In fantasy football, we’re always looking for the best ways
to predict future success. There are many methods to do this, and
one of the best places to start is to simply look into the past.
We look for players who finished last season with a good amount
of momentum. If a player was able to come on strong late in the
previous season, logic would suggest they are primed to carry it
over into the following year.
Today I am going to take a look at a few guys at each major fantasy
position who finished the 2013 season in impressive fashion but
might not have that strong finish reflected in their current 2014
values. I wouldn’t necessarily vault anyone way up my draft
boards because I pointed them out here, but I would definitely
look their way when approaching the round they normally come off
the board (this is why knowing average draft position is important).
To come up with the following players, I used the excellent Consistency
Calculator tool provided right here on FFToday.com.
Here’s a quick primer on how the Consistency Rankings work
(if you know how it works, skip to the next paragraph). In this
article, I will often reference things like elite or No. 1 score.
An elite result is considered a top-two finish at a position in
a week, while No. 1 is considered top-12. Results are based on
fantasy points per game at the position. For example, since Jimmy
Graham finished second at tight end in the last eight weeks with
10.36 points per game; any week where a tight end scored 10.36
or more points is considered an elite week. The 12th-highest scoring
tight end of the second half, Mercedes Lewis, averaged 7.03 FPts/G,
so any score greater than 7.03 is a No. 1 finish.
Iím leaving out guys who I think are a little too obvious.
Everyone knows how crazy Nick Folesí finish to the season
was (QB1 in 100 percent of games), but people are drafting like
thatís not a realistic expectation this year because of
that thing called regression. Jamaal Charles and LeSean McCoy
were amazing down the stretch. All the usual suspects at wide
receiver performed well. In this piece, I want to give you guys
who I think arenít being recognized like they should be.
you see me reference ADP in this article, Iím referring to the
ADP numbers provided by FantasyPros.com, which combines ADP data
over multiple draft sites.
Strong Second Half: Andy Dalton tossed
11 touchdowns in the final four regular season games of 2013.
Dalton, CIN Ė Our own Doug Orth is down on Mr. Dalton
after doing his Consistency Rankings
Analysis, which you should check out if you havenít because
itís a great read. His point is well taken and I agree with it
100 percent: Andy Dalton is NOT a top quarterback. I would never
dream of suggesting Dalton is anywhere close to a top quarterback.
But (of course you knew there was a ďbutĒ coming)
Iím also not ignoring the Red Rifle.
Iíve never owned Dalton in any league. I wasnít planning
on owning Dalton this year. Iíve never thought highly of
the guy--until I did this.
In the second half of 2013, Andy Dalton was one of only three
quarterbacks to put up a top-12 performance in at least 70 percent
of his games. Five out of seven times he played in a game, he
produced a QB1 score.
How much should we appreciate that 70 percent number? Well, I
just went back as far as the Consistency Calculator would take
me. I had to go all the way back to the year 2000 to find a season
in which more than five quarterbacks gave a QB1 performance in
more than 70 percent of their second-half games. What Iím
trying to tell you is, what Dalton did was pretty good.
Anyway, this quarterback that had one of the most consistent
final eight weeks this millennium is the 17th QB being picked
in fantasy drafts. Donít get me wrong; I wouldnít
rank him as a top-12 quarterback. However, after seeing this,
heíll definitely be a target in drafts where I go with the
late-round QB method.
Smith, KC - Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Alex Smith.
That is a list of the only quarterbacks in the NFL that had elite
performances in at least 50 percent of their games in the second
half. Thatís kind of mind boggling, even for an Alex Smith adorer
Overall, Smith was the fourth-most consistent provider of QB1
performances in the second half. Itís interesting that the
second half of his first season with head coach Andy Reid and
the Chiefs saw a huge improvement over the first half. Quarterbacks
can evidently get better once they learn their new offense and
This year heís back with the same Reid, the same offense,
mostly the same receivers and the same Charles in the backfield.
Heís the 20th QB off the board, according to ADP. Apparently
there are a lot of good fantasy football quarterbacks in the NFL
if one of the best in the last half of 2013 has 19 guys going
ahead of him.
Under the Radar: EJ
Manuel, BUF. Manuelís ADP is N/A because heís going undrafted.
He only played five games in the back half of 2013, and he put
up a QB1 performance in three of them. Only six other quarterbacks
can claim they managed to put up top-12 numbers in at least 60
percent of their games over that time. You probably donít have
to draft him, but keep your eye on Manuel if youíre big into the
quarterback-by-waiver wire method of filling the position.
Murray, DAL Ė What do we want out of top picks in our
fantasy football drafts? Iíd say we want guys who are consistent
and have the ability to carry our teams with top-end scores in
any given week.
According to the Consistency Calculator, in the second half of
the 2013 season, only two running backs were able to give us an
RB1 performance in at least 80 percent of their games AND an elite
performance in at least 40 percent of their games: Charles and
DeMarco Murray. (Actually, they were the only two running backs
to give us an RB1 performance in at least 75 percent of their
games and also have at least one elite performance).
When I drop those numbers to RB1 in 60 percent and elite in 30
percentMcCoy and Eddie Lacy join the party. Three of the four
names I just mentioned are well within the conversation for the
top five overall picks in fantasy drafts, while one sits firmly
in the second round. Hmmm.
If youíre picking at the tail end of the first round of
your fantasy draft, take Murray, then rest easy knowing you have
a top-tier player at a second-tier price.
