Football

Malcom Floyd, Albert Wilson, and Two More Observations

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Malcom Floyd, WR: The Chargers wideout has been cleared to resume football activities. That’s good news for Floyd and the Chargers, but what about for Keenan Allen? From 2009 to 2012, Floyd was second only to Antonio Gates for receiving targets. He was also second in yards and receptions, and third in TDs. In other words, he was their leading “wide receiver” since Gates is a tight end. During those four seasons, Floyd averaged 77 targets/season, and posted a respectable 9.58 AYPT and 17 TDs.

That’s not a lot, so it’s not like I’m forecasting doom for Keenan Allen. A healthy Floyd may not affect Allen: the Chargers could just take snaps away from Vincent Brown or Eddie Royal instead. But if he’s healthy and on the field, it seems likely that Floyd will be getting some targets (at least in the red zone, where Floyd has a 22% red zone TD rate, compared to a career 1/11 for Brown), and that might have some impact on Allen.

There’s also the issue that Antonio Gates is still alive and kicking and Ladarius Green may demand some more targets as well.

It’s too early to make a definitive conclusion, but there are questions here. The answers matter because Allen is currently being drafted as a top 12 WR in redraft and a top 24 WR in keeper leagues. Our WR Sim App finds over 20 WRs with a better median 2014 projection.  Even if you pull out his games logged before becoming a starter, the sim app still has him as a borderline value.

It’s possible that Floyd doesn’t impact Allen, but the situation should be monitored. Allen appears a bit fragile at his current ADP.

Albert Wilson, WR: The odds are long that any UDFA makes a roster, let alone makes a big impact. But this tidbit caught my eye:

I’m not sure how common it is for UDFAs to get calls from multiple teams, but for “almost all” the teams to call Wilson seems to suggest that the NFL has some level of appreciation for his potential. It’s also interesting that head coach Andy Reid apparently called him personally. The early word is that he has a chance to stick, since the Chiefs lost their primary kick/punt returners from last season. We’ve already covered why he might be this year’s most underrated and is worth a dynasty draft pick. Heck, he even has his own thread on our Message Boards. Again, a little early to get too excited but this will be worth monitoring.

Tim Wright, TE: I don’t think I’ll ever successfully slow the Austin Seferian-Jenkins hype train. Honestly, I hope I’m wrong. I’d love to see him succeed right out of the gate. But I’ve noted before that fellow Bucs TE Tim Wright played pretty well last season. I’m not the only one who thinks so. Lovie Smith does, too:

“Tim is a guy I should have talked about more because he’s another guy that does something well it seems like every day,” Smith said. “Nowadays, with the emergence of the passing game and you’ve got to be able to pass to win and this good stuff, the matchup, though, tight end versus safety, tight end versus linebacker — Tim, we have a good matchup with Tim Wright. He of course can do things in line, but he can split out, he can run all of the passing tree, he’s natural moving out and running routes too. I’m very pleased with him and all he’s done since Day 1. He’s a guy that’s been here every day and we’ve seen him doing that.”

In a similar vein, Pewter Report notes:

Wright has had a great offseason thus far, making a handful of great catch-and-runs in each practice. His ability to quickly separate from defenders and catch the ball cleanly has stood out in Jeff Tedford’s offense, which features two tight ends with great regularity.

There’s probably a few different ways to look at this situation. One is that it’s just simply offseason coach speak drivel. Another is that a 2 TE base offense might mean that both (or neither) Wright and ASJ become fantasy relevant. A third is that Wright has a leg up on ASJ for now, but that ultimately ASJ’s talent will win out. A fourth option, too horrible to ponder, is that Brandon Myers somehow emerges with significant playing time in a 3 headed TE rotation. But any way you slice it, rookie TEs don’t often produce much.

What to do? Personally I think ASJ is still a great long term dynasty target. But in the short term I might add Tim Wright on the cheap in some leagues, and look to acquire ASJ if his owner sours on his potentially under-productive rookie season.

Summa Cum laude: The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the Philadelphia Eagles intentionally target college graduates in the draft:

Philadelphia’s philosophy of pursuing graduates was born when Roseman, the Eagles’ general manager since 2010, and Kelly, the team’s second-year coach, each discovered that teams with the most college graduates are overwhelmingly successful…

Those close to Kelly say the degree is largely valued for one reason. “Coach Kelly is an offensive genius,” said former Oregon receiver Josh Huff, whom the Eagles took in the third round this month. “You have to be on the same level as him because you have to know why he’s doing what he’s doing.”

That’s a really good article that I encourage you to read in full. Here are some quick observations:

  • It’s clear that the Eagles have a specific plan for the type of team they want to field, and have built a draft strategy to match. For how many teams is that true?
  • Furthermore, the plan includes not just drafting specifically, but supporting players specifically. The WSJ article notes that the Eagles intentionally sought out and acted on information about draftees preferred learning styles. They also tailor physical training specifically to each player.
  • All of this screams “good process” which ultimately is the best strategy, even if it doesn’t always work.
  • Another thing I like: The Eagles are analyzing data in an attempt to find an exploitable advantage. Very RotoVizian.
  • That said, I do have some questions, for which I likely won’t get answers. For example, two of the teams cited as evidence of the college-grad-heavy roster approach were the Colts and Patriots teams of the past decade. Yes they were great, but would those same rosters have been successful without Peyton Manning or Tom Brady?
  • Likewise, I wondered about the age of players the Eagles are likely to be drafting. Seems like college grads would be older, right? And you know RotoViz has a strong stance on the importance of youth. A quick scan of their 2013 and 2014 draft picks on PFR shows an average age of 23.4. That’s not calculated down to the month however, and it might (I’m really not sure) be bucking an established trend of factoring age into draft strategy.
  • What do you think? Solid strategy? Much ado about nothing? Somewhere in the middle? Let me know in the comments.

 

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By James Todd | @spidr2ybanana | Archive

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