Fantasy Football

2016 Fantasy Football Consistent Players: Rock Steady


Consistent Players

Credit: Keith Allison

The lead up to every new Fantasy Football season is the same. Everyone is trying to sort through the seemingly endless supply of research and analysis. You will find countless articles about the busts to avoid, the must-have handcuffs, and what new draft strategy you should employ. Let’s not forget my personal favorite, the trendy sleeper.

Some of the players I will talk about in this article are definitely being slept on, but only because their consistent production causes us to take them for granted.

When you are constructing a Fantasy Football team, it is important to take chances. It is great to hit it big on that late round tight end selection, or that lottery ticket running back currently hiding on the depth chart. None of that will matter, however, unless your core roster of players is built with solid producers.

Consistent Players to Target

When looking for consistent players to build your championship team, you want to find players that are matchup-proof, and who aren’t likely to come away from a given week with nothing to show for it. Looking for players with high floors and a decent ceiling on their fantasy points is a sure fire strategy.


The quarterback position is becoming the deepest position in Fantasy, the only problem is identifying which QB was going to have the big game and which ones were going to be duds in a given week. These players have bucked that trend.

Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (ADP: 41.0)

After a rough start to the 2015 season, Russell Wilson finally got it together and reminded us why he is considered one of the safest bets in Fantasy. Prior to the week 9 bye, Wilson was very average by his standards. Something must have clicked in week 11, because  from then on, he was unstoppable. Those that stuck with him saw their patience pay off to the tune of 24 touchdowns over the last seven weeks.

I know what you are thinking, “How is that considered consistent?” Well, part of being consistent is being able to pull your own weight, even in a slump. Wilson was good enough to keep your team’s head above water through the first half of the season, and likely gave you a chance to win every week down the stretch.

If you have watched Russell Wilson over the first four seasons of his career, you will know that the second half of the season has proven to be the real Russell Wilson. If the worst a player is going do is score 15 standard league points in a given week, but also has the chance to put up 30, I would love to have him.

Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals (ADP: 70.2)

Those who spent a late round pick on Carson Palmer in 2015 should have been pleased with the return on their investment. Palmer has resurrected his career in Arizona, thanks in large part to Bruce Arians’ aggressive offense and one of the best groups of receivers in the NFL. There is no reason that he will not keep it up in 2016.

Palmer was as steady as they came last season. He threw at least 2 touchdowns in 11 of 16 weeks, and broke the 300 yard mark nine times. The Cardinals will continue to push the ball downfield, so expect Palmer to keep up his league leading 8.6 yards per attempt.

Palmer will not be as cheap this season, but if you are looking for consistency, there is no quarterback better. He only dipped below 16 standard league points twice last season, and broke the 20 point mark seven times. Having Palmer in your QB slot will definitely allow you to sleep easy at night.

Running Backs

Finding consistent production from your running back slots is one of the hardest, and most important things you have to do to win in Fantasy. To find that production you are going to have to get creative.

Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings (ADP: 5.7)

They don’t call Adrian Peterson “All Day” for nothing. He has been the definition of a work horse ever since he came into the league. That did not change in 2015, as he saw at least 15 carries in 13 of 16 weeks. Daunte Culpepper is not walking out of the tunnel, so don’t expect an effective passing game to come out of nowhere and cut into his touches.

Peterson was his usual beastly self last season. His yards dipped below 60 only three times, and he unsurprisingly put up double digit touchdowns for the 8th time is his career. In standard leagues, he put up double digit point totals in 11 of 16 weeks. That is Fantasy gold for running backs.

I am never going to be that guy who doesn’t draft AP because “this might is the year he will drop off”. I prefer to be happy riding out his success until the wheels fall off. Taking Adrian Peterson in the first round of your draft is probably one of the more safe plays you can make, as he has proven to be the most consistent running back for nearly a decade.

Frank Gore, Indianapolis Colts (ADP: 74.7)

Please, before you close your computer or turn off your phone, hear me out on this one. A 33 year old running back on a team that has a throw first and throw second mentality? I promise, I’m not crazy. Frank Gore was quietly a very consistent option last season, and I expect him to repeat that effort.

