Fantasy Football 2018: Identifying Potential Consistent Rookies - RB

Josh Brickner brings you his twist on how to identify potential consistency in rookies! See what factors Josh looks at it to help you pick the RIGHT rookies after this draft! Follow Josh on Twitter @joshbrickner!

2017 was undoubtedly the year of the rookie RB as 2 of the Top 5 PPR RBs, and 4 of the Top 12, were rookies. Those owners who took a chance on one or more of Alvin Kamara (RB3), Kareem Hunt (RB4), Christian McCaffrey (RB9), and Leonard Fournette (RB10) had a good chance of hoisting up their league’s trophy on Christmas. This trend of heavy usage for rookie RBs in the NFL should not only continue but increase. These rookie RBs come into the NFL with much fresher bodies than a veteran back with three to five years of wear and tear from punishing NFL hits. Additionally, with head coaches literally getting fired after winning a playoff game, the pressure for GMs and coaches (besides Hue Jackson) to win RIGHT NOW is enormous. Forcing coaching staffs/front offices to play their best players immediately instead of making a rookie earn his stripes on the bench.

Here at Big Guy Fantasy Sports, consistency is the name of the game.  If you’re unfamiliar with the Consistency Rankings and Clutch Reports at BGFS, I recommend you take a look. Basically, a player is consistent (earns a Clutch Game) when he meets or exceeds the Clutch Factor in a given week. A player’s Clutch Rating (CR) is based on the percentage of games he earned a Clutch Game (CG) against the number of games played. BGFS founder Bob Lung has been looking at consistency in fantasy football for 15 years, and is no fan of rookies. Bob reaches this conclusion based on the numbers; since 2010 only 30 out of 340 rookies (8.83%) drafted in the first four rounds of the NFL draft have had a Good (over 60%) Clutch Rating in their inaugural season. The RB position leads the way in Rookie consistency as 15 out of 88 RBs (17%) produced a CR over 60% in their rookie season.

Using Historical Data to Find Consistent Rookie RBs

Should a fantasy owner completely ignore rookie RBs due to their historical inconsistency? OR should they follow the trends and build a team almost entirely of first-year RBs? Neither. Completely ignoring rookie RBs in your 2018 draft based on the data and you could miss out on a league-winning player. Conversely, the owner who overcorrects and goes rookie RB crazy will likely drive themselves crazy throughout the season. The smart and savvy fantasy player examines the historical consistency data of first-year RBs in similar situations (Coaches, offensive schemes, etc.) to find that elusive 17%. Clutch Rookie of the Year Alvin Kamara (81%) and Kareem Hunt (69%) joined the Rookie RB Consistency club last season; their 2017 emergence comes as no surprise to owners who studied the past consistency data of Darren Sproles and Jamaal Charles before last August.

Kareem Hunt: The New JC?

 

 

Charles PPR Consistency 2013-2015

 

 

 

 

Year

Team

Fantasy Points

FP Rank

Clutch Games

Games Played

PPR Clutch Rate

2013

KC

382.10

1

14

15

93 %

2014

KC

257.00

7

10

15

67 %

2015

KC

105.10

51

4

5

80 %

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PPR Totals/Averages

 

248.00

20

28

35

80%

 

 

Charles Standard Consistency 2013-2015

 

 

 

 

Year

Team

Fantasy Points

FP Rank

Clutch Games

Games Played

Standard Clutch Rate

2013

KC

312.10

1

14

15

93 %

2014

KC

217.00

7

10

15

67 %

2015

KC

84.10

49

5

5

100 %

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Standard Totals/Averages

 

204.00

19

29

35

83%

 

 

Hunt PPR & Standard Consistency 2017

 

 

 

 

Year

Team

Fantasy Points

FP Rank

Clutch Games

Games Played

PPR/Standard Clutch Rate

2017

KC

297.20

4

11

16

69 %


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; the key to success in fantasy football is not only having the talent to thrive, but also the opportunity to do so. Andy Reid’s offense, usually with one feature back, has presented many a fantasy RB with said opportunity as even the marginally talented Spencer Ware finished as RB16 in 2016 (with a mediocre 50% CR). However, the player who had the most recent success was also one of the most talented in Jamaal Charles.

