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.

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