calvinjohnson

Trent Richardson was the shocking No. 1 when I evaluated the RB position using the RB Sim Lab. Brandon Marshall upset the champion when I used the WR Custom Cheat Sheet to create WR projections. It’s time to see if he can once again unseat Megatron.

For those unfamiliar with the concept, the official RotoViz Sim Scores give you projections based on what the players did a season ago. Using the Sim Lab, I can create a hypothetical player based on the real player’s size and age but make slight modifications to his targets, yardage, and red zone efficiency.

If it seems likely 2012 was a fluke, I can create a slightly more realistic version of the player and then generate a Sim Score from that. This is especially valuable for players who are changing teams, changing coordinators, or changing quarterbacks. In the descriptions below, I’ve tried to give a quick sense of what adjustments I’ve made to each player.

1. Calvin Johnson

As I mentioned in Maybe We Should Be More Offended by Megatron’s ADP, Johnson’s back-to-back WR1 finishes put him in the mix to be the No. 1 player in WR-heavy formats. In creating Hypo Megatron, I’ve lowered his target and yardage numbers but bumped his touchdowns. Even making those adjustments, the true comps are fairly sparse.

- Standard Half PPR PPR
Low 9.2 11.7 14.2
Median 11 14 17
High 13.2 16.4 19.6

 

2. Brandon Marshall

I’ve lowered Marshall’s target numbers just slightly to accommodate the research done by Charles Kleinheksel on Chicago’s likely offense. He still projects as one of the safest picks out there. In many PPR formats his VORP was virtually identical to Peterson’s and his performance is more sustainable.

- Standard Half PPR PPR
Low 9 11.7 14.5
Median 11.3 13.9 16.5
High 13.2 16.4 19.6

 

3. Demaryius Thomas

Thomas is a monster. His size/age/target profile puts his value nearly in line with the top two. If you’re not playing one of the formats I’ve described as dictating a RB-RB-RB approach, then Thomas should be a foundation piece for your lineup.

-  Standard  Half PPR  PPR
Low 9.1 11.6 13.9
Median 10.9 13.7 16.2
High 13 16.3 19.5

 

4. Andre Johnson

Johnson is being described in some quarters as a low end WR1 but his historical comps beg to differ. James Goldstein shrugs off the age issue, and I’ve featured Andre1500 as an easy choice for the 10 Most Undervalued. For a more negative look, check out his results when I created WR rankings using the other methodology.

-  Standard  Half PPR  PPR
Low 8.7 11.1 13.5
Median 10.9 13.6 16.1
High 13 16.3 19.5

 

5. Julio Jones

Jones fails to achieve separation using the regular Sim Scores, but I’ve moved a few of White’s targets in his direction here. Despite his monster ceiling, Jones is a player for whom some drafters will seek to find later round proxies.

-  Standard  Half PPR  PPR
Low 8.9 11.3 13.7
Median 10 12.7 15.5
High 11.7 14.7 17.8

 

6. Larry Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald doesn’t even place in the previous Top 40 based on his abysmal 2012 season, but I’ve used his age and size with Reggie Wayne’s 2012 numbers in creating this hypothetical. This could slightly overstate his chances since the Cardinals will face a tougher schedule than what Indianapolis saw.

-  Standard  Half PPR  PPR
Low 7.9 10.3 12.8
Median 10.8 13.1 15.7
High 11.6 14.4 17.4

 

7. Dez Bryant

I’m sympathetic to those drafting Bryant as the No. 2 receiver. He seems more likely to reach his high projection than either Jones or Fitzgerald, and I would draft each of them accordingly.

-  Standard  Half PPR  PPR
Low

7.5

9.8

12.1

Median

10

12.7

15.4

High

11.3

14.3

17.3

 

8. Marques Colston

I played with several scenarios to lower Colston’s projection including docking his targets slightly and taking a negative view of his likely touchdown percentage. Still, one has to create a hypothetical version completely unlike the real Colston in order to force his numbers much lower. His historical profile and his role in the high-powered Saints offense make him a lock for at least low end WR1 value.

-  Standard  Half PPR  PPR
Low

8.7

11.1

13.5

Median

10.8

13.1

15.3

High

11.6

14.3

16.8

 

9. Roddy White

Even considering White’s age, the algorithm sees him as a very safe WR1. A previous member of my All-Trap Team, I recently upgraded him to target status.

