Buyer Beware: 12 Players whose 2013 point totals may be a bit misleading

Jun 04, 2014 10:43 PM EST

                The offseason is, of course, the time of the fantasy season where analysts, experts, gurus, and everyone else release their rankings for the upcoming season.  It isn't uncommon to read someone's rankings and say "Uh, why the hell is ____ ranked so high? He had like 3 good games last season."  That's what this article is about: players who had a few good games whose scores don't necessarily represent what they bring to the table every week.  Therefore, many players finish much higher than they "deserve" based on a couple sessions of "going-off" on Sundays (or Mondays or Thursdays).
                DISCLAIMER: Some fantasy owners prefer taking boom or bust players.  Some will accept a bunch of dud games in exchange for a few monumental games, and that's completely fine.  I, personally, try to avoid them and favor consistency.  These are 2013 stats and, due to team or coaching changes, may not reflect expectations for the upcoming year because prior year stats aren't the sole determinant of the upcoming year, as we all know (ex: Richardson, Trent).  The scoring is 1-point PPR and all the normal stuff (10 rushing/receiving = 1 point, Passing TDs = 4 points, and Other TDs = 6 points), and I generally included games of 20+ points (maybe an occasional 18 or 19) for the analysis.  I only looked at roughly the top 10 from 2013 at each position.
Cam Newton
                SuperCam (I assume someone has called him that before, right?) finished as the #3 quarterback in 2013.  Analysis of his point totals revealed that 48.58% of his fantasy points came in just 5 games: Week 3, 6, 8, 11, and 13.  That leaves 11 games to account for the other 51.42% of his scoring, and he had three games in single digit scoring.  Keep in mind that his receiving situation is a bit up in the air at the moment, as well.
Andrew Luck
                Luck finished as the #4 QB in 2013, and his numbers were pretty consistent as he had only one game in single digits along with one 10-pointer.  His boom-or-bust factor wasn't that drastic, but it occurred mostly because he had a bunch of really good games to go along with some above average games.  "Shutup, just give me the stats."  Okay, fine.  Luck's point totals in Weeks 1, 7, 9, and 14 accounted for 39.07% of his fantasy points, leaving 60.93% of his points for 12 other games.  Not that drastic, but still there.
Andy Dalton
                To my surprise and probably that of many others, Dalton finished as the #5 fantasy signal-caller in 2013.  Dalton had 4 games with single-digit scoring.  Among weeks 6, 7, 8, 14, and 16, Dalton recorded 51.26% of his fantasy points.  That's a lot.  Accordingly, 48.74% of his points were spread across the other 11 games.
Running Backs
DeMarco Murray
                Boom-or-bust running backs were pretty hard to come by, so their results aren't too drastic.  Murray (#6 RB) accounted for 45.04% of his fantasy points in just 4 games: Weeks 3, 13, 15, and 16.  So, 54.96% of his points came in his other 10 games (he missed two).  A midseason look at Murray's fantasy playoff opponents would have told you to go grab him, and he didn't disappoint (3 of those 4 significant games were in the last 4 weeks of the fantasy season, with a solid 16 pointer in week 14).
Chris Johnson
                Oh, you knew he was coming.  Arguably the king of boom-or-bust, Johnson is now a member of the star-studded New York Jets offense. Oh wait.  Did you know he was the #8 RB last year? I sure didn't. Anyway, 5 weeks (7, 9, 11, 13, 17) accounted for 50.22% of his fantasy production, leaving 49.78% to the other 11 games.  The best part is that his best-scoring games came smack dab in the middle of the season, so you had plenty of time to hate yourself for drafting him then you also got to be disappointed when he didn't excel in the playoffs. Win-win.
Wide Receivers
Calvin Johnson
                I know, I was kind of surprised as well.  Johnson was most likely the #1 receiver taken in every draft last year, and he didn't necessarily disappoint (finished at #6).  Weeks 7, 8, and 11 accounted for 40.88% of his fantasy points, leaving 59.12% for the other 11 games (he missed two games).  You know what?  Since you're still reading, I'll give you another stat for Johnson...for free.  Mostly just because he had a bunch of amazing games (7, 8, and 11) then a bunch of really good ones (2, 3, and 10).  So, among weeks 2, 3, 7, 8, 10, and 11, Johnson accumulated 67.57% of his fantasy points.  The other 8 games accounted for 32.43% of his production.
Alshon Jeffery
                Jeffery was the reason I decided to undertake the challenge of this article.  I saw him popping up near the top 5 receivers on a lot of rankings and had to step back a minute.  I admit, I didn't realize how productive he was (#8 receiver), but I still have my doubts.  40% of Jeffery's fantasy points came in Weeks 5, 6, and 14.  That leaves the other 60% across the remaining 13 games.  He also had 5 weeks with single digit point totals.  Not as drastic as I expected, but I'll put it in the win column if you don't mind.
Eric Decker
                He's on the Jets now.  Don't forget.  Before checking the data, I considered Decker pretty consistent.  I was pretty wrong.  5 weeks (3, 7, 13, 14, and 16) accounted for 60.22% of Decker's fantasy production.  I assume you can do the math at this point, but 39.22% of his points came in the other 11 games.
DeSean Jackson
                Jackson, now a Redskin, and CJ2k are in an epic battle for boom-or-bust king.  Across 6 weeks (1, 2, 5, 6, 9, and 15), Jackson accumulated 63.64% of his fantasy points.  36.36% of his fantasy points came in the other 10 games, and some of them were pretty ugly.  He had 6 single digit games, and, yes, this is still PPR scoring.  He finished at #12 last season.
Tight Ends
Vernon Davis
                Lucky you!  I have two stats for you again, and you can use whichever one you want.  But not both.  Davis did not play in week 3.  In 2 weeks, Weeks 1 and 6, Davis accumulated 31.25% of his fantasy points (68.75% for the other 13).  Stat number two: Weeks 1, 5, 6, 13, and 15 accounted for 56.73% of his fantasy points, leaving 43.27% for the other 10 games.  I like the first stat better.  He finished at #4.
Jordan Cameron
                Cameron finished at #5 and seemed like a genius tight end choice after the first few weeks.  Across week 1, 3, 4, and 14, Cameron got 51.70% of his fantasy points.  The other 12 weeks accounted for the other 48.3%.  Maybe more consistent with Manziel?  Who has any idea, honestly?
Jason Witten
                Witten's numbers were oddly similar to Cameron's.  Like Decker, I expected Witten to be pretty consistent.  Witten was the #6 TE, and he had exactly 200 points which made the math pretty easy.  A nice gift from Mr. Witten.  Anyway, 50.5% of Witten's fantasy points were scored in Weeks 1, 5, 9, and 17.  So, (last time I'm going to do the other side of this equation, I promise) 49.5% of Witten's points came in the other 12 weeks.
                It took a while, but we made it.  Hopefully, you learned something during this analysis.  I sure did.  Remember, these players aren't necessarily bad investments whatsoever.  Also, 2013 stats aren't true reflections of 2014 projections.  It's hard to deny that they don't matter at all, however.  Is there anyone I missed? Let me know!