During the 2013 NFL season, I did Tuesday rundowns of all the NFL wideout situations, and now I’m back to business as usual—if you can call what you’re about to read “usual.” Also, since these reports are quasi-actionable only in the loosest sense, check out RotoViz’s Buy Low Machine, Wide Receiver GLSP Projections, and Efficiency App.
Here we go!
The story of how I joined RotoViz is (not) the stuff of legend. I sent the Fantasy Douche an email arguing that T.Y. Hilton, despite his size, had the career potential of guys like Randy Moss and Anquan Boldin, and, after we exchanged a couple of emails on Hilton, the Douche told me to turn the email chain into an article . . .
A week later, my two-part ode to Hilton was on the site.
Here’s something I said in my first contribution to RotoViz:
Percy Harvin was a top-3 WR for the first half of 2012, his injury-shortened fourth season, and he did that with a second-year Christian Ponder as his quarterback. Can a third-year Andrew Luck turn the equally explosive T.Y. Hilton into a top-3 WR in his third season ? At this point, the reality of that hypothetical scenario is situated somewhere on the continuum between possible and probable. At a minimum, one should not bet against it.
During my time at RotoViz, I’ve became bolder in my overt support for Hilton. Before the season, I was vocal in stating that he was poised to be a borderline WR1 in 2014.
Let’s look at his numbers:
2012: 50 catches; 861 yards receiving; eight all-purpose TDs.
2013: 82 catches; 1,083 yards receiving; five all-purpose TDs.
2014: 106 catches; 1,732 yards receiving; four all-purpose TDs. (Extrapolated.)
Hilton might not finish with those gaudy reception and yardage totals—but he probably also won’t finish with only four TDs.
Hilton isn’t the typical RotoViz WR or prototypical NFL WR—but he’s a top-10 WR.
In the end, production is all that matters, and Hilton is a producer.
What else? Donte Moncrief is next year’s 2013 Alshon Jeffery.
If only this year’s Alshon were last year’s. Of course, at least he’s not this year’s Keenan Allen.
San Diego Chargers
Yes, I know that Allen just scored his first TD of the season in Week 8. So f*cking what?
You know who else just scored his first TD of the season last week? Andrew Hawkins—who actually has more yards receiving than Allen in fewer games. So if I’m not excited about Hawkins—and I’m not—that “if” was rhetorical, not actually conditional—then why would I be excited about an underachiever playing in an offense that spreads the ball around?
Andrew Hawkins (2014): 1,074 yards receiving and two TDs. (Extrapolated.)
Kendall Wright (2013): 1,079 yards receiving and two TDs.
1) Wright’s 2013 blend of yardage and TDs was rare. Any given WR is extremely unlikely to hit that combination of numbers.
2) Hawkins has several obstacles that Wright didn’t have last year—namely, the impending presence of a vastly more talented and physically capable WR in Josh Gordon.
3) Wright’s 2013 season, though “impressive,” was still basically a WR3 campaign, and that doesn’t impress me.
4) Hawkins has been his team’s leading WR for the entire season. Brandon LaFell has been his team’s off-and-on lead WR for only the last five weeks—and LaFell is notably outproducing Hawkins on the season. Simply put, Hawkins’ upside is too limited to make him worth rostering. I’ll say what I said last week:
Is that really the kind of WR you want on your team???
Here’s the thing with Wright: Even though he’s caught more TDs this season than last, he’s still a WR3.
If you can get him in a trade . . . don’t.
New England Patriots
I have to say that I’m really impressed with the Fantasy Douche’s restraint. I haven’t seen one tweet saying, “I told you that LaFell is decent!”
If it were me, I’d be promoting myself like crazy.
For instance . . .
A 75-yd. game-winning TD in the game’s final minutes? That’s the kind of emerging WR you want (at least in dynasty).
Two weeks ago, John Brown was pacing to finish his rookie campaign with 48 catches for 499 yards receiving and ten all-purpose TDs. Now, he’s pacing to finish with 50 receptions for 722 yards receiving and nine all-purpose TDs.
As a rookie, Hilton finished with 50 receptions for 861 yards receiving and eight all-purpose TDs. Brown is a Hilton clone. By the end of the season, I bet that their rookie statistics will look really similar. All Brown needs is his own Andrew Luck.
Maybe Fitz isn’t quite as bad as he’s looked so far this season. Maybe his inherent worth is greater than his currently depressed market value.
Of course, I still don’t think that Fitz will come anywhere close to his 954-10 campaign from last year. But, as a guy who drafted Fitz with a second-round pick in his first dynasty startup draft in 2008 and who still has Fitz on that same team, I really loved seeing his Week 8 throwback breakout.
The Lions are to tight ends what Spinal Tap is to drummers. And I guess that means that Matthew Stafford is David St. Hubbins; Calvin Johnson is Nigel Tufnel; and Golden Tate is Ronald Weasley.
Kansas City Chiefs
If you extrapolated Dwayne Bowe’s last four games over a 16-game season, he would be pacing for almost 1,000 yards receiving. Of course, he’s yet to score a TD this season, which means that he’s played just well enough some weeks to make you think about starting him and just badly enough to make you lose your matchups without making you say, “Dammit, he did it to me again.”
