Fantasy Equity Scores: Charles Johnson And More Targets
June 17, 2015 | Chet
Our search for wide receiver equity has turned up a handful of potential value plays among the top-24 pass catchers off the draft board, including Golden Tate, Julian Edelman, Mike Evans, and Jordy Nelson. And maybe, just maybe, Martavis Bryant.
A quick note before we jump into fantasy equity scores for receivers drafted in the WR24-36 range: some of these scores (median and high projections) will change over the next couple months. Training camp injuries will have an impact, as will revelations about how players will be used in their various offenses. Kelvin Benjamin’s equity scores saw an uptick last summer as it became clear he would be the Panthers’ primary receiver, and see a good chunk of the team’s share of targets.
That’s not to say that median and high projections will change as fantasy consensus sways to and fro on various players. They won’t. But some off-season happenings demand alteration in a players’ opportunity, which is really what equity scores are all about. We’re not measuring talent here.
Once again, I’ve used Rotoviz’s similarity score app as a baseline for each projection. That splendid little tool, if you’re unfamiliar, “contains the results of what the similar players did after they had a season that was comparable to the subject player.”
While I make adjustments for each player, I’ve found the similarity score app to be more than a little useful in spotting players who are almost universally overrated and underrated in the weeks and months before Opening Day kickoff.
The app’s median and high projections have helped me identify guys whose prospects are on the safe side — whose median and high scores are not so different — and players who have boom-or-bust tattooed on their foreheads.
|Player||Current ADP||Median equity score||High equity score|
|Keenan Allen||WR25||-5 (WR30)||9 (WR16)|
|DeSean Jackson||WR26||0 (WR26)||11 (WR15)|
|Vincent Jackson||WR27||-1 (WR28)||3 (WR24)|
|Jeremy Maclin||WR28||4 (WR24)||6 (WR22)|
|Jarvis Landry||WR29||-6 (WR36)||4 (WR25)|
|Kevin White||WR30||-3 (WR33)||3 (WR27)|
|Victor Cruz||WR31||-1 (WR32)||8 (WR23)|
|Nelson Agholor||WR32||-8 (WR40)||0 (WR32)|
|Roddy White||WR33||13 (WR20)||18 (WR15)|
|Mike Wallace||WR34||-3 (WR37)||7 (WR27)|
|Charles Johnson||WR35||5 (WR30)||13 (WR22)|
|Michael Floyd||WR36||-2 (WR38)||9 (WR27)|
* The younger White is going before the older White. I think we should all delete our Twitter accounts until this is no longer the case. We’ve seen rookie receivers go (relatively) nuclear in recent seasons — I think that’s driving Kevin White‘s re-draft price, which isn’t absurd. His median score isn’t disastrous and his high projection leaves a little equity. Still, Old Roddy White is my preference here, both because he has a locked-in role in a not-terrible offense and his current re-draft asking price is well below his median prospects. It’s tough to find a better receiver value in the early going, and even if Roddy’s ADP jumps to the WR25 range come August, I think he’s well worth the investment. Roddy’s 2012 campaign, which saw him finish as a top-10 receiver, is among his similarity score comps for 2015. For those concerned with diminished opportunity for the elder White, consider that he saw double digit targets in seven 2014 contests. One potential concern for Roddy: His splits with Julio Jones in the lineup are not what we’d call fantastic, as he sees fewer targets, collects 16 fewer yards and catches about 1.5 fewer passes when the oft-injured Jones is in the Atlanta lineup.
* Teddy Bridgewater targeted Charles Johnson 6.1 times per game over the season’s final month and a half. That’s not awful for a guy who didn’t even crack the starting lineup until the season’s final stretch. , His sim score comps are fairly hopeful once you remove games before Johnson became the team’s No. 1 receiver (I think that’s fair, given that Johnson was only seeing a couple looks each week until late November). The positive comparisons include Pierre Garcon’s 2012 — a perfect storm of opportunity — and Miles Austin’s 2011 season, in which he notched 64.5 yards and 0.77 touchdowns in nine games. Remember that Johnson is a metrics all-star who was drafted by the Packers — a team pretty damn good at recognizing receiving talent. I’m certainly going to take Johnson over Mike Wallace, who is listed as the Vikings’ No. 1 receiver. It’s not only that the above projections say Wallace’s median prospects aren’t as good as Johnson’s; neither is his best-case scenario. I think we could see Johnson’s re-draft price tag drop a bit with Adrian Peterson back in the Minnesota fold. An overarching belief that the Vikings will go ultra-run heavy in 2015 will take the (consensus) shine off of everyone else in that offense.
* Every bullish Jarvis Landry drafter this summer will preface every sentence with, “In PPR leagues.” My friend and fellow Fake Football writer Rich Hribar reminds us that the “in PPR” argument is really no argument at all. Landry truthers will point to the small receiver’s targets over the 2014 season’s last half, when he saw a healthy nine Ryan Tannehill targets per contest. What’s often overlooked: he turned 112 targets into five touchdowns, and that included a two-score game against Denver. Big receivers have posted alarming target-touchdown ratios (see Vincent Jackson in 2014), but there’s no reason to think Landry can or will be a red zone weapon in Miami’s re-tooled offense. Only the ghost of Tavon Austin had a lower average depth of target (aDOT) in 2014, with Landry’s 5.7 aDOT about half of Larry Fitzgerald’s. Fitzy isn’t exactly a vertical threat these days. I suspected Landry’s ceiling was capped, and the equity scores bear that out. Landry’s high projection would make him a reasonable selection at his current ADP, but his negative median score ensures I won’t draft him over guys like Maclin, Roddy, and Charles Johnson. Anecdotally, I’m not into receivers who often need a dozen targets and nine grabs to make them a viable play in any given week.
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