Last week, I discussed how math and the use of the Coefficient of Variation (CV) can help fantasy owners discern between an upside play and steady, less volatile option. Simply put, a higher CV means more upside, but also more risk, while a lower CV means fantasy owners can expect a player to perform closer to expectation more often than not.

With just one week left before the Apex Fantasy League playoffs, owners that need to win to get in, but are clear underdogs, should swing for the fences and plug in the high upside play. Clear favorites with a lead in the standings usually want to opt for their safer players.

With the help of numberFire’s free PPR projections and updated consistency scores, I’ll look at players with similar projections and point out the upside play at each position.



Peyton Manning27.34.919.86%32.7
Drew Brees26.94.120.00%32.3
Tom Brady26.18.945.15%37.8
Aaron Rodgers25.28.134.28%33.8
Andrew Luck24.35.220.61%29.3
Matthew Stafford21.07.344.90%30.5
Ben Roethlisberger20.611.256.54%32.3
Joe Flacco19.87.445.88%28.9
Philip Rivers19.37.642.03%27.4
Tony Romo18.95.328.89%24.4
Andy Dalton18.96.744.42%27.3
Ryan Tannehill18.75.931.30%24.5
Russell Wilson17.68.540.27%24.6
Matt Ryan17.25.731.93%22.7
Eli Manning16.78.045.46%24.4
Cam Newton16.27.342.56%23.1
Alex Smith16.25.134.63%21.8
Colin Kaepernick16.14.828.26%20.6
Kyle Orton16.15.532.31%21.2
Jay Cutler16.06.133.05%21.2
Teddy Bridgewater15.95.945.08%23.1
Ryan Fitzpatrick14.55.033.38%19.4
Brian Hoyer13.64.533.10%18.1
Josh McCown13.37.447.37%19.7
Derek Carr12.76.146.93%18.7
Blake Bortles12.54.734.46%16.9
Andy Dalton vs. Tony Romo


Both of these quarterbacks have favorable matchups, and numberFire projects Dalton and Romo to each score 18.9 fantasy points. Romo has been one of the more consistent fantasy quarterbacks this year, but if you are a big underdog this week, and must win to get into the playoffs, plug in Dalton and hope that variance is on your side.



Le'Veon Bell24.66.531.83%32.5
Matt Forte21.49.439.33%29.8
DeMarco Murray20.84.520.67%25.1
Marshawn Lynch20.111.257.67%31.7
Jamaal Charles19.49.953.09%29.7
Arian Foster18.89.138.54%26.0
Justin Forsett18.57.242.00%26.3
Andre Ellington17.66.540.01%24.6
Lamar Miller17.35.542.51%24.6
Eddie Lacy16.69.758.37%26.3
C.J. Anderson16.511.555.00%25.5
LeSean McCoy16.06.451.13%24.2
Rashad Jennings15.06.543.82%21.6
Giovani Bernard14.48.555.09%22.4
Fred Jackson14.16.246.73%20.7
Ryan Mathews13.55.443.63%19.4
Mark Ingram13.47.344.53%19.4
Shane Vereen13.27.460.03%21.1
Alfred Morris13.17.253.71%20.2
Reggie Bush12.26.263.64%20.0
Trent Richardson11.64.745.90%16.9
Frank Gore11.07.378.30%19.5
Denard Robinson10.67.073.45%18.3
Isaiah Crowell10.36.575.45%18.1
Jeremy Hill10.28.066.50%17.0
Steven Jackson9.75.355.17%15.0
Jerick McKinnon9.64.957.28%15.0
Chris Ivory9.56.563.14%15.6
Bishop Sankey9.54.258.30%15.1
Darren McFadden9.44.446.62%13.8
Tre Mason9.03.840.15%12.7
Joique Bell8.74.845.06%12.6
Terrance West8.35.869.34%14.1
Darren Sproles8.17.761.40%13.0
LeGarrette Blount8.06.6118.38%17.5
Pierre Thomas7.89.171.24%13.3
Jonathan Stewart7.53.941.89%10.7
Lorenzo Taliaferro7.57.2122.35%16.7
Alfred Blue7.34.878.96%13.0
Bobby Rainey7.26.061.58%11.7
Andre Williams7.25.471.01%12.3
Roy Helu6.94.145.59%10.1
Knile Davis6.89.5111.16%14.3
Matt Asiata6.511.094.01%12.5
Chris Johnson6.55.976.39%11.4
Anthony Dixon6.24.499.63%12.4
Benny Cunningham6.14.551.99%9.2
Jonas Gray5.920.1140.62%14.1
Carlos Hyde5.73.260.66%9.1
Branden Oliver5.710.487.74%10.6
Khiry Robinson5.45.768.92%9.0
Toby Gerhart5.03.558.93%8.0
Theo Riddick2.48.2113.03%5.2
Travaris Cadet2.24.270.39%3.8
Mark Ingram vs. Shane Vereen vs. Alfred Morris


Debating between a couple of these backs as your RB2 for the most important game of the season is a real possibility, and they all come with question marks. With the return of Pierre Thomas to New Orleans and the addition of LeGarrette Blount in New England, Mark Ingram and Shane Vereen are in full on time shares, while Alf has to overcome Washington’s abysmal offensive efforts.

All three of these backs are projected within 0.3 points of each other, but CV tells us that Shane Vereen has the most upside. Because Vereen relies heavily on the passing game for his fantasy success, his usage is highly dependent on game script, making his fantasy output inherently volatile. With the highest over/under of the week and just a 3 point spread, an expected shootout against the Packers sets up nicely for a big game from Vereen.



