Football

Opportunity Depth Chart: The Best AFC East Wide Receiver Situations

Opportunity Depth Chart is a series about Fantasy Points Per Team Attempt, a way to identify high-value wide receiver opportunity.

The introductory article for this concept was published last year and can be found here. It’s an extension of evaluating fantasy football through market share, the idea in which RotoViz signature concepts Dominator Rating and Workhorse Score are rooted. Last season’s Opportunity Depth Chart can be found here.

This exercise looks at the role of the three main WRs every week on each team, measured by snap count, as a season-long whole, instead of looking at individual players. It is an attempt to remove narratives surrounding injury and talent and reveal undervalued players that are expected to fill valuable roles.

It is a three-step process:

  1. Calculating which WR roles produced the most fantasy points per team pass attempt in the 2016 season.
  2. Weigh that efficiency against volume, to see which roles had the highest value from an opportunity standpoint. This is calculated the same way as the first step, using weekly snaps to determine who the WR1, WR2, and WR3 were, on a game-by-game basis.
  3. Combine the numbers in steps one and two. When the Fantasy Points Per Team Attempt in the first step is combined with the number of targets in the second step, it creates something we’ll call WR Opportunity (WRO), representing the opportunity that the role provides to a non-specific player.

As a reminder, this process is not intended to predict which roles will be the most valuable in 2017, but rather to see which were most valuable in 2016 and if the player expected to fill that role in 2017 appears to be priced appropriately.

There are eight parts to this series, one for each division. The three charts below are in all eight articles to show where each team and role ranks league wide:

This is receiving fantasy points only, apologies to  Tavon Austin fans Tyreek Hill‘s clamoring horde of fanatics.

WIDE RECEIVER PPR FANTASY POINTS PER TEAM ATTEMPT

TEAMPASS ATTFPS/ATT (ALL)WR1 FPS/ATTWR2 FPS/ATTWR3 FPS/ATT
ARZ6461.4930.3580.3120.186
ATL5372.0010.4280.4040.259
BLT6791.4270.2630.2730.109
BUF4741.4590.3450.1930.184
CAR5631.4220.3140.2820.135
CHI5591.5350.3230.3560.286
CIN5631.5390.4030.3440.211
CLV5671.3310.3290.2850.112
DAL4831.7350.4190.3040.359
DEN5701.4520.3570.4250.131
DET5941.5880.3500.3000.319
GB6201.7140.4600.4250.324
HST5831.2940.3090.2560.101
IND5841.6820.3830.3510.136
JAX6261.4150.2620.3120.247
KC5461.5620.2380.2190.251
LA5361.2890.3150.2700.254
MIA4771.7360.4040.4330.328
MIN5881.5610.4500.2410.204
NE5501.8010.3140.3320.246
NO6741.7910.4230.3110.324
NYG5981.5400.3760.3590.253
NYJ5501.3700.3010.2710.303
OAK5961.6080.3830.3710.199
PHI6091.3700.2980.1580.140
PIT5961.6770.5310.2520.192
SD5801.6670.3390.3180.238
SEA5671.6200.4370.2190.163
SF4911.4340.2410.2080.240
TB5781.5940.4390.1960.258
TEN5041.6570.3840.2060.208
WAS6071.7010.2970.3870.256

WIDE RECEIVER MARKET SHARE BY ROLE

TEAMPASS ATTWR1 TGTSWR1 MSWR2 TGTSWR2 MSWR3 TGTSWR3 MS
ARZ64613520.90%12719.66%649.91%
ATL53710619.74%11120.67%5410.06%
BLT67911516.94%10215.02%537.81%
BUF4749520.04%7816.46%5311.18%
CAR56310618.83%8114.39%5810.30%
CHI55912021.47%11420.39%8815.74%
CIN56311921.14%10618.83%8014.21%
CLV56711520.28%10518.52%549.52%
DAL48310321.33%6713.87%8918.43%
DEN57014625.61%12922.63%427.37%
DET59411519.36%11419.19%9816.50%
GB62012920.81%14222.90%9615.48%
HST58313322.81%9616.47%508.58%
IND58412721.75%9616.44%559.42%
JAX62613721.88%11117.73%9114.54%
KC5468916.30%7613.92%8315.20%
LA53611521.46%9918.47%8014.93%
MIA4779319.50%11423.90%7415.51%
MIN58812320.92%9215.65%6811.56%
NE5509918.00%8315.09%7313.27%
NO67413520.03%11216.62%9714.39%
NYG59813622.74%12420.74%7612.71%
NYJ55011721.27%9717.64%10418.91%
OAK59612721.31%14023.49%7212.08%
PHI60910917.90%8413.79%6210.18%
PIT59615826.51%8213.76%6010.07%
SD5809917.07%10317.76%7112.24%
SEA56712021.16%8314.64%6010.58%
SF4919118.53%7314.87%7014.26%
TB57814324.74%8614.88%9015.57%
TEN50411122.02%6913.69%509.92%
WAS60710116.64%10216.80%8714.33%

