Real Points and Pointless Points

Points scored by fantasy starters while they are benched by their fantasy team do not help their fantasy team. This truism, while obvious, does not  play much of a role in fantasy analysis. This article introduces a new stat, Real Points. A player’s real points are simply the  total of fantasy points scored in games in which the player was a projected starter.

It is obvious that some players’ total point production is identical to, or at least not far off from, their point production when starting – because those players are never benched when active. Other players may have wasted a significant portion of their production because they were widely benched in their most productive weeks. Think Keelan Cole, who scored 132.8 fantasy points in 2017 without earning many starts, or, as discussed on this website, Alex Smith in 2017, whose lack of fantasy value in 2017 was largely attributable to ranking below the top 12 QBs in his most productive weeks.

Wide Receivers Ranked

Which players mostly score real points, and which score many pointless points (as we can call points scored while riding the bench)? In this article, I rank the 2017 wide receivers by their real point production, and compare this to their overall fantasy point production. To do so, I assume that a wide receiver is started in a given week if he is projected in the top 24 WRs or in the top 12 flex options, meaning the WRs and RBs outside of the top 24 RBs and WRs. As always, I look only at weeks 1 through 16. And as always, I use fantasydata.com as my source and use PPR scoring.

For the high-drafted players who stayed high-performing, the difference between their real points and pointless points was their Week 17 totals (or 0, if they did not play week 17). So the top two real points scorers, Antonio Brown at 310.3 and DeAndre Hopkins at 309.8, had the same number of real points and fantasy points because they did not play Week 17. The third highest real points scorer, Keenan Allen, had 249.9 real  points compared to 284.2 fantasy points, because his 34.3 points in week 17 did not count towards his real points total. Players like Tyreek Hill and Davante Adams,  who were considered starters every week and didn’t play Week 17,  also ended up with no difference between fantasy points and real  points, as did some players whose seasons were shortened by injury, such as Pierre Garcon and Odell Beckham, Jr.

Some players had huge discrepancies between their real points and fantasy points, because much of their production came in games in which they were not projected starters. The aforementioned Keelan Cole was never projected as a fantasy starter on fantasydata.com, and therefore ended the season with 0 real points, despite scoring 132.8 fantasy points on the season and leading all receivers with 31.6 points in Week 15.

Players With Large Discrepancies

Nelson Agholor: Despite finishing as the WR22 with 193.5 points, Agholor rated as a starting WR only once – Week 8, when he was projected as the WR26. He only scored 5.6 points that week, giving him a season total of 5.6 real points, almost 190 short of his fantasy point production.

Jermaine Kearse: Kearse had a great season with 176 fantasy points, good enough for WR26, just behind Cooper Kupp and just ahead of TY Hilton. But fantasydata had him as a projected starter only twice: Week 5, when he scored 13.8 points, and Week  14, when he scored just 1.4 points. As a result, his season total of 15.2 real points was about 160 points below his fantasy point production.

Mike Wallace: Wallace was the WR38, with 151.2 points, a little ahead of Paul Richardson,  Sammy Watkins, and Sterling Shepard. But he was only rated a starter in weeks 1, 2, and 16, and only had a decent week in Week 16. His real points total  for the season was 13.5.

Tyrell Williams: Tyrell’s 137.8 fantasy points was enough for WR45, putting him in the neighborhood of Danny Amendola, Desean Jackson, and Jordy Nelson. But he was rated a starter only in Weeks 5 and 6, giving him a real points total of just 6.9.

Marquise Goodwin: Goodwin came on strong to end the season. He was not rated a starter until Week 14, but once he was on the list, he stayed on through Week 16. His big weeks in Week 14 and 15 led to a real point total of 45.8. His total fantasy production was 168.6.

Paul Richardson: Richardson rated as a starter only for Weeks 9, 12 and 13, scoring a total of 20.9 real points.  His fantasy total was 150.3, an almost 130 point difference.

Kenny Stills: Stills rated as a starting option on Weeks 8, 9, 12 and 14, scoring only 28.8 real points in total. In contrast, his fantasy production was 174.7,  a difference of over 145 points.

