Consistency Ratings: Week 3

Success in fantasy football is not only about seeking the week-winning performance. It's also about avoiding the week-wrecking stinker.

Only two weeks into his NFL career, Robert Griffin III has shown us a lot of things: arm strength, mobility, composure, confidence … and fantasy goodness. Through two games, he has a league-leading 54 fantasy points.


Using statistics since the beginning of the 2010 season, and fantasy points determined by ESPN's standard scoring, the charts contained in this column rate players based upon how consistently reliable they are. To familiarize you with some of the terminology:

Start: The number of times that the player's point total in a given week was worthy of having had him active in an ESPN standard league.

Stud: The number of times the player's point total ranked among the top at his position.

Stiff: The number of times the player's point total ranked among the worst at his position, making almost any waiver-wire option a smarter choice.

These are the benchmarks for what constitutes a "Start," "Stud" or "Stiff" performance, numbers identifying the player's rank at his position:

Sat: The number of times the player missed a game. Players are not charged "Stiff" points for sitting out, but it hurts their overall Consistency Rating.

%: The player's overall Consistency Rating, calculated as number of "Start" performances divided by scheduled team games.

Success in fantasy football is not only about seeking the week-winning performance. It's also about avoiding the week-wrecking stinker.

But Griffin has exhibited something perhaps even more important in fantasy: He's one of those players almost immune to week-wrecking stinkers.

It's that second skill of his, mentioned above, that is the reason: mobility. Griffin's rushing ability rivals that of anyone in the league, and if there's anything the similarly skilled Cam Newton showed us during his rookie year of 2011, it's that such ability translates most easily from the college to NFL level. Remember, Griffin averaged 4.3 yards per carry, 55.0 yards per game and scored 33 touchdowns in 41 games during his four-year career at Baylor. Through two NFL games, his numbers in those categories are 6.2, 62.0 and two.

Truth is, it's the mobile quarterbacks who provide an extra edge in fantasy because of their slim week-to-week statistical downside. To put it into mathematical terms, imagine a dreadful week for such a quarterback being 150 passing yards, no scores, one interception and 60 rushing yards. That's a 10-point fantasy performance, six of which came merely from the rushing yards, and it's a passing score away from 14, a rushing score away from 16.

Our Consistency Ratings numbers best illustrate this, and not merely that Griffin is 2-for-2 in terms of "Stud" (top 2 at his position) performances thus far. Look at the histories of three other mobile quarterbacks since 2010:

Newton: 18 career starts, 66.7 percent rating that ranks fourth among quarterbacks, seven "Stud" games, no "Stiff" (outside the top 20) games. Not once in his career has Newton amassed fewer than 11 fantasy points. Ten times he has managed 20 fantasy points or more.

Michael Vick: 27 starts, 58.8 percent rating, was worthy of a "Start" in 74.1 percent of his actual starts, six "Stud" games, three "Stiff" games. The caveats: Vick missed seven games since the beginning of 2010 -- his Consistency Rating of 58.8 percent penalizes for injury absences -- and two of his three "Stiff" performances were directly the result of his exiting early because of injury.

Tim Tebow: 14 starts (counting only games for which he was the announced starter before kickoff), seven "Stud" games, one "Stiff" game. And let's not forget how widely criticized Tebow is for his passing ability, or lack thereof, as since the merger he has the 12th-worst completion rate (47.3 percent).

The three combined plus Griffin's first two games: 61 games started, 41 "Starts" (67.2 percent calculated as a percentage of the players' starts), 16 "Studs," 4 "Stiffs."

That's a remarkable combination of consistency and near-zero downside, and to make another comparison, consider that in 34 games since the beginning of the 2010 season, Eli Manning has been a "Stiff" -- his fantasy point total residing outside the top 20 quarterbacks for the week -- seven times. That is three more than Griffin, Newton, Vick and Tebow have had combined in 27 more games. Manning also had three "Stiff" performances during his outstanding 2011 alone.

Manning, incidentally, has the fourth-most passing yards (9,658) and fourth-most passing touchdowns (64) since the beginning of 2010.

Consistency Ratings chart

Players are initially ranked in order of their Consistency Rating, calculated as the percentage of the player's scheduled games -- not games played, scheduled games -- in which their fantasy point total registered a "Start" score. All categories are sortable both ascending and descending; just click on the headers to sort. Players must have met at least one the following minimums for inclusion in the chart: 20.0 percent Consistency Rating in standard scoring leagues, 20.0 percent Consistency Rating in PPR formats, or three "Stud" performances.

These statistics include all 36 scheduled NFL regular-season weeks since Week 1 of the 2010 season, or 34 games played per NFL team. Rookies are not charged for games missed before they entered the league.