Rap Battle: The Case Against Randall Cobb
Rap Battle will be a running series that originated out of emails that Money in the Banana Stand’s Shawn Siegele and Frank DuPont/The Fantasy Douche exchange from time to time where they share their thoughts on players. It’s probably worth noting that the very first time Shawn and Frank ever exchanged emails, it was Shawn telling Frank that Frank was wildly underrating Rob Gronkowski… that was only about 30 Gronk touchdowns ago.
In reality, Rap Battle won’t be nearly as exciting as a real rap battle, but it is a better name than “Crossfire for fantasy football.” Rap Battle may also sometimes border on being conversational.
In the first post, Shawn will take the pessimistic view of Randall Cobb.
Folks drafting Cobb in 2013 will be expecting him to be an uninjured version of Percy Harvin 2012 (which just happens to be his most enthusiastic comp in the WR Similarity App). If you could somehow look 11 months in the future and know Cobb morphed into some uber-Welker/Harvin hybrid, it would strain credulity a little but probably couldn’t be considered definitive proof of multiple universes. My WR draft strategy is to exclusively take guys I think could finish No. 1 overall, and such a Welker/Harvin chimera could certainly reach those heights.
On the other hand, it’s more likely that drafting Cobb ends up eliminating you as a title contender. I red flagged Cobb before 2012 due to a very sluggish combination of Height-adjusted Speed Score and Dominator Rating. What many people don’t realize is that while Harvin ran a salty 4.39 at the Combine, Cobb’s 4.46 is just flat slow for a guy who’s 5’10”, 190. Cobb also posted terrible numbers in the 3-cone and short shuttle. Basically, If Cobb is short and slow, I want him to have video game quicks and he doesn’t.
The other issue is value. Cobb doesn’t play as many snaps as Welker and isn’t as heavily targeted as Harvin. There’s a small but real chance he grows into that sort of role, but most of that projection is based on the above mentioned misperception of his athletic ability. If you want a guy like Welker or Harvin, just draft (or trade for) Welker or Harvin. The difference in cost is apparently going to be pretty minimal.
A guy who’s probably a better comp in terms of most peripherals is Lance Moore. The fantasy community seems to have collective amnesia about Moore’s excellent 2012. If early drafts are any indication, he’ll be available 23 wide receivers and five rounds later.
If you want a guy who’s getting targets from Aaron Rodgers, wait for Jordy Nelson or James Jones. Nelson is a poster boy for Ted Thompson’s use of advanced analytics in the draft process, and he’s poised for a massive rebound. Of course, if Nelson has become a full fledged Miles Austin Hamstring Zombie . . .
The ADP Arbitrage app identifies cheaper players like T.Y. Hilton and Torrey Smith as guys with similar 2012 target profiles. I’m a Hilton skeptic, but Bryan Fontaine makes a compelling case for Smith.
Finally, the YOY Change Plot for Cobb comparables in the WR Similarity app is pretty bleak.