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Better Than Average (BTA) Rankings
David Dorey
June 12, 2007

The Better Than Average (BTA) rankings are a very interesting tool because it measures exactly how well a player produced fantasy points last year compared to all others in his position given the unique schedule that he faced. While Consistency Rankings measures how often players exceed certain thresholds, BTA measures how well a player did compared to anyone else in his position who faced a particular NFL defense. An easy schedule could result in a great Consistency Rankings and yet not as good a BTA ranking if other players did even better against those same defenses. More interestingly, BTA shows how well a player did even when he had a bad schedule because it is not looking for a threshold of fantasy points but instead just a comparison.

BTA is created by sorting the fantasy points allowed by each defense for each position. A standard performance scoring scenario was used awarding 1/10 points per yard rushed or received, 1/20 passing yards and six point touchdowns other than three point passing scores. It measures what defenses allowed - a more accurate picture of how well a player did.

There are four categories measured:

1 (Best that season) - For each NFL defense, which player scored the most fantasy points against them within their position for the entire season?. Each defense could only have one player with a "1" game and considering that each NFL team plays their three divisional rivals twice each year, the highest possible number for any player would be "13", meaning that a player had scored the most fantasy points allowed by each defense of all players in their position for the year. Any number higher than even just one is pretty impressive since it means that the player was the best at scoring fantasy points from all players facing more than one defense. There are, of course, only 32 "1" games to award each season per position.

4 (Top 4 game) - Like above, this considers how many times a player managed to record a game in which he scored in the top four allowed by a particular defense for the year. There are only 128 "4" games (32 x 4). This also includes those games which were "1" games.

8 (Top 8 game) - Truly the basis of this measurement, this displays the number of times that a player turned in a Top 8 game allowed by a defense considering all players in that position that they faced for the entire season. There are 256 "8" games scored by each position (32 x 8). This also includes those games which were "1" and "4' games. Considering that each defense faced a primary player in each position each week (QB, RB, WR and TE), these are the players scoring "better than average" since they were in the top 8 for fantasy points allowed by a defense over the course of a 16 game season.

BTA - This score represents the total of all three categories. In essence, it counts all "8" games once, counts "4" games twice and counts "1" games three times as hopefully is suggested by the above descriptions. It is therefore a weighted average that represents just how effective a player truly was against defenses compared to all other players in his position which faced the same defenses.

QUARTERBACKS

Name  1   4   8  BTA Name  1   4   8  BTA Name  1   4   8  BTA
Manning, Peyton 4 10 12 26 Losman, J.P. 1 3 7 11 Leinart, Matt 0 1 6 7
Brees, Drew 2 8 9 19 Manning, Eli 1 3 7 11 Plummer, Jake 0 2 4 6
Kitna, Jon 0 7 12 19 Romo, Tony 0 5 6 11 Warner, Kurt 1 2 3 6
Palmer, Carson 2 6 11 19 Carr, David 0 3 7 10 Brunell, Mark 1 1 3 5
Vick, Michael 2 5 12 19 McNair, Steve 1 3 6 10 Garrard, David 0 0 5 5
Bulger, Marc 3 7 8 18 Pennington, Chad 0 2 8 10 Huard, Damon 0 0 5 5
Young, Vince 3 6 8 17 Rivers, Philip 0 3 7 10 Wallace, Seneca 0 1 4 5
Brady, Tom 1 5 10 16 Smith, Alex 0 3 7 10 Anderson, Derek 0 1 3 4
Favre, Brett 1 4 10 15 Frye, Charlie 0 4 5 9 Bledsoe, Drew 0 0 4 4
McNabb, Donovan 2 6 7 15 Hasselbeck, Matt 2 3 4 9 Garcia, Jeff 1 1 2 4
Roethlisberger, B. 0 4 9 13 Delhomme, Jake 0 2 5 7 Johnson, Brad 0 2 2 4
Grossman, Rex 1 4 7 12 Harrington, Joey 0 1 6 7 Leftwich, Byron 0 1 3 4

While Manning at the top is hardly a surprise, Brees and Kitna were the fortuitous picks in drafts last summer. Vince Young not only had a Top 7 showing, he did that as a starter for only 13 games. McNabb was going strong until his season was cut short - he would have potentlally topped them all had he not been injured in week 11.

