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WR3 By Committee

Finding a Third Starting Wide Receiver by Committee for 2013

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 Player ADP Player
WR37 Anquan Boldin WR50 Vincent Brown
WR38 Danario Alexander* WR51 Brian Hartline
WR39 Josh Gordon WR52 Ryan Broyles
WR40 Lance Moore WR53 Cordarrelle Patterson
WR41 Denarius Moore WR54 Aaron Dobson
WR42 DeAndre Hopkins WR55 Rueben Randle
WR43 Emmanuel Sanders WR56 Darrius Heyward-Bey
WR44 Justin Blackmon WR57 Golden Tate
WR45 Sidney Rice WR58 Greg Little
WR46 Michael Floyd WR59 Malcom Floyd
WR47 Chris Givens WR60 Santonio Holmes
WR48 Kendall Wright WR61 Jacoby Jones
WR49 Alshon Jeffery    

Table 1: Wide Receivers WR37-WR61 Based on ADP

Note that Danario Alexander is included in Table 1, but since he recently tore his ACL, he will not be considered.

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 after Round 7.  There are some wide receivers that might go in Round 8, so planning on taking two of them could leave you scrambling for your ninth pick if you wait too long for your WR3BC choice.  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.

Rank Wide Receiver 1 Wide Receiver 2 Value
1 Lance Moore Justin Blackmon 150.9
2 Denarius Moore Justin Blackmon 150.5
3 Josh Gordon Justin Blackmon 149.3
4 Emmanuel Sanders Justin Blackmon 146.6
5 Sidney Rice Justin Blackmon 146.4
6 Vincent Brown Justin Blackmon 145.6
7 Kendall Wright Justin Blackmon 145.3
8 Anquan Boldin Justin Blackmon 143.2
9 Chris Givens Justin Blackmon 142.8
10 Justin Blackmon Brian Hartline 142.3
11 Justin Blackmon Golden Tate 142.0
12 Anquan Boldin Lance Moore 141.6
13 Michael Floyd Justin Blackmon 140.9
14 Anquan Boldin Emmanuel Sanders 140.4
15 Anquan Boldin Denarius Moore 139.3
16 Justin Blackmon Greg Little 139.2
17 DeAndre Hopkins Justin Blackmon 138.6
18 Justin Blackmon Alshon Jeffery 138.4
19 Emmanuel Sanders Lance Moore 137.9
20 Anquan Boldin Josh Gordon 137.6
21 Anquan Boldin Chris Givens 137.3
22 Justin Blackmon Darrius Heyward-Bey 136.6
23 Anquan Boldin Kendall Wright 136.5
24 Josh Gordon Emmanuel Sanders 136.3
25 Anquan Boldin Sidney Rice 136.3
26 Anquan Boldin DeAndre Hopkins 136.2
27 Josh Gordon Lance Moore 135.1
28 Denarius Moore Josh Gordon 135.1
29 Justin Blackmon Malcom Floyd 134.7
30 Denarius Moore Emmanuel Sanders 134.6
31 Emmanuel Sanders Kendall Wright 134.4
32 Anquan Boldin Vincent Brown 134.2
33 Anquan Boldin Brian Hartline 134.2
34 Josh Gordon Michael Floyd 134.2
35 Lance Moore DeAndre Hopkins 133.8
36 Justin Blackmon Jacoby Jones 133.8
37 Emmanuel Sanders Sidney Rice 133.7
38 Emmanuel Sanders Michael Floyd 133.4
39 Lance Moore Kendall Wright 133.4
40 Anquan Boldin Golden Tate 133.4
41 Josh Gordon Kendall Wright 133.4
42 Lance Moore Sidney Rice 132.4
43 Josh Gordon DeAndre Hopkins 132.3
44 Emmanuel Sanders Chris Givens 132.2
45 Lance Moore Michael Floyd 132.0
46 Denarius Moore DeAndre Hopkins 131.9
47 Denarius Moore Kendall Wright 131.4
48 Lance Moore Chris Givens 131.3
49 Justin Blackmon Santonio Holmes 131.3
50 Emmanuel Sanders DeAndre Hopkins 131.1