OPPORTUNITY DEPTH CHART

TEAMWR1 WROWR2 WROWR3 WRO
ARZ48.3639.6711.88
ATL45.4244.8114.00
BLT30.2327.825.77
BUF32.7515.049.75
CAR33.2522.837.84
CHI38.7740.5425.20
CIN47.9636.4316.91
CLV37.8529.946.04
DAL43.1220.3931.97
DEN52.1554.775.50
DET40.2734.2031.25
GB59.3660.3331.11
HST41.0624.625.03
IND48.6333.737.48
JAX35.8334.6322.50
KC21.1916.6520.83
LA36.2826.7420.30
MIA37.5749.3824.29
MIN55.3322.2213.90
NE31.0527.5717.96
NO57.1634.7831.42
NYG51.0844.5019.22
NYJ35.2126.3331.50
OAK48.6751.9814.32
PHI32.5213.278.70
PIT83.8220.6711.51
SD33.5432.7616.91
SEA52.4218.149.78
SF21.8915.1616.77
TB62.8416.8723.20
TEN42.5914.2210.40
WAS30.0039.4622.23
  • FPS = fantasy points
  • TGT(s) = target(s)
  • MS = market share
  • OVR = overall (finish in fantasy ranks)
  • ADP = average draft position

THE AFC EAST

MIAMI DOLPHINS

PlayerWR1 WeeksWR2 WeeksWR3 Weeks2016 OVR2016 WRO2017 ADP
Jarvis Landry1060WR13WR29WR18
Kenny Stills537WR45WR12WR64
DeVante Parker177WR50WR58WR35
Leonte Carroo002WR164N/AN/A

In the first chart above, Miami’s efficiency jumps off the page, with the fourth-most fantasy points per team pass attempt, the ninth-most per WR1 target, the most per WR2 target, and the second-most per WR3 target.

All three of Jarvis LandryKenny Stills, and DeVante Parker return this season, and it’s difficult to differentiate their roles. Each played between 735 and 892 snaps last year, consistently varying between the weekly WR1, WR2, and WR3 in snaps played.

After two top-13 finishes in a row and three top-30 finishes to start his career, WR18 is cheap for Landry. His opportunity, however, if Stills and Parker remain healthy, appears limited, and his ceiling is probably his WR10 finish from 2015, which was the first year in Miami for both Stills and Parker.

There is also the oft-mentioned issue of Landry’s short-target style game suffering badly when Jay Ajayi has more rushing attempts and the potential for Miami to continue running fewer plays in a low-volume offense.1

Game flow appears to heavily dictate how much work Ajayi does, carrying the ball twice as often when Miami won last season, and Vegas has the win total two a half games below how many they won last year. Ajayi consistently played and got touches in negative game flow situations, however, calling into question the causation/correlation of that relationship. If Ajayi stays healthy, Landry’s floor could potentially fall out beneath him.

Landry Ajayi Splits

While Stills had the second-most snaps on the year, his numbers are being captured in that role far less often than Landry and Parker (13 times). His boom/bust scoring was more beneficial in best-ball leagues, as evidenced by his gaudy 11.4 percent win rate in MFL10s, 22nd best of 107 qualifying WRs, despite only finishing as the WR45 overall.

The idea the draft-capital-rich, freakishly productive in college, and wondrously athletic Parker breaks out and moves firmly into the WR2, or even the WR1 role, and its massive opportunity, isn’t that far-fetched. His WR35 price, however, is cognizant of that, and is making you pay for the risk/reward profile.

Landry’s price is a bit off-putting because of his ceiling and role in Adam Gase’s Ajayi-centric offense. Parker’s price is scary because of his floor.

Stills looks like he is being wildly under drafted, even if the other two staying healthy would likely once again keep his numbers just outside the edge of seasonal relevance.

If any of the three were to miss time (and in Landry’s case, if Ajayi were to miss time), the other two would likely inherit a tremendous ceiling, and pay ample dividends to their owners. This is an example of what The Contrarian, and other prognosticators, mean when they say “put yourself in a position to benefit from (unknown, unpredictable) chaos.”

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

PlayerWR1 WeeksWR2 WeeksWR3 Weeks2016 OVR2016 WRO2017 ADP
Julian Edelman664WR14WR48WR29
Chris Hogan960WR60WR53WR79
Malcolm Mitchell147WR82WR72WR80
Danny Amendola004WR96N/AN/A
Michael Floyd001WR68N/AN/A
Brandin CooksN/AN/AN/AWR11N/AWR13

One of the three teams to produce more fantasy points per team pass attempt than Miami was New England, and they threw the ball 550 times to the Dolphins’ 477.

With the acquisition of Brandin Cooks, and Rob Gronkowski only playing eight games, it’s a bit of a fool’s errand to project team target distribution using last year’s numbers.

The WR1, WR2, and WR3 roles all had between 73 and 99 targets, and all four of Julian EdelmanMalcolm MitchellChris Hogan, and Danny Amendola are still on the team. There’s also target-hog James White, and possibly Dion Lewis, as well as newcomers Dwayne Allen and Rex Burkhead… I’m out of breath. Hogan is particularly thorny because he never found fantasy relevance despite playing only 45 fewer snaps than Edelman and being the WR1 or WR2 in snaps played all 15 times he was active.