The historical consistency data from JC’s 2013 & 2014 seasons (2015 was cut short by injury) show a dependable Top 10 RB whom has a safe consistency floor with an Excellent consistency ceiling in both PPR and Standard leagues. This information was critical to an owner who was considering drafting Kareem Hunt at his post Spencer Ware injury price surge in both PPR (2.07) and Standard (3.03) last August. Especially since the Toledo product hit this consistency floor in his first season. Hunt's 69% Clutch Rate was more of a result of play calling issues and a team-wide offensive slump while Charles’ 2014 CR was hindered by a rash of injuries. Still, the opportunity for Hunt’s floor being a Good consistency season while simultaneously finishing as a Top 10 RB (he finished in the Top 5) gave the reluctant owner the confidence to spend one of their Top 3 picks on the rookie.

Alvin Kamara, meet Darren Sproles

 

 

Sproles PPR Consistency 2011-2013

 

 

 

 

Year

Team

Fantasy Points

FP Rank

Clutch Games

Games Played

PPR Clutch Rate

2011

NO

271.30

5

14

16

88 %

2012

NO

214.10

13

10

13

77 %

2013

NO

177.40

23

7

15

47 %

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PPR Totals/Averages

 

221.00

14

31

44

70%

 

 

Sproles Standard Consistency 2011-2013

 

 

 

 

Year

Team

Fantasy Points

FP Rank

Clutch Games

Games Played

Standard Clutch Rate

2011

NO

185.30

10

11

16

69 %

2012

NO

139.10

22

9

13

69 %

2013

NO

139.10

22

9

13

69 %

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Standard Totals/Averages

 

155.00

18

29

42

69%

 

 

Kamara PPR & Standard Consistency 2017

 

 

 

 

Year

Team

Fantasy Points

FP Rank

Clutch Games

Games Played

PPR/Standard Clutch Rate

2017

NO

315.40

3

13

16

81 %


There’s no doubt Sean Payton and the Saints front office had Darren Sproles’ three productive seasons in their mind when they traded up to draft Kamara. Although, Kamara measured both four inches taller and 25 pounds heavier than Sproles at the NFL combine. Taking a deeper look at Sproles three PPR finishes with New Orleans you can see what the Saints original plans may have been with Kamara; use him as their offense’s third down/scat back complement to Ingram and AP. Sproles finished as a PPR RB1 in 2011 and an RB2 in both 2012 and 2013 (although his Clutch Rate was below average in 2013). When drafting rookie RBs in fantasy football, or any players for that matter, you are searching for guys whom will exceed their draft value. The historical PPR consistency data from Sproles shows Kamara had the opportunity to be a PPR RB2 in 2017 which was a steal at his ADP (12.08). However, it was his immense talent that helped him average over 1.5 PPR points per touch last season.

The historical consistency data for Darren Sproles shows a surprising trend; Sproles was not only useful in Standard leagues during his three years in NO, but he put up consistent RB2 numbers! Sproles three-year Clutch Rate of 69% is not only almost identical to his PPR three-year CR (70%), but Sproles actually had a more consistent 2013 fantasy campaign in Standard leagues than PPR. Again, the proactive Standard league owner who researched this historical data before last August got a RB (Kamara) whom had both Excellent consistency and finished in the Top 5 (RB4). An outright heist at his final 2017 Standard ADP of 13.12.

Conclusions for 2018

Just because a fantasy RB in the past with a similar offensive scheme/coach saw consistent success does NOT guarantee a rookie RB in a comparable situation will do the same. However, an owner who both reviews historical consistency data and the current organizational dynamic of a rookie RB’s landing spot greatly increases their likelihood at landing a league-winning player at value. Remember, Kareem Hunt was already a trendy middle-round sleeper last Summer even before Spencer Ware’s injury due to rumblings he was the more talented back.

Which rookie RBs should fantasy players of all leagues target for the 2018 season? The 2018 BGFS Consistency Guide will feature several rookie RBs who have the best chance to exceed their value, and a few who may not, based upon the historical consistency data and projected usage of their landing spots. The fantasy footballer who not only does their homework in the Summer but does it smarter than their league mates puts themselves in a prime position to have a VERY Merry Christmas.

Hit me up on Twitter @joshbrickner and let me know which rookie RBs you’d like featured in the 2018 Consistency Guide. Thanks for reading and following!

BGFS Daily Fantasy Blast

Sign up for a free Daily Fantasy Blast from the experts at Big Guy Fantasy Sports! Don't miss out on the best analysis in the business! Where Fantasy gets REAL!

captcha 

Site Login

Captcha

PODCASTS

Every week Bob Lung and Ron Rigney of Big Guy Fantasy Sports tell you how Consistency can help you win in Fantasy Football!

Expert Leagues