Wide Receiver #3 By Committee
By Jeff Pasquino
August 13th, 2012

Over the past few years, there have been two very popular articles written by our very own Chase Stuart that look at an interesting approach to building a fantasy team with late value picks. Based upon the theory of using both Strength of Schedule ("SOS") and taking two players as a combination to build one very good player, he has discussed both Team Defense by Committee ("TDBC") and Quarterback by Committee ("QBBC") as a general fantasy league strategy. In general I think that this is a wise move because very early on in fantasy drafts there are a ton of RB and WR prospects to go after to build a great team. While there are a few studs at QB and also a few choice defenses, I do not see a huge need in leagues to pursue either too hard in the beginning stages of a fantasy draft.

So with this in mind, I started to think about what else can be done with the committee approach. Tight end? Perhaps. Running back? Maybe. Wide receiver? Hmmm, that's really intriguing, but we should probably look at say the third starting option - "Fantasy WR3". What if you could grab two wide receivers later in the draft that could combine to perform on a WR3 - or even WR2 - level, based solely on their current projections and their schedule? Now we're talking. This really got my attention, so I went after this. Let's take a look at how I went about this and then we can digest and discuss the results.

Eligible Receivers

So how to begin? Defenses and quarterbacks are relatively easy to "committee" together. There's usually only one QB and certainly only one team defense per NFL club, so the approach is pretty simple as far as picking out which players / teams to try and pair up. When it comes to wide receivers, the line is not quite so easy to draw, but I needed some basis to pick which players it made sense to try and combine for a decent committee. I decided that I would use the following criteria to decide which players to start with for evaluating:

Criteria #1 - WR37 and Beyond

This seems pretty simple. If we want to have a duo that puts up WR3 numbers, that means we want WR36 or better production - else we would just draft WR36 or higher and forget the whole idea. So here is the list of players with which I started, based on their Average Draft Position (ADP):

ADP
Wide Receiver
ADP
Wide Receiver
WR37
Anquan Boldin
WR49
Santana Moss
WR38
Randy Moss
WR50
Kendall Wright
WR39
Titus Young
WR51
Brian Quick
WR40
Michael Crabtree
WR52
Randall Cobb
WR41
Justin Blackmon
WR53
Doug Baldwin
WR42
Darrius Heyward-Bey
WR54
Brandon LaFell
WR43
Lance Moore
WR55
Reuben Randle
WR44
Greg Little
WR56
Mario Manningham
WR45
Mike Williams
WR57
Austin Collie
WR46
Nate Washington
WR58
Nate Burleson
WR47
Michael Floyd
WR59
Vincent Brown
WR48
Laurent Robinson
WR60
Jonathan Baldwin

Table 1: Wide Receivers WR37-WR60 Based on ADP

Great, now we have 24 guys to pair up and see how they do. That makes 276 potential committees, so there had better be a decent one (or several, we hope) out of all of those couplets. Now, before I go over the method of how to pair them up and the results, we need one more rule:

Criteria #2 - No more than one WR from Round 7 and one from Round 8.

This could get tricky here, but understand the overall goal. The point of WR3BC is to "free up" the first 6 rounds of your fantasy draft to pursue 2-3 receivers after grabbing a stud RB in Round 1. After six rounds you can have 2-3RBs, 2-3 WRs and possibly even a stud QB or TE, depending on your personal preference, or even to get your WR3 have the "WR3BC" be your WR4. Flexibility is the name of the game here. We all want value in our drafts, and having the ability to grab two WRs in Rounds 7 and 8 to act as our WR3BC gives us that ability.

There is some good news all of the WR3BC candidates have ADPs that are later than Round 7. There are some wide receivers that might go in Round 7, so planning on taking two of them could leave you scrambling for your eighth draft pick. I will have to keep all those details in mind when we look at the WR3BC result because it would not make sense to expect two of these receivers to make it into a committee combination based on their ADP.

So what do we do now to figure out some WR pairs?

Criteria #3 - Use Footballguys' WR Strength of Schedule

This sounds pretty simple, doesn't it? Just take the WR Strength of Schedule to figure out when certain players are more likely to score well. What I did is similar to what the Projections Dominator and Draft Dominator do for you - take the projected fantasy points and slice them up over 16 weeks based on the strength of schedule. I call this result the "distributed fantasy points" for each receiver.

After I had all 24 wide receivers with distributed fantasy points on a weekly basis, I just compared all of the possible WR pairs to find the best duos for WR3BC. So here we are - time for some results.