Basically, if you want to win games, you can’t have Bowe in your lineup. Or, as Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix puts it, ““For neither can live while the other survives.”
Bowe is still Fantasy Voldemort.
And I guess that means that Andy Reid is still the male Dolores Umbridge.
Dude, this isn’t college. Not every long reception turns into a TD just because you think it will.
By the way, since 1978, when the NFL initiated its 16-game season, only two rookie WRs have finished with 1000-10 campaigns. Currently, two rookie WRs are pacing to finish 2014 with 1000-10 campaigns. Sammy Watkins is one of them.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
In his last three games played, Mike Evans has 198 yards receiving and two TDs, which extrapolate to 1,056 yards and over 10 TDs. Right now he’s not as hyped as Watkins or K-Benjy, but at the end of the season he might be just as productive.
Right now, DeAndre Hopkins is a dead ringer for 2007 Roddy White.
Meanwhile, Andre Johnson is a dead ringer for the dead.
OK, that’s an exaggeration, his 551-1 campaign so far is—I suppose—tolerably useful, but I really wanted to use that line.
Thought experiment: Who would you rather have in dynasty: Antonio Brown?
Or Calvin Johnson?
I don’t think that the answer is as obvious as it seems.
Nigel Tufnel might not have too many more years putting it up to 11.
Is Marqise Lee even still in the NFL? What does it mean that, in a year in which almost every other rookie WR has been a contributor, Lee hasn’t?
Let’s take a walk down memory lane: Darrius Heyward-Bey, Michael Crabtree, Percy Harvin, Hakeem Nicks, and Kenny Britt—in Week 8, once and for all, Jeremy Maclin told the other first-round WRs of the 2009 class to shut the f*ck up.
In the four games since playing against his former team in Week 4, Steve Smith, Sr. has 246 yards receiving and one TD.
As a point of comparison—in the four games since his Week 4 bye, Andrew Hawkins has 226 yards receiving and one TD—and that includes one awful game in which he caught zero passes.
St. Louis Rams
Goodbye, Norma Jean.
No one ever knew you at all.
In Week 8, I had Emmanuel Sanders in about half of my Victiv cash game lineups—and I failed to money in almost all of those contests.
That, my friends, takes real skill.
If Mike Wallace pulls an Emmanuel Sanders and scores three TDs in Week 9 against the Chargers . . . do you really need me to finish that sentence?
Tuesday morning, my mother called to tell me that Brandon Weeden is just as good as Tony Romo.
This passing attack is in good hands.
Just not DeMarco Murray’s.
According to RotoViz’s Buy Low Machine, Atlanta’s WRs have a highly favorable schedule for the rest of the season—and this week Atlanta is on bye—which means that, by Week 10, Julio Jones will have gone without a TD for almost two months. Buy low, indeed.
Maybe I was wrong about Mohamed Sanu—maybe he will get random non-receiving points each week—but I’d still rather have someone like Andre Holmes for the rest of the season.
Right now, #Carr-bitrage! is supporting two top-30 WRs. I think that’s impressive.
Then again, so is Colt McCoy, so maybe it’s not all that impressive.
New Orleans Saints
Right now, Brandin Cooks is John Brown-ing Marques Colston as if he were Larry Fitz. To have such a cursed life, Colston at some point must’ve consumed unicorn blood.
Without much difficulty, the 189-lb. Cooks will likely finish 2014 with several more TDs than the 225-lb. Colston. Welcome to the modern NFL.
What are the odds that the Seahawks draft a WR in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft?
Probably better than the odds that I make a Harry Potter reference before the end of this blurb.
The Seahawks really need help at the position. Their receiver situation has simply been muggled.
New York Jets
If Harvin were on waivers in a fantasy league, would Geno Smith even bother to pick him up?
Last week, Cordarrelle Patterson was pacing to finish 2014 with only 716 scrimmage yards. Now, he’s pacing for 818 yards. Despite his midseason slump, C-Patz could still finish as a top-30 WR with close to 1,000 yards from scrimmage.
Green Bay Packers
This last weekend, my wife was out of town at an academic conference, which meant that I did what almost any normal guy would do with an empty house. I spent as much time possible watching football and subpar ‘80s movies. To give you some idea as to how depraved I got . . . About Last Night might have made its way into my DVD player . . . a couple of times. Why would anyone pass up multiple opportunities to see the outline of young Rob Lowe’s penis?
Anyway, in between watching football and bad movies—and sometimes even while watching football and bad movies—I treated myself to a buffet of old music videos on YouTube, one of which particularly resonated with me on Sunday night.
Jordy Nelson is the one I serve, and I’ve been bowing before him all season. In Week 8, I got what I deserve.
He blacked out my soul.
Matthew Freedman is a regular contributor to RotoViz and is (not) the inspiration for the character in The League who shares his name. He serves as RotoViz’s (un)official ombudsman in the series The Dissenting Costanzan, and he also co-hosts the RotoViz Radio Football Podcast and writes The Backfield Report and The Wideout Report. He is the creator of the non-Quarterback Dominator Rating and now the Workhorse Metric and is the chief proponent of the RBx6 draft strategy and the #1 fan of John Brown, the Desert Lilliputian.