WR3 By Committee - Footballguys

Finding a Third Starting Wide Receiver by Committee for 2018

Over the past few years, there have been several very popular articles written by myself and 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, Chase 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 quarterback 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 Rank
Wide Receiver
ADP Rank
Wide Receiver
WR36
WR50
WR37
WR51
WR38
WR52
WR39
WR53
WR40
WR54
WR41
WR55
WR42
WR56
WR43
WR57
WR44
WR58
WR45
WR59
WR46
WR60
WR47
WR61
WR48
WR62
WR49

Table 1: Wide Receivers WR36-WR60+ Based on ADP

Notice that I went past WR60, as several wide receivers in the WR61-WR70 range had projections comparable or better than WR60, so they deserved to be included (and highlighted for your drafting benefit). Also of note this year is that I included WR36 (Robby Anderson) to show how WR36 compares to the rest of the wide receivers under consideration.

Now we have 27 guys to pair up and see how they do. That makes 351 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 six rounds of your fantasy draft to pursue two or three receivers after grabbing a stud running back in Round 1. After six rounds you can have two or three running backs, two or three wide receivers and possibly even a stud quarterback or tight end, depending on your personal preference, or even to get your WR3 and then 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 beyond Round 7 (PIck 84+) with only Marquise Goodwin, Cooper Kupp, and DeVante Parker projected to go in Round 8. That should make it relatively easy to take two receivers in this part of the draft (or later), but I will have to keep all those details in mind when we look at the WR3BC recommendations against ADP.

So what do we do now to figure out some wide receiver pairs?

CRITERIA #3 - USE FOOTBALLGUYS' WR STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE

This sounds pretty simple, doesn't it? Just take the wide receiver 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 17 weeks based on the strength of schedule. I call this result the distributed fantasy points for each receiver.

After I had all 27 wide receivers with distributed fantasy points on a weekly basis, I just compared all of the possible wide receiver 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
122.9
2
122.5
3
122.0
4
121.7
5
121.6
6
121.4
7
121.4
8
120.9
9
120.6
10
120.4
11
120.1
12
120.0
13
119.9
14
119.8
15
119.7
16
119.6
17
119.5
18
119.5
19
119.4
20
119.3
21
119.3
22
119.1
23
119.1
24
119.0
25
118.9
26
118.7
27
118.6
28
118.6
29
118.5
30
118.4
31
118.4
32
118.3
33
118.1
34
118.0
35
118.0
36
117.9
37
117.9
38
117.7
39
117.7
40
117.6
41
117.5
42
117.5
43
117.4
44
117.4
45
117.3
46
117.3
47
117.3
48
117.2
49
117.2
50
117.1
51
116.8
52
116.8
53
116.8
54
116.7
55
116.7
56
116.6
57
116.6
58
116.5
59
116.5
60
116.3
61
116.3
62
116.0
63
116.0
64
116.0
65
115.9
66
115.7
67
115.7
68
115.6
69
115.5
70
115.4
71
115.3
72
115.3
73
115.2
74
115.2
75
115.1
76
115.1
77
115.0
78
114.9
79
114.7
80
114.6
81
114.5
82
114.5
83
114.5
84
114.2
85
114.0
86
114.0
87
113.9
88
113.9
89
113.9
90
113.8
91
113.8
92
113.7
93
113.7
94
113.6
95
113.6
96
113.5
97
113.4
98
113.4
99
113.2
100
113.1
101
112.9
102
112.9
103
112.9
104
n/a
112.7

Table 2: Wide Receiver #3 Committee Pairs

Okay, that is a really big table, but I wanted to be thorough. As you can see, we have some very good pairs to select from for WR3BC. So digging in, there are 103 pairs in Table 2 to consider, so there are a number of options. Let's also take a look at how often some of these guys show up on the table:

Wide Receiver
Frequency
Wide Receiver
Frequency
24
4
23
4
22
4
21
4
11
4
10
4
9
4
9
4
9
4
9
3
8
2
5
2
4

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

That is a pretty big result, with six receivers on that list with 10 or more appearances, so it is very likely that at least one or both of the WR3 committee duo will come from the top of Table 3.

Before I present the plan for 2018 for WR3BC, allow me to compare Table 2 with the projections for the Top 36+ wide receivers to see how each WR3BC lines up against the best wide receivers. Remember our goal - find a pair of wideouts that can combine for WR3 (or better) fantasy production. To figure that out we need a better metric, so here are the projections for WR10 through WR36 (and beyond), sorted by projected fantasy points:

ADP
WR Rank
Wide Receiver
Team
FanPts
5
1
PIT
200.4
7
2
HOU
195.1
13
3
ATL
174.6
11
4
NYG
173.1
16
5
LAC
160.3
15
6
NO
158.7
18
7
CIN
154.3
23
8
TB
151.0
29
9
IND
151.9
19
10
GB
150.6
30
11
MIN
147.4
28
12
KC
146.9
26
13
SEA
143.4
48
14
LAR
139.3
39
15
MIN
137.0
41
16
ARI
136.5
45
17
PIT
135.4
36
18
OAK
136.2
47
19
CHI
130.1
54
20
DET
130.5
44
21
DEN
127.0
46
22
PHI
125.2
53
23
DET
124.7
64
24
BAL
122.0
38
25
CLE
121.0
90 (WR37)
26
SF
120.8
82
27
CAR
119.0
87 (WR36)
28
NYJ
118.2
66
29
KC
116.2
91 (WR38)
30
LAR
112.6
84
31
DEN
110.6
70
32
NE
111.6
61
33
CLE
109.6
95 (WR39)
34
MIA
109.2
86 (WR35)
37
SF
105.9

