Ryan Knaus

The Numbers Game

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Fantasy Consistency: Top-150

Thursday, January 25, 2018


Earlier this month, I explored the concept of consistency in fantasy hoops. In that column we looked at the top-50 players, determining for example that Giannis Antetokounmpo and Steph Curry were the golden standard for fantasy consistency. These are the 'fantasy metronomes', the players you can plug into your lineups and know that as long as they're healthy, they will produce.

 

There is substantial variance among elite players, but I eventually wanted to extend the analysis to the top-150 players, and what better time than the present? With the season half over, we have a big enough sample size to be confident in the results. And with the trade deadline approaching and fantasy owners looking ahead to their playoffs, analyzing player performance is of paramount importance.

 

Before looking at the results, let's first look at the methodology.

 

  • The population is the top-150 players for the NBA's official points-league system, plus extra players I found interesting (165 total)
  • For each player, a) convert season-long boxscores into 'fantasy point' totals for each game, then b) determine fantasy-point averages and standard deviations.
  • Divide standard deviation into season-long average and invert the results (i.e. 20% volatility becomes 80% consistency) -- collectively, this is the "Consistency Index."

 

Notes:


+I did not include DNPs, whether stemming from rest, injury, suspension, etc. For instance, Chris Paul would look far more 'inconsistent' if you factored in the games he missed with a knee injury. Readers should evaluate DNP-risk separately from the consistency I'm talking about today, which is how players perform when they're active.

 

+Players with very small sample sizes were excluded. It's not very meaningful to know how consistent Danilo Gallinari (11 games) and Mike Conley (12 games) have been this season.

 

+This is based on the NBA's Official Fantasy Points system, so it doesn't explicitly measure FG% or FT% (although they do impact scoring, so they are implicitly measured).

 

+If you're interested in joining a mid-season league, you can do so here! You can also create your own league, tailored to your settings, right here.

 

+As I wrote in my column earlier this month, "The most consistent players aren't necessarily better, and the most volatile players aren't worse. If you're swinging for the fences in a DFS league, you might prefer a player whose volatility will scare away other owners, in the hopes that he 'hits' that night. On the other hand, you might desire more consistent players if you're looking ahead to the fantasy playoffs and don't want to risk an off-week from your one mercurial superstar. You can't make those decisions, though, until you know which player is which."

 

Editor's Note: Looking for an edge in your fantasy leagues? The NBA Season Pass provides weekly projections, rankings, the popular Pickups of the Day column, exclusive columns and customizable stat options. It's the extra tool that can take your fantasy basketball teams to the next level.

 

A quick example: Damian Lillard has averaged 42.13 fantasy points per game this season. His standard deviation is 8.89 fantasy points per game. You can generally expect him to stay within 33.2 - 51.0 fantasy points per night (78.9% consistency).

 