51 Anquan Boldin Greg Little 131.1
52 Justin Blackmon Cordarrelle Patterson 131.1
53 Josh Gordon Chris Givens 131.1
54 Anquan Boldin Alshon Jeffery 130.9
55 Denarius Moore Sidney Rice 130.7
56 Anquan Boldin Cordarrelle Patterson 130.5
57 Emmanuel Sanders Vincent Brown 130.4
58 Anquan Boldin Darrius Heyward-Bey 130.3
59 Anquan Boldin Malcom Floyd 130.3
60 Emmanuel Sanders Golden Tate 130.2
61 Emmanuel Sanders Brian Hartline 129.9
62 Anquan Boldin Jacoby Jones 129.9
63 Anquan Boldin Michael Floyd 129.8
64 Denarius Moore Lance Moore 129.8
65 Denarius Moore Michael Floyd 129.6
66 Lance Moore Vincent Brown 129.6
67 Anquan Boldin Santonio Holmes 129.3
68 Josh Gordon Sidney Rice 129.0
69 Josh Gordon Brian Hartline 128.8
70 Michael Floyd Sidney Rice 128.8
71 Emmanuel Sanders Alshon Jeffery 128.6
72 Anquan Boldin Aaron Dobson 128.5
73 Kendall Wright Chris Givens 128.5
74 Denarius Moore Vincent Brown 128.2
75 Denarius Moore Brian Hartline 128.0
76 Justin Blackmon Rueben Randle 128.0
77 Lance Moore Brian Hartline 127.9
78 Emmanuel Sanders Greg Little 127.7
79 Michael Floyd DeAndre Hopkins 127.6
80 Kendall Wright Sidney Rice 127.6
81 Michael Floyd Chris Givens 127.6
82 Lance Moore Golden Tate 127.5
83 Denarius Moore Chris Givens 127.5
84 Josh Gordon Vincent Brown 127.3
85 Kendall Wright Michael Floyd 127.2
86 Denarius Moore Golden Tate 127.0
87 Emmanuel Sanders Ryan Broyles 126.9
88 Justin Blackmon Aaron Dobson 126.9
89 Michael Floyd Vincent Brown 126.9
90 Denarius Moore Greg Little 126.8
91 Emmanuel Sanders Rueben Randle 126.5
92 Kendall Wright Brian Hartline 126.5
93 Denarius Moore Alshon Jeffery 126.5
94 Emmanuel Sanders Malcom Floyd 126.2
95 Emmanuel Sanders Jacoby Jones 126.0
96 Lance Moore Greg Little 125.9
97 Emmanuel Sanders Darrius Heyward-Bey 125.7
98 Denarius Moore Cordarrelle Patterson 125.6
99 Sidney Rice Chris Givens 125.6
100 Lance Moore Alshon Jeffery 125.5
101 Josh Gordon Cordarrelle Patterson 125.5
102 Justin Blackmon Ryan Broyles 125.4
103 Josh Gordon Alshon Jeffery 125.1
104 Josh Gordon Golden Tate 125.0
105 Emmanuel Sanders Aaron Dobson 125.0
106 Denarius Moore Rueben Randle 124.9
107 Josh Gordon Ryan Broyles 124.7
108 Anquan Boldin Ryan Broyles 124.6
109 Anquan Boldin Rueben Randle 124.6
110 Anquan Boldin n/a 124.6

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 last year, we have a ton of options that meet or exceed WR37 (Anquan Boldin) by himself.  With 109 different duos to select from, there will be lots of options to try and find a very strong pair for 2013.  To challenge this option further, I am baselining the target WR3BC goal at WR33, T.Y. Hilton, who is projected to have 126 fantasy points in 2013.  To make it both more fair and more challenging, I added six points for Hilton’s bye week, as a WR37-WR60 type player would be inserted into the lineup for Austin for that game, so our target for a successful WR3BC had better achieve 132 or more fantasy points.  That reduces the list from Table 2 to 45 pairs that provide 132 or more fantasy points and combine favorably as a WR3.  Let's also take a look at how often some of these guys show up on the table:

Wide Receiver Frq Wide Receiver Frq
Justin Blackmon 18 Chris Givens 3
Anquan Boldin 12 Brian Hartline 2
Emmanuel Sanders 9 Golden Tate 2
Josh Gordon 8 Vincent Brown 2
Lance Moore 8 Alshon Jeffery 1
Kendall Wright 5 Darrius Heyward-Bey 1
DeAndre Hopkins 4 Greg Little 1
Denarius Moore 4 Jacoby Jones 1
Michael Floyd 4 Malcom Floyd 1
Sidney Rice 4    

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

As we can see from Table 3, Justin Blackmon dominates the list, with Anquan Boldin claiming a strong second spot.  Three other WRs show up on this list at least five times –Emmanuel Sanders, Josh Gordon, Lance Moore and Kendall Wright.  All of these names should surprise no one that read Table 1, as these six guys are all near the Top of the WR37 and beyond ADP list. The most intriguing player by far is Justin Blackmon.  Had he not be suspended for the first four games, his ADP would likely have been well in the WR3 range, but as a result of the forced vacation his ADP has dropped all the way down to WR44.  Provided he is healthy and gets decent quarterback play, Blackmon will be a true steal in the WR40-45 range and be a key part of a WR3BC approach this season.

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

Now that we have over 40 possible pairs to construct a WR3BC, what exactly does that mean? Should WR33, T.Y. Hilton, 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 Rank Player FPs FP Rank
43 14 Jordy Nelson 158.7 13
44 15 Marques Colston 154.2 14
46 16 Dwayne Bowe 152.2 15
65 24 Antonio Brown 149.1 16
67 25 Steve Smith 146.7 17
63 22 Torrey Smith 144.7 18
58 21 Eric Decker 143.9 19
79 30 Cecil Shorts 142.3 20
49 17 Reggie Wayne 141.5 21
50 18 Hakeem Nicks 138.8 22
42 13 Wes Welker 138.1 23
52 19 Danny Amendola 137.4 24
64 23 Pierre Garcon 137.3 25
56 20 Mike Wallace 136.6 26
86 35 Mike Williams 135.1 27
81 32 DeSean Jackson 133.7 28
78 29 Steve Johnson 132.8 29
74 27 Greg Jennings 131.7 30
85 34 Miles Austin 130.9 31
77 28 Tavon Austin 126.5 32
84 33 T.Y. Hilton 126 33
89 37 Anquan Boldin 124.7 34
71 26 James Jones 124.2 35
120 43 Emmanuel Sanders 121.1 36
111 41 Denarius Moore 119.7 37
99 39 Josh Gordon 119.1 38

Table 4: Projected Fantasy Points for WRs 13-38

Based on Table 4, we see that WRs beyond the Top 15 are really jumbled all over the place. Some are going too early in drafts (Wes Welker, 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. Steve Johnson (WR29, 132.8 fantasy points projected) is the last of the "upper tier" of wideouts that are projected to top 132 fantasy points in 2012. Taking the 132 point target and adding six points for a bye week filler, we next look at our possible pairs to see how many exceed 138 projected points for 2013, and the answer is a solid 18 pairs, with three more just missing the cut.  Digging a little deeper, the top five pairs line up well against Hakeem Nicks (WR22), Wes Welker (WR23) and Danny Amendola (WR24). 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 Justin Blackmon. Nabbing him in Round 7 or Round 8 allows you to choose from several other WRs that will post numbers comparable to a WR3. Even with the uncertainty at quarterback in Jacksonville and a slight injury concern for Blackmon, all of that should be settled down by Week 5 when Blackmon should be back in action.  Blackmon offers several pairing possibilities, led by Lance Moore and Emmanuel Sanders.  Sanders is the cheaper option with an ADP that should make him available later, whereas Moore could be gone before Blackmon and should be in most drafts.  That is why I am recommending Justin Blackmon and Emmanuel Sanders as the WR3BC for 2013.  Take Blackmon in Round 7 (late) or Round 8 (early) and follow up with Sanders in Round 8 or 9 to secure the value.  Another option would be to take Lance Moore right after Blackmon if he was to still be available, and smart owners with a flex spot would still snap up Sanders if he lasted to Round 10.