Antonio Brown21.17.832.59%28.0
Demaryius Thomas18.811.448.61%27.9
Calvin Johnson18.811.177.87%33.4
Jeremy Maclin18.312.161.77%29.7
A.J. Green18.39.459.08%29.1
Jordy Nelson17.99.947.87%26.4
Julio Jones17.77.944.75%25.5
Emmanuel Sanders17.38.540.48%24.4
Anquan Boldin17.37.145.82%25.2
Dez Bryant17.38.644.64%25.0
T.Y. Hilton16.88.949.65%25.1
Kelvin Benjamin16.77.848.89%24.9
Golden Tate16.58.245.54%24.1
Mike Evans16.310.759.00%26.0
Randall Cobb16.27.239.08%22.5
Alshon Jeffery16.17.448.06%23.9
Julian Edelman16.08.052.82%24.5
Brandon Marshall15.99.564.80%26.3
Sammy Watkins15.810.276.31%27.9
Roddy White15.46.744.09%22.2
Odell Beckham15.39.750.57%23.0
Mike Wallace15.14.231.05%19.8
Keenan Allen14.67.157.45%22.9
Andre Johnson14.45.043.01%20.6
Marques Colston14.35.252.12%21.8
Steve Smith14.28.959.70%22.7
Mohamed Sanu13.87.450.10%20.8
Brandon LaFell13.710.478.79%24.5
Larry Fitzgerald13.78.669.94%23.2
Percy Harvin13.37.269.29%22.5
Pierre Garcon12.69.188.07%23.7
Kendall Wright12.67.365.73%20.8
DeAndre Hopkins12.45.740.47%17.4
Michael Crabtree12.36.958.40%19.4
DeSean Jackson12.28.964.63%20.1
Doug Baldwin12.26.465.96%20.2
Jordan Matthews12.19.469.03%20.5
Torrey Smith11.97.264.43%19.6
Reggie Wayne11.76.855.56%18.1
Michael Floyd11.57.687.94%21.6
Rueben Randle11.24.743.17%16.0
Eric Decker11.15.545.13%16.1
Vincent Jackson11.15.446.77%16.2
Dwayne Bowe11.14.242.54%15.8
Jarvis Landry11.16.961.72%17.9
Malcom Floyd11.05.448.94%16.4
Kenny Stills10.95.855.83%16.9
Andrew Hawkins10.77.154.00%16.5
Kenny Britt9.76.576.33%17.0
John Brown9.57.165.68%15.7
James Jones9.46.049.84%14.0
Greg Jennings9.35.555.65%14.5
Andre Holmes8.88.893.44%17.0
Eddie Royal8.28.281.76%14.9
Terrance Williams7.47.374.19%12.9
Markus Wheaton7.05.665.84%11.5
Miles Austin6.74.548.98%10.0
Justin Hunter6.65.868.91%11.1
Robert Woods6.58.381.17%11.8
Taylor Gabriel5.85.566.02%9.7
Allen Hurns5.110.0100.39%10.2
Torrey Smith vs. Reggie Wayne


Smith and Wayne are separated by just 0.2 fantasy points in this week’s projections, and matchups point to Reggie Wayne as the go to option. If you’re struggling to get into the playoffs and facing a top team this week, though, Torrey is your pick. The Ravens wide receiver is prone to disappearing acts, but when he shows up, it’s usually with a big game. 83% of Smith’s fantasy production has come in just 6 games this year. He’s the kind of upside wide receiver that an underdog wants on their team.



Rob Gronkowski15.29.554.36%23.4
Jimmy Graham14.810.461.99%24.0
Julius Thomas14.310.668.45%24.1
Antonio Gates11.810.077.17%20.8
Travis Kelce11.65.550.74%17.5
Jason Witten11.54.240.98%16.2
Martellus Bennett10.57.151.45%15.8
Greg Olsen10.17.451.44%15.2
Coby Fleener9.86.570.82%16.7
Heath Miller9.77.983.36%17.8
Delanie Walker9.17.959.44%14.6
Dwayne Allen8.66.258.75%13.6
Brent Celek8.45.1109.49%17.5
Jared Cook7.84.555.29%12.1
Scott Chandler7.55.176.02%13.1
Mychal Rivera7.47.795.99%14.5
Larry Donnell7.28.574.63%12.6
Jermaine Gresham7.24.659.31%11.5
Charles Clay6.25.260.53%10.0
John Carlson6.01.935.22%8.1
Vernon Davis5.55.796.63%10.9
Zach Ertz5.34.857.91%8.4
Owen Daniels5.26.268.00%8.7
Andrew Quarless4.84.172.45%8.3
Austin Seferian-Jenkins4.84.676.43%8.5
Jace Amaro4.86.696.18%9.4
Anthony Fasano4.44.575.11%7.6
Tim Wright4.18.4113.89%8.8
Niles Paul4.06.685.96%7.4
Daniel Fells3.64.086.64%6.8
Lance Kendricks2.94.068.83%4.9
Clay Harbor2.26.690.04%4.3
Larry Donnell vs. Jermaine Gresham


A couple of weeks ago, Donnell was a clear every week starter, but his production has wavered lately, while Gresham has quietly become a high floor play. Owners that watched Donnell fail to capitalize on a quality matchup against the Cowboys last week might be turned off if they have other options, but his volatility means a higher ceiling, which you need if you’re going up against a superior opponent.