  Consistency  Consistency Rank NBA Official Fantasy Points Usage Rate Minutes
Stephen Curry 83.2% 1 45.6 30.9% 32.8
Giannis Antetokounmpo 81.7% 2 52.8 31.6% 37.4
Russell Westbrook 80.2% 3 53.5 34.7% 35.8
Kyrie Irving 79.3% 4 39.3 31.5% 32.8
Damian Lillard 78.9% 5 42.1 29.7% 36.7
Kevin Durant 78.3% 6 48.0 30.2% 34.8
Blake Griffin 77.6% 7 39.9 29.6% 34.4
DeMarcus Cousins 77.6% 8 52.6 32.4% 36.5
Harrison Barnes 77.0% 9 30.9 24.4% 34.8
Al Horford 76.6% 10 33.7 18.1% 32.7
James Harden 76.6% 11 53.7 35.9% 36.0
Klay Thompson 76.5% 12 31.6 24.3% 34.3
Dennis Schroder 76.0% 13 34.6 30.3% 31.9
C.J. McCollum 74.9% 14 33.3 26.1% 36.4
LaMarcus Aldridge 74.7% 15 39.0 28.7% 34.1
Marc Gasol 74.4% 16 37.7 26.4% 34.5
LeBron James 74.3% 17 53.3 30.8% 37.0
John Wall 73.9% 18 41.5 28.5% 34.3
Kemba Walker 73.8% 19 36.7 27.3% 34.6
Jimmy Butler 73.5% 20 41.1 24.5% 36.9
Andre Drummond 73.2% 21 44.0 20.7% 32.9
Chris Paul 72.8% 22 44.2 24.1% 32.3
J.J. Redick 72.5% 23 26.5 20.8% 32.6
Joel Embiid 72.4% 24 45.8 33.3% 31.5
Karl-Anthony Towns 72.1% 25 43.3 22.3% 35.6
Carmelo Anthony 72.1% 26 29.8 24.3% 32.6
Goran Dragic 71.7% 27 30.5 26.8% 32.1
Gary Harris 71.5% 28 30.6 20.0% 34.9
Andrew Wiggins 71.4% 29 29.9 23.7% 36.2
Draymond Green 71.4% 30 37.4 17.0% 32.4
Clint Capela 71.3% 31 34.9 20.6% 26.4
DeMar DeRozan 71.2% 32 39.9 29.9% 34.7
Tobias Harris 71.2% 33 29.0 23.2% 32.5
Victor Oladipo 71.1% 34 42.2 30.3% 34.1
Kyle Lowry 71.0% 35 35.6 22.1% 33.0
Steven Adams 70.8% 36 30.7 16.8% 32.0
Jaylen Brown 70.8% 37 26.1 20.5% 31.7
Ben Simmons 70.6% 38 41.1 23.6% 35.0
J.J. Barea 70.3% 39 24.0 25.3% 22.9
Jrue Holiday 70.1% 40 35.6 22.2% 37.0
Lauri Markkanen 70.0% 41 28.9 22.0% 30.3
Justin Holiday 69.8% 42 26.4 18.3% 34.3
Anthony Davis 69.5% 43 50.2 27.4% 36.3
Bogdan Bogdanovic 69.4% 44 20.5 19.4% 26.8
Paul George 69.3% 45 37.5 25.3% 36.4
Tyreke Evans 69.3% 46 34.4 28.3% 31.2
Nikola Mirotic 69.1% 47 30.4 26.0% 24.7
Dirk Nowitzki 69.0% 48 23.4 20.6% 25.1
DeAndre Jordan 69.0% 49 34.2 14.2% 32.1
Evan Fournier 69.0% 50 28.1 23.4% 32.8
Robin Lopez 68.9% 51 23.6 20.5% 28.5
Domantas Sabonis 68.8% 52 26.0 22.4% 25.3
Trevor Ariza 68.7% 53 25.1 13.4% 36.0
Hassan Whiteside 68.6% 54 37.0 24.2% 26.1
Reggie Jackson 68.4% 55 25.7 25.9% 27.1
Bradley Beal 68.3% 56 37.0 28.1% 35.9
Joe Ingles 68.1% 57 23.0 14.7% 30.5
Eric Bledsoe 67.4% 58 32.7 27.1% 31.4
Khris Middleton 67.3% 59 34.8 24.6% 37.3
Kevin Love 67.3% 60 34.9 26.3% 28.3
DeMarre Carroll 67.1% 61 26.7 19.8% 29.2
Taj Gibson 67.1% 62 26.7 14.5% 33.8
Serge Ibaka 66.9% 63 26.2 20.0% 28.1
John Collins 66.9% 64 24.3 19.7% 22.2
Jeff Teague 66.9% 65 30.3 20.0% 33.7
Dennis Smith Jr. 66.9% 66 27.4 28.4% 28.4
Nikola Jokic 66.8% 67 39.5 23.6% 31.0
Malcolm Brogdon 66.7% 68 24.9 19.5% 31.2
Devin Booker 66.7% 69 37.7 30.8% 34.5
Nikola Vucevic 66.5% 70 39.1 25.3% 29.9
Donovan Mitchell 66.5% 71 31.6 28.4% 31.7
Thaddeus Young 66.2% 72 26.8 16.8% 32.6
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 66.1% 73 27.1 17.6% 33.4
Jayson Tatum 66.0% 74 26.5 18.1% 30.9
Jeremy Lamb 65.9% 75 25.9 23.4% 25.7
Courtney Lee 65.9% 76 24.7 17.5% 33.0
Enes Kanter 65.5% 77 29.3 21.7% 25.3
Allen Crabbe 65.4% 78 21.6 17.8% 29.1
Caris LeVert 65.2% 79 24.9 22.4% 26.6
Kristaps Porzingis 64.9% 80 40.3 32.7% 33.0
Dario Saric 64.8% 81 26.7 19.7% 30.7
Kyle Anderson 64.7% 82 24.3 13.7% 27.6
Tyson Chandler 64.7% 83 21.6 10.5% 25.7