Rnk
Wide Receiver 1
Wide Receiver 2
Value
1
Greg Little
Darrius Heyward-Bey
129.2
2
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Nate Washington
128.8
3
Michael Crabtree
Darrius Heyward-Bey
127.8
4
Anquan Boldin
Darrius Heyward-Bey
127.7
5
Randall Cobb
Darrius Heyward-Bey
127.4
6
Lance Moore
Darrius Heyward-Bey
127.3
7
Austin Collie
Darrius Heyward-Bey
127.3
8
Santana Moss
Darrius Heyward-Bey
126.3
9
Kendall Wright
Darrius Heyward-Bey
126.3
10
Brandon LaFell
Darrius Heyward-Bey
126.1
11
Doug Baldwin
Darrius Heyward-Bey
125.8
12
Laurent Robinson
Darrius Heyward-Bey
125.8
13
Justin Blackmon
Darrius Heyward-Bey
125.8
14
Vincent Brown
Darrius Heyward-Bey
125.8
15
Randy Moss
Darrius Heyward-Bey
125.7
16
Michael Floyd
Darrius Heyward-Bey
125.7
17
Brian Quick
Darrius Heyward-Bey
125.5
18
Jonathan Baldwin
Darrius Heyward-Bey
124.5
19
Reuben Randle
Darrius Heyward-Bey
124.1
20
Mario Manningham
Darrius Heyward-Bey
123.3
21
Titus Young
Darrius Heyward-Bey
122.0
22
Mike Williams
Darrius Heyward-Bey
120.8
23
Nate Burleson
Darrius Heyward-Bey
120.8
24
Darrius Heyward-Bey
n/a
120.8
25
Titus Young
Nate Washington
115.1
26
Anquan Boldin
Nate Washington
114.9
27
Greg Little
Nate Washington
114.3
28
Titus Young
Anquan Boldin
114.1
29
Michael Crabtree
Nate Washington
114.0
30
Lance Moore
Nate Washington
113.9
31
Anquan Boldin
Greg Little
113.8
32
Anquan Boldin
Lance Moore
113.3
33
Titus Young
Greg Little
113.0
34
Titus Young
Michael Crabtree
112.6
35
Mike Williams
Nate Washington
111.9
36
Michael Crabtree
Lance Moore
111.7
37
Michael Crabtree
Greg Little
111.5
38
Anquan Boldin
Michael Crabtree
111.2
39
Randall Cobb
Nate Washington
110.6
40
Nate Burleson
Nate Washington
110.6
41
Austin Collie
Nate Washington
110.4
42
Greg Little
Lance Moore
110.3
43
Anquan Boldin
Randall Cobb
109.9
44
Titus Young
Lance Moore
109.8
45
Brandon LaFell
Nate Washington
109.7
46
Randy Moss
Nate Washington
109.7
47
Anquan Boldin
Mike Williams
109.6
48
Titus Young
Randall Cobb
109.1
49
Laurent Robinson
Nate Washington
108.8
50
Michael Floyd
Nate Washington
108.7
51
Justin Blackmon
Nate Washington
108.6
52
Titus Young
Austin Collie
108.4
53
Santana Moss
Nate Washington
108.4
54
Anquan Boldin
Austin Collie
108.2

Table 2: Wide Receiver #3 Committee Pairs

As we can see from Table 2, we have some very good pairs to select from for WR3BC. Unlike in years' past, there is not a ton of good combinations that exceed or even come close to WR37 (Anquan Boldin). That considered, I decided to focus upon the best of this lot and go for a WR3 that at least performed as a solid WR3 option. I baselined the WR3BC goal as Sidney Rice (projected with 108 points and finish as fantasy WR36). The 24 wide receivers were paired with each other to project the best outcome, hopefully as a combined WR3. Let's also take a look at how often some of these guys show up on the table:

Wide Receiver
Frequency
Wide Receiver
Frequency
Darrius Heyward-Bey
24
Michael Floyd
2
Nate Washington
16
Randy Moss
2
Anquan Boldin
9
Santana Moss
2
Titus Young
8
Brandon LaFell
2
Greg Little
6
Nate Burleson
2
Lance Moore
6
Doug Baldwin
1
Michael Crabtree
6
Jonathan Baldwin
1
Austin Collie
4
Kendall Wright
1
Randall Cobb
4
Mario Manningham
1
Mike Williams
3
Reuben Randle
1
Justin Blackmon
2
Vincent Brown
1
Laurent Robinson
2
Brian Quick
1

Table 3: Wide Receiver #3 Committee Pair Appearances by Player

As we can see from Table 3, Darrius Heyward-Bey dominates the list, but three other WRs show up on this list at least eight times Titus Young, Nate Washington and Anquan Boldin. Two of these names should surprise no one that read Table 1, but what is noteworthy is the third name Nate Washington. Young is a risky pick as he has to pass Nate Burleson on the depth chart and in targets, while Boldin is not nearly as flashy (or young) but is a solid and capable veteran. Nate Washington presents good value especially with issues on and off the field for Kenny Britt.

