High Ceiling, Low Floor & Most Consistent Players in Fantasy Football

by Nick Ercolano February 20, 2020

High Ceiling, Low Floor & Most Consistent Players in Fantasy Football

Y'all have that one friend. The one that you invited somewhere. A party, a bar. Your cousin's birthday party. Definitely a friend of yours. Whatever the event, you guys have a great time. A+ guy. Y'all made some memories.

Next time you're out, he's puking in the back of the uber.

Two weeks later, y'all make plans again, for him to redeem himself, he bails on you last minute. 

A month later, it's his birthday, so he wants to party again. He buys a section at the clurb, VIP, sparklers, my guy even brings the drugs. Let's go. We frands again.

That guy is equally the best as he is the worst. We all know that guy.

It's okay to have that person in your life. But not to depend on them. Because you never know what to expect. And to project them to be a core part of your success is wildly irresponsible.

If y'all haven't figured out already, I'm geniusly seguing from drugs in clubs to fantasy football in hopes to remind you how important consistency is.

 

Quarterback (-2 for INT)

The Good

1. Lamar Jackson - Baltimore Ravens

  • Huge surprise here. Guy had one busty game,  0 XM games. 9 of his fuggin games he faded the fuggin public. He only played 15!!!!
  • I mean sure, everyone's going to point to his TD rate this offseason, 9.0%, which yes is an unreal number and will come down, but the guy ran for 1,200+ yards as a QB. There were literally only 5 running backs that had more rushing yards than him.
  • If you used just his rushing numbers, LJax would've been the RB21 in half ppr. Keep in mind, that's while all the other RBs are counting receiving totals as well.
  • If you take out all of his rushing stats, he's still the QB14 in fantasy. 
  • Say what you want about regression, but his style of play dictates he's eating even during an inefficient season.

Outside of Lamar, there were 6 QBs that busted in fewer than 20% of their games: Matt Ryan, Patrick Mahomes, Ryan Tannehill, Dak Prescott, Russell Wilson ANNNNND Josh Allen.

2. Josh Allen - Buffalo Bills

We're gonna discount Week 17, Allen threw for 5 yards and that's it. He only busted in 2 of the remaining 15 games. Those were against New England and Baltimore. Outside of those brutal matchups, he was easily usable and you were happy with him in the other 13 (> 16 FPs in all of those games). Cooked up in 7, boomin in 2 and FTP in 1. So, not necessarily a consistent ceiling you might think of when it comes to Josh Allen, but Allen quietly became a fantastic floor play this year.

The Bills did a great job surrounding him with new personnel on the offensive line, signing John Brown, Cole Beasley, drafting Devin Singletary and Dawson Knox.

You could easily argue that Allen is still a miserable quarterback, in terms of pure efficiency numbers through the air. But the guy's a fucking warrior and he just gets the job done. It was a step in the right direction, 100% in 2019. He averaged a 0.5 FPPG more this year than 2018, but he did so while averaging nearly 21 rushing yards/game fewer this year. His completion % went up by 6% his TD:INT ratio went from 10:12 to 20:9. 

Last year it seemed like all of his games were 28 points backed by 90+ yard rushing performances, or he posted like 8 fantasy points/game. That was not the case this year. Again, 16 fantasy points in all but 2 games. At this point, idc how I feel about Allen as a passer, if they add another legit pass-catcher either through FA or the draft, Allen might be one of my most owned QBs in 2020.

The Bad

1. Jimmy Garoppolo - San Francisco 49ers

  • 10 BUSTY GAMES!!! That doesn't even count all 3 playoff games in which he finished with single-digit fantasy points.
  • Can attribute it to the offense for sure, they were the 2nd run-heaviest team in the NFL, the only other team to run the ball (51%) more than they threw the ball.
  • The reason there's even an inkling of excitement for Jimmy G was the fact that he Faded the Public 3 times, only 3 QBs in the NFL did so in more of their games.
  • Those three FTP games were the three games this year in which he threw for over 300 yards. Like this dude was really bad in fantasy in all but 4 games. Two of those four came against Arizona, one of them against Cincy. So 4 good games, 3 against bottom 5 pass defenses. He had that one explosion game at New Orleans where it was 48-46, which idk what to tell you on that.
  • Just not good my guy. We'll see what they do this offseason with their RB group, getting Hurd back, likely losing Emmanuel Sanders but wouldn't be surprised if they used a high pick on another offensive weapon.
  • But, key takeaway here is that Jimmy G was absolutely awful for fantasy this year, if you're in a superflex league, which you should be, more often than not you literally should've started a skill player, which tells you all you need to know.