Aaron Gordon 64.6% 84 34.3 24.1% 33.8
Brandon Ingram 64.6% 85 28.9 21.9% 33.8
Milos Teodosic 64.5% 86 20.7 19.1% 25.6
Lonzo Ball 64.3% 87 33.9 17.7% 33.9
Nicolas Batum 64.0% 88 24.5 17.9% 31.2
Marcus Smart 64.0% 89 23.6 19.6% 30.3
Eric Gordon 63.7% 90 27.1 25.8% 32.7
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson 63.6% 91 29.0 22.6% 28.6
T.J. Warren 63.6% 92 31.6 26.3% 32.3
Kris Dunn 63.6% 93 33.3 25.3% 29.6
Myles Turner 63.5% 94 30.5 21.6% 29.2
Dwight Howard 63.4% 95 36.0 24.4% 30.4
Dewayne Dedmon 63.2% 96 24.4 18.6% 23.6
Will Barton 63.1% 97 29.0 21.4% 31.1
E'Twaun Moore 63.1% 98 21.5 15.8% 32.5
Elfrid Payton 62.9% 99 28.8 21.6% 29.3
Marcin Gortat 62.9% 100 24.6 15.3% 26.8
Kent Bazemore 62.7% 101 28.0 22.1% 28.3
Robert Covington 62.3% 102 28.8 17.8% 32.4
Bobby Portis 62.1% 103 22.5 25.7% 20.3
Wesley Matthews 61.9% 104 23.0 17.2% 34.4
Ricky Rubio 61.9% 105 25.5 22.1% 29.0
Spencer Dinwiddie 61.8% 106 28.9 20.8% 28.3
Derrick Favors 61.7% 107 26.5 19.1% 28.2
Al-Farouq Aminu 61.6% 108 23.3 14.8% 30.3
Lou Williams 61.5% 109 34.9 29.6% 32.2
Denzel Valentine 61.5% 110 22.4 15.8% 28.5
Austin Rivers 61.4% 111 26.5 22.6% 32.7
Rudy Gobert 61.2% 112 32.2 17.2% 29.7
Pau Gasol 61.2% 113 27.8 19.8% 25.3
Darren Collison 61.2% 114 26.9 17.2% 30.1
Kyle Kuzma 61.0% 115 27.8 23.0% 30.7
Avery Bradley 60.9% 116 23.2 24.9% 31.6
Rodney Hood 60.9% 117 24.2 27.7% 28.3
Bojan Bogdanovic 60.7% 118 20.1 18.6% 30.5
Kelly Oubre Jr. 60.3% 119 22.3 19.0% 27.4
John Henson 60.3% 120 22.7 15.6% 24.9
Julius Randle 60.2% 121 26.1 25.0% 23.2
Willie Cauley-Stein 60.0% 122 27.4 21.7% 27.2
Tyler Johnson 60.0% 123 22.7 19.1% 29.3
Taurean Prince 59.9% 124 24.8 19.6% 30.6
Jusuf Nurkic 59.3% 125 30.5 27.5% 27.0
Josh Richardson 59.2% 126 25.5 18.0% 34.1
Ersan Ilyasova 59.0% 127 22.6 18.2% 25.9
Marvin Williams 58.7% 128 19.4 13.9% 25.9
Jarrett Jack 58.6% 129 21.4 16.7% 26.8
Larry Nance Jr. 58.3% 130 23.9 15.8% 22.3
Wilson Chandler 58.2% 131 20.3 14.5% 31.0
Ryan Anderson 58.2% 132 20.1 14.6% 28.7
Dwyane Wade 58.1% 133 23.9 24.4% 23.1
JaMychal Green 57.9% 134 22.1 19.1% 26.8
Otto Porter 57.8% 135 29.5 17.7% 31.6
Yogi Ferrell 57.6% 136 19.6 16.2% 28.8
Zach Randolph 56.9% 137 26.3 27.6% 25.1
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist 56.8% 138 21.5 17.1% 26.5
Dwight Powell 56.8% 139 17.2 15.4% 18.5
James Johnson 56.3% 140 25.0 20.0% 26.7
Tim Hardaway Jr. 56.0% 141 30.7 24.3% 32.5
Kelly Olynyk 55.8% 142 22.5 20.9% 23.6
Alex Len 55.6% 143 22.6 16.6% 20.8
Terry Rozier 55.0% 144 19.9 19.1% 23.0
Brook Lopez 54.8% 145 22.7 25.0% 21.2
Markieff Morris 54.8% 146 20.0 19.4% 25.1
Buddy Hield 54.0% 147 21.2 23.4% 24.2
George Hill 54.0% 148 20.3 16.7% 27.1
Kyle O'Quinn 53.3% 149 19.9 17.9% 17.0
Marco Belinelli 53.0% 150 18.5 21.4% 23.4
Wayne Ellington 52.4% 151 18.5 17.3% 25.8
Jonas Valanciunas 51.1% 152 23.3 21.0% 21.0
Danny Green 50.7% 153 20.5 16.0% 26.4
Wesley Johnson 50.4% 154 18.6 14.1% 24.1
Jamal Murray 50.2% 155 25.9 23.4% 29.8
T.J. McConnell 50.2% 156 22.1 14.5% 25.1
Delon Wright 49.0% 157 20.6 17.2% 21.7
Jordan Clarkson 47.5% 158 22.9 27.8% 23.2
Rajon Rondo 47.2% 159 22.8 16.2% 24.7
Marquese Chriss 46.8% 160 18.7 16.4% 21.2
Trey Lyles 44.7% 161 19.9 20.1% 20.4
Shabazz Napier 43.2% 162 19.6 19.2% 21.3
Bam Adebayo 43.0% 163 18.9 14.7% 19.9
Jordan Bell 36.8% 164 16.7 13.2% 14.4
Michael Beasley 34.6% 165 20.7 29.6% 19.3

