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