The other three names to throw out there were Philip Rivers, Mitch Trubisky and Aaron Rodgers. Rivers busted in half of his games, 8-of-16, without putting up a single FTP game. So he gave you no sort of ceiling, with a bad floor that he hit consistently. He'll be on a different team in 2020, as well as a different fantasy team than mine in 2020.

At the beginning of the season, with Trubisky, it got to the point where I loved watching him play so much, because every time he dropped back, we collectively as football fans got a source of entertainment. Like the dude's level of bad was unmatched. Throws 4 yards behind receivers, 3 yards over their heads. It was comical. It was so weird to me, that Trubisky wasn't running. It was what made people want to buy into him in 2019, after a solid 2018 coming out. And the did start to use him more over the 2H on the ground. 

But still, it's ugly over there.

Aaron Rodgers is probably not a surprise to you, especially not if you owned him this year, but maybe the fact that he's surrounding himself with these guys, Rivers, Mitch, Jimmy G level of bad. Rodgers busted in 44% of his games, gave you 3 XM games, and 2 of the other categories (cookin, boomin, ftp).

So, for Rodgers, it goes back to a bit of what I talked about on last week's episode with coaching. I think it was a mix of things. The offense was far more run-heavy this year, going from 32.5% of their plays being on the ground to over 40%, that's a huge leap. Rodgers' 569 attempts in 2019 was a five-year low, they had basically no legitimate pass-catching weapons on the outside apart from Davante Adams who was banged up for a big part of the year. I mean he still had a 26:4 TD-to-INT ratio on the year, 7th highest accuracy rating per PlayerProfiler.com, lower pass attempts overall, the Packers threw to their RBs on 24% of their plays, 8th highest in the NFL, just a year prior that clip was at 17%, 18% the year before, 17% the year before. Not a surprise his yardage dipped a little.

I'm not proposing that Rodgers will get back to his elite self next year, but if they can draft a legit field stretcher in this great class of wide receivers, Rodgers getting back into the top 10, maybe top 8 or 6 fantasy QBs is not crazy at all.

 

Other Notes

- Think it's worth noting that Drew Lock only played in 5 games, but busted at a higher rate than Dwayne Haskins. Lock busted in 80% of those, 4-of-5, Haskins busted in 67%. However, Haskins had 0 boomin games and 0 games where he faded the public, while Lock did have a boomin game. In the back of people's mind, people will remember that 300+ yard 3 TD game against Houston and like Lock way more than consistency charts would tell you to. The takeaway is to make sure you're not fooled by one or two big games, look deeper into the numbers, the longevity.

- Daniel Jones, of course, was interesting too. There was no in-between for him.  He busted in 6-of-12 games, but faded the public (28+ points) in 4. His big games predictably came against very weak opponents: TB, DET, NYJ, WAS. The turnovers are obviously a big contributor here, too. 12 INTs in 12 games, along with 6 fumbles. If he can clean that up, there's not much not to like about Dimes from a fantasy angle. At this point, it's really hard to care about a QB that isn't a great thrower when he has a supporting cast as Jones does and the rushing floor (22.8 rushing yards/game). 

Tight Ends

When I first starting looking at the consistency chart for TEs, I thought, this can't be right. We have the FTP, Faded the Public setting as 24 points or more in a game, for all skill players, RBs, WRs, TEs.

In 2018, there were 12 instances at the TE position, going over 24 fantasy points. In 2017, there were 3, in 2016 there were 8. So, it kind of varies, but I'd say 4 was definitely on the low-side, giving the TE position as a whole a bit of a buy window going into 2020. Everyone will think of this year and think of lot of lower ceiling players etc.