 

Follow me on Twitter @Knaus_RW!

 

The results do beg the question, why? Why is Jordan Clarkson exceedingly inconsistent (47.5%), whereas J.J. Barea (70.3%) is very reliable? The big, obvious factor is how steady a player's role has been throughout the season. Did they start out barely cracking the rotation, only to assume a 25+ minute role over the past month (Bismack Biyombo)? Were they temporarily featured on a short-handed team (Gerald Green) or recently promoted to a prominent starting role (Dejounte Murray)?

 

Those are the biggest reasons for extreme inefficiency, affecting guys like Michael Beasley, Jordan Bell and Shabazz Napier. Other factors may include, but are not limited to:

 

  • Teammate injuries...dozens of possible examples.
  • Slumps...Otto Porter has a below-average consistency of 57.8% this season, which has plummeted to 46.8% since mid-December.
  • Differing performance due to days' rest...Dwyane Wade is averaging 9.2 points (41.2% FGs, 40.0% FTs) and 2.6 rebounds and in five games with zero days' rest this season, way below his season averages.
  • Whether a game is home/away...Ryan Anderson is shooting 39.9% at home for 7.8 points, but on the road he's hitting 45.2% for 12.8 points.
  • Adjustments to a new team/coach/system...Jimmy Butler had a rocky few weeks to begin his first season with the Wolves, but since Dec. 1 he's posting 80.0% consistency.

 

An easy way to approximate a player's role is to look at their minutes and usage. I've included season averages in the table above, and indeed we find that both statistics have a solid positive correlation with consistency.

 

Minutes = 0.7413 (strong positive correlation)

Usage Rate = 0.4759 (moderate positive correlation)

 

To better understand what that means, let's visualize the data:

 

 

 

 

Although usage is always important, minutes are more strongly correlated with consistency (and overall fantasy value, for that matter). So for instance, I'd be happier if my low-end player stepped into more playing time, rather than more ball-handling. This isn't only applicable to young guys. As a random hypothetical, Tony Parker's shift to the bench could bump up his usage rate as the motor of the second unit, but any corresponding dip in playing time would wipe out potential gains. Minutes are the great equalizer.

 

There are so many angles to consider here, and I encourage you to sift through the numbers and see what jumps out at you...based on your current teams, past experience, etc. Any and all feedback on this column is appreciated. You can email me via the link below or find me on Twitter @Knaus_RW. Good luck this week!



Despite residing in Portland, Maine, Ryan Knaus remains a heartbroken Sonics fan who longs for the days of Shawn Kemp and Xavier McDaniel. He has written for Rotoworld.com since 2007. You can follow him on Twitter.
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