Wide Receiver #3 By Committee (PPR)
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
Sidney Rice
WR49
Laurent Robinson
WR38
Darrius Heyward-Bey
WR50
Kendall Wright
WR39
Titus Young
WR51
Randall Cobb
WR40
Anquan Boldin
WR52
Austin Collie
WR41
Lance Moore
WR53
Brian Quick
WR42
Justin Blackmon
WR54
Doug Baldwin
WR43
Randy Moss
WR55
Brandon LaFell
WR44
Michael Crabtree
WR56
Vincent Brown
WR45
Mike Williams
WR57
Alshon Jeffery
WR46
Nate Washington
WR58
Chad Johnson
WR47
Santana Moss
WR59
Nate Burleson
WR48
Michael Floyd
WR60
Mario Manningham

Table 1: Wide Receivers WR37-WR60 Based on PPR 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 (especially in PPR leagues) 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 prior to 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
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Michael Crabtree
192.4
2
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Nate Washington
192.2
3
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Sidney Rice
191.6
4
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Anquan Boldin
191.4
5
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Austin Collie
190.9
6
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Lance Moore
189.5
7
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Randall Cobb
189.1
8
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Santana Moss
188.5
9
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Kendall Wright
188.1
10
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Brandon LaFell
187.6
11
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Doug Baldwin
187.4
12
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Justin Blackmon
187.4
13
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Randy Moss
187.3
14
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Laurent Robinson
187.3
15
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Michael Floyd
187.3
16
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Titus Young
182.0
17
Sidney Rice
Titus Young
180.4
18
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Mike Williams
180.1
19
Darrius Heyward-Bey
n/a
179.7
20
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Nate Burleson
179.7
21
Sidney Rice
Anquan Boldin
178.8
22
Sidney Rice
Michael Crabtree
177.5
23
Sidney Rice
Lance Moore
177.5
24
Michael Crabtree
Titus Young
175.9
25
Sidney Rice
Austin Collie
175.9
26
Michael Crabtree
Nate Washington
175.5
27
Nate Washington
Anquan Boldin
174.8
28
Nate Washington
Titus Young
174.7
29
Michael Crabtree
Anquan Boldin
174.7
30
Titus Young
Anquan Boldin
174.6
31
Sidney Rice
Mike Williams
174.5
32
Sidney Rice
Nate Burleson
173.5
33
Michael Crabtree
Lance Moore
172.8
34
Anquan Boldin
Lance Moore
172.4
35
Nate Washington
Lance Moore
171.9
36
Nate Washington
Mike Williams
171.7
37
Sidney Rice
Randall Cobb
171.7
38
Sidney Rice
Brandon LaFell
171.2
39
Anquan Boldin
Austin Collie
171.1
40
Sidney Rice
Randy Moss
170.7
41
Sidney Rice
Justin Blackmon
170.7
42
Sidney Rice
Laurent Robinson
170.6
43
Michael Crabtree
Mike Williams
170.5
44
Michael Crabtree
Austin Collie
170.5
45
Sidney Rice
Michael Floyd
170.5
46
Sidney Rice
Santana Moss
170.3
47
Anquan Boldin
Mike Williams
169.8
48
Nate Washington
Austin Collie
169.5
49
Sidney Rice
Nate Washington
168.3
50
Nate Washington
Nate Burleson
168.1
51
Titus Young
Austin Collie
167.7
52
Michael Crabtree
Randall Cobb
167.3
53
Michael Crabtree
Justin Blackmon
167.0
54
Michael Crabtree
Brandon LaFell
166.8
55
Michael Crabtree
Laurent Robinson
166.8

Table 2: PPR 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 (Sidney Rice). 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 Pierre Garcon (projected with 168 points and finish as fantasy WR31). 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
19
Laurent Robinson
3
Sidney Rice
16
Nate Burleson
3
Michael Crabtree
12
Randall Cobb
3
Nate Washington
9
Justin Blackmon
3
Anquan Boldin
8
Michael Floyd
2
Austin Collie
6
Randy Moss
2
Titus Young
6
Santana Moss
2
Lance Moore
5
Doug Baldwin
1
Mike Williams
5
Kendall Wright
1
Brandon LaFell
3

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

As we can see from Table 3, Darrius Heyward-Bey dominates the list, but four other WRs show up on this list at least eight times Sidney Rice, Michael Crabtree, Nate Washington and Anquan Boldin. Three of these names should surprise no one that read Table 1, as these five guys are all near the Top of the WR37 and beyond ADP list. What is noteworthy are two other wideouts that appear often Michael Crabtree and Nate Washington. Crabtree is a risky pick, even in Round 10 (current ADP is 115), as Alex Smith is not a strong quarterback and now Randy Moss is looking good in the preseason. Nate Washington, on the other hand, 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, Greg Little, 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), using PPR, sorted by projected fantasy points:

ADP
WR Rnk
Wide Receiver
FPs
FP Rnk
38
13
Percy Harvin
225.0
10.0
39
14
Steve Smith
220.0
13.0
48
19
Demaryius Thomas
215.5
14.0
42
17
Miles Austin
214.8
15.0
44
18
Marques Colston
214.3
16.0
36
12
Jordy Nelson
213.8
17.0
54
23
Steve Johnson
211.9
18.0
53
22
Vincent Jackson
211.4
19.0
41
16
Dez Bryant
208.3
20.0
40
15
Mike Wallace
200.9
21.0
52
21
Dwayne Bowe
198.2
22.0
79
30
Reggie Wayne
195.9
23.0
50
20
Jeremy Maclin
195.1
24.0
65
26
DeSean Jackson
194.3
25.0
59
24
Antonio Brown
193.4
26.0
67
27
Eric Decker
190.8
27.0
62
25
Brandon Lloyd
187.7
28.0
76
29
Torrey Smith
184.7
29.0
98
35
Santonio Holmes
183.0
30.0
105
38
Darrius Heyward-Bey
179.7
31.0
75
28
Kenny Britt
176.1
32.0
85
33
Denarius Moore
172.4
33.0
82
31
Pierre Garcon
168.0
34.0
84
32
Robert Meachem
163.8
35.0
103
37
Sidney Rice
162.6
36.0
101
36
Greg Little
156.7
37.0
97
34
Malcom Floyd
152.3
42.0

Table 4: Projected PPR Fantasy Points for WRs 13-38

Based on Table 4, we see that WRs beyond the Top 19 are really jumbled all over the place. Some are going to early in drafts (Dez Bryant, Mike Wallace) 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 (WR33, 172.4 fantasy points projected) is the last of the "upper tier" of wideouts that are projected to top 170 fantasy points in 2012. Looking at our possible pairs, we have nine duos that beat 170 fantasy points, while the top five pairs line up well against Eric Decker (WR27). 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
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Michael Crabtree
192.4
38
44
2
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Nate Washington
192.2
38
46
3
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Sidney Rice
191.6
38
37
4
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Anquan Boldin
191.4
38
40
5
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Austin Collie
190.9
38
52
6
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Lance Moore
189.5
38
41
7
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Randall Cobb
189.1
38
51
8
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Santana Moss
188.5
38
47
9
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Kendall Wright
188.1
38
50
10
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Brandon LaFell
187.6
38
55
11
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Doug Baldwin
187.4
38
54
12
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Justin Blackmon
187.4
38
42
13
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Randy Moss
187.3
38
43
14
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Laurent Robinson
187.3
38
49
15
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Michael Floyd
187.3
38
48
16
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Titus Young
182.0
38
39
17
Sidney Rice
Titus Young
180.4
37
39
18
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Mike Williams
180.1
38
45
19
Darrius Heyward-Bey
n/a
179.7
38
n/a
20
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Nate Burleson
179.7
38
59
21
Sidney Rice
Anquan Boldin
178.8
37
40
22
Sidney Rice
Michael Crabtree
177.5
37
44
23
Sidney Rice
Lance Moore
177.5
37
41
24
Michael Crabtree
Titus Young
175.9
44
39
25
Sidney Rice
Austin Collie
175.9
37
52
26
Michael Crabtree
Nate Washington
175.5
44
46
27
Nate Washington
Anquan Boldin
174.8
46
40
28
Nate Washington
Titus Young
174.7
46
39
29
Michael Crabtree
Anquan Boldin
174.7
44
40
30
Titus Young
Anquan Boldin
174.6
39
40
31
Sidney Rice
Mike Williams
174.5
37
45
32
Sidney Rice
Nate Burleson
173.5
37
59
33
Michael Crabtree
Lance Moore
172.8
44
41
34
Anquan Boldin
Lance Moore
172.4
40
41
35
Nate Washington
Lance Moore
171.9
46
41
36
Nate Washington
Mike Williams
171.7
46
45
37
Sidney Rice
Randall Cobb
171.7
37
51
38
Sidney Rice
Brandon LaFell
171.2
37
55
39
Anquan Boldin
Austin Collie
171.1
40
52
40
Sidney Rice
Randy Moss
170.7
37
43
41
Sidney Rice
Justin Blackmon
170.7
37
42
42
Sidney Rice
Laurent Robinson
170.6
37
49
43
Michael Crabtree
Mike Williams
170.5
44
45
44
Michael Crabtree
Austin Collie
170.5
44
52
45
Sidney Rice
Michael Floyd
170.5
37
48
46
Sidney Rice
Santana Moss
170.3
37
47

Table 5: Top 46 PPR 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
Nate Washington
New England
2
Darrius Heyward-Bey
at Miami
3
Nate Washington
Detroit
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.

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