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We started off our series on mispriced pairs by looking first at quarterbacks and then at running backs. Now, we move on to wide receivers. As a reminder, everything we look at will be in the context of a standard, non-PPR format.

By now you guys know the drill. We will look at three pairs of wide receivers, analyzing their differences in ADP and projected Fantasy production, and discuss why the gap in draft position should not be as wide or present at all. We have used ADP and projections data from Fantasy Pros. They compile consensus figures from a variety of sources so the chances of site biases are minimized.

Offense has picked up slightly over the past few years. Scoring is up, as is total yards per game, and the entire gain is the result of an increase in the passing game.

Check out the chart below showing per team game averages.

Seasons Points Total Yds Pass Att Pass Yds Pass Yds/Att Rush Att Rush Yds Rush Avg
2005-2009 21.3 325.1 32.6 210.5 6.1 27.7 114.7 4.1
2010-2014 22.6 345.3 34.5 231.0 6.3 27.1 114.3 4.2

 

Wide receivers now play a more important role than they ever have. This allows for many teams to have multiple Fantasy relevant players at the wideout position. There are obviously a group of studs that lead the pack; however, due to the increased reliance of throwing the ball, I find that there are plenty of wide receivers that will be picked late that will make significant contributions this season.

Strategy wise, I think you can approach the wide receiver position in a few different ways. Personally, I find that a fall in expected production occurs after the consensus ranked 10th receiver (Mike Evans) and then again after the 18th ranked (Julian Edelman) at the position. I think it is key to get at least one wideout before each of these tier breaks occur. Remember, you should be able to find quite a few decent late round wide receivers in most drafts. Taking a couple stud wide receivers relatively early allows you to use your other early to middle round picks to fill out the remainder of your roster.

Now let’s get to it!

 

Mispriced Pairs: Wide Receivers

 

Hype Versus Known Quantity

Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

Games Rec Rec Yds Rec Avg Rec TDs Fum Lost Fantasy Pts ADP
2013 (CFB) 12 97 1,432 14.8 6
2014 10 48 548 11.4 2 0 68.8
2015 Proj 73 902 12.4 5 1 117.5 84
Career 11.4

 

Eric Decker, WR, New York Jets

Games Rec Rec Yds Rec Avg Rec TDs Fum Lost Fantasy Pts ADP
2013 16 87 1,288 14.8 11 1 192.8
2014 15 74 962 13.0 5 0 126.2
2015 Proj 68 896 13.2 5 0 119.4 109
Career 13.6

 

Allen Robinson seems to be one of the buzziest players heading into the 2015 campaign. Prior to breaking his foot last year, his Fantasy performance was decent as he ranked within the Top 30 amongst wide receivers from Week 2 through Week 10. His production going forward will continue to be limited by his quarterback, Blake Bortles, and the weak Jacksonville offense. Among signal callers that had at least 200 pass attempts, Bortles finished 28th in the league in yards per game and 36th in passer rating. The addition of Julius Thomas and rookie T.J. Yeldon should help a bit, but the Jags offense will not be a juggernaut in 2015.

Eric Decker saw his production decline in 2014 from the previous year; that is what happens when you go from catching passes from Peyton Manning to Geno Smith. That being said, his performance last year was still good enough to finish as the 28th best wideout in standard leagues. This year, Decker will at least start the season snagging passes from Ryan Fitzpatrick, who may seem like Peyton Manning when compared to the Geno Smith. The addition of Brandon Marshall should also help open up more space for Decker and add a little more spark to the Jets offense.

Allen Robinson has a consensus projection of two fewer Fantasy points compared to Eric Decker, yet the Jags’ No. 1 wide receiver is being picked 25 spots ahead of Decker.

Pass on the Jag, take the Jet, and you will not regret!

 

The Rookie Versus The Deep Threat

Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland Raiders

Games Rec Rec Yds Rec Avg Rec TDs Fum Lost Fantasy Pts ADP
2013 (CFB) 11 45 736 16.4 4
2014 (CFB) 14 124 1,727 13.9 16
2015 Proj 70 916 13.1 5 1 121.6 45
Career (CFB) 15.2   

 

DeSean Jackson, WR, Washington Redskins

Games Rec Rec Yds Rec Avg Rec TDs Fum Lost Fantasy Pts ADP
2013 16 82 1,332 16.2 9 0 187.4
2014 15 56 1,169 20.9 6 0 153.6
2015 Proj 67 1040 15.5 6 0 138.8 49
Career 17.7

 

Amari Cooper enters the NFL with plenty of potential, I am just not sure that it gets fully reached in 2015. Rookies, in general, tend to be overvalued; people love the chance of a breakout. First year players are unproven and their performance comes with a high degree of volatility. They have not had a chance to disappoint anyone, since they mostly excelled at the college level.