NEW YORK JETS

PlayerWR1 WeeksWR2 WeeksWR3 Weeks2016 OVR2016 WRO2017 ADP
Brandon Marshall771WR49WR33N/A
Quincy Enunwa439WR44WR55WR47
Robby Anderson265WR67WR44WR75
Charone Peake001WR123N/AN/A
Eric Decker300WR119N/AN/A

If you think that’s a mess, wait until you see Buffalo.

The Jets were an abject disaster last season, and even Stevie Wonder could see it coming:

Ryan Fitzpatrick

With both Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker gone, and no material acquisition at WR through free agency or the draft, Quincy Enunwa and Robby Anderson remain as the projected WR1 and WR2. Theories abound that the Jets are tanking to draft their franchise quarterback in April, and it’s hard to argue against.

On the bright side, it may not really be possible for the QB play to be much worse.

The Jets were the third-worst team in Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt (ahead of only Houston and Los Angeles), and bottom six in both passing yards and passing touchdowns. Charles Kleinheksel was into Enunwa even before Decker was released and thinks there’s enough evidence to be genuinely intrigued by Anderson‘s rookie year. Kevin Zatloukal thinks Josh McCown and Anderson complement each other’s deep-game in a way that he could sniff low-end WR3 relevance.

With Jalin Marshall suspended four games to begin the season, and no other Jets WR besides Enunwa and Anderson registering an ADP, both present a healthy opportunity for return on a very minimal investment. Chan Gailey being run out of town for new offensive coordinator John Morton is tough to evaluate, as the latter has no experience as an OC other than one season at University of Southern California and has spent the last six years as WR coach for the 49ers and Saints.

Either Michael Crabtree or Anquan Boldin was a top-20 WR in three out of Morton’s four years in San Francisco, and in New Orleans he had two top-31 WRs in his first year, and three top-35 WRs last season, including WR1 finishes for both Brandin Cooks and Michael Thomas. To say the Jets QB and WR situation is materially worse than either San Francisco or New Orleans in those years is an understatement; but, hopefully, Morton can work some kind of magic with Enunwa and Anderson.

BUFFALO BILLS

PlayerWR1 WeeksWR2 WeeksWR3 Weeks2016 OVR2016 WRO2017 ADP
Marquise Goodwin471WR84WR41N/A
Robert Woods729WR66WR79N/A
Sammy Watkins245WR90WR89WR16
Justin Hunter201WR108N/AN/A
Walt Powell010WR136N/AN/A
Percy Harvin010WR181N/AN/A
Brandon Tate011WR142N/AN/A
Greg Salas001WR147N/AN/A
Zay JonesN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AWR63

Sammy Watkins only led the Bills WRs in snaps played twice last season; every other person to do it is no longer on the team, and the role still provided a more valuable opportunity than the composite WR1 for the Patriots. Of course, the actual number of fantasy points produced with that opportunity was third lowest for all composite WR1s, ahead of only Kansas City and San Francisco, and those 181 fantasy points would have only been WR37 overall.

Watkins’ chronic foot injury has people wary of investing at his upper-echelon premium price. Both Edelman and Dez Bryant had similar injuries in the 2015 season, and both had the two surgeries Watkins has, in the early offseason prior to their 2016 campaigns.

The reason he is still being drafted so high despite health concerns, missed games, and not finishing higher than WR20 in any of his three seasons, becomes clear when his healthy workload with Tyrod Taylor is split out: Watkins Taylor 6 targets

That 345 points would have been the overall WR1 last year by a country mile, WR3 in 2015, and WR2 in 2014.

The Contrarian and I made a blockbuster trade involving Watkins this winter, and here is what we both wrote:

“Watkins hasn’t yet turned 24-years old with a breakout age in the 99th percentile and a Dominator Rating that made him the first WR selected in what could be the greatest receiver class ever. He is also one of only 21 WRs in NFL history with at least 150 catches and 2,000 receiving yards before turning 24. Of those 21, his 1.81 fantasy points-per-target is sixth highest.” – Mocker

“Watkins was a monster as a freshman in college, posted elite career market share numbers, heard his name called in the first five reality picks in 2014, and immediately hit my personal threshold for a WR breakout, 200 PPR points or roughly WR2 status. Learn more in Anatomy of a Breakout.” – Contrarian

East Carolina’s Zay Jones was the 37th-overall pick in this year’s draft, and Buffalo’s dearth of WRs, coupled with his draft capital, has him projected as the team’s WR2. Even with Watkins under performing and missing time last season, Robert Woods never really produced, and his pro résumé headed into the season was gaudy, whereas Jones has a blank page.

Since Buffalo is also one of the likeliest and most obvious landing spots for Boldin or Stevie Johnson prior to the season beginning, in addition to the fact that they threw the fewest passes in football last season, the case for Jones, even at a price of WR63, is difficult to make.

You can find the other Opportunity Depth Chart divisional breakdowns at the following links:

Subscribe for a constant stream of league-beating articles available only with a Premium Pass.

  1. The Dolphins ran the fewest plays in football last season.  (back)
By 14Team Mocker | @14TeamMocker | Archive

Comments   Add comment