3 Breakout WRs to Acquire and a Controversial Sell

In building Zero RB super-squads with five or six top-15 WRs, you have to load up on stars early but also hit breakouts in the middle and later rounds. That means selecting young players with production that isn’t priced into their ADPs. In selecting breakout WRs, we’re mostly focused on second-year players. Since the turn of the century, second-year WRs have broken out at a 50 percent higher rate than third-year players. They also hold their value better, which speaks to the superiority of these players. We’re able to predict second-year performance with the same effectiveness as third-year performance, and it’s not as fully factored into ADP. Big picture, we’re looking for two things in WR breakouts.  1. Elite age-adjusted college production that isn’t factored in to the general consensus about a player. Breakout age and experience always show up as important factors in my research. Players who broke out at a younger age in college make better NFL breakout candidates. Receivers who stay all four years in college are far worse breakout candidates.1 Looking at it from a slightly different angle, RotoDoc found the same thing in his Young WR Model:
The interaction between AGE.Z and MS.Z says that if a player had poor college market share, then his draft age didn’t matter. It also says that if a player was old in his final year of college, then his market share numbers didn’t really matter. However, if a player was young and productive, that mattered immensely.
2. Impressive rookie production that is dismissed or not fully considered in ADP. With this relatively simple criteria, our breakout content included these recent players:
  • Alshon Jeffery in 2013 (WR45 in ADP, WR8 in finish)
  • DeAndre Hopkins in 2014 (WR38 in ADP, WR14 in finish)
  • Allen Robinson in 2015 (WR24 in ADP, WR6 in finish)
  • Stefon Diggs in 2016 (WR41 in ADP, WR13 in PPG)
Last year the breakout article was especially fruitful with Diggs, Willie Snead, and Jamison Crowder all among my top-four recommendations, while DeVante Parker and Donte Moncrief were labeled players to avoid.
  1. If you’re concerned that we simply don’t like older players, this is something that Nathan Forster of Football Outsiders has also written about at length.  (back)

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By Shawn Siegele | @ff_contrarian | Archive

Comments   Add comment

  1. Mike says:

    Hey Shawn,

    My auction league is this Saturday with 10 teams, no ppr, 20 roster spots, $200 with two $0 dollar players allowed.

    You must roster 2 QB, TE, K and D.

    You mentioned earlier doing your perfect draft for standard leagues.

    Are you still planning that and if not any advice would be greatly appreciated.



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