For thoroughness Table 5 should be your guide on Fantasy Draft Day if you attempt to use WR3BC:

Rank Wide Receiver 1 Wide Receiver 2 Value ADP1 ADP2
1 Lance Moore Justin Blackmon 150.9 40 44
2 Denarius Moore Justin Blackmon 150.5 41 44
3 Josh Gordon Justin Blackmon 149.3 39 44
4 Emmanuel Sanders Justin Blackmon 146.6 43 44
5 Sidney Rice Justin Blackmon 146.4 45 44
6 Vincent Brown Justin Blackmon 145.6 50 44
7 Kendall Wright Justin Blackmon 145.3 48 44
8 Anquan Boldin Justin Blackmon 143.2 37 44
9 Chris Givens Justin Blackmon 142.8 47 44
10 Justin Blackmon Brian Hartline 142.3 44 51
11 Justin Blackmon Golden Tate 142 44 57
12 Anquan Boldin Lance Moore 141.6 37 40
13 Michael Floyd Justin Blackmon 140.9 46 44
14 Anquan Boldin Emmanuel Sanders 140.4 37 43
15 Anquan Boldin Denarius Moore 139.3 37 41
16 Justin Blackmon Greg Little 139.2 44 58
17 DeAndre Hopkins Justin Blackmon 138.6 42 44
18 Justin Blackmon Alshon Jeffery 138.4 44 49
19 Emmanuel Sanders Lance Moore 137.9 43 40
20 Anquan Boldin Josh Gordon 137.6 37 39
21 Anquan Boldin Chris Givens 137.3 37 47
22 Justin Blackmon Darrius Heyward-Bey 136.6 44 56
23 Anquan Boldin Kendall Wright 136.5 37 48
24 Josh Gordon Emmanuel Sanders 136.3 39 43
25 Anquan Boldin Sidney Rice 136.3 37 45
26 Anquan Boldin DeAndre Hopkins 136.2 37 42
27 Josh Gordon Lance Moore 135.1 39 40
28 Denarius Moore Josh Gordon 135.1 41 39
29 Justin Blackmon Malcom Floyd 134.7 44 59
30 Denarius Moore Emmanuel Sanders 134.6 41 43
31 Emmanuel Sanders Kendall Wright 134.4 43 48
32 Anquan Boldin Vincent Brown 134.2 37 50
33 Anquan Boldin Brian Hartline 134.2 37 51
34 Josh Gordon Michael Floyd 134.2 39 46
35 Lance Moore DeAndre Hopkins 133.8 40 42
36 Justin Blackmon Jacoby Jones 133.8 44 61
37 Emmanuel Sanders Sidney Rice 133.7 43 45
38 Emmanuel Sanders Michael Floyd 133.4 43 46
39 Lance Moore Kendall Wright 133.4 40 48
40 Anquan Boldin Golden Tate 133.4 37 57
41 Josh Gordon Kendall Wright 133.4 39 48
42 Lance Moore Sidney Rice 132.4 40 45
43 Josh Gordon DeAndre Hopkins 132.3 39 42
44 Emmanuel Sanders Chris Givens 132.2 43 47
45 Lance Moore Michael Floyd 132 40 46

Table 5: Top 45 WR3BC Options for 2013

Here is a final summary of the combined schedules for Justin Blackmon and Emmanuel Sanders, and when the committee approach suggests starting each one:

Wk Suggested Player Opponent
1 Emmanuel Sanders Tennessee
2 Emmanuel Sanders at Cincinnati
3 Emmanuel Sanders Chicago
4 Emmanuel Sanders at Minnesota
5 Justin Blackmon at St. Louis
6 Justin Blackmon at Denver
7 Justin Blackmon San Diego
8 Justin Blackmon San Francisco
9 Emmanuel Sanders at New England
10 Justin Blackmon at Tennessee
11 Justin Blackmon Arizona
12 Justin Blackmon at Houston
13 Justin Blackmon at Cleveland
14 Justin Blackmon Houston
15 Justin Blackmon Buffalo
16 Justin Blackmon at Kansas City

Table 6: Suggested WR3BC Schedule Plan

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


More from Jeff Pasquino:

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Eliminator Pool: Week 18 - January 2
Against The Spread Pool: Week 18 - January 2
Eliminator Pool: Week 17 - December 27
Against The Spread Pool: Week 17 - December 27
For The Win: Week 17 - December 26
Money Talks: Week 17 - December 24
Eliminator Pool: Week 16 - December 19