Equity Score Deep Dive: Jeremy Maclin
June 15, 2016 | C.D. Carter
A receiver who threatens the 1,100 mark, snags 87 passes, and manages eight touchdowns for one of 2015’s run-heaviest offenses should at least pique our interest.
And Jeremy Maclin, if his equity scores are any indication, could be a key player for any fantasy gamer looking to extract value from the middle of a draft. Maclin, going off the board after 21 wide receivers, has a median equity score that would put him just outside WR1 range, and a high equity score that places him firmly inside the top-10 receivers of 2016.
A plethora of receivers being drafted in the first three or four rounds have top-end prospects that put them in elite territory. It’s rare, however, to see such an inflated median score along with a mouthwatering high score. An ADP that holds steady over the next couple months would make Maclin a must-have player.
Maclin finished 2015 on a statistical tear, converting 8.1 targets per game into 18.59 fantasy points per contest. While he finished the season as fantasy’s 15th highest scoring wideout, he was WR7 over the torrid end-of-season stretch. Maclin’s production, encouragingly, was not a byproduct of mind-blowing touchdown production over the short span, like Doug Baldwin (who caught 11 touchdowns in the season’s final seven weeks). Only six receivers had more receptions than Maclin from Week 11-17. Ten receivers had more yardage during the run.
Let’s take a peek at Maclin’s per-target and per-receptions fantasy production over the course of his career with the Eagles and Chiefs. 2015 efficiency numbers that stand in stark contrast should make us more than a little weary of Maclin’s ability to replicate his top-15 fantasy campaign.
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Probably it can explained by looking at Maclin’s frigid start to the 2015 season, but it’s clear that his target and reception efficiency were far from unsustainable last year. It was, in fact, his worst fantasy-point-per-catch mark since his rookie campaign.
This is vitally important in evaluating Maclin’s 2016 range of outcomes: his 2015 touchdown rate of 9.1 percent was less than his career touchdown rate of 10.2 percent. It wasn’t a season like 2014, in which Maclin’s touchdown rate jumped to 11.8 percent, or 2010, when he scored on a blistering 14.1 percent of his catches.
Ted Cruz looks like a god dang hippie next to Kansas City’s ultra-conservative offensive approach, as the Chiefs passed the ball on just 54.1 percent of their 2015 offensive snaps. Only five offenses were more run heavy, and most by only a couple percent. That 54.1 percent mark was down 2.3 percent from 2014, and 3.2 percent lower than it was in 2013. The short of it: KC will likely regress back to the 56-58 percent mark in 2016, meaning more opportunity for the team’s No. 1 receiver.
Maclin, over this two full seasons with Kansas City, has drawn 25.8 percent of the team’s targets — a healthy share. Let’s see what Maclin’s opportunity might look like in 2016 should his two-year target share remain the same and the Chiefs pass more, and how that might change if Maclin’s target share remains as high as it was in 2015 (28.5 percent).
Quick note: 541 pass attempts would’ve ranked 22nd most in the NFL last season. The Chiefs, as recently as 2013, were 20th in pass attempts, making this scenario something less than far fetched.
This sort of opportunity spike, I believe, is at the center of Maclin’s high equity score. Seven wideouts saw more than 150 targets in 2015. A measly three receivers eclipsed that target mark in 2014. Maclin, who saw 120 passes come his way last year, would prove a draft day bargain even if he were to produce at his lowest per-target and per-catch efficiency numbers.
And if he replicates the eye-popping per-reception numbers of his touchdown-heavy campaigns, Maclin could very well deliver on the promises of his top-end equity score. He would, in short, become a WR1 priced as a mid-level WR3.