player from the Steady Eddy (+) category is the one most likely to have a productive upcoming season. While this finding may not be that big of a surprise, let's reflect and think about the implications.

Table I shows us, over the entire upcoming season, rock-solid and consistent Steady Eddy (+) players will, on average, tally 39% (9.6 vs. 6.9) more Fantasy Points than player’s found in the Dazzling Finishers segment. Players, who demonstrate consistent, but perhaps not spectacular performance, over an entire year, can often be overlooked and somewhat taken for granted. Yet, when looking ahead to the upcoming season, don’t forget, on average, last year’s Steady Eddy (+) will consistently win out over last year’s Dazzling Finisher.

Again, the take here is don’t get overly excited about a player that was running hot late last season. If you do, you might pass up a comparable Steady Eddie. If that happens, in the long run, you’ll be kissing away 39% of your roster spot potential.

Herein, we’ve outlined several powerful high-yield techniques that you can put into practice. With this knowledge, you now have an advantage over numerous uniformed Fantasy Football owners. These simply but vital techniques will help you gain a true competitive advantage on draft day.

Finally, and best yet -- as always, Consistency Factors are built into your Classic-Style Cheat Sheet Rankings.