Table 4: Projected Fantasy Points for WRs 10-36+

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

Based on Table 4, we see that WRs beyond the Top 20 are really bunched as far as projections. After that point, it gets a little trickier. Four receivers are projected to put up between 120 and 130 points (Demaryius Thomas, Alshon Jeffery, Golden Tate and Michael Crabtree) and then it gets very jumbled in the 105-120 projection range, spanning all of the likely drafted WR3s (WR25-WR36+). This screams opportunity for a strong WR3BC this season. If we can identify a pair of receivers that can get in this range, we are nearly there. Even more noteworthy are some of the receivers with ADPs past WR36 that appear in the projections to be Top 36 candidates, such as Cooper Kupp, DeVante Parker, Marquise Goodwin and Robby Anderson. Taking a typical number projected for a Top 36 (WR3) of 113 points based on the projections listed in Table 4 and adding 4-6 points for a bye week filler, we next look at our possible pairs to see how many exceed 118 projected points for 2018, and the answer is a significant total - 35 pairs. That is a remarkable result and strongly suggests that 2018 is a great year to go after a WR3BC option. Choosing the correct pair can give us the result we wanted – high end WR3 production (and borderline WR2) on the cheap.

This year looks to be pretty straightforward - just target top receivers in productive offenses that are just after WR36. Cooper Kupp is the first name that fits this bill, and his ADP will be held down with some wondering which two of the three top receivers for the Rams will start. Los Angeles actually prefers a three-wide receiver offense, which means Kupp, Brandin Cooks, and Robert Woods will all see plenty of opportunities. After you secure Kupp (ADP of 91) in Round 7, come back immediately for your second receiver to complete your WR3BC. My personal preference - and the top pair on the charts - is DeVante Parker from Miami. HIs ADP (95) almost assures him of lasting all of Round 8, but the worst case plan is not that bad at all with the third pairing of Kupp-Jamison Crowder (ADP 98) nearly as good.

Here is a rundown of the top options for WR3BC for 2018:

Rank
Wide Receiver 1
Wide Receiver 2
Value
ADP1
ADP2
1
122.9
38
39
2
122.5
38
47
3
122.0
38
40
4
121.7
38
45
5
121.6
45
50
6
121.4
38
41
7
121.4
38
44
8
120.9
38
50
9
120.6
39
41
10
120.4
38
42
11
120.1
39
40
12
120.0
41
47
13
119.9
39
46
14
119.8
40
45
15
119.7
38
49
16
119.6
38
59
17
119.5
44
45
18
119.5
38
56
19
119.4
40
47
20
119.3
46
47
21
119.3
38
46
22
119.1
39
42
23
119.1
38
53
24
119.0
39
53
25
118.9
41
45
26
118.7
38
60
27
118.6
39
44
28
118.6
42
47
29
118.5
47
53
30
118.4
45
53
31
118.4
38
57
32
118.3
39
50
33
118.1
44
47
34
118.0
38
43
35
118.0
38
48

Table 5: Top WR3BC Choices for 2018

For completeness, I have included Tables 6 and 7 below, showing the best combinations of WR3BC with Cooper Kupp and either DeVante Parker or Jamison Crowder in the second receiver spot of your WR3BC:

Week
Suggested Starter
Opponent
Alternate Starter
Opponent
1
Tennessee
at Oakland
2
at NY Jets
Arizona
3
Oakland
at LA Chargers
4
at New England
Minnesota
5
at Seattle
6
Chicago
at Denver
7
at San Francisco
Detroit
8
Green Bay
at Houston
9
at New Orleans
New York Jets
10
at Green Bay
Seattle
11
Kansas City
12
at Indianapolis
13
at Detroit
14
New England
at Chicago
15
Philadelphia
at Minnesota
16
at Arizona
17
San Francisco

Table 6: Suggested WR3BC Schedule Plan - Cooper Kupp and DeVante Parker

Week
Suggested Starter
Opponent
Alternate Starter
Opponent
1
at Oakland
at Arizona
2
Indianapolis
Arizona
3
Green Bay
at LA Chargers
4
Minnesota
5
at Seattle
at New Orleans
6
Carolina
7
at San Francisco
Dallas
8
Green Bay
9
at New Orleans
10
at Tampa Bay
Seattle
11
Kansas City
12
at Dallas
13
at Detroit
14
New York Giants
at Chicago
15
Philadelphia
16
at Arizona
at Tennessee
17
San Francisco

Table 7: Suggested WR3BC Schedule Plan - Cooper Kupp and Jamison Crowder

The committee approach is not a perfect one, but having this knowledge prior to your fantasy draft can prove to be invaluable if you decide to adopt this approach. If all the players on your starter list are gone, going with a committee can save your team and help you deal with the loss of bigger names. The method is also a big help in best-ball leagues, where lineup decisions are not necessary every week. That's exactly where a committee can do the best, as either player can count for you each week.

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