Win. Your. League.

Receive 3 Free Downloads More Details

Quality Starts - Wide Receiver (PPR Scoring)

Quality Starts for 2012 for Wide Receivers Using PPR Scoring

There are some fantasy football players that believe that the lineup you pick can lose you a game just as much as it can win a contest. Having a player give you a consistent performance week after week can be considered more valuable than a player who goes off every third week and then takes two weeks off between those fantastic performances. Consistency has a value, and it does not take much of a leap to understand that players that you can rely on for solid games when you need them (such as in your postseason) are a huge advantage.

Baseball has a term called "Quality Starts" for pitchers, which is a statistic that represents how often a starting pitcher will put up a good (not great, just good) performance in a given game. The bar is set neither high nor low (six innings pitched, three earned runs or fewer) so as to gauge a decent performance. The theory behind it is that if your pitcher gives you a Quality Start, your team has a fighting chance to win a given game.

So now we need to translate this to football. What is "quality" for each position? How do we define a "Quality Start" for quarterbacks or running backs or any other position? Looking back at the 2012 season, I decided to take the #24 WR for the year (Miles Austin, 196.3 fantasy points) and take that fantasy total and divide it by 16 for a per game average. Now a case can be made to argue against doing this. I did not account for missed games or a per-start performance metric, but I believe that the numbers will get averaged out by doing this method. Also, taking WR24 seems a bit arbitrary, but if you are looking for a bare minimum of quality, the 24th WR should be the "worst starter" in your fantasy league as a WR2 and a great WR3.

So now we move on to the next question - one of quantifying the quality. At what point do we decide whether or not a wide receiver has given us a quality performance? Here is where it gets a bit murky, but looking at the distribution of WR performances by starters over the season and it becomes evident that the using the 24th WR average and adding or subtracting a percentage gives us a good range for a WR Quality Start.

Using the WR Quality Start range, we can also define a bad performance or an excellent performance as either falling below or exceeding the Quality Start range. Table 1 gives us the fantasy points that it takes to fall in each of the three areas:

WR Start TypeFantasy Points
Bad Start 0 to 9.1
Quality Start 9.2 to 15.3
Excellent Start 15.4+

Table 1: 2012 WR Quality Start and Fantasy Point Ranges - PPR Scoring

Table 2 shows us the breakdown of all the Top 75 WRs from 2012 and how many of each type of start resulted for each:

Wide Receiver Team Excellent Quality Bad Total
Calvin Johnson DET 13 1 2 16
Brandon Marshall CHI 13 2 1 16
Dez Bryant DAL 10 3 3 16
A.J. Green CIN 13 1 2 16
Demaryius Thomas DEN 9 5 2 16
Andre Johnson HOU 10 2 4 16
Wes Welker NEP 8 6 2 16
Reggie Wayne IND 11 3 2 16
Eric Decker DEN 9 5 2 16
Roddy White ATL 9 4 3 16
Julio Jones ATL 10 3 3 16
Vincent Jackson TBB 9 3 4 16
Marques Colston NOS 5 8 3 16
Victor Cruz NYG 8 4 4 16
Michael Crabtree SFO 7 5 4 16
Randall Cobb GBP 9 4 3 16
James Jones GBP 7 5 3 15
Stevie Johnson BUF 5 8 3 16
Mike Williams TBB 6 4 6 16
Steve Smith CAR 5 8 3 16
Lance Moore NOS 6 4 5 15
Jeremy Maclin PHI 5 5 4 14
Mike Wallace PIT 5 7 4 16
Miles Austin DAL 6 6 3 15
Cecil Shorts JAC 8 3 3 14
Brandon Lloyd NEP 4 7 5 16
Brian Hartline MIA 4 4 7 15
Justin Blackmon JAC 3 6 6 15
Torrey Smith BAL 5 3 8 16
Anquan Boldin BAL 6 4 5 15
T.Y. Hilton IND 5 2 8 15
Antonio Brown PIT 6 4 3 13
Larry Fitzgerald ARI 6 3 7 16
Andre Roberts ARI 4 4 7 15
Sidney Rice SEA 5 4 7 16
Jordy Nelson GBP 3 4 4 11
Malcom Floyd SDC 5 6 4 15
Denarius Moore OAK 4 6 5 15
Percy Harvin MIN 7 1 2 10
Golden Tate SEA 4 5 5 14
Josh Gordon CLE 4 4 8 16
Donnie Avery IND 3 4 9 16
Dwayne Bowe KCC 3 6 4 13
Jeremy Kerley NYJ 2 6 8 16
Kendall Wright TEN 1 8 6 15
Danny Amendola STL 4 4 3 11
Brandon Gibson STL 3 5 6 14
Santana Moss WAS 2 6 7 15
Danario Alexander SDC 5 2 1 8
Davone Bess MIA 3 7 4 14
Nate Washington TEN 2 6 8 16
Greg Little CLE 3 4 7 14
Hakeem Nicks NYG 4 3 5 12
Brandon LaFell CAR 4 3 5 12
Darrius Heyward-Bey OAK 2 5 6 13
Chris Givens STL 2 4 7 13
Pierre Garcon WAS 5 2 3 10
Andrew Hawkins CIN 3 5 6 14
Kenny Britt TEN 2 6 6 14
Brandon Stokley DEN 3 2 9 14
DeSean Jackson PHI 3 6 3 12
Jason Avant PHI 1 3 10 14
Rod Streater OAK 2 3 9 14
Josh Morgan WAS 0 8 8 16
Michael Floyd ARI 0 2 12 14
Emmanuel Sanders PIT 0 5 10 15
Leonard Hankerson WAS 1 5 9 15
Dexter McCluster KCC 1 3 11 15
Donald Jones BUF 2 3 8 13
Domenik Hixon NYG 1 5 6 12
Kevin Walter HOU 2 1 12 15
Kevin Ogletree DAL 2 1 9 12
Mario Manningham SFO 0 5 8 13
Michael Jenkins MIN 1 2 12 15
Titus Young DET 2 3 6 11
Totals   355 319 412  