Juju Smith-Schuster: Juju started slow but was good enough to be a projected starter 5 times (which is, remember, 1/3 of the fantasy-relevant season): Weeks 10, 11, 13,  15 and 16. He had some big games and totaled 72 real points. His total fantasy production was 191.7, a difference of nearly 120.

Danny Amendola: Amendola was a projected starter in Weeks 5-7, scoring a total of 27.4 real points. His fantasy points total of 138.9 was more than 110 points more.

Martavis Bryant: Bryant was rated a starter just for Weeks 1, 3 and 16. He totaled 18.2 real points, compared to 132.5 fantasy points.

Will Fuller: Finally, Will Fuller was unaccountably projected as a starter only once, in Week 9. He had a bad week and only scored 5.2 real points, making that his season total. His total fantasy production for the season was 113.2.

2017 Wide Receiver Rankings

All  66 wide receivers with a real points total higher than 0 in 2017 are listed below,  ranked by total.

Player                             Real  Points              Fantasy Points        Difference

Antonio Brown 310.3 310.3 0
DeAndre Hopkins 309.8 309.8 0
Keenan Allen 249.9 284.2 34.3
Larry Fitzgerald 245.84 261.44 15.6
Tyreek Hill 239.2 239.2 0
Julio Jones 238.9 251.9 13
Michael Thomas 238.1 258.5 20.4
AJ Green 223.1 226.8 3.7
Davante Adams 222.5 222.5 0
Adam Thielen 215.75 239.7 23.95
Jarvis Landry 215.7 260 44.3
Golden Tate 199.1 224.5 25.4
Doug Baldwin 196.7 223.3 26.6
Brandin Cooks 194.5 221.2 26.7
Alshon Jeffery 194.1 195.2 1.1
Mike Evans 190.6 203.1 12.5
Demaryius Thomas 188.2 205.9 17.7
Dez Bryant 181 186.4 5.4
Stefon Diggs 180.5 198.2 17.7
Michael Crabtree 168.1 171.8 3.7
Marvin Jones 162.6 225.1 62.5
T.Y. Hilton 148 175.6 27.6
Devin Funchess 131.6 195 63.4
Amari Cooper 122.3 158.4 36.1
Mohamed Sanu 121.84 174.34 52.5
Jordy Nelson 110.6 137.2 26.6
Robert Woods 110.3 163.3 53
Robby Anderson 110.1 200 89.9
Rishard Matthews 108.7 156.2 47.5
Jamison Crowder 104.7 160.3 55.6
Cooper Kupp 104.3 176.9 72.6
Sterling Shepard 95.8 144.5 48.7
Emmanuel Sanders 95.5 114.5 19
Kelvin Benjamin 94.5 135.2 40.7
Desean Jackson 92.5 138.6 46.1
Pierre Garcon 90 90 0
Chris Hogan 86.8 109.7 22.9
Jeremy Maclin 82.45 102 19.55
Randall Cobb 81 159.4 78.4
Marqise Lee 75.1 147.9 72.8
Odell Beckham 74 74 0
Juju Smith-Schuster 72 191.7 119.7
Devante Parker 69.4 130 60.6
Ted Ginn 67.6 159.6 92
Sammy Watkins 47.1 146.3 99.2
Terrelle Pryor 46.1 50 3.9
Marquise Goodwin 45.8 168.6 122.8
Josh Gordon 29.5 57.5 28
Kenny Stills 28.8 174.7 145.9
Danny Amendola 27.4 138.9 111.5
JJ Nelson 23 93.5 70.5
Josh Doctson 22.4 119.8 97.4
Paul Richardson 20.9 150.3 129.4
Martavis Bryant 18.2 132.5 114.3
Dede Westbrook 15.5 66.9 51.4
Jermaine Kearse 15.2 176 160.8
Allen Hurns 15.1 99.4 84.3
Corey Davis 13.6 69.5 55.9
Mike Wallace 13.5 151.2 137.7
Tyrell Williams 6.9 137.8 130.9
Tyler Lockett 5.6 118.3 112.7
Nelson Agholor 5.6 193.5 187.9
Will Fuller 5.2 113.2 108
Allen Robinson 2.7 2.7 0
Willie Snead 2.1 15.2 13.1
Brandon Marshall 2 33.4 31.4

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