Mathews, SD Ė Remember that parenthetical statement
a couple paragraphs ago that said Charles and Murray were the
only guys who hit RB1 status 75 percent of the time AND gave us
at least one elite performance? Well, only one other running back
even hit that 75 percent mark. The third was, you guessed it,
Only 12 running backs were able to put up RB1 numbers in at least
50 percent of their games down the stretch in 2013. Just 15 were
able to do it at least 40 percent of the time. Eighteen were able
to do it at least 30 percent of the time. Have I done enough to
convince you that 75 percent is an impressive number yet?
If this isnít enough for you, what if we just talk about
guys in terms of starting-caliber performances? Only two guys
finished with at least seven weeks as a top-24 RB in the final
eight weeks of the season: McCoy and Mathews. Although, to be
fair, Charles only played in six games, so he never had a chance.
As of this writing, Mathews is currently the 18th running back
off the board in standard fantasy drafts. Apparently finishing
as an RB1 in six of your final eight games and a locked-in starter
in seven of eight is not enough to gain the love and trust of
the fantasy football universe..
What did I think of Ryan Mathews when I started fooling around
with the Consistency Calculator? I was an unabashed hater. Now?
Sign me up in round three.
Under the Radar: DeAngelo
Williams, CAR. In the second half of 2013, he finished as
a top-24 back 57.14 percent of the time, one of only 14 running
backs to accomplish that feat in greater than 50 percent of his
games down the stretch. He also mixed in two RB1 finishes and
one elite finish. His ADP has him going after four kickers and
Boldin, SF Ė I am about to give you a list of wide
receivers. On this list you will find the six wide receivers that
gave us a top-24 (starter) score in at least 75 percent of their
games in the second half in standard scoring, along with their
current ADP in 12-team leagues: Demaryius Thomas (1.10), A.J.
Green (2.01), Josh Gordon (N/A, pending suspension ), Brandon
Marshall (2.05), Antonio Brown (3.03) and Anquan Boldin (9.01).
Well, thatís interesting. Four of them are being drafted
like big-time fantasy studs (deservedly so), one of them , and
one of them is being drafted as bench fodder.
Of all 116 wide receivers that played four or more games in the
last eight weeks of the season, 21 of them put up a WR1 (top 12)
score in at least three games. The other 20 guys are being drafted
in the top 80 overall. Boldin is going 109th . Canít a guy
get any respect around here?
When I get to the middle rounds, Iíll let other guys take
their rookies, defenses and backup running backs. I will grab
a solid starter in Boldin.
Edelman, NE Ė Iím just going to say it right off the
bat: I am not a big Julian Edelman fan. I probably wonít own him
in any leagues this year because the Patriots scare me in a ďDanny
Amendola will get all the attention now that weíre ignoring himĒ
sort of way.
But Iíd be silly to pretend Edelmanís finish to the
season in PPR leagues didnít happen. In the last half, Edelman
was one of only six wide receivers to have a top-12 PPR score
over 50 percent of the time and one of only four wide-outs to
have a top-24 PPR score at least 85 percent of the time.
So maybe my fear of Edelman is unfounded. There has to be some
connection with Brady that is allowing him to load up all these
stats in PPR leagues, right? Seems like it.
I personally will continue staying away from him, but donít
let my scared brain influence you too much here. It may just be
in your best interest to take advantage of all of us scared suckers
that are letting this PPR monster fall into the late fifth round
Under the Rader: Tavon
Austin, STL. The exciting rookie wide receiver of yesteryear
has tumbled down to in WR ADP this year. Did you know Austin and
Gordon were the only two wide receivers in the NFL to put up an
elite score in at least 50 percent of their games in the second
half of the season (minimum four games played)? Sure, we didnít
even get a top-24 score in the other 50 percent, but this is a
12th round pick weíre talking about. Iíd feel pretty awesome about
getting a guy with that sort of ability that late in my drafts.
Gronkowski, NE Ė Gronkís name seems too big to even
point out in a strong finish article, but I feel like itís necessary
anyway. Heís coming off an ACL injury, which is scary, but every
report Iíve seen suggests Week One is his targeted return date.
In case you forgot how dominant he can be, let me remind you:
in the four games Gronkowski played in the last eight weeks of
2013, he put up an elite score in three of them. Only two other
tight ends even put up top-12 scores in three-quarters of their
games in the second half, and no other tight ends were elite in
more than 50 percent.
In his four second-half games, Gronk averaged 12.20 points per
game in standard leagues. First-round pick Graham is the only
other tight end that averaged double digits over that same time
I get the injury concerns. Heís always had trouble staying
healthy. But if you honestly think Graham is a locked-in first-round
pick, youíve got to be drooling at the idea of taking a
tight end in the third round who showed over the last half of
the season (before his injury) that thereís a decent chance
Walker, TEN Ė Iím doing something a little different
here by including Walker. Every other player Iíve mentioned up
to this point had some level of sustained success in the second
half, whereas Walker is being brought up despite putting up a
subpar (below starter level) performance in four of his final
Why would I do this? Because the other three games were elite.
Four other tight ends put up an elite score in at least 42 percent
of their second-half games, and those other four are going off
the board within the first 60 picks of an average fantasy draft.
Walker has an overall ADP of 218.
Here are some guys with ADPs higher than Walker, according to
FantasyPros: Eric Ebron (rookie), Ladarius Green (No. 2 TE on
own team), Tony Gonzalez (retired), Jermichael Finley (free agent)
and Owen Daniels (No. 2 TE on own team). A guy who showed down
the stretch heís more than capable of providing top-end
production is going after all of them? Iíd describe that
Under the Radar: Anthony
Fasano, KC. And I mean really under the radar. Fasanoís ADP
currently sits at 73rd among tight ends. Earlier I told you only
two other tight ends besides Gronk put up top-12 scores in at
least 75 percent of their second-half games. One of them was Vernon
Davis; the other was Fasano. Just keep that in the back of your
mind if heís starting Week One.