Who Are the Most Consistent Fantasy Football Quarterbacks?
What are we looking for in a starting-caliber fantasy quarterback? Obviously, it’s a good thing if he tends to score a lot of fantasy points, but it’s a bonus if he does so on a consistent basis. That way, we can start him with the confidence that he’s going to produce in any given week. (Conversely, DFS enthusiasts looking for a big hitter in a large contest may be looking for inconsistency instead.)
In order to determine which quarterbacks are consistent, I calculated each passer’s Coefficient of Variation (CV), which is the ratio of the player’s week-to-week standard deviation (in fantasy points scored) to his PPG average.
CV = standard deviation / PPG
Standard deviation measures the amount of variation within a data set, and dividing it by the mean allows us to compare two players with very different levels of production (e.g. Andrew Luck vs. Brian Hoyer).
CV can be expressed as a percentage, so the lower the number the more consistent the player.
Below is a list of the 34 veteran quarterbacks with at least a decent chance to start Week 1. In addition to their PPG and CV, I’ve included each player’s games started over the past two seasons. I didn’t include any Week 17 games since teams often rest starters that week. 2015 rookies (Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota) or new starters (Tyrod Taylor) will have less data with which to work.
Keep in mind that while all games started are included, it doesn’t mean that the game was successfully finished. I figured that in-game injuries should be included in this study as it’s a part of the overall consistency (and risk) of the quarterback.
|Player Name||Team||2-YR GS||2-YR PPG||PPG RANK||2-YR CV||2015 CV|
A few thoughts...
- Carson Palmer has been the most consistent QB over the past two years owning the #7 PPG (19.4) and the #1 CV (23%).
- Other than Palmer, Tom Brady has been the best of the bunch in terms of combining a top 10 PPG with a low CV. Andrew Luck, Drew Brees, Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton and Philip Rivers have been pretty solid in both areas as well.
- Nine of the top 10 PPG passers show up in the top half of CV. The lone exception was Ben Roethlisberger, who has had a couple of tumultuous seasons due to injury (2015) and a very boom-or-bust 2014, where he had a pair of six-touchdown games but also threw for one or fewer touchdowns in half of his games.
- Provided the Bills don’t draft a quarterback, Tyrod Taylor is my favorite sleeper at the position. He had the #7 PPG last year but is the 20th passer off the board in early drafts. It doesn’t hurt that he had the 5th-best consistency last year, either.
- Jameis Winston (27%) was consistent while Marcus Mariota (60%) was not. Some of this had to do with Winston’s ability to stay healthy, but he was also able to put up at least decent numbers in every game. Winston didn’t score fewer than 12.4 FP in any game last year.
- Blake Bortles was significantly more consistent (32%) in his second season than he was as a rookie (40%).
- When I did this study last year, Tony Romo landed in the top 10. If he stays healthy, I’m assuming that his CV will drop significantly.
- Alex Smith, Jay Cutler, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Tannehill and Joe Flacco are all going in the 14th round or later, yet their respective per-game averages only miss the top 12 by 1.5 points (or less). The cost of QB production is so cheap these days.
As a fantasy owner, I want my team to be as consistent as possible, as it will typically result in fewer “wasted” points and more wins over the long haul. I won’t rank the position based on CV, but, like Strength of Schedule, it can be used as a tiebreaker between similarly-ranked players.