Most of it was straight due to touchdowns. You look at the top 5 fantasy TEs this year, Kelce 5 TDs, Kittle 5 TDs, Waller 3 TDs, Ertz 6 TDs, Mark Andrews with 10 was the only big number in the top 5. I look at that as a good thing from the tight end position as a whole to be honest. Because if these players are putting numbers on the board without finding the endzone, then some very big years are in store in 2020. A lot of the time the 14 TD Eric Ebrons, and 10 TD jimmy grahams, occupy the top 5, where they have no business being and you know the next year they're not gonna put up anywhere near those numbers -> the fantasy TE landscape got away from that this year. We have some legit, athletic ballers stepping onto the scene. It took a while but the old dudes are no longer handing around the TE1 landscape, it's the new, up-and-coming guys like the Andrews', Hooper, Henry, Higbee, Goedert, Gesicki, Ian Thomas. Feels like 5 years coming, but it's finally here.

 

The Good

1. Travis Kelce - Kansas City Chiefs

Finished as fantasy's TE1 for the 4th straight year. He did it with 205 fantasy points, which was nearly 40 points fewer than in 2018. If he put up 205 in 2018, he would have finished behind Ertz and Kittle. But he didn't so it doesn't matter.

Kelce not only finished atop the leader board for fantasy points, he was also the most consistent or at least had the highest floor. He busted in just 1-of-16 games (6%). George Kittle was the next closest, at a 21% clip, 3-of-14 games. Engram (13%) but only played 8 games.

While Kelce didn't fade the public at all (only in playoffs), he did lead TEs with 4 boomin games.

Kelce finished between 7 and 12 fantasy points 7 times, and over 12 in the other 8. It's a really impressive feat, for him to finish as the TE1, despite only scoring 5 touchdowns this year as I mentioned. That'll bump back up next year if he gets a 1-game Mahomes who is a lock for 35+ touchdowns through the air.

 

2. Mark Andrews - Baltimore Ravens

Andrews was the easiest breakout to see coming, but also easiest to shy away from. That was me. I was all over the kid all summer, until we started seeing preseason games, and he was still playing on just 35% of snaps. And I'm like faaaack, the kid is an absolute stud, but I want a full-time tight end.

It's wild, because if you were to tell me at the beginning of the year that the Ravens, 1. would be dead last in pass attempts/game and 2. andrews would be playing on 43% of snaps, there's no way you could predict a top 5 TE season. I mean look at the other guys in the top 5:

Andrews would finish as the TE4 in fantasy this year, thanks to the 10 touchdowns he scored. But, while the volume he saw was much lower than the other elite options at tight end, it wasn't like his volume was ACTUALLY low. He still finished inside the top 5 in targets (98), fifth in yards & 7th in receptions. 

Andrews' numbers were just crazy tbh. Again, only 43% of snaps ran, BUT:

  • 1st in HOG Rate (24.3%) = targets per snap
  • 24.1% target share on his team is elite for a TE.
  • aDOT was 1st. 
  • So, when he was on the field, he's commanding a lot of targets and he's getting long, valuable ones. 
  • I'm very interested to see what happens when they actually give Lamar Jackson weapons on the outside, rather than Willie fuckin Snead.

All in all, Andrews was stellar. tied Kelce with 4 games of Boomin or above. Another 4 in Cookin, but he did bust 6 times. 

You have to assume that Andrews gets a big boost in playing time next year. 

The Bad

1. Vance McDonald - Pittsburgh Steelers

Ouuuu boy did we whiff on this man. I know he played with a backup QB like JuJu, but Vance busted in 12-of-the 14 games he played in. He did not go over 40 receiving yards in a single game in 2019. Yikes. He was set up to succeed, with AB gone, Jesse James gone, his upper-percentile athleticism, but jfc. Who knows what happens if Ben is the QB the whole year, but I guess it's time to let it go, he's turning 30. My bad, y'all.

2. Jimmy Graham - Green Bay Packers

If the definition of dead isn't Jimmy Graham, then everyone is immortal. Guy busted in 81% of his games this year.. and he was playing with Aaron Fuckin Rodgers.

 

 

As expected, rookies, even the flashy ones had very high bust rates. Noah Fant busted in 75% of games. Hockenson 75%, Dawson Knox 73%. Of their total games that weren't busts, the majority came in the second half of the season. That's natural course for rookies. It's just a reminder not to draft rookie TEs, not that they can't produce but they very likely aren't going to do so in the beginning of the season, so they'll end up on the waiver wire at one point or another and then you can get them once the majority of their bust games are in the rearview.

 

The Surprising



Nick Ercolano
Nick Ercolano

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