Kelvin Benjamin‘s 2014 output is the type of thing you pray for when selecting rookie prospects in redraft leagues. Prior to the RotoViz team using things like draft capital, college performance, opportunity and supporting cast to pump him up as a big time sleeper, Benjamin was being overlooked and had an ADP of WR63. Currently, Washington Redskins rookie Josh Doctson is being drafted at WR62 and it appears history may be repeating itself.
DRAFT PEDIGREE LEADS TO EARLY OPPORTUNITY
In his piece “Two Reasons Kelvin Benjamin Is a Steal,” Jon Moore explained that 1st round WRs are most likely to immediately contribute.
We talk a lot about how draft position is the most significant variable in receiver projection models, but here’s a table showing all receivers from the 2006-2013 drafts that demonstrates the importance. Note that FP/G is fantasy points per game and “duds” are classified as players who scored less than 2 FP/G during their rookie season.
While the Box Score Scout believes Roddy White is the best comparable player from this group
I’d make the case that it’s tough to assume they’ll have similar early career paths when White played on an unconventional NFL offense. The team only passed 431 times and completed 53 passes of their passes.
THE ABILITY TO SCORE TOUCHDOWNS TRANSLATES
Another point that Jon made about Benjamin is that he was part of an elite group that scored 10+ touchdowns in their final season. Here is the list he presented.
|WR||Draft||Overall Pick||F TD||Speed Score||Rookie FP/G|
While the far-right column is presented in terms of standard scoring, updating that would include 11.8 for Mike Evans,1 9.7 for Benjamin, 8.6 for Brandin Cooks, and 8.4 for Sammy Watkins. In other words, Jon nailed it, and his argument has gotten stronger with more supporting data.
Josh Doctson is also a part of this list, scoring 14 times in his final campaign. In fact he was so good at scoring touchdowns in the ACC, only four players had more multi-TD games than him over the last 10 years.
|1||Michael Crabtree||2007||2008||Texas Tech||11||2||0||13|
|2||Justin Blackmon||2010||2011||Oklahoma State||11||1||0||12|
|4||Dez Bryant||2007||2009||Oklahoma State||9||1||0||10|
|5||Josh Doctson||2014||2015||Texas Christian||10||0||0||10|
If we’re looking for a rookie WR to be fantasy relevant, we’re basically looking for a statistical outlier. Since TDs are a higher variance stat than receptions or catches, it makes more sense to target a rookie who is proficient at scoring TDs.
– Justin Winn ( Kelvin Benjamin Is The Rookie WR To Own )
There is one point that I can’t refute and that’s Benjamin only had to pass Jerricho Cotchery and Jason Avant on the Panthers depth chart, while Doctson has to beat out two former WR1s to see targets. No doubt the competition is much tougher for him and even last year’s rookie Jamison Crowder has flashed at times.
However history has shown us that the draft capital matters, and according to the AYA App Garcon may not even be a big threat.
DeSean Jackson looks like he’s still an effective player but unfortunately has been battling injuries over the last two seasons. A case could also be made that a healthy D-Jax is just an exceptional No. 2 receiver at age 29 as he’s only caught 60 passes once since 2009.
No matter what you believe will happen in Washington by the time Week 1 rolls around, it’s baffling to me that a player with this much upside is being selected after proven disappointments like Mike Wallace, running backs without a role like Paul Perkins, and Steven fucking Hauschka.
Even if you end up with an absolute dud, it’s probably worth taking a homerun cut when the kickers are starting to fly off the board.
- Which was WR12 in standard PPG that season thanks to 12 touchdowns as a rookie. (back)