-  Standard  Half PPR  PPR
Low 7.7 9.9 12.3
Median 9 11.7 14.3
High 11.1 14.2 17.7

 

10. A.J. Green

I was down on Green coming out of college based on his weight, speed, and good-but-not-great college production. I’ve since found that position untenable, but the computer still trails me in that realization. It’s still difficult to land Green since his upside appears priced into his ADP.

-  Standard  Half PPR  PPR
Low 7.8 10.2 12.1
Median 9.5 11.9 14.4
High 11 13.9 16.6

 

11. Vincent Jackson

It will be interesting to see if Jackson’s career high in yardage was an aberration or the new normal. He’s a clear cut player to target and playing in the fantasy-friendly NFC South should help balance Josh Freeman’s inconsistency.

-  Standard  Half PPR  PPR
Low 8.5 10.4 12.4
Median 10.1 12.3 14.9
High 11 13.5 16.1

 

12. Danny Amendola

Amendola’s projection was fun to play with since he obviously has far more value in New England than he did in St. Louis. While the first eleven receivers were high floor/high ceiling, Amendola’s projection represents a huge range of possibilities. The computer loves the number of targets he should see in the Welker role, but it worried about his size and injury problems. I think this result encapsulates the risk/reward with Amendola nicely.

-  Standard  Half PPR  PPR
Low 4.8 6.7 8.4
Median 7.9 10.2 12
High 11.3 15.4 18.3

 

13. Eric Decker

Decker owns the lowest ceiling we’ve seen so far, and drafters seem to be valuing him entirely on that ceiling and not on the high floor. I think the presence of Peyton Manning makes him one of the receivers who is a good bet to finish near the top of his range of potential outcomes.

-  Standard  Half PPR  PPR
Low 7.5 9.8 12
Median 9.1 11.3 13.7
High 10 12.2 15

 

14. Hakeem Nicks

I used a Nicks amalgam that was similar to the 2011 model, not the dominant 2010 version and not the injury-impaired guy we saw in 2012. I also set the Sim Lab to punish him for his strong likelihood of re-injury. Nicks is only a good investment for those going with the Combustible Lineup.

-  Standard  Half PPR  PPR
Low 7.6 9.7 11.9
Median 8.5 11 13.4
High 10.5 12.8 15.6

 

15. Victor Cruz

Drafters seem to be valuing Cruz perfectly.

-  Standard  Half PPR  PPR
Low 7.5 9.5 11.7
Median 8.7 10.9 13
High 10.8 13.5 16.3

 

16. Torrey Smith

The version of Smith I’m using is similar to the one described by Bryan Fontaine a couple of months ago. In my hypothetical, Smith succeeds in the Red Zone and sees a flurry of targets in an offense suddenly lacking any other threats. I did retain his low catch rate. I could see Smith finishing as high as WR5 or as low as WR40 this season.

-  Standard  Half PPR  PPR
Low 7 8.5 10.7
Median 8.5 10.4 12.5
High 10.8 13.4 15.9

 

17. Jordy Nelson

Nelson and Bowe come in with a photo finish. I’ve given Nelson the edge due to his quarterback play, but you might do the opposite considering his injury situation.

-  Standard  Half PPR  PPR
Low 4.9 6.7 8.4
Median 8.5 11.1 13.5
High 10.7 12.4 15.1

 

18. Dwayne Bowe

I find concerns about Bowe’s fit with Alex Smith to be almost comical. This is a player who managed impressive yards per route numbers with guys like Tyler Palko at the helm. Arguments referencing Smith’s limiting effect on Michael Crabtree ignore the strong probability that Bowe is a better player, while also forgetting Reid’s is a different offense.

-  Standard  Half PPR  PPR
Low 5.6 7.5 9.2
Median 7.9 10.1 12.5
High 11 13.1 15.9

 

19. Antonio Brown

In putting together the hypotheticals, I tried to create very positive versions of players about whom I’m skeptical. This helps balance my ingrained biases. Brown doesn’t have the size/speed profile I’m looking for, and he doesn’t project as a good Red Zone threat. So his strong projection may seem surprising until you factor in Ben Roethlisberger’s unappreciated stardom and the avalanche of targets Brown should see this season.

