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stevie_johnson

Last week Mr. Revlis Football himself, James Goldstein, compiled a very innovative stat called the wide receiver upside ratio, which essentially takes into account a receiver’s similarity score high and their average draft position (ADP) and predicts to what extent the receiver is going to live up to his draft position. In this article, I look at the value opportunity presented by Bills’ WR Steve Johnson.

Some of the most interesting players on that list are as follows:

Player

“Ceiling” Projection

ADP

Upside Ratio

Brandon Marshall

209.6

17

81.5

Calvin Johnson

209.6

9

80.6

Marques Colston

188.8

42

69.2

Josh Gordon

179.2

93

67.9

Danario Alexander

180.8

80

67.6

Vincent Jackson

185.6

38

66.4

Stevie Johnson

177.6

89

66.3

Pierre Garcon

177.6

61

63.1

Julio Jones

180.8

22

61.1

Percy Harvin

160

29

46.8

Hakeem Nicks

144

53

37.8

Antonio Brown

136

63

33.1

Randall Cobb

136

31

29.5

Larry Fitzgerald

121.6

29

18.8

[For all the math behind that stat go here.]

The list was fairly predictable, with guys like Brandon Marshall and Calvin Johnson at the top with Julio Jones, Vincent Jackson and Marques Colston not far behind.  However, there were a few names that were in the upper-echelon that may surprise you. Other than Josh Gordon, who has been covered before on RotoViz, the guy that jumped out at me was Steve Johnson.

Johnson is someone you would expect to be getting a little bit more respect considering he’s recorded three-consecutive 1,000+ yard seasons and has caught at least six touchdowns in all of them, but he’s not.

An ADP of 89 puts Johnson in typical WR3 draft territory despite the numbers stating he could be a respectable WR1. Some guys getting taken in front of Johnson? Hakeem  Nicks (53), Larry Fitzgerald (29), Randall Cobb (30), and Antonio Brown (63).

For the sake of comparison, here’s what each of these guys project to using RotoViz’s WR Sim Score:

Steve Johnson, ADP 89


Standard Half PPR PPR
Low 7.1 9.2 11.3
Median 8.7 11.1 13.4
High 11.1 13.7 16.3

Larry Fitzgerald, ADP 29

  Standard Half PPR PPR
Low 3.6 4.8 6.1
Median 5 6.5 7.9
High 7.6 9.6 11.7

Antonio Brown, ADP 63

  Standard Half PPR PPR
Low 4.1 5.6 6.9
Median 6.4 8.9 11.2
High 8.5 11 13.2

Hakeem Nicks, ADP 53

  Standard Half PPR PPR
Low 5.6 6.9 8.4
Median 6.7 8.7 10.7
High 9 11.2 13.4

Randall Cobb, ADP 30

R. Cobb Standard Half PPR PPR
Low 5.7 7.6 9.2
Median 7 9 11.1
High 8.5 11 13.4

The WR Sim Score App does not take into account things such as injury history, scheme changes or quarterback changes, which means Fitzgerald’s projections are probably a bit low. But does having Carson Palmer throwing to him with a similarly enigmatic offensive line really make Fitz the seventh-best receiver in the draft? I’m hesitant to say so.

Nicks is a great receiver when healthy and is probably appropriately valued as a WR2, but Johnson is  cheaper, projects better and is historically more durable.

We’ve beaten the Randall Cobb issue to death, but again, it’s hard to say that Cobb is worthy of his ADP when there are clones of him that can be taken six rounds later. That, and Johnson has both a higher ceiling and floor than Cobb does, which makes him a safer pick with more upside.

Brown is now the defacto #1 receiver in Pittsburgh with the departure of Mike Wallace, but he struggled in 2012 and his history of play doesn’t really warrant being taken over 20 spots ahead of Johnson.

It seems pretty evident that Johnson is a hidden gem that is being overlooked. He has the upside of a WR1 that is going off at the price of WR3. Worst case scenario is that Stevie performs at a level appropriate for his ADP, best case scenario is that he’s a full-blown steal late in the draft.

If Johnson is there in the 7th or 8th round, don’t hesitate.

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