Back in January, I wrote about Golden Tate and how he would be one of the most undervalued wide receivers heading into the 2013 season. While much of that piece is no longer applicable with the Seahawks’ acquisition of Percy Harvin, the process that I used to identify Tate is very much relevant.
For the purpose of this post I am going to be focusing Denarius Moore. However, just so we are clear, I did not randomly select Moore. I plugged in each of 2012’s top 75 wide receivers and the Oakland wideout has one of the brightest futures of any player I tested.
To review, I used the Custom Similarity Score app to generate a collection of receivers that had historically similar seasons to Moore and discovered how those similar players fared in the following season.
Because I don’t really care about injuries or whether or not Moore is “injury-prone”, I limited my output to fantasy points per game (FP/GM) in order to measure production.
In the table below you will see Moore’s set of comps. In the first column you’ll find each player’s base year (N Season) and the subsequent year (N+1 Season) is in the column to the right of that. In the final column, you can see the percent change from season N to N+1.
N Season FP/GM
N+1 Season FP/GM
Using this method we can reasonably expect about 7 fantasy points per game from Moore, pretty much the same as his 2012 season. On the surface our results appear rather boring.
A simple way to produce more conclusive data is to generate a range of outcomes instead of a single point estimate. To come up with this range we can use quartiles, where the upper quartile represents a “ceiling” season for Moore, the lower quartile represents a “floor” season and the median is between the two. When picking in the later rounds of a draft, the goal is to target guys with a high ceiling, making the use of a range of outcomes more helpful than just looking at the mean of Moore’s historical comparable receivers. Using this table we can reasonably expect about 7 fantasy points per game from Moore, pretty much the same as his 2012 season. On the surface our results appear rather inadequate or at the very least just plain boring.
N Season FP/GM
Of course, it’s likely that Denarius Moore will fall short of his ceiling season threshold in 2013. His quarterback situation is, well, murky but that does not mean he should be crossed off your draft board. Moore is currently being drafted as the 47th wide receiver, according to Fantasy Football Calculator.
The next step in our analysis involves using the ADP Arbitrage app. Moore’s comp set includes Jeremy Maclin (ADP of 38), Mike Wallace (ADP of 22) and Greg Jennings (ADP of 28) as you can see in the table below:
Outside of Maclin, who himself owns a very optimistic similarity score projection, you are going to be paying for past production rather than 2013 outlook. Yes, both Wallace and Jennings are theoretically the number ones on their new teams, but as our lead Douche likes to put it, predicting the future is hard. If you can tell me what Wallace and Jennings’ market share of their respective team targets is going to be, great! But the fact is we just don’t know. Maclin is a relative unknown, as we don’t know his role in Chip Kelly’s offense.
Out of these four guys, I’d probably rank Maclin first, but then you could talk me into any of the remaining three. I’m not saying Jennings or Wallace are bad picks; in fact I think both will post solid production for their new teams. But would you rather have Mike Wallace in the 5th round or Denarius Moore in the 10th? Why not take the receiver who will give you the most flexibility with the rest of your roster? Why not take a relatively low-risk gamble on Denarius Moore that could pay big dividends later in the season? Some non-RotoViz subscriber in your league is going to draft Mike Wallace and Greg Jennings at their current ADPs, just don’t let it be you when you could have Denarius Moore five rounds later.