-  Standard  Half PPR  PPR
Low 6.3 8.3 10.3
Median 8.3 11 13.2
High 9.8 12.6 15.4

 

20. Pierre Garcon

Garcon is hard to accurately project because he moved to a new offense and then missed most of the season. Washington’s 2013 offense might be quite a bit different than the run-heavy 2012 model, which further complicates matters. Drafting a relative enigma who enters the season with serious injury questions is definitely for risk-takers.

-  Standard  Half PPR  PPR
Low 6 8.1 10.4
Median 7.4 9.7 11.9
High 11 14 16.6

 

21. Randall Cobb

You can make an argument that Welker’s projection is better, but Cobb seems so head-and-shoulders ahead of Denver’s No. 3 that I’ve given him the edge. I’ve been down on Cobb all offseason, and his inability to stay healthy in training camp is a red flag. Please understand, I think Cobb is a fine player who’s likely to have a good season. I just don’t like his value related to ADP.

-  Standard  Half PPR  PPR
Low 6.5 8.4 10.4
Median 7.6 9.5 12
High 9.8 12.3 15

 

22. Wes Welker

Similar to the situation with Antonio Brown, I tried to make sure I didn’t undercut Welker’s projection just because I think he’s one of the most overvalued players. When entering his targets, I used a number halfway between what the beat writers have been suggesting and what his ADP represents. I’ve become a lot more bullish on his chances with Von Miller’s suspension. Peyton Manning could attempt 700 passes and throw for 5,500 yards.

-  Standard  Half PPR  PPR
Low 6.1 8 9.7
Median 7.8 10.5 13.2
High 9.1 12 15.4

 

23. Stevie Johnson

With Buffalo’s quarterback situation falling into further disarray, I’m backing off of Stevie Johnson just slightly. However, the injury to Stephon Gilmore makes the prospect of huge Buffalo deficits more likely. Once Manuel returns, Johnson’s target numbers could rival anyone in the league.

-  Standard  Half PPR  PPR
Low 7.1 9 10.8
Median 8.3 10.7 13
High 9.5 12.1 14.7

 

24. Reggie Wayne

The overvaluing of Reggie Wayne has been one of the offseason’s more predictable and yet still somehow surprising developments. Drafters do realize Wayne is old, the offense is changing, and T.Y. Hilton is emerging. Right?

-  Standard  Half PPR  PPR
Low 6.8 9.1 11.6
Median 7.8 10.5 13
High 9.2 11.7 14.3

 

25. Josh Gordon

This ranking docks Gordon for the games he will miss at the beginning of the season. Gordon also isn’t receiving much of a discount to the multiple types of risk he represents. But considering how many big names are still to come, and you can see why the Fantasy Douche is targeting him in all drafts.

-  Standard  Half PPR  PPR
Low 6.1 7.8 9.6
Median 8.5 10.5 12.3
High 10.9 13.3 15.8

 

26. Mike Williams

Williams probably starts the beginning of a new tier. Unless you expect his target rate to jump – which does seem possible – then his upside is limited simply by a lack of opportunity. Of course, my disappointment in Williams’ projection is offset by the fact that he remains significantly undervalued in all formats.

-  Standard  Half PPR  PPR
Low 5.6 7.5 9.3
Median 7.8 10.1 12.4
High 8.8 11.3 13.7

 

27. Cecil Shorts

I took a conservative view of Shorts’ likely target rate and that combined with his lack of elite size to put a lid on his high projection. If Jacksonville successfully follows through on rumors they’ll move in the direction of a warp offense . . . well, Shorts just becomes even more undervalued.

-  Standard  Half PPR  PPR
Low 6.2 7.8 9.5
Median 7.6 9.5 11.5
High 8.8 11.3 13.5

 

28. James Jones

I spiked Jones’ target numbers in order to get here. His 2012 season was incredibly fluky, but with Jennings gone and the rest of the gang dealing with various nicks, he should find himself on the receiving end of more Aaron Rodgers passes.

