If you play in a head-to-head fantasy football league — and almost all of us do — then you know the pain of winning by 60 one week and losing by two the next. Sure, it’s great that your team went off for that big win, but ultimately, you would happily trade in most of those 60 excess points for just three the following week. After all, a record of 2-0 is better than 1-1, and having consistently solid players is better than having a bunch of all-or-nothing guys. No position has more boom-or-bust candidates than WR, which is why wide receiver rankings are so varied from year-to-year and site-to-site.
Plenty of factors beyond our control go into a player’s performance. Injuries can strike at any time, and we know poor weather conditions and unfavorable matchups are always looming. One thing we do have some say over is how we build our teams, and we can choose to try to factor in consistency when making decisions during the draft.
At BigGuyFantasySports.com, we’ve spent years trying to help fantasy owners be more consistent with our “Clutch Report” section. There, you can figure out the “Clutch Factor” (CF) that a player must exceed each week to earn a “Clutch Game.” This calculation is based on the number of teams and scoring format. Case in point, in 12-team PPR formats, an RB must earn over 11 fantasy points each week to earn a “Clutch Game.”
A player’s consistency rate is referred to as his “Clutch Rating” (CR). A very consistent player will register a CR above 70 percent. The best of the best will normally have a CR between 80 and 90 percent.
Based on previous seasons, we identify players who appear to be undervalued when you factor in their general consistency. They might not be the top scorers, but their abilities to avoid poor games is key to eking out wins. On the flip side, we also try to spot potentially overvalued players who fit the boom-or-bust mold. Here’s a sneak peak at my top-36 consistency-based rankings for WRs heading into the 2021 season.
2021 Fantasy WR Consistency Ratings, Rankings
A ranking of WR1A means I expect that receiver to record a CR of 80 percent or higher this year. Four receivers — Tyreek Hill, Calvin Ridley, Davante Adams, and Stefon Diggs — are currently expected to reach that level. In fact, all four have the potential to be even higher than 85 percent, which they all accomplished last season The remaining eight “WR1s” are all ranked as WR1Bs. This means I expect their respective CRs to exceed 70 percent. Obviously, the higher-ranked guys, such as DeAndre Hopkins and DK Metcalf, are expected to earn much higher than a 70-percent CR but probably won’t exceed 80 percent. The lower-ranked wide receivers certainly could also exceed that mark, but the lower ranking means there is less probability of that.
The WR2A receivers have proven to be consistent in the past and should continue have a CR around 65-70 percent this season. The WR2B tier is a collection of wide receivers that have the potential to earn over a 60-percent CR. Michael Thomas is lower than he has been in the past due to his left ankle surgery which will likely keep him out until mid-late October. However, many folks are passing on him until he becomes available as a WR3, which is a perfect spot to grab him and stash for the second half of the season.
The WR3 group of As and Bs consist of receivers that I expect to earn a 50-60 percent CR. Some are young receivers moving up from last year, such as Brandon Aiyuk and Tee Higgins. Others are veterans falling from their higher-tier status, such as Jarvis Landry and Brandin Cooks.
Let’s look at a couple of these wide receivers and see which are undervalued or overvalued based on their current ADPs.
Undervalued: Russell Gage, Falcons
Gage is probably nowhere near the top 75 in most rankings — except mine, of course. Gage quietly ended last year with a 71-percent CR over the final seven games. The combination of Calvin Ridley, Gage, and Kyle Pitts will still be deadly. Gage’s current ADP is WR63. So, grab him as your WR6 or 7 and you might be starting him as your flex every week.
Overvalued: Tyler Lockett, Seahawks
Here’s what you get with Lockett: High points and poor consistency! Last year was devastating to Lockett owners. After a 100-percent CR in his first three games, Lockett had a 38-percent CR over the final 13. Amazingly enough, he ended the year eighth in total points. Please, don’t draft based on total points. He’s a good WR3 pick, but he shouldn’t be counted on for more than that.
Consistency is key to winning, well, consistently in fantasy football. Factoring it into your draft-day decisions can help you avoid an up-and-down season. Being top three in total points is meaningless if you go 6-8 or even 7-7 in the regular season, so look for guys who can put you over the top week-in and week-out.
For more consistency reports to help with your draft prep, go to Amazon and pick up the award-winning 2021 Fantasy Football Consistency Guide. You can also follow me on Twitter @bob_lung.
Don’t miss out on the 2021 Fantasy Football Expo on Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021, in Canton, Ohio! Go to The Fantasy Football Expo for tickets!