Updated Fantasy Equity Scores For The Top-60 Wide Receivers August 26, 2015  |  Chet


 

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Nothing is simple in this little game of ours. Absolutist statements don’t withstand the harsh light of evidence and no strategy — no matter how back tested — can guarantee anything but modest success.

That doesn’t mean we can’t hold certain views of how to approach fantasy football. Everyone should have guiding light principles that apply to every draft and every season. Here’s one: Every player is a value at some point.

I have two overarching strategies for drafting wide receivers.

1) Seek receivers attached to elite quarterbacks who have deflated average draft positions. The elite fantasy quarterback sponge effect is very real, and while stud wideouts catching footballs from top quarterbacks are almost always properly priced, there are lesser receivers in that same offense primed to benefit from absurd quarterback stats. Think Julian Edelman of a couple years ago, or Emmanuel Sanders last season. Think T.Y. Hilton last year or Greg Jennings before he had his official breakout in Green Bay. Most of these sponging receivers will be of the small variety. Perhaps that’s part of the reason they’re available at such a reasonable cost.

2) Prioritize size. And I don’t mean height — that’s a common misunderstanding in fantasy circles. Discussion of a wideout’s size should be about height and weight. Visualizing wide receiver size helped me better understand why we should never discount size in our valuations. Undersized receivers almost always need top-end quarterbacks throwing their way, with Steve Smith being the exception. That’s simply not the case with tall, heavy receivers. They can post high-end fantasy numbers with horrendous quarterback play. Oh, and 74 percent of double-digit touchdown campaigns over the past five years were recorded by big fellas. So there’s that.

Now to our updated fantasy equity scores. Some of thee median and high projections have changed dramatically thanks to injuries that have shifted the tectonic plates of fake football. Some of these equity scores have been tweaked as players’ roles change or become clearer in the lead-up to Opening Day.

I’ve included my favorite receiver draft day targets — guys I end up with, one way or another. I also have non-targets on some of my teams; I’m not usually drafting them at their ADPs though.

Here’s how I do this whole equity score dance, in case you missed it.

 

Player ADP Median equity score High equity score Target?
Antonio Brown WR1 -3 (WR4) 0 (WR1) Yes
Dez Bryant WR2 -4 (WR6) 1 (WR1) Yes
Julio Jones WR3 -4 (WR7) 2 (WR1) Yes
Demaryius Thomas WR4 -1 (WR5) 3 (WR1) Yes
Odell Beckham, Jr. WR5 -2 (WR7) 4 (WR1) Yes
Calvin Johnson WR6 -3 (WR9) 4 (WR2) Yes
Randall Cobb WR7 0 (WR7) 4 (WR3) Yes
A.J. Green WR8 -1 (WR9) 2 (WR6)
T.Y. Hilton WR9 -8 (WR17) -1 (WR10)
Alshon Jeffery WR10 -6 (WR16) 3 (WR7)
Brandin Cooks WR11 -12 (WR23) -1 (WR12)
Mike Evans WR12 -3 (WR15) 6 (WR6)

 

*  I’m very honestly surprised that Hilton’s median score is so low. A WR17 finish wouldn’t be apocalyptic if you go ahead and invest in Indy’s speedster, but it’s concerning enough for me to shy away from Hilton at his ADP. Three of Hilton’s 20 sim score comps are positive, though one of those best-case scenarios is Antonio Brown’s 2014 season. So there’s hope for true believers.

 

*  A little tinkering with Calvin Johnson’s sim scores showed that, barring injury for the freak of nature, he maintains a ceiling unlike almost anyone else in the game. Randy Moss, for what it’s worth, is the only big receiver in recent history who has posted elite fantasy numbers at 30 or older.

 

*  Brandin Cooks’ ADP has predictably shot through the proverbial roof with a couple preseason scores. I wasn’t crazy about Cooks when he was going off the board in the WR16-18 range, so I’m something less than bullish now. While he’s hardly a gadget player who will require a massive amount of low-yardage volume to maintain fantasy relevance, I’m not buying at his new, inflated price. He does, however, fit the profile of a tiny receiver attached to a highly-productive signal caller.

 

*  Jordy Nelson’s injury boosts Cobb into another tier here. Cobb’s median and high scores jumped by four spots apiece in my new projections. He’s a no-brainer pick for me at the first/second round turn.

 

*  OBJ’s worst case scenario probably has something to do with the increase in all-out press coverage he’s destined to see in 2015. Just ask him.