-  Standard  Half PPR  PPR
Low 5.3 7.1 8.9
Median 7.5 9.8 12
High 9.3 12.2 14.8

 

29. T.Y. Hilton

I’m no more immune to the Great T.Y. Hilton Genuflection than the next person. Even though I don’t logically expect Hilton’s touchdown rate to be sustainable, I entered a very high TD number in creating Hypo Hilton. In a limited number of regular season and preseason contests he’s seemingly scored at will. Maybe that’s who he is. As you can see, even if you expect him to keep scoring, a situational deep threat has a low ceiling.

-  Standard  Half PPR  PPR
Low 6 7.7 8.9
Median 8.3 10.7 12.8
High 8.9 11.2 13.5

 

30. Mike Wallace

We’re about to find out whether all those Mike Wallace touchdowns were a function of Wallace’s elite speed or Ben Roethlisberger’s arm brilliance. In creating this projection, I assumed it was an attribute of Wallace’s skillset (even though I doubt it is). I want to know what Wallace will look like if I’m wrong.

-  Standard  Half PPR  PPR
Low 6.2 8 10.1
Median 7.4 9.2 11.4
High 8.7 11 13.4

 

In Part 2, I’ll look at receivers in the 31-60 range. If you’re following Matthew Freedman’s morbidly spectacular RBx5 strategy, deep research into this secondary tier will be more important than the high profile guys. Stay tuned.

Shawn Siegele is the creator of the contrarian sports website Money in the Banana Stand and Lead Writer for Pro Football Focus Fantasy.

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8 comments
TryingToWin
TryingToWin

@Shawn Siegele 

Where would Percy Harvin have fit into this?  Just for shits and giggles....(and for dynasty trade value, haha)

Shawn Siegele
Shawn Siegele like.author.displayName 1 Like

@TryingToWin @Shawn Siegele

In PPR he would have a low of 8.4, a median of 12 and a high of 14.9, so he'd fit in the 26-29 range. That fits with the series RotoViz ran earlier in the summer suggesting he was being valued at his ceiling. I think there's a decent argument that sellers will still be selling high, even though they won't get as much with the injury.

TryingToWin
TryingToWin

@Shawn Siegele @TryingToWin 

Give Harvin for Gordon?

PPR dynasty for a team that is a "win-now" but built with young studs so I have a few years to make a run at a championship.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

Personal bias here, because I picked up Cecil Shorts off the waiver wire in week 2 last year and it's the smartest thing I've ever done, but you can easily manipulate his sim score to show that he's going to be significantly better than 13.5 ppr pts/game.

He had a bye in week 6 and broke out in week 7. If you eliminate weeks 1-5 and use the rest of the season, the sim score says he has a ceiling of 16.7 and median of 15.1 ppg in ppr (although his floor is low at 11.9).

If you eliminate games where he had 5 targets or less, which is almost the same data set, he has a ceiling of 16.7 and a median of 14.2.

Seems to me like either of these results is more likely than a ceiling of 13.5 ppr pts/game. He averaged 15.2 ppr pts/game after week seven last year, and that goes up to 16.9 if you take out the goose egg against NYJ in week 14. Couple that with Blackmon's suspension and the fact that Gabbert can't get any worse (can he?) and I'd much rather have Shorts than some guys ahead of him like Brown, Wayne or Welker, even in PPR.

Shawn Siegele
Shawn Siegele

@Whiskey Tango Foxtrot 

Those are all excellent points. I like Shorts more than his projection here suggests.

I've been promoting Shorts hard all summer (he was my No. 1 most undervalued player). And at a certain point I try to back off and make sure I'm not developing tunnel vision. For that reason, I tried to be careful in this exercise not to overproject the guys I'm excited about and underproject the guys I've been hammering.  

The difference in ADP probably makes Shorts the better value even if the guys you mention (Brown, Welker, Wayne) outscore him, but I don't believe they will. 

Adam Eraky
Adam Eraky

I feel I ended up with an all-Rotoviz team at WR: Dez, Roddy, Torrey Smith, Eric Decker and Josh Gordon. They  were drafted in that order. Coupled with my RBs: Martin, Richardson, Murray, and D. Richardson. I know the players look incredibly flukey but it is a QB heavy league and there was a run on QBs early allowing others to fall. My QBs are Kaepernick and A. Smith. How'd I do?

Shawn Siegele
Shawn Siegele

@Adam Eraky 

Unless that's an 8-team league, your opponents really have their work cut out for them. Among other things, Kaepernick has become extremely undervalued.