Bob Lung discusses the consistency of fantasy football wide receivers.
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Is the Fantasy world changing for wide receivers? Last year, there were only three receivers over 300 points and all three barely cleared the mark (307, 306 and 300, respectively). This is only half of the six receivers over 300 in 2015. In fact, this is the lowest number of 300-point receivers since there were only three in 2012. Therefore, it’s very important to identify the consistent receivers more than just the high-scoring receivers.
A quick recap for those unfamiliar with the Clutch Games system. The Head-to-Head (H2H) format in Fantasy Football leads to the need for consistency. Many teams have been near the top of their league in scoring, but miss the playoffs by one or two games. Many will call it “bad luck” and that’s partially true. Injuries to key players, bad weather, etc. are situations that affect our fantasy teams but are uncontrollable. However, there is one aspect of fantasy football that you can control. The consistency of your team!
A Clutch Game is awarded to a player each week when they exceed the Clutch Game Factor in your league for that position. The more Clutch Games a player is awarded each year, the more consistent that player is and the more beneficial they are to your Fantasy team.
Let’s look at those wide receivers ranked in their projected tier for 2017 and show you their 2016 total points and consistency and where they ranked in those categories in 2016.
So, let’s start with the top tier of wide receivers.
The top Tier is reserved for those receivers who have the ability to earn an Expected Clutch Rating of 80%+ in 2017. All of these receivers have once in their careers earned this high Clutch Rating. This includes last year’s rookie, Michael Thomas. He takes over the top spot in the Saints offense with the departure of Brandin Cooks. Antonio Brown is a Top 5 overall pick in 2017 and Jordy Nelson shouldn’t be too far behind. His current ADP is WR7/pick 14, so you can wait a little bit if you want. If you notice Julio Jones low Clutch Rate of 64% in 2016, then you’ll understand my concern for his ability to reach 80% in 2017. Jones has earned 80% in the past, but the Falcons never did very well as a team when that happened. They went to the Super Bowl when Matt Ryan used ALL of his weapons in 2016. So, be cautious in taking Julio too high in 2017.
This Tier is a combination of WR1B and WR2A. Their Expected Clutch Ratings for 2017 should be between 65-69% (WR2A) and 70-80% (WR1B). I believe of the WR1B foursome, T.Y. Hilton is the most reliable pick. Very little has changed on his team for 2017, while Mike Evans and Keenan Allen both have new weapons on their teams which may hurt their targets this year. DeAndre Hopkins will have either Tom “Nacho Man” Savage or a rookie in DeShaun Watson. There’s room for improvement, but I’m still a little worried.
The Raiders’ combo of Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree are great fantasy receivers. The difference is Cooper’s ADP of WR9 and Crabtree’s ADP of WR21, even though Crabtree’s Clutch Rating was better than Cooper’s (69% vs 63%). So, you see the value there, right? Golden Tate’s ADP is currently at WR24, which makes him undervalued as well.
So, the first part of this Tier is WR2B. These are receivers who should earn an Expected Clutch Ratings of 60-65%. Now, if you’re wondering why there are four receivers who earned OVER 75% last year in this group, then you’re not alone! Let’s start with Donte Moncrief. He’s very consistent WHEN he’s on the field. There’s the problem. His current ADP is WR28. If you can draft him as your WR3, fantastic! He’s worth it! Julian Edelman and Brandin Cook have the same problem. They play for the same team now! If I had to pick between them, I’d take Edelman, because there’s a history between him and Brady. Cooks hasn’t earned that trust just yet. Lastly, Larry Fitzgerald is still a solid pick as your WR2 or WR3. However, I do not believe he’s going to end the season ranked second in consistency in 2017 as he did in 2016.
One quick consistency stat for Tyreek Hill. Over the last eight games of 2016, only TWO receivers earned more Clutch Games than Hill. His current ADP is WR26. He’s a very solid WR2 pick, but even better WR3 pick.
In the Tier WR3A, I believe if anyone can have a comeback season, it’s Allen Robinson in Jacksonville. Blake Bortles is working very hard to improve his mechanics. That should improve Robinson’s consistency in 2017. The others have too much risk for me especially since they have dropped in consistency from 2015 to 2016.
All of these receivers have an Expected Clutch Ratings of around 50-54%. Not great, but not terrible. Some of these receivers have a potential for a higher ceiling. Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall were former teammates in the NFC East, and now they are opponents. Jeffery is the true No. 1 receiver in Philadelphia while Marshall is second fiddle to Odell Beckham Jr. We’ll see if either one has any fantasy consistency left in the tank for 2017. I’ll pick Jeffery over Marshall at this point. Taylor Gabriel earned all six of his Clutch Games in the last nine games last year. His current ADP is WR70! He’s a great sleeper at this point.
Well, there are your Expected Clutch Rankings for 2017 with some consistency rankings for the wide receivers in 2016 to support it. If you didn’t make the playoffs and you had Julio Jones on your roster can’t understand why, I hope this helped clear things up.