The Oakland Raiders look quite similar to the Jacksonville Jaguars on offense, and that is not a compliment. The Jags and Raiders finished as the two lowest scoring teams last year. A young, inefficient quarterback in David Carr, who actually compares quite closely to Blake Bortles, leads the Raiders. They also have a starting running back with a grand total of 82 career carries under his belt. Cooper will be in a tough spot for his rookie season, and his immense talent will be put to the test this year.

DeSean Jackson loves the deep ball; his ability to separate from defenders is not to be questioned. Amongst players with at least 30 receptions, Jackson led the league with an average yards per catch of nearly 21. The Washington Redskins quarterback situation again looks to be unsettled going into the regular season. Last year, the Redskins had three different quarterbacks and each attempted at least 128 passes. None of this seemed to bother Jackson as he finished with the 16th most Fantasy points among wide receivers.

In terms of consensus projections, Amari Cooper comes in as the 26th best wide receiver, while DeSean Jackson comes in at number 17. Despite this, Cooper is being picked four spots ahead of Jackson. Based solely off of the projections, Cooper should have an ADP closer to 80, rather than his current ADP of 45.

Avoid the Rook, snag the Skin, and you will win!

 

Young Eagle Versus Wily Vet

Nelson Agholor, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

Games Rec Rec Yds Rec Avg Rec TDs Fum Lost Fantasy Pts ADP
2013 (CFB) 14 56 918 16.4 6
2014 (CFB) 13 104 1,313 12.6 12
2015 Proj 61 833 13.7 6 1 114.6 85
Career (CFB) 14.4

 

Anquan Boldin, WR, San Francisco 49ers

Games Rec Rec Yds Rec Avg Rec TDs Fum Lost Fantasy Pts ADP
2013 16 85 1,179 13.9 7 0 161.0
2014 16 83 1,062 12.8 5 0 136.6
2015 Proj 72 927 12.9 4 1 117.6 110
Career 13.2

 

The talented Nelson Agholor has landed in a solid offensive situation in Philadelphia, where Chip Kelly loves the up-tempo pace. Agholor, however, is a victim to the same rookie characteristics that we talked about earlier with Amari Cooper. There may also be a little bit a competition for the No. 2 wideout spot behind Jordan Matthews between Riley Cooper, Miles Austin, and Josh Huff. This offseason saw the Eagles invest heavily in their running game with the additions of DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews, so a pass heavy offense does not seem to be in the cards.

The durable Anquan Boldin continues to defy the odds as he moves well into his thirties. Last year, Boldin finished as the 23rd ranked wide receiver in standard leagues. For the second consecutive year he was Colin Kaepernick’s most targeted receiver. The addition of Torrey Smith should stretch the field and help open holes underneath for Boldin. The 49ers defense was decimated in the offseason by a myriad of issues. The pourous D will force Kaepernick to air it out more as the 49ers play from behind often. Boldin should again be a force on the field as he seeks his third consecutive campaign of 130 targets.

Nelson Agholor has the 37th highest projection amongst wide receivers, while Anquan Boldin actually comes in four spots better at number 33. The fact that Boldin is going off the board 25 spots after Agholor is a mystery to me.

Let the young Eagle learn to fly and do not pick him ahead of the stable, predictable 49er.

Hype and emotion tend to drive the pricing of any asset. An instrument with higher volatility, by definition, has a wider range of possible outcomes. Do not forget that means a lower floor, in addition to the increased upside potential. People love to hit a home run, but singles and doubles are valuable too. The smart choice for all of the mentioned wide receiver pairs seems to come down to value. Last year, we were spoiled by the performance of rookie wideouts; their production in 2014 stands out as an anomaly with respect to history. It seems to me that this has carried over into the ADP for the first-year wide receivers for the 2015 season. Tune in soon for the final installment of the mispriced pairs series, Tight Ends.

Data courtesy of www.fantasypros.com, www.nfl.com, and www.pro-football-reference.com

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