 

 

Player ADP Median equity score High equity score Target?
Jordan Matthews WR13 -3 (WR16) 5 (WR8) Yes
Emmanuel Sanders WR14 0 (WR14) 3 (WR11) Yes
DeAndre Hopkins WR15 -6 (WR21) 6 (WR9)
Andre Johnson WR16 -6 (WR22) -2 (WR18)
Amari Cooper WR17 -7 (WR24) 2 (WR15)
Golden Tate WR18 0 (WR18) 7 (WR11) Yes
Martavis Bryant WR19 -12 (WR31) 4 (WR15)
Keenan Allen WR20 -7 (WR27) 4 (WR16)
Brandon Marshall WR21 -2 (WR23) 9 (WR12)
Julian Edelman WR22 7 (WR15) 13 (WR9) Yes
Jarvis Landry WR23 -13 (WR36) -2 (WR25)
Jeremy Maclin WR24 0 (WR24) 4 (WR20) Yes

 

*  Drafts in which I’ve been able to snag two top receivers — say, a combo of Julio Jones and Randall Cobb — and scoop up Matthews are my favorite so far. Matthews is the sort of receiver that can ensure you dominate the flex spot — a key to make-believe football. Philadelphia beat reporters have gushed about Matthews’ utter dominance in Eagles’ camp. I think he’ll be as close to a target hog that we’ll ever see in Chip Kelly’s offense, as coaches have repeatedly said the big receiver will be a centerpiece of their fast-paced offensive attack.

 

*  Edelman could be primed for massive opportunity in New England. Edelman stands to gain with the team signing Reggie Wayne in the wake of a spate of receiver injuries. Tom Brady’s suspension doesn’t scare me off Edelman, and the defensive attention that Rob Gronkowski draws will always be a plus for Patriots’ No. 1 receiver. Neither Edelman’s median prospects nor his high prospects are built into his ADP.

 

*  Hopkins’ high equity score makes him a decent target. I find it tough to invest in a guy who will be mired in such a dumpster fire of an offense, even if he’s a shoe-in for 150 targets. Hopkins’ sim score comps include A.J. Green’s 2012 (1,350 yards and 11 touchdowns), which drives his high score of WR9.

 

Player ADP Median equity score High equity score Target?
Davante Adams WR25 3 (WR22) 12 (WR13) Yes
Sammy Watkins WR26 -7 (WR33) -2 (WR28)
Nelson Agholor WR27 -12 (WR39) -4 (WR31)
DeSean Jackson WR28 2 (WR26) 13 (WR15)
Victor Cruz WR29 -2 (WR31) 6 (WR23)
Allen Robinson WR30 15 (WR15) 21 (WR9) Yes
Vincent Jackson WR31 4 (WR27) 7 (WR24) Yes
John Brown WR32 -5 (WR37) 4 (WR28)
Charles Johnson WR33 3 (WR30) 11 (WR22) Yes
Mike Wallace WR34 -1 (WR35) 8 (WR26)
Larry Fitzgerald WR35 8 (WR27) 11 (WR24) Yes
Steve Smith WR36 7 (WR29) 10 (WR26) Yes

 

*  Adams, even after his tremendous post-Jordy ADP spike, remains a value at WR25. I maintain that it was bad process (and good results) to draft Adams at his pre-Jordypocaylpse ADP, but I’m now eyeing him in every draft. Adams might not see all 146 targets Nelson got in 2014, but he’ll see enough of them to make him an equity score hero (for now). As Aaron Rodgers pointed out in a recent interview, the Packers had two receivers who eclipsed the 90-catch mark in 2014. “It’s just giving him opportunities,” Rodgers said of Adams.

 

*  Steve Smith’s equity scores have seen a bump since it’s not clear who Joe Flacco will be throwing to in Week 1. Breshad Perriman is still on the shelf, and even if he were healthy, Smith figured to get an ample workload in Marc Trestman’s offense. Smith’s sim score comps include a bevvy of old guys who flamed out after nice late-career runs, so buyer beware. Rich Hribar points out that Smith was woeful with his red zone chances in 2014, following a pattern throughout his long career. Still, it’s tough to turn down a receiver at that price who could be locked in at 140 targets, with 160 targets a possibility.

 

*  Allen Robinson’s ADP has remained reasonable thanks to a quiet preseason. Is it over-the-top to project Robinson, if healthy for 16 games, at 140 targets (after averaging 8.1 targets per game in 2014)? I don’t think it is, and neither does Rotoviz writer Justin Winn, who went deep on Robinson and found that his potential glut of targets from Blake Bortles could (should) include quite a few red zone looks with the departure of the ghost of Cecil Shorts. Even A-Rob’s middle-of-the-road equity score — Dwayne Bowe’s 2008 — was a top-15 campaign. Even if you think Robinson’s high score is ludicrous, his median prospects make him worth the investment at WR30.

 

Player ADP Median equity score High equity score Target?
Roddy White WR37 14 (WR23) 16 (WR21) Yes
Eddie Royal WR38 4 (WR34) 11 (WR27) Yes
Brandon LaFell WR39 11 (WR28) 15 (WR24)
Marques Colston WR40 4 (WR36) 8 (WR32)
Devin Funchess WR41 9 (WR32) 14 (WR27) Yes
Torrey Smith WR42 2 (WR40) 13 (WR29)
Terrance Williams WR43 1 (WR42) 4 (WR39)
Breshad Perriman WR44 5 (WR39) 12 (WR32)
Pierre Garcon WR45 -2 (WR47) 11 (WR34)
Anquan Boldin WR46 21 (WR25) 28 (WR18) Yes
Steve Johnson WR47 0 (WR47) 4 (WR43)
Markus Wheaton WR48 3 (WR45) 12 (WR36)

 

*  Those who draft Devin Funchess in the wake of Kelvin Benjamin’s season-ending injury are drafting him for the same reason they took Benjamin in 2014: de facto volume. The 6’4″ 234-pound behemoth — who compares well with Brandon Marshall, per PlayerProfiler.com — will be Carolina’s No. 1 receiver. Funchess is a litmus test for Team Big Wide Receiver. He offers decent equity and could be a difference maker if he’s truly fed in an offense with no viable pass-catching options outside of Greg Olsen.

