Wide Receiver Breakouts: How Long Should You Hold On? – The Wrong Read, No. 36

Welcome to the 36th installment of the “The Wrong Read.” This article series started as one that reflected on recent podcast episodes and extended the ideas discussed there to logical conclusions with broader applications. Since then it’s become a space for me to write about whatever I want, with irregular references to various podcast episodes. Nevertheless, I’ll link to the episode that started my train of thought if applicable. Almost all my recent work has focused on the effects of age on NFL production. We know now that players who are drafted younger are generally better. And not only that, players who are younger tend to break out more often. And furthermore, players who break out sooner are generally better for longer. The problem is, players come into the league at all different ages. Although we’d like to get all 21-year-old rookies, only five WRs in the incoming class will play their rookies seasons at age 21. Of those five, only one was picked before the fourth round of the NFL Draft. So if you want rookies with a chance at early opportunity, you’re going to need to own some 22-year-olds. The question then becomes, how many years in the league should I give my guys, regardless of age. If they don’t produce in their rookie seasons, should I drop them? Is the third-year breakout a real thing that I should be waiting for? What, in other words, is the effect of experience in the NFL on fantasy production? That’s the question I’m hoping to answer here.

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By Blair Andrews | @AmItheRealBlair | Archive

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  1. bmoff says:

    Incredible series. Thank you. All this information has significantly changed my dynasty strategy, especially towards WRs. Can't thank you guys at Rotoviz enough.

  2. Awesome! I really appreciate it, and I'm glad it's proving valuable (well, I guess that remains to be seen joy). What's cool about a lot of this information is that although it goes against some of the standard dynasty strategy stuff in the industry, it fits exactly with the strategies that a lot of other smart RV writers like Shawn Siegele, Brian Malone, and Pat Kerrane have written about or found to be useful.

  3. bmoff says:

    Exactly. I'm on board 100%. It's really changed my mindset as far rookies and pick values go.

    Related to Mike Braude's article here (http://rotoviz.com/2018/05/corey-davis-chris-godwin-and-rookie-derangement-syndrome/), how would you classify the breakout chances of some of these second year players? Obviously, JuJu is there. Corey Davis SHOULD be there this year assuming he doesn't get hurt again. But should I invest resources in pursuing some of these other borderline guys? Golladay, Godwin, M. Williams, Zay Jones, Taywan Taylor, the Jaguar receivers, etc? After the first two, I'm on the fence.

  4. I think Golladay and Godwin both have good chances to break out. Williams was probably overdrafted in the real draft but he was also maybe never really healthy last year, so he could do something. He's not someone I'm going out of my way to acquire. I feel similarly about John Ross but I like him a bit more and I think he's easier to acquire. Zay Jones has potentially the easiest path to a breakout, assuming this off-field stuff amounts to nothing and his QB play this year isn't so bad that it prevents him from doing anything.

    Taylor and the Jaguars guys are a slightly harder case to make in part because they're competing with other potential breakouts. Neither Cole nor Westbrook quite has the draft capital to suggest they would necessarily be early breakouts. One of them could easily take the WR2 role there, but which one is a harder question. Taylor's cost is so low at this point that there's little downside to investing.

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