Sometimes Inconsistent is Needed
As we steam into the fantasy playoffs, keep in mind that these rankings can, and should, be used to spot inconsistent players as well. If you’re going up against an opponent who has a loaded lineup and there’s no consistently good players available, try to find someone who is inconsistently good (i.e., someone with high consistency ranking and high points per game). With this type of player, you’d be gambling on his performance deviating from his average; you’d just be hoping the variance would be above his average, not below it.
Sometimes you need to take strategic risks in order to win.
QB (left double-click to enlarge image)
It’s been a while, but things are finally starting to look normal in the NFL. This week finds Aaron Rodgers as the top starting quarterback in terms of points per game, but also No. 2 in terms of consistency– the near perfect quarterback to own right now. I’ve been preaching his value all along, but you need to get Colin Kaepernick on your team. The San Francisco quarterback had a monster game last week, which leaves him the No. 4 quarterback among starters in both points per game and consistency. Talk about symmetry! I need a bye week quarterback for one of my teams this week (for Marcus Mariota), and was shocked to find Kaepernick available on the wire; needless to say, he isn’t available on the wire anymore.
RB (left double-click to enlarge image)
There aren’t too many runners available at this point, and I think we all know who the good ones are by now. But remember my advice about the inconsistent players? Well, one guy that falls into that category is Atlanta’s Tevin Coleman. Coleman is No. 42 overall when it comes to consistency – but he’s the #No. 14 running back in terms of points per game. His performance week-to-week goes from middling to great, all tied into how many touches he gets compared to Devonta Freeman. This week Coleman is facing Kansas City, which gives up the third-most fantasy points to opposing running backs – and most of those points are through the air (91 receptions, 756 yards, 4 TD allowed to running backs), which is Coleman’s strength.
WR (left double-click to enlarge image)
Green Bay’s Jordy Nelson is someone we should be talking about at wide receiver; the speedster currently sits at No. 6 in terms of points per game, but has quietly been improving his consistency. Nelson is the No. 15 wide receiver among starters, which isn’t too shabby. As Aaron Rodgers’ performance has steadily improved, so has Nelson’s … or is it the other way around? The Oakland duo of Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree are both a bit inconsistent for top receivers – mainly because it seems like Derek Carr changes his mind on which one of them to target on a weekly basis.
TE (left double-click to enlarge image)
The best overall tight end, Jordan Reed, is looking like he won’t be anywhere near 100 percent this week; may I suggest the tried and true option of Antonio Gates as an alternative this week? Gates is Top 10 when it comes to consistency, and his points per game places him at No. 11. Kyle Rudolph is another tight end with roughly the same combination of numbers as Gates.
DL (left double-click to enlarge image)
If you’re needy at the defensive line position this week, take a look at the status of Buffalo defensive tackle Marcell Dareus. Dareus has been injured most of the season, so he might be out on your wire; if he is, grab him. Not only is he No. 3 in terms of consistency, his points per game ties him for No. 1 with Khalil Mack.
LB (left double-click to enlarge image)
Here’s a couple of names to pick up this week if they’re available: Vontaze Burfict and Zachary Orr (top points per game scorers who are fairly consistent), Kiko Alonso and Benardrick McKinney (good points per game for just slightly more risk). You’re welcome.
DB (left double-click to enlarge image)
The pool of defensive backs is comprised of such fantasy mediocrity that I need to change tactics: try to get Landon Collins. If you can’t, just start anyone in the upper-left quadrant in the chart above. It really doesn’t matter who, just make sure they’re active for this week’s games.