RUNNING BACKS

Name  1   4   8  BTA Name  1   4   8  BTA Name  1   4   8  BTA
Tomlinson, Lad. 6 12 13 31 McGahee, Willis 0 2 7 9 Foster, De'shaun 0 1 4 5
Johnson, Larry 4 10 14 28 Alexander, Shaun 0 3 5 8 Jones, Thomas 0 0 5 5
Parker, Willie 2 7 11 20 Brown, Ronnie 1 3 4 8 Maroney, Laurence 0 1 4 5
Gore, Frank 1 6 11 18 Dunn, Warrick 0 1 7 8 Washington, Leon 0 2 3 5
Jackson, Steven 2 6 9 17 Green, Ahman 0 2 6 8 Bell, Tatum 0 0 4 4
Westbrook, Brian 2 5 9 16 McAllister, Deuce 0 3 5 8 Benson, Cedric 0 2 2 4
Barber, Tiki 1 4 8 13 Portis, Clinton 1 2 5 8 Houston, Cedric 1 1 2 4
Johnson, Rudi 0 4 9 13 Taylor, Fred 0 2 6 8 James, Edgerrin 0 0 4 4
Jones-Drew, M. 2 4 7 13 Addai, Joseph 1 1 5 7 Williams, DeAngelo 0 2 2 4
Betts, Ladell 0 6 6 12 Barber, Marion 0 2 5 7 Griffith, Justin 0 1 2 3
Jones, Kevin 1 3 7 11 Dillon, Corey 1 2 4 7 Jacobs, Brandon 0 0 3 3
Taylor, Chester 1 4 6 11 Jones, Julius 0 3 4 7 Karney, Mike 1 1 1 3
Lewis, Jamal 1 2 7 10 Bell, Mike 0 2 4 6 Lundy, Wali 0 0 3 3
Bush, Reggie 1 4 4 9 Dayne, Ron 0 3 3 6 Pinner, Artose 1 1 1 3
Henry, Travis 1 4 4 9 Droughns, Reuben 0 1 4 5 Williams, Carnell 0 0 3 3

As expected, Tomlinson and Larry Johnson ended at the top by Alexander's injury marred season dropped him back into the middle of the pack. That weak NFC West was well represented with Gore and Jackson as top backs and even Maurice Jones-Drew had a top showing despite never officially starting any game.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Name  1   4   8  BTA Name  1   4   8  BTA Name  1   4   8  BTA
Harrison, Marvin 3 5 7 15 Burress, Plaxico 1 2 6 9 Caldwell, Reche 0 1 5 6
Williams, Roy 3 4 7 14 Clayton, Mark 2 3 4 9 Moss, Santana 1 2 3 6
Jackson, Darrell 1 4 8 13 Cotchery, Jerricho 0 3 6 9 Ward, Hines 1 2 3 6
Driver, Donald 2 4 6 12 Henry, Chris 0 3 6 9 Berrian, Bernard 0 2 3 5
Houshmandzadeh 1 3 8 12 Johnson, Chad 2 3 4 9 Brown, Reggie 0 1 4 5
Owens, Terrell 0 3 9 12 Colston, Marques 1 2 5 8 Edwards, Braylon 0 2 3 5
Walker, Javon 1 4 7 12 Galloway, Joey 0 3 5 8 Fitzgerald, Larry 0 1 4 5
Furrey, Mike 1 5 5 11 Henderson, Devery 1 3 4 8 Bennett, Drew 0 0 4 4
Holt, Torry 1 5 5 11 Wayne, Reggie 1 2 5 8 Bruce, Isaac 0 1 3 4
Boldin, Anquan 1 4 5 10 Booker, Marty 1 2 4 7 Horn, Joe 0 1 3 4
Coles, Laveranues 1 2 7 10 Branch, Deion 1 3 3 7 Jennings, Greg 0 2 2 4
Evans, Lee 1 3 6 10 Glenn, Terry 0 2 5 7 Johnson, Keyshawn 0 1 3 4
Johnson, Andre 0 4 6 10 Kennison, Eddie 1 3 3 7 Jones, Matt 0 1 3 4
Smith, Steve 0 3 7 10 Stallworth, Donte' 0 3 4 7 Muhammad, Muhsin 0 1 3 4

Turning in any games that were either #1 or in the top 4 or 8 allowed by a defense is truly impressive given the large numbers of wideouts that play against every defense each season. Figure that the average offense employs three players (or more) each game and there could be well over 50 chances for different wideouts to secure that #1 spot in points allowed by a defense. Even recording a top 8 game against a defense is quite an accomplishment.

All the normal suspects show up at the top of the list with Darrell Jackson the biggest surprise. Houshmandzadeh eclipsed Chad Johnson with more great games though Johnson turned in a couple of monster efforts to spike his season totals. Surprisingly both Hines Ward and Larry Fitzgerald did not show up that big against defenses last year as a sign how their respective rushing games detracted from the passing.

Any wideout that had two or more games in the top 4 allowed by a defense signals just how talented the player was. After the top 20 players, the "1" and "4" games quickly decrease.

