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Fantasy Football: Another Look at Weekly Consistency

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At RotoWire, I took another look at whether or not weekly consistency really exists. Last week, I examined consistency as a function of wide receiver YPC, and this week I took a look at running back receptions.

My point was that even if consistency is valuable, it’s quite unpredictable in regard to wide receivers. Among running backs, however, that might not be the case.

Going into this study, my hypothesis was that running backs who catch passes might be more consistent on a weekly basis than non-pass-catching backs because they have more ways to beat defenses. LikePercy Harvin – one of the few receivers I deemed as possessing weekly consistency – running backs who can contribute as receivers necessarily have a lesser degree of volatility because they can score points in two ways.

To take a look at my hypothesis, I sorted all running backs with at least 750 rushing yards over the past two years by the number of receptions they recorded. The top 25 running backs in terms of catches turned in an average of 10.3 “quality starts” per season. I defined a “quality start” as posting at least 6.0 percent of their year-end yardage total in any given game (and thus controlling for differences in talent and system). The pass-catching backs in this group included just who you’d imagine—Arian FosterRay Rice,Peyton Hillis, and so on.

On the other hand, the bottom backs in terms of receptions – think Michael TurnerDeAngelo Williams, andCedric Benson – recorded an average of only 9.0 “quality starts” per season. Remember, backs needed to turn in just 6.0 percent of their own year-end yardage total to obtain a “quality start,” so the total production from each running back was irrelevant.

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