Frank Gore is not a sexy pick in Fantasy. That is unless your definition of a sexy pick is a running back who finished 12th at his position in Fantasy for 2015, is getting his star QB back in Andrew Luck, will be running behind an improved offensive line, and who is currently the 31st running back off the board in about the 6th round of drafts.

Consistency does not always mean putting up 100 yards and 2 touchdowns every week. Consistency could mean plugging a guy like Gore into your flex that can give you anywhere from 7-10 points nearly every week. I know that sounds underwhelming, but I guarantee by week 10 everyone in your league will be scrambling to find such a player.

Wide Receivers

With the NFL steadily moving in favor of the passing game, receivers can come out of nowhere in any given week, but sometimes fade back into obscurity just as quickly. These receivers are not likely to do that any time soon.

Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons (ADP: 5.0)

Julio Jones made it look easy last season. As long as Matt Ryan can get it somewhere in this guy’s vicinity, he can make things happen. The Falcons went out and signed Mohamed Sanu to line up opposite Jones. So expect that vicinity to get a little bigger. Even with all the double coverage last season, he finished as the 2nd ranked receiver, and was by far the most consistent.

Despite being a physical monster and being targeted constantly, Julio Jones only hauled in 8 touchdowns last season. I know, only 8, right? That may seem like a negative, but it is always better to have a player that gets his points from yards rather than touchdowns. That was no problem for Jones in 2015, as he racked up over 130 yards eight times.

Personally, Jones is my WR1 of choice in the first round. Any player that gets below 8 points only twice in a season is money in the bank in my book. Antonio Brown or Odell Beckham Jr could easily outscore Julio Jones in 2016. However, if history repeats itself, Jones will be the more steady option.

Brandon Marshall, New York Jets (ADP: 21.2)

Brandon Marshall was one of the most pleasant surprises of 2015. With the quarterback situation uncertain to start last season, many were reluctant to draft Marshall. Then all Ryan Fitzpatrick did was come in and throw 31 touchdowns, 14 of which went to Marshall. Now that Fitzpatrick is back, expect him to look for his favorite target often.

While the 14 touchdowns were nice for Marshall last season, he is by no means touchdown dependent. The ten weeks of 100 yards receiving was as consistent as it came in 2015. I do not expect Marshall to duplicate his touchdown total, but knowing that he can still load up on yards makes him more than viable.

Brandon Marshall likely will not finish as the 3rd receiver in Fantasy again this year, but he is definitely still WR1 material. Many of the top flight wide receivers are going to have scoring explosions followed by quiet weeks. Marshall has proven that he is going to continue to be relied upon week in and week out, so expect his consistency to continue.

Tight End

If you want to find a consistent tight end, you may as well just put on a blindfold and throw darts at the wall and see what comes up. So here goes nothing.

Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots (ADP: 9.2)

I refused to let myself get cute here. Believe me, I tried. But there is almost no such thing as a sure thing when it comes to the tight end position. Rob Gronkowski is the exception to that rule. There are a couple of decent guys available after him, but if we are going after consistency, none of them are in a class with Gronkowski.

If you throw out an injury riddled 2013 campaign, Rob Gronkowsi has had double digit touchdowns every year since he came into the league in 2010. I hate being touchdown dependent as much as the next guy, but I’ll take my chances here. Not to mention the fact that only dipped below 50 yards four times in 2015. That’s consistency.

You do not need me to tell you that Gronk is a beast. However, you really should take at look at where he is being drafted. I don’t like to say never, but it is likely that I will never recommend taking a TE in the first round of a fantasy draft. With that being said, if you want a player that is going to beat the other guy’s tight end week in and week out, look no further. Just make sure you have a plan for filling all of the other positions.

About Chris Wright

Chris is a self-diagnosed, non-recovering Fantasy addict. Balances stats on paper with actual on field evidence when making projections. Check him out on Twitter @ChrisWright_F6P

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