IDP Consistency Reports: Defensive Line
The question of valuing players is the seemingly never-ending issue when it comes to fantasy football. Should you target a player with upside, or should it be someone who might have a lower ceiling but provides you with consistency week to week? What about if you had a way to combine both elements in one ranking? Well, here at FFStatistics, we have attempted to do just that with our Consistency Rating (COR). COR is created by taking a player’s calculated ceiling and dividing it by their coefficient of variation (more information on these and the math behind them at the bottom of the article).
Using COR, we can get an easy snapshot of where players rank weekly. We can also compare their COR value to their average fantasy points total. By looking at the difference between the two values, we can identify various subsets of players. Some players posted an average that looked great but using COR we can find out whether they were reliable or not on a week-to-week basis. The same goes for players who posted average points totals, which were not significant. Some did it and were wildly inconsistent, and others were pretty reliable.
In this next set of articles, we are going to switch our focus to the IDP side of things. However, instead of focusing on surprise names, we are going to look at the overall picture in greater detail than we did with the offensive side of the ball. We will be looking at which positions are the most reliable IDP contributors. We will also look at what made some players stood out among the crowd last season. This article will look at the defensive line.
IDP Scoring System
More than the offensive side of the ball, the scoring system for IDP makes a massive difference to players values. Depending on which plays are emphasized by the scoring system, it will alter the importance of individual players. If interceptions are a premium scorer, then defensive backs see a boost. If sacks or tackles for loss get boosted, then the emphasis leans more to the defensive line.
For this article, I will be using a scoring system often seen as standard in IDP fantasy football. The scoring is as follows:
- 1.5 per solo tackle
- 0.5 per assisted tackle
- 2 per forced fumble
- 2 per fumble recovery
- 4 per sack
- 4 per interception
- 6 per touchdown
- 1 per pass deflected
Defensive Line Consistency Rankings
|Damon Harrison Sr.||DET||100.5||5.91||2.93||0.5||2.98||8.84||17.85|
|Melvin Ingram III||LAC||72||4.5||3.98||0.88||0.52||8.48||9.59|
There will be very few surprises among the names that top the list of defensive linemen when it comes to the consistency rankings. Perhaps the biggest stand out is Vincent Taylor of the Miami Dolphins, who find himself in the top-10 thanks to a very consistent start to the season. The sophomore defensive tackle was extremely solid before suffering a foot injury in Week 8. Unfortunately, both of his seasons in the NFL have now been cut short by injury, limiting his value going forward. However, the way he performed early last season makes him an interesting pick up in deep IDP formats.
The other name I wanted to highlight was the rookie defensive tackle Daron Payne. The defensive tackle position can often be undervalued in IDP. Therefore, Payne is a player I would be targeting to try and buy in dynasty leagues entering his sophomore season.
Defensive Tackle vs. Defensive End
This is perhaps the most interesting position for this either-or debate among the three defensive levels. Honestly, the answer depends on what you are looking for. In the table above there is a good mix of defensive tackles and defensive ends, and for consistency purposes that is a true reflection. Defensive tackles tend to be more consistent with their tackle numbers. Defensive ends get additional value with sacks and pass deflected. If your league gives points for QB hits or pressures then the defensive end position gets a big boost.
When you are drafting the tackle versus end debate complete depends on your needs. If you have a solid team and you need some guys with upside, who can win you a week, then you want to go for a defensive end. However, if you just want someone who will give you that consistency but has a lower ceiling then pick up a tackle.
Defensive Line Overall Among IDP Options
No IDP position is affected more by the scoring setting than the defensive line, In the standard scoring set up above, defensive linemen are essentially neutered for fantasy purposes. If you were to sort all IDP’s from 2018 by their average weekly score you do not find the first defensive lineman until just outside the top-50. If you rank them by COR then it drops outside of the top-60. The scoring system above just does not value defensive linemen well. Yes, there are still some standout options who need consideration early, but after the top-five or six, it becomes a relatively level playing field.
Things look very different in leagues where QB hits are rewarded, or where sacks are given a higher weighting compared to tackles. In those situations, defensive linemen, especially the good ones, jump right up to sit alongside linebackers in both weekly average and COR. That is the key to approaching defensive linemen in fantasy drafts. The defensive line is the sexy position of defensive football because it is the one you see the most of in an average game broadcast.
The Approach To The Position
What the information above means is that defensive linemen are often over drafted relative to the other positions. Everyone knows the name of most teams main pass rushers, but linebackers and safeties, not so much. Therefore, make sure you know your scoring system. If it looks like the one in this article then my advice is just to wait. Get your high tackling linebackers and safeties to give you a good IDP floor, and then load up on pass rushers later to give you that ceiling. However, if there is more lean towards defensive line play, then absolutely grab one of the big names earlier, and then load up on the other positions and come back to the defensive line later.
The Math Behind the Stats
For those of you interested here is how all of the numbers that make up the consistency rating (COR) are produced. I am going to go full geek mode here so I fully understand if you just want to bypass this section and take my word for it!
Standard Deviation and Coefficient of Variation
First, we need to look at the average and standard deviation for that player. The standard deviation quantifies how spread out the numbers are. However, raw standard deviation numbers are messy to look at and hard to take in. They are also biased by the average of the player. A player with a lower average will have a bigger change in standard deviation for smaller relative changes in fantasy points than a player with a larger average weekly score. Therefore, we use another factor called the coefficient of variation (C.V.). C.V. takes the standard deviation and divides it by the average, allowing you to compare two players side by side regardless of their weekly average.
There is a downside of using C.V. If a player is consistently bad he will have a low C.V. and rank highly if we simply ranked players by that metric. Therefore, we need to look at a way to incorporate a players weekly points total. To do this we can calculate a players floor and ceiling, using their average and standard deviation. Over time the fantasy points scored by a player follow a normal distribution. With normal distribution we see the percentage of observations fall within one, two, or three standard deviations either side of the mean.
68% of the observations will fall within one standard deviation either side of the mean. 95% within two standard deviations and 99.7% within three standard deviations. The wider we go with the standard deviations the harder it is to accurately predict a player. Therefore, the floors and ceilings are calculated by looking at the values which fall one standard deviation either side of a players weekly average.
Finally, the COR itself. COR is calculated by taking a player’s calculated ceiling and dividing it by the C.V. The higher the number the better that player ranks as a risk/reward play for fantasy owners. COR gives weight to players who have a high ceiling, but also to those who are consistent. Players who consistently put up big points totals rank highly and players who are highly variable fall further down the rankings.