TIGHT ENDS

Name  1   4   8  BTA Name  1   4   8  BTA Name  1   4   8  BTA
Gates, Antonio 4 8 13 25 Miller, Heath 1 5 7 13 Alexander, Stephen 0 1 5 6
Heap, Todd 0 7 13 20 Clark, Dallas 0 5 7 12 Royal, Robert 0 2 4 6
Shockey, Jeremy 3 7 9 19 Campbell, Daniel 0 2 8 10 Schobel, Matt 0 2 4 6
Winslow, Kellen 2 7 9 18 Witten, Jason 1 1 8 10 Smith, Alex 0 1 5 6
Cooley, Chris 1 6 9 16 Daniels, Owen 1 3 5 9 Fletcher, Bryan 0 2 3 5
Crumpler, Alge 2 5 9 16 Davis, Vernon 1 4 4 9 Graham, Daniel 0 1 4 5
Gonzalez, Tony 4 5 7 16 Baker, Chris 0 3 5 8 Martin, David 0 2 3 5
Smith, L.J. 1 5 9 15 Scaife, Bo 1 3 4 8 Wiggins, Jermaine 0 1 4 5
Clark, Desmond 3 4 7 14 Scheffler, Tony 1 2 5 8 Williams, Randal 0 1 4 5
McMichael, Randy 1 5 8 14 Stevens, Jerramy 0 3 5 8 Wilson, Kris 0 2 3 5
Watson, Ben 2 5 7 14 Johnson, Eric 1 2 4 7 Wrighster, George 0 0 5 5

The tight end position is not used equally by all teams and getting a top 8 performance just means that you were better than half the tight ends from other teams and possibly not as good as seven other tight ends that faced a defense. There are barely a dozen tight ends that have much fantasy significance, so the top 8 really does not carry all that much significance.

No major surprises here in a position starved for playmakers. Kellen Winslow proved to be a soldier with a nice showing but as always, it didn't take a lot to be a top 8 tight end against most defenses - half the NFL teams rarely use the position in the passing game.

The top 4 and top 1 games are of big importance since they indicate who the superstar tight ends truly are to their offense.

TOP BTA PLAYERS REGARDLESS OF POSITION

These are the players that are not only the top at their position, they are the ones that are significantly better compared to others in their position. A surprising amount of tight ends show up but as noted, there were not many offenses using the position anyway. Antonio Gates landed as the one player that was best compared to all others in his position and surprisingly Peyton Manning shows up tied for 12th best BTA score. His season started slowly though and 2006 appears likely to have less rushing and more passing than last year in Indianapolis.

Considering the defenses that they and others in their position faced last year, these were the best players.

POS Name BTA POS Name BTA POS Name BTA
RB Tomlinson, Lad. 31 QB Bulger, Marc 18 QB McNabb, Donovan 15
RB Johnson, Larry 28 RB Gore, Frank 18 TE Smith, L.J. 15
QB Manning, Peyton 26 TE Winslow, Kellen 18 WR Harrison, Marvin 15
TE Gates, Antonio 25 QB Young, Vince 17 TE Clark, Desmond 14
RB Parker, Willie 20 RB Jackson, Steven 17 TE McMichael, Randy 14
TE Heap, Todd 20 QB Brady, Tom 16 TE Watson, Ben 14
QB Brees, Drew 19 RB Westbrook, Brian 16 WR Williams, Roy 14
QB Kitna, Jon 19 TE Cooley, Chris 16 QB Roethlisberger, B. 13
QB Palmer, Carson 19 TE Crumpler, Alge 16 RB Barber, Tiki 13
QB Vick, Michael 19 TE Gonzalez, Tony 16 RB Johnson, Rudi 13
TE Shockey, Jeremy 19 QB Favre, Brett 15 RB Jones-Drew, M. 13

BEST PLAYERS AT SCORING THE MOST FANTASY POINTS ALLOWED BY A DEFENSE FOR THE YEAR

POS Name   1   POS Name   1   POS Name   1  
RB Tomlinson, Lad. 6 TE Clark, Desmond 3 TE Crumpler, Alge 2
RB Johnson, Larry 4 WR Williams, Roy 3 QB McNabb, Donovan 2
QB Manning, Peyton 4 RB Parker, Willie 2 TE Watson, Ben 2
TE Gates, Antonio 4 QB Brees, Drew 2 RB Jones-Drew, M. 2
TE Gonzalez, Tony 4 QB Palmer, Carson 2 WR Driver, Donald 2
TE Shockey, Jeremy 3 QB Vick, Michael 2 QB Hasselbeck, Matt 2
QB Bulger, Marc 3 TE Winslow, Kellen 2 WR Clayton, Mark 2
QB Young, Vince 3 RB Jackson, Steven 2 WR Johnson, Chad 2
WR Harrison, Marvin 3 RB Westbrook, Brian 2      

An interesting view is how all positions combined with the number of times a player did better in a game than any other in his position. Tomlinson's record setting season leads the pack but Larry Johnson and Peyton Manning were not that far behind. Quarterbacks were heavily represented here and Vince Young's showing paints a promising future for the second year player.

Whether or not the game resulted in some obscene fantasy score, these were the players that left defenses dreading Monday game film reviews.

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Consistency Rankings Wide Receivers
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