 

*  LaFell’s equity scores are eye catching, but there was news this week that he could start the season on the PUP list after a mysterious injury has lingered throughout the summer. I don’t think he’s draftable without more information, especially with Anquan Boldin going shortly after him in drafts. There are a few reasons to target old man Boldin this year.

 

*  Chicago’s “training camp MVP,” Royal enters the season starting opposite Alshon Jeffery, who may or may not be ready for Week 1. Rookie receiver Kevin White could miss the entire season, leaving Royal to absorb a considerable number of targets on a team that could be forced to throw quite a bit. Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase compared Royal to Wes Welker, saying the veteran has a “special explosiveness” that has earned him a prominent spot in Chicago’s offensive scheme. I hate Royal’s profile but can’t ignore massive opportunity.

 

*  Roddy White’s equity score, like all equity scores, assumes a 16-game season. His recent elbow surgery has not been factored into these projections.

 

Player ADP Median equity score High equity score Target?
Eric Decker WR49 22 (WR27) 30 (WR19) Yes
Brian Quick WR50 11 (WR39) 30 (WR20) Yes
Michael Floyd WR51 13 (WR38) 24 (WR27) Yes
DeVante Parker WR52 7 (WR45) 22 (WR30)
Kendall Wright WR53 14 (WR39) 25 (WR28) Yes
Michael Crabtree WR54 15 (WR39) 21 (WR33)
Reggie Wayne WR55 -19 (WR74) -2 (WR57)
Kenny Stills WR56 10 (WR46) 27 (WR29) Yes
Percy Harvin WR57 -2 (WR59) 8 (WR49)
Cody Latimer WR58 6 (WR52) 18 (WR40)
Marvin Jones WR59 4 (WR55) 10 (WR49)
Brandon Coleman WR60 10 (WR50) 22 (WR38) Yes
Phillip Dorsett WR61 13 (WR48) 23 (WR38) Yes
Dorial Green-Beckham WR62 4 (WR58) 10 (WR52)
Cecil Shorts WR63 14 (WR49) 19 (WR44)
Doug Baldwin WR64 16 (WR48) 31 (WR33)

 

*  Decker is a tremendous target at his ludicrous ADP. Probably Decker’s prospects were bolstered when Geno Smith was punched in the face and out of Week 1’s starting lineup. PFF’s Pat Thorman notes that Decker was the game’s 10th highest scoring receiver in games that saw him run a minimum of 25 pass routes. Decker, when his hamstrings were right, was a legit fantasy threat. Decker’s 2015 comps are really encouraging, with a slew of elite seasons among his 10 positive comparables (Michael Crabtree’s 2012 campaign among them).

*  Phillip Dorsett fits perfectly into the mold of a cheap receiver who could see a significant role in an offense headed by one of fantasy’s top producers. The rookie has run with the first-team offense for much of the preseason, seeing eight targets from Andrew Luck in the Colts’ preseason opener. Indy invested so highly in Dorsett for a reason, and though it may take an injury to Hilton or Andre Johnson, I think Dorsett could be an enormous asset for those who stash him as a late-round flier. Kyle Rodriguez, who follows the Colts for Bleacher Report, told me that while Donte Moncrief will be in on three-receiver sets, Dorsett will “get more purposeful looks.” Dorsett ran myriad pass routes in Indy’s preseason game against Philadelphia, showing that the team is ready and willing to use the miniature speed demon as more than a gimmick. “Luck seems to love him,” Rodriguez said.

 

 

2 Responses

  1. Yariel says:

    Keeper league question

    Every year we get to keep 2 keepers. The price of the keeper is their price from the previous year plus a $5 inflation. This year after the draft I noticed Jordy Nelson went undrafted. If I grab him he would only cost me $5 next season. Should I use my #1 waiver priority to grab him?

  2. B.J. says:

    Hey C.D.,

    I have been offered an interesting trade in my 12 Team NonPPR league. I would get Brandin Cooks (a guy I really like) for Markus Wheaton and TJ Yeldon. I take a bit of a hit at RB with Yeldon on the move but I am getting a high upside WR2 with potential to crack the top 10. I think I can make due at RB until Bell and Foster come back.

    What should I do? Thanks in advance.

    My Roster
    QB- M. Ryan WR- AJ Green, Evans, Boldin
    RB- L. Bell, Yeldon TE- Olsen
    Flex- Ivory K- Hauschka DEF- GB

    Bench- Wheaton, A. Blue, A. Foster, C. Sims, Malcom Floyd, Cutler, D. Williams

Leave a Reply

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