Putting It All Together

Now that we have over 50 possible pairs to construct a WR3BC, what exactly does that mean? Should WR36, Sidney Rice, be the basis of our comparison? Of course not. Remember our goal - find a pair of wide receivers that can combine for WR3 (or better) fantasy production. To figure that out we need a better metric, so here are the projections for WR13 through WR36 (with a few extra receivers), sorted by projected fantasy points:

ADP
WR Rnk
Wide Receiver
FPs
FP Rnk
36
12
Jordy Nelson
150.2
12.0
38
13
Mike Wallace
139.5
20.0
41
14
Steve Smith
149.1
13.0
42
15
Dez Bryant
141.6
19.0
43
16
Marques Colston
143.6
18.0
44
17
Miles Austin
146.2
16.0
45
18
Percy Harvin
151.0
11.0
47
19
Demaryius Thomas
146.8
14.0
52
20
Dwayne Bowe
132.7
23.0
53
21
Jeremy Maclin
129.5
24.0
54
22
Vincent Jackson
146.1
17.0
60
23
Brandon Lloyd
129.3
25.0
61
24
DeSean Jackson
135.7
22.0
64
25
Steve Johnson
138.1
21.0
68
26
Antonio Brown
127.3
27.0
72
27
Eric Decker
126.9
28.0
74
28
Torrey Smith
128.5
26.0
75
29
Kenny Britt
121.7
31.0
80
30
Robert Meachem
113.9
34.0
82
31
Reggie Wayne
123.2
30.0
85
32
Pierre Garcon
111.0
35.0
90
33
Denarius Moore
121.5
32.0

Table 4: Projected Fantasy Points for WRs 12-33

Based on Table 4, we see that WRs beyond the Top 20 are really jumbled all over the place. Some are going to early in drafts (Jeremy Maclin, Brandon Lloyd) based on current projections, while others are available at what appears to be a discount. Filtering through all of this "noise", we see some players that catch our eye. Denarius Moore (WR32, 121.5 fantasy points projected) is the second to last of the "upper tier" of wideouts that are projected to top 120 fantasy points in 2012 (Darrius Heyward-Bey is just after him at 120.8 points). Looking at our possible pairs, we have 21 duos that beat 121 fantasy points, while the top six pairs line up well against Eric Decker (126.9 points, WR28). This tells us that choosing the correct pair can give us the result we wanted high end WR3 production (and borderline WR2) on the cheap.

Considering all of the results, the recipe looks very clear - get Darrius Heyward-Bey. Nabbing him in Round 7 or Round 8 allows you to choose from several other WRs that will post numbers comparable to a WR3. With the San Francisco passing game up in the air with Randy Moss and Mario Manningham (plus tight end Vernon Davis) it is best to look elsewhere for the second part of the pairing. Considering the issues with Kenny Britt and the Tennessee offense looking to throw more, Nate Washington is a very attractive choice. I would avoid Sidney Rice due to all the new signings in Seattle at wide receiver (Braylon Edwards, Terrell Owens). That is why I am recommending Darrius Heyward-Bey and Nate Washington as the WR3BC for 2012. Take Heyward-Bey in Round 7 and follow up quickly with Washington in Round 8 or Round 9 to pair together for your WR3 committee.

For thoroughness Table 2 should be your guide on Fantasy Draft Day if you attempt to use WR3BC. One option is to take Heyward-Bey in Round 7 and then grab the next WR on the list that you like, with a strong preference to Washington or Anquan Boldin.