Table 2: 2012 WR Start Types Sorted By Top 75 WRs - PPR Scoring

That's a lot of info to digest, so let me help. First, we see that there are about 10% more Excellent Starts (355) than there are Quality Starts (319), which marks the first time since 2008 that we had more Excellent than Quality Starts.  The numbers were closer and favored Quality Starts the past three seasons (315-340 in 2011, 332-381 in 2010 and 332-348 in 2009).   The net total of both categories was higher by almost 10% in 2008 (384-2820 and 2009, which might indicate that stud WRs are starting to separate themselves a bit more than the next few tiers of NFL wide receivers. There are also a lot of Bad Starts (412), but we are only looking for the best here, plus a "start" is not as definitive for a positional player that may just see partial playing time. The net results look like a good trend, which means that our distribution is close to normal and that our baseline point range does make sense.

Now, to dig deeper, let's look at the numbers distributed in two different ways. First, I need to define a valuable starting wide receiver in this system. We want a WR that will win more fantasy games than lose them, so we want either "Quality" or "Excellent" starts. Using a simple formula of scoring each type of start, we can define the value of a given NFL wide receiver. Here is the formula:

STARTING FANTASY RB VALUE = EXCELLENT STARTS - BAD STARTS

We neglect to look at Quality Starts because they neither win games nor lose them on average - they are just average WR performances. We only really care about how often he helps our team vs. how often he hurts it. Giving a "-1" value to bad starts and "+1" to excellent ones does this for us.

On with the results, sorted by value:

