Fantasy Football Equity Scores: The Allen Robinson Tier
June 24, 2015 | Chet
It’s tough to squeeze a whole lot of equity out of the first 20 or 30 wide receivers off the draft board. Many, as we’ve seen this month, are priced quite accurately — probably a testament to the evolution of fake football sophistication.
We draft in ones and zeroes now. Thanks, computer overlords.
While it’s critically important to know which elite wideouts are safest, and which second-tier guys could find themselves as top-12 pass catchers come December, it’s the WR36-48 tier that I pay particularly close attention to in the run-up to Opening Day. These receivers are cheap, and many have high equity scores that make us salivate all over the laptop our grandma bought us for that “little fantasy thing” we play on Sundays in the fall.
Whatever, grandma. This is serious business. And yes, I’ll take more meatloaf. Thanks.
But back to the wide receiver tier at hand: I don’t see any point in drafting safely here, since a proverbial swing and a whiff doesn’t kill anyone’s fantasy squad this late in the game. It doesn’t help to miss badly on one of these receivers, but it should hardly be the cause of a Monday night marathon shower cry.
Remember who went in the WR36-48 range in 2014. There was Kelvin Benjamin, whose equity scores jumped off the screen, Eric Decker, who quietly posted WR2 numbers, Steve Smith — a top-10 receiver for the first couple months of 2014 — and Mike Evans, the rookie who scorched secondaries down the stretch and finished as a rock-solid WR1.
And these equity scores are here to remind you that Evans could, just maybe, take another leap in 2015 and become a rare second-round value.
Here’s a primer on equity scores, why I publish them, and how they might help you spot guys who are vastly underrated by the industry we call fantasy football.
|Player||Current ADP||Median equity score||High equity score|
|Allen Robinson||WR36||22 (WR14)||27 (WR9)|
|Michael Floyd||WR37||-3 (WR40)||11 (WR26)|
|Devante Adams||WR38||-9 (WR47)||0 (WR38)|
|Breshad Perriman||WR39||3 (WR36)||12 (WR27)|
|Larry Fitzgerald||WR40||11 (WR29)||15 (WR25)|
|Steve Smith||WR41||8 (WR31)||14 (WR27)|
|John Brown||WR42||2 (WR40)||13 (WR29)|
|Torrey Smith||WR43||7 (WR36)||10 (WR33)|
|Brandon LaFell||WR44||15 (WR29)||25 (WR19)|
|Terrance Williams||WR45||3 (WR42)||5 (WR40)|
|Pierre Garcon||WR46||-2 (WR48)||11 (WR35)|
|DeVante Parker||WR47||6 (WR41)||18 (WR29)|
|Percy Harvin||WR48||1 (WR47)||6 (WR42)|
* Probably Allen Robinson’s ADP here looks like a joke to the degenerates, freaks and geeks who have done MFL10s since 15 minutes after the Patriots won the Super Bowl in February. I use ADPs published by Fantasy Football Calculator, which I’ve found more accurately reflects how real people draft — not just fantasy obsessives making draft day plans 90 days in advance. If you don’t like that, you can email me at RealPeopleADPs@gmail.com. But back to Robinson, who, barring catastrophe, will enter 2015 as the Jaguars’ No. 1 receiver. Is that necessarily a good thing? Why, yes it is, as it could mean ARob — an absolute athletic freak — could eclipse the 120-target mark. 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. Robinson’s Rotoviz sim score comps are downright freaky, with Josh Gordon’s 2013 campaign included among the positives. In case you’ve forgotten: Gordon entered 2013 drafted as the 34th wideout off the draft board. People hated his quarterback situation. They hated his offense. He couldn’t overcome a hundred hurdles to elite receiverhood. Sound familiar? Robinson, per these equity scores, is a solid WR1 (on the high side) being drafted as a WR3. That’s the stuff. Even Arob’s middle-of-the-road sim scores include Dwayne Bowe in 2008 — a top-15 receiver.
* Brandon LaFell’s equity scores, for right now, assume Tom Brady will play 16 games in 2015. I’ll believe Brady misses time when every possible appeals option is exhausted. LaFell, who saw eight or more targets nine times in 2014, has a ceiling here that makes him irresistible, especially when we compare him to players at similar prices. I suppose it could be a knock on him, but LaFell wasn’t even particularly efficient with his 114 targets last season in New England. His 0.40 fantasy points per opportunity — per Pro Football Focus — was tied with Andre Johnson, who did close to nothing with his 141 targets. LaFell, with even a small uptick in per-target efficiency, could show why the above projections love his chances of providing fantasy owners with a big chunk of equity. LaFell finished 2014 as a top-21 receiver, and now he’s drafted as a borderline WR3. Maybe that reflects the fear of a Brady suspension. A little fidgeting with LaFell’s sim scores — removing his Week 1, in which he was targeted thrice and didn’t catch a pass — puts Jordy Nelson’s 2014 season at the top of the comps. That’s hardly horrible for a guy being drafted six and a half rounds after Sammy Watkins, whose equity scores don’t exactly inspire song and dance.
* Parker needing to replace a screw in his foot and being out until the beginning of the NFL preseason might be the best thing that ever happened to fantasy footballers who believe the Miami rookie could seize the team’s No. 1 receiver role and prove an enormous value in all but the savviest leagues. Miami beat writers have reportedly had to wear adult diapers while watching Parker practice with the Dolphins’ first-team offense, as to avoid the bowel movements that beat writers have this time of year when guys make spectacular plays. It’s hard to say where Parker’s ADP will be come mid-August, but if he’s anywhere close to WR47, I’d take him everywhere. I don’t think his high equity score reflects the fantasy ceiling he could have if he becomes Ryan Tannehill’s main target — and one who could potentially catch touchdowns and passes longer than five yards, unlike Jarvis Landry. Let’s hold hands and will Parker’s re-draft ADP to stay put. He could easily be one of 2015’s cheapest 100-target receivers.
* Remember when Percy Harvin was drafted as a top-17 receiver last year? Yeah, well. Let’s all remember that we don’t draft gadget players unless they’re absolutely guaranteed a monstrous workload.