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Big Game Syndrome - Wide Receivers
Kevin Ratterree
August 3, 2009
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This is a follow-up to an article I penned on running back consistency. The idea here is to try to identify players that were the most consistent from week to week during the season in 2008. As you know, when you play head to head leagues consistency can trump “big games.” Sometimes a player’s overall stats mis-lead us to think a player will be more valuable to us than he might actually be.

I ran these numbers the same way as I did the running backs. Based on PPR league standings, I took the receivers best two week point total and matched that total up against their final season total fantasy points. The lower the percentage, the more consistent the player.

As with the running back stats, one player came out looking particularly well here, not much of a surprise it was Larry Fitzgerald. Not only was Fitz ranked just behind WR points leader Andre Johnson he was also remarkably consistent. His best two games accounted for only 17.5% of his points total for the season, easily the best of the bunch.

Larry FitzgeraldMuch like Matt Forte (who ranked tops in RBs) Fitzgerald’s number is a bit tempered by the fact that he surprisingly had relatively “low” totals for his best two games, scoring 25.1 and 24.2 in his best two weeks. Here are the top ten receivers for lowest big game percentage score.

  1. Larry Fitzgerald (17.5%)
  2. Dwayne Bowe (19.5%)
  3. es Welker (19.8%)
  4. Greg Jennings (21.6%)
  5. Reggie Wayne (21.7%)
  6. Calvin Johnson (22.3%)
  7. Roddy White (23%)
  8. Hines Ward (23%)
  9. Jerricho Cotchery (23.4%)
  10. Lee Evans (23.8%)

Perhaps the most surprising (maybe the only surprising) name on that list is Lee Evans who has the well earned reputation of an inconsistent player. Of course, much of that can probably be attributed to the less than stellar QB play he has been hooked up with in Buffalo. Before you get too excited about Evans top ten ranking here, keep in mind he was the 28th ranked WR in this format, and he did have 6 games last season of under 10 points.

As you can see, Dwayne Bowe and Wes Welker also scored very well in this consistency test. They were also winners in the next category - fewest “bad” games. I counted how many weeks during the season the top players scored less than 10 fantasy points. Here is that list.

Fewest “Bad” games:

  1. Larry Fitzgerald (0)
  2. Wes Welker (1)
  3. Anquan Boldin (1)
  4. Andre Johnson (2)
  5. Dwayne Bowe (2)
  6. Roddy White (2)
  7. Steve Smith (2)
  8. Greg Jennings (3)
  9. Brandon Marshall (3)

You have to be impressed with Dwayne Bowe’s consistency last season with a horrible team. While he ranked as only the 16th best receiver one could easily argue that he was more valuable to his owners than the 6 receivers that placed immediately higher than him.
The 10th through 14th ranked WRs for season total points all had either 5 or 6 games of under 10 points.

  1. Antonio Bryant (5)
  2. Randy Moss (5)
  3. Reggie Wayne (5)
  4. Terrell Owens (6)
  5. Hines Ward (6)

15th ranked Eddie Royal had 4 games under 10 points. He and a few more from that list can be found in the top 30 receivers with the highest percentage of their points in their best two weeks. The “worst” of the best in terms of consistency.

  1. Laveranues Coles (32.6%)
  2. Houshmandzadeh (31.6%)
  3. Santana Moss (29.2%)
  4. Brandon Marshall (28.4%)
  5. Lance Moore (28.4%)
  6. Eddie Royal (27.6%)
  7. Antonio Bryant (27.6%)
  8. Kevin Walter (27.5%)
  9. Bernard Berrian (27.5%)
  10. Randy Moss (26.7%)

Brandon Marshall was the only top ten WR to place on this dubious list. So if you are looking for a red flag in the group at the bottom, Marshall is waving it. But considering Marshall only had 3 games under 10 points, that red flag would be a tiny one at best.

The average among the top 30 WRs for big game percentage was 25.1%, which is somewhat surprisingly over a percentage point lower than that of the running backs.

As expected, in a near exact reversal of the running back statistics, 7 of the top 10 receivers had their worst game in the last half of the season.

6 of the top 10 receivers had their best game in the first half of the season, which also is a trend opposite of that of the running backs.

There were no overall trends concerning the top 30 however. 15 WRs had their worst game in the first half of the season and 15 had their clunker in the latter half. Likewise, exactly half of the top 30 receivers had their best games in the first half of the season.

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