Wide Receiver Team Excellent Quality Bad Total Net Val
Brandon Marshall CHI 13 2 1 16 12
Calvin Johnson DET 13 1 2 16 11
A.J. Green CIN 13 1 2 16 11
Reggie Wayne IND 11 3 2 16 9
Dez Bryant DAL 10 3 3 16 7
Demaryius Thomas DEN 9 5 2 16 7
Eric Decker DEN 9 5 2 16 7
Julio Jones ATL 10 3 3 16 7
Andre Johnson HOU 10 2 4 16 6
Wes Welker NEP 8 6 2 16 6
Roddy White ATL 9 4 3 16 6
Randall Cobb GBP 9 4 3 16 6
Vincent Jackson TBB 9 3 4 16 5
Cecil Shorts JAC 8 3 3 14 5
Percy Harvin MIN 7 1 2 10 5
Victor Cruz NYG 8 4 4 16 4
James Jones GBP 7 5 3 15 4
Danario Alexander SDC 5 2 1 8 4
Michael Crabtree SFO 7 5 4 16 3
Miles Austin DAL 6 6 3 15 3
Antonio Brown PIT 6 4 3 13 3
Marques Colston NOS 5 8 3 16 2
Stevie Johnson BUF 5 8 3 16 2
Steve Smith CAR 5 8 3 16 2
Pierre Garcon WAS 5 2 3 10 2
Lance Moore NOS 6 4 5 15 1
Jeremy Maclin PHI 5 5 4 14 1
Mike Wallace PIT 5 7 4 16 1
Anquan Boldin BAL 6 4 5 15 1
Malcom Floyd SDC 5 6 4 15 1
Danny Amendola STL 4 4 3 11 1
Mike Williams TBB 6 4 6 16 0
DeSean Jackson PHI 3 6 3 12 0
Brandon Lloyd NEP 4 7 5 16 -1
Larry Fitzgerald ARI 6 3 7 16 -1
Jordy Nelson GBP 3 4 4 11 -1
Denarius Moore OAK 4 6 5 15 -1
Golden Tate SEA 4 5 5 14 -1
Dwayne Bowe KCC 3 6 4 13 -1
Davone Bess MIA 3 7 4 14 -1
Hakeem Nicks NYG 4 3 5 12 -1
Brandon LaFell CAR 4 3 5 12 -1
Sidney Rice SEA 5 4 7 16 -2
Brian Hartline MIA 4 4 7 15 -3
Justin Blackmon JAC 3 6 6 15 -3
Torrey Smith BAL 5 3 8 16 -3
T.Y. Hilton IND 5 2 8 15 -3
Andre Roberts ARI 4 4 7 15 -3
Brandon Gibson STL 3 5 6 14 -3
Andrew Hawkins CIN 3 5 6 14 -3
Josh Gordon CLE 4 4 8 16 -4
Greg Little CLE 3 4 7 14 -4
Darrius Heyward-Bey OAK 2 5 6 13 -4
Kenny Britt TEN 2 6 6 14 -4
Titus Young DET 2 3 6 11 -4
Kendall Wright TEN 1 8 6 15 -5
Santana Moss WAS 2 6 7 15 -5
Chris Givens STL 2 4 7 13 -5
Domenik Hixon NYG 1 5 6 12 -5
Donnie Avery IND 3 4 9 16 -6
Jeremy Kerley NYJ 2 6 8 16 -6
Nate Washington TEN 2 6 8 16 -6
Brandon Stokley DEN 3 2 9 14 -6
Donald Jones BUF 2 3 8 13 -6
Rod Streater OAK 2 3 9 14 -7
Kevin Ogletree DAL 2 1 9 12 -7
Josh Morgan WAS 0 8 8 16 -8
Leonard Hankerson WAS 1 5 9 15 -8
Mario Manningham SFO 0 5 8 13 -8
Jason Avant PHI 1 3 10 14 -9
Emmanuel Sanders PIT 0 5 10 15 -10
Dexter McCluster KCC 1 3 11 15 -10
Kevin Walter HOU 2 1 12 15 -10
Michael Jenkins MIN 1 2 12 15 -11
Michael Floyd ARI 0 2 12 14 -12

Table 3: 2012 WR Start Types Sorted By Value - PPR Scoring

This is a lot of information once again, but some names leap out at us. For example, Brandon Marshall, Calvin Johnson, A.J. Green, Wes Welker, Reggie Wayne, Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker were the only wide receivers with a positive Net Value that had fewer than two or less Bad Starts in all of 2012. Thomas and Decker received the added boost because of Peyton Manning’s big year, a fact that should help both receivers and now Wes Welker this season.  Other names at the top of the list that catch my eye are receivers that had a positive score despite missing a few games – Percy Harvin (+5, 10 games), Cecil Shorts (+5, 14), Danario Alexander (+4, 8), Antonio Brown (+3, 13) and Pierre Garcon (+2, 10).  If these receivers can figure out how to stay on the field in 2013 and play all 16 contests then they could be huge values in fantasy drafts this season.

Lastly I will sift through it for you and get right to the heart of the matter with our final table. Here we have the results sorted by value for the Top 36 WRs on the 2013 ADP list.

