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Wide Receivers to Draft in 2021 Fantasy Football Based on NECC Consistency Rating

Using our in-house NECC consistency metric to determine the top wide receivers to draft in fantasy football this year.

Here at NerdBall, we’re striving to unlock the secrets to winning at fantasy football. As part of that and part of my coming to write for NerdBall, I was set a challenge to dive into the numbers and create a metric to demonstrate consistency in fantasy football players and how that may be applied to find some hidden knowledge for your fantasy football teams.

After trying numerous statistical models, I was able to create a metric that not only takes into account consistency, which I’ve based on a player’s standard deviation of their fantasy scores and points per game totals, but also included an efficiency element to take into account how well each player scores relative to the number touches he has.

The result gives us a metric that can be applied to compare all fantasy relevant skill position players, though I’ve discovered the comparisons are best applied at position level due to the variable nature of the number of touches that can influence the weighting of the final rating. The name I’ve given to the metric is the NerdBall Efficiency and Consistency Coefficient, or NECC for short. (The full list of the NECC scores for all players for 2020 can be found here, and the 2021 scores will be posted during the season to help support you in selecting your lineups each week.)

In this article, I will look at 2020’s top-24 wide receivers per NECC to figure out who you want draft this year for consistent points scoring in your 2021 fantasy team.

Let’s get into it!

Top-24 Wide Receivers Per NECC in 2020
PlayerTeamGamesPPG 0.5 PPRSt Dev 0.5 PPRPoints per TouchNECC
Tyreek HillKC1519.044.262.917.7%
Davante AdamsGB1322.254.752.658.0%
A.J. BrownTEN1314.023.503.048.2%
Calvin RidleyATL1317.594.032.728.4%
Mike EvansTB1513.833.853.109.0%
Adam ThielenMIN1414.813.822.849.1%
Justin JeffersonMIN1513.893.692.6110.2%
D.K. MetcalfSEA1515.214.492.8510.3%
D.J. MooreCAR1411.853.272.6310.5%
Stefon DiggsBUF1516.934.162.1011.7%
DeAndre HopkinsARI1515.253.952.0412.7%
Tee HigginsCIN1411.653.442.2713.0%
Allen RobinsonCHI1513.823.782.0713.2%
Keenan AllenLAC1414.093.771.9713.6%
CeeDee LambDAL1511.173.282.1513.7%
Diontae JohnsonPIT1312.953.531.9414.1%
Terry McLaurinWAS1412.063.582.0614.4%
Tyler LockettSEA1512.564.032.1415.0%
Robert WoodsLAR1513.133.631.8415.0%
Amari CooperDAL1512.173.832.0515.3%
JuJu Smith-SchusterPIT1511.343.451.8716.3%
Cole BeasleyBUF1510.783.501.9716.5%
Robby AndersonCAR1511.423.701.8018.0%
Cooper KuppLAR1510.993.531.7418.5%
Wide Receivers I’m Drafting

Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons

No one has seen their situation improve to allow them to become the top fantasy receiver more than Ridley. He was already a top-5 receiver in 2020 with Julio Jones around, but in the games they played together, Ridley only saw more targets in two games. Because of these fluctuating targets, Ridley was one of the least consistent receivers in the top-24 from last season, finishing 20th in standard deviation. He more than made up for it by finishing sixth in points per touch.

With age, production and a high volume passing offense on his side, Ridley’s current WR5 status and second round ADP are spot on and he is someone I have had no issue taking high to lead my receiving corps in 2021.

Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Mike Evans, the perennial performer, is a guy that I’ve been drafting ahead of his WR15, fourth round ADP, despite all the options in the Buccaneers passing attack. Like Ridley, Evans’ scoring in 2020 was erratic, finishing as the WR17 in standard deviation, but the WR1 in points per touch with 3.1. I’m projecting Evans to finish as the WR9 in 2021 and have happily taken him as my WR1 in the third round when I go RB/RB to start my drafts.

D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers

I have D.J. Moore projected to see a positive rebound in 2021 with Sam Darnold as his new quarterback. Moore was the WR12 in 2019 and achieved a second straight 1,000 yard receiving season, this time in one fewer game and with 30 fewer targets. His 2020 season was obviously way more efficient than in previous years, and his ninth rated NECC score reflects that.

Related: Wide Receivers to Target in 2021 Fantasy Football

Moore had the top rated standard deviation in his scoring, so you were getting very consistent play from him on a weekly basis. His points per touch were also strong as the eighth rated receiver in the top 24 with 2.63. With my projected increase in targets coming his way in 2021, I have Moore projected as the WR18 in fantasy and have given him a fourth-round grade vs his current ADP of the WR25 in the sixth round. Great value for a player set to rise in 2021.