Now that we've taken a good look back at the running back position, let's head over to the wide receiver position to see what the fantasy scoring was like at the position in 2015. The methodology at the receiver position is slightly different because of the nature of fantasy scoring. While there are a handful of receivers who take handoffs here and there, the Fantasy Index will focus on receiving for advanced metrics.
For the purposes of this article, all fantasy scoring is in points-per-reception (PPR) format.
- Tgt%/16: The percentage of targets prorated over 16 games.
- TD%: The receiving touchdown rate for a player
- PPR: Points per reception
- PPG: PPR points per game
- FPS/16: Fantasy points shares prorated over 16 games intended to show the amount of fantasy scoring a player garners compared to the rest of his team
- eFPS/16: A metric of FPS efficiecny based on the catch rate and receiving average for a player
|7||Odell Beckham Jr||NYG||27.1%||60.8%||8.2%||319.3||21.3||0.55||5.02|
|21||Ted Ginn Jr||CAR||22.1%||45.4%||10.3%||183.9||13.1||0.42||3.19|
Broadly speaking, the numbers above tell us two things: how efficient a player was with his targets (PPT), and how much he was involved in the offense from a fantasy perspective (FPS/16). Prorating to 16 games levels the playing field, so to speak--we can see how much a player was involved in his team's fantasy output over a full season even if he only played 13 games.
There is a bit of a mirage factor here in the numbers, too. A low PPT coupled with a high FPS/16 would indicate a player that relied on volume to score fantasy points, whereas a high PPT with a low FPS/16 could show a player performed well--perhaps overperformed--on relatively limited touches.
Now let's take a closer look at some standouts from the list.
Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills
Stop reading this right now if you are worried about Sammy Watkins’ health. You wouldn’t want to know what you’re missing out on, after all.
True, Watkins can’t seem to go a few weeks without at least dinging something up, so the caution is merited. But that caution is baked into his ADP--Watkins is currently being drafted as the 15th receiver off the board, a rather low spot for a guy who was a top-10 per-game scorer last season. Even more eye-popping than his gross averages is the fact he laps the field in eFPS/16 and was second to Antonio Brown in FPS/16.
Jarvis Landry, Miami Dolphins
You know that guy in the NBA who scores 18 points per game but needs 20 shots to get there? That’s Jarvis Landry in the fantasy football realm.
Miami’s possession receiver--because, let’s face it, that’s his role in spite of his size--ranked 11th in PPR scoring last season, a fantastic finish in a vacuum. But we don’t live in a vacuum, do we? Because if we did, we would all be dead.
Landry’s fantasy value might get sucked out of the air lock this season if his efficiency metric is any indication. Not only did he rely on volume, but the third-year wideout averaged just 10.4 yards per reception thanks to an avalanche of short passes. What happens when Ryan Tannehill begins to spread the ball around to DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills more or dumping it off to Arian Foster in the flat? Will Landry be able to offset his diminished volume with deeper targets? The preseason says no.
Rishard Matthews, Tennessee Titans
Landry’s old teammate in Miami has found a new home and, theoretically, a bigger piece of the fantasy pie in Tennessee this season. If his modest breakout in 2015 is any indication, he should be able to feast this season.
Of course, Matthews is playing in a new offense that will likely throw the ball less, and there is no telling whether rookie standout Tajae Sharp will actually cut into his target share. But Matthews is cheap enough to take a worthwhile gamble given his aggregate ADP has him in the 15th round. That is practically free in most leagues.
Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos
In spite of his down year, Demaryius Thomas wound up ninth in fantasy scoring. His struggles with rapidly declining Peyton Manning and subpar Brock Osweiler were evident in his catch rate, which ticked in below 60 percent for the first time since Tim Tebow was throwing him the ball. That didn’t do much to help his eFPS/16, which is partially predicated on that number.
Now Trevor Siemien will be tossing him the football. He has looked ready to assume the mantle at quarterback this preseason, but we all know that playing well in the face of vanilla defenses means little without a track record.
Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders
None of Amari Cooper’s advanced metrics look particularly good in hindsight. But do they point to a huge sophomore campaign?
The fact he scored so well in spite of his 55 percent catch rate on just 21.5 percent of his team’s targets tells us he is primed to blow. That is if he develops as he should along with Derek Carr’s progression as a NFL starter. His volume and efficiency should improve, and with those the fantasy points will flow.
J.J. Nelson, Arizona Cardinals
Odds are you won’t be winning any fantasy leagues by drafting J.J. Nelson. The speedy wideout is, at best, the fifth receiving option in Arizona, good for stretching the defense and little else. Jaron Brown is getting more hype than Nelson--or John Brown for that matter--this offseason.
So why bring him up here?
There’s no reason why we can’t talk a little DFS here, though. Right?
Nelson is a GPP differentiator, one of those guys who could win someone a million dollars if utilized properly. He can explode at any given moment when he is on the field, and the Cardinals showed a propensity for throwing deep last season.
Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks
One guy who has gotten hype this offseason certainly deserves it. The question is how much of a market share he will have in his own offense.
Tyler Lockett flashed his potential last season, scoring six touchdowns on 69 targets. Nice. With Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, Paul Richardson, and Jimmy Graham around him, though, it's tough to see him gaining much more market share barring an injury in Seattle. He was a much better best-ball option than season-long, but he should be a good GPP option in DFS many weeks this season.
A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals
A.J. Green managed just 132 targets last season, a woefully low number for arguably the best receiver in the league. It was easy to look at that and say his target count should bounce back in a big way next season. But what if that simply isn’t in the cards in Cincinnati?
The Bengals passed the ball just 505 times last season. Some of that was due to the fact Andy Dalton missed time with injury, leaving the offense in the incapable hands of A.J. McCarron. But it’s obvious the Bengals had a balanced mentality on offense. They threw the ball 505 times--just 52 percent of the time, the fifth-lowest rate in the league. Part of that is due to Cincinnati’s winning ways--staked to a late lead, most teams will run the ball more often--and there is no reason to think the Bengals won’t be competing for the NFC North once again next season.
Hence, Green has a low target count in spite of a robust 26.1 percent target rate on the year. If the Bengals stay true to their balanced offense and winning ways, Green could continue to see fewer targets than his talented contemporaries.
Keenan Allen, San Diego Chargers
It’s easy to overlook a player coming off a season-ending injury the following offseason, but it certainly feels like Keenan Allen is undervalued heading into 2016.
That is not to say he is being forgotten--Allen is being drafted in the third round as the 12th receiver off the board, on average--but why isn’t he being drafted higher? He was a PPR machine in 2015, scoring the fifth-most PPG in that format before going down with a freak kidney injury. He garnered 89 targets in eight games. Had he kept up that pace and stayed healthy, Allen would have been third-overall in targets on the year. Philip Rivers loves feeding him the ball, and those quality targets combined with great hands had Allen catching 75 percent of his targets.
The Chargers offense is fragile, but Allen should be among the league leaders in PPR scoring in 2016 barring more injuries.
DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans
Consider this, though--Hopkins had the four-headed monster of Ryan Mallett, Brian Hoyer, T.J. Yates and Brandon Weeden throwing him the ball last season. That is why, in spite of his amazing hands, Hopkins caught just 58 percent of passes thrown his way. Granted, we don’t know if Osweiler will favor him to the tune of 31 percent of the entire team’s targets like last season, but that should be mitigated by better throws.
Because we have to believe there is a reason the Texans threw money at Osweiler, right?