Wide Receiver Team Excellent Quality Bad Total Net Val ADP
Brandon Marshall CHI 13 2 1 16 12 13
Calvin Johnson DET 13 1 2 16 11 5
A.J. Green CIN 13 1 2 16 11 11
Reggie Wayne IND 11 3 2 16 9 49
Dez Bryant DAL 10 3 3 16 7 14
Demaryius Thomas DEN 9 5 2 16 7 19
Eric Decker DEN 9 5 2 16 7 57
Julio Jones ATL 10 3 3 16 7 18
Andre Johnson HOU 10 2 4 16 6 25
Wes Welker NEP 8 6 2 16 6 42
Roddy White ATL 9 4 3 16 6 27
Randall Cobb GBP 9 4 3 16 6 30
Vincent Jackson TBB 9 3 4 16 5 39
Cecil Shorts JAC 8 3 3 14 5 80
Percy Harvin MIN 7 1 2 10 5 29
Victor Cruz NYG 8 4 4 16 4 34
James Jones GBP 7 5 3 15 4 73
Danario Alexander SDC 5 2 1 8 4 WR40
Miles Austin DAL 6 6 3 15 3 89
Antonio Brown PIT 6 4 3 13 3 58
Marques Colston NOS 5 8 3 16 2 45
Stevie Johnson BUF 5 8 3 16 2 79
Steve Smith CAR 5 8 3 16 2 66
Pierre Garcon WAS 5 2 3 10 2 60
Lance Moore NOS 6 4 5 15 1 WR41
Jeremy Maclin PHI 5 5 4 14 1 83
Mike Wallace PIT 5 7 4 16 1 59
Anquan Boldin BAL 6 4 5 15 1 WR38
Malcom Floyd SDC 5 6 4 15 1 WR60
Danny Amendola STL 4 4 3 11 1 47
Mike Williams TBB 6 4 6 16 0 90
DeSean Jackson PHI 3 6 3 12 0 WR37
Larry Fitzgerald ARI 6 3 7 16 -1 22
Jordy Nelson GBP 3 4 4 11 -1 44
Dwayne Bowe KCC 3 6 4 13 -1 46
Hakeem Nicks NYG 4 3 5 12 -1 48
Torrey Smith BAL 5 3 8 16 -3 62
T.Y. Hilton IND 5 2 8 15 -3 82

Table 4: 2013 Top Drafted WRs Sorted By 2012 Value - PPR Scoring

Note that Tavon Austin is not included due to his rookie status, and Greg Jennings is also missing because of his injury issues last season.

Judging form 2012, it would appear that Reggie Wayne would be the best value by far if he was a lock to repeat his fantastic numbers, with Eric Decker not far behind.  As mentioned earlier, Cecil Shorts has great value but Jacksonville’s offense can be pretty shaky.  I would love Shorts as a WR3 in a PPR league but not much higher than that.  James Jones, Danario Alexander and Miles Austin lead the class of valuable WR3s on the market who can outperform expectations, another confirmation of the depth of the WR3 pool for 2013.  Lastly there are four wide receivers that are on the list that are not in the Top 36 – Lance Moore (WR41), Anquan Boldin (WR38), Malcom Floyd (WR60) and DeSean Jackson (WR37). I felt that it would be a terrible oversight to omit these great value wide receivers that can be had after many lesser quality 2012 WRs go off the board.

On the flip side, we have to take a long look at the wide receivers in the Top 36 that are hard to justify their place here based on Quality Starts from last season. Dwayne Bowe (-1 Net Value) seems to find a spot on this list each year, but maybe Andy Reid can help Bowe and the Chiefs to turn it around.  I just know I would not overpay to have Bowe on my team.  Jordy Nelson could be a sleeper if he becomes Aaron Rodgers’ favorite target this year, but only if he falls past Round 4.  Hakeem Nicks must stay healthy, else he will not be worth a Top 50 pick either.  Larry Fitzgerald could be a value considering he gets Carson Palmer at quarterback now, a huge improvement for Arizona from last year.  That brings up an important point, which is that all of this is based solely on last year's results. There is no reason to believe in these numbers as indications of 2013 performance, but having this information available should give you more to think about when deciding who you will have leading your fantasy team this year.

Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to pasquino@footballguys.com.


More from Jeff Pasquino:

The Daily Grind - Daily Fantasy Contest News: Week 9 - October 31
Eliminator Pool: Week 9 - October 30
Against The Spread Pool: Week 9 - October 30
For the Win: Week 9 - October 29
Money Talks (Free Agent Bidding Advice): Week 9 - October 28
The Daily Grind - Daily Fantasy Contest News: Week 8 - October 25
Eliminator Pool: Week 8 - October 23
Against The Spread Pool: Week 8 - October 23
For the Win: Week 8 - October 22
Money Talks (Free Agent Bidding Advice): Week 8 - October 21