Rnk
Wide Receiver 1
Wide Receiver 2
Value
ADP1
ADP2
1
Greg Little
Darrius Heyward-Bey
129.2
44
42
2
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Nate Washington
128.8
42
46
3
Michael Crabtree
Darrius Heyward-Bey
127.8
40
42
4
Anquan Boldin
Darrius Heyward-Bey
127.7
37
42
5
Randall Cobb
Darrius Heyward-Bey
127.4
52
42
6
Lance Moore
Darrius Heyward-Bey
127.3
43
42
7
Austin Collie
Darrius Heyward-Bey
127.3
57
42
8
Santana Moss
Darrius Heyward-Bey
126.3
49
42
9
Kendall Wright
Darrius Heyward-Bey
126.3
50
42
10
Brandon LaFell
Darrius Heyward-Bey
126.1
54
42
11
Doug Baldwin
Darrius Heyward-Bey
125.8
53
42
12
Laurent Robinson
Darrius Heyward-Bey
125.8
48
42
13
Justin Blackmon
Darrius Heyward-Bey
125.8
41
42
14
Vincent Brown
Darrius Heyward-Bey
125.8
59
42
15
Randy Moss
Darrius Heyward-Bey
125.7
38
42
16
Michael Floyd
Darrius Heyward-Bey
125.7
47
42
17
Brian Quick
Darrius Heyward-Bey
125.5
51
42
18
Jonathan Baldwin
Darrius Heyward-Bey
124.5
60
42
19
Reuben Randle
Darrius Heyward-Bey
124.1
55
42
20
Mario Manningham
Darrius Heyward-Bey
123.3
56
42
21
Titus Young
Darrius Heyward-Bey
122.0
39
42
22
Mike Williams
Darrius Heyward-Bey
120.8
45
42
23
Nate Burleson
Darrius Heyward-Bey
120.8
58
42
24
Darrius Heyward-Bey
n/a
120.8
42
n/a
25
Titus Young
Nate Washington
115.1
39
46
26
Anquan Boldin
Nate Washington
114.9
37
46
27
Greg Little
Nate Washington
114.3
44
46
28
Titus Young
Anquan Boldin
114.1
39
37
29
Michael Crabtree
Nate Washington
114.0
40
46
30
Lance Moore
Nate Washington
113.9
43
46
31
Anquan Boldin
Greg Little
113.8
37
44
32
Anquan Boldin
Lance Moore
113.3
37
43
33
Titus Young
Greg Little
113.0
39
44
34
Titus Young
Michael Crabtree
112.6
39
40
35
Mike Williams
Nate Washington
111.9
45
46
36
Michael Crabtree
Lance Moore
111.7
40
43
37
Michael Crabtree
Greg Little
111.5
40
44
38
Anquan Boldin
Michael Crabtree
111.2
37
40
39
Randall Cobb
Nate Washington
110.6
52
46
40
Nate Burleson
Nate Washington
110.6
58
46
41
Austin Collie
Nate Washington
110.4
57
46
42
Greg Little
Lance Moore
110.3
44
43
43
Anquan Boldin
Randall Cobb
109.9
37
52
44
Titus Young
Lance Moore
109.8
39
43
45
Brandon LaFell
Nate Washington
109.7
54
46
46
Randy Moss
Nate Washington
109.7
38
46
47
Anquan Boldin
Mike Williams
109.6
37
45
48
Titus Young
Randall Cobb
109.1
39
52
49
Laurent Robinson
Nate Washington
108.8
48
46
50
Michael Floyd
Nate Washington
108.7
47
46
51
Justin Blackmon
Nate Washington
108.6
41
46
52
Titus Young
Austin Collie
108.4
39
57
53
Santana Moss
Nate Washington
108.4
49
46
54
Anquan Boldin
Austin Collie
108.2
37
57

Table 5: Top 54 WR3BC Options for 2012

Here is a final summary of the combined schedules for Darrius Heyward-Bey and Nate Washington, and when the committee approach suggests starting each one:

Week
Suggested WR
Opponent
1
Darrius Heyward-Bey
San Diego
2
Darrius Heyward-Bey
at Miami
3
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Pittsburgh
4
Darrius Heyward-Bey
at Denver
5
Nate Washington
at Minnesota
6
Darrius Heyward-Bey
at Atlanta
7
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Jacksonville
8
Nate Washington
Indianapolis
9
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Tampa Bay
10
Darrius Heyward-Bey
at Baltimore
11
Darrius Heyward-Bey
New Orleans
12
Darrius Heyward-Bey
at Cincinnati
13
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Cleveland
14
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Denver
15
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Kansas City
16
Nate Washington
at Green Bay

Table 6: Suggested PPR WR3BC Schedule Plan

Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to pasquino@footballguys.com.

© 2012 Footballguys - All Rights Reserved