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Can Golden Tate Be Your Golden Ticket in 2013?
Image via Clappstar/Flickr

If it weren’t for the infamous Fail Mary debacle on Monday Night Football, Golden Tate would have gone completely under the radar in 2012 despite logging a very solid season of production. Tate finished 34th in total fantasy points among wide receivers with 688 yards and 7 TDs (six if you’re not counting the charity he received from the replacement refs).

Using the  Custom Similarity Score app, I went back and generated similarity scores for Tate to put his season into a historical perspective.  This was done in order to see what players of similar production and skillset did in the year after they posted comparable numbers to Tate.

For simplicity’s sake, let’s solely focus on fantasy points. I created the table below to illustrate each comparable player’s fantasy points per game (FP/GM) in the N Season and the N+1 Season. In the final column, you can see the percent change from season N to N+1.

Player N Season FP/GM N+1 Season FP/GM Change
Drew Bennett 6.18 11.915 92.8%
Austin Collie 6.865 12.196 77.7%
Santana Moss 7.567 12.629 66.9%
Mike Wallace 7.005 11.576 65.3%
D.J. Hackett 6.097 9.4 54.2%
Lee Evans 7.284 11.075 52.0%
Hines Ward 5.7 7.769 36.3%
Reggie Wayne 6.393 7.878 23.2%
Torrey Smith 8.427 8.481 0.6%
David Givens 7.936 7.027 -11.5%
Lee Evans 8.629 7.284 -15.6%
Justin McCareins 7.721 6.312 -18.2%
Reggie Brown 8.62 6.735 -21.9%
Chris Chambers 8.159 6.093 -25.3%
Patrick Crayton 7.467 5.287 -29.2%
Jerry Porter 7.66 4.671 -39.0%
Ashley Lelie 9.415 5.172 -45.1%
Robert Ferguson 5.86 3.218 -45.1%
Jeremy McDaniel 5.076 2.58 -49.2%
Quincy Morgan 8.665 4.365 -49.6%
Mean 7.367 7.565 2.7%


Just looking at the mean of comparable wide receivers, it’s pretty reasonable to expect around 7 fantasy points per game from Golden Tate in 2013, roughly what he put up this year.

But instead of looking at a point estimate projection, it’s a lot more beneficial to generate a range of outcomes. One simple way to come up with a quick range of outcomes for a skewed data set is to use quartiles, where the upper quartile represents a “ceiling” season for Golden Tate, 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 Tate’s historical comparable receivers.

N Season FP/GM N+1 FP/GM Change
Upper Quartile 6.6905 10.2375 53.1%
Median 8.2825 7.1555 -13.6%
Lower Quartile 7.5635 4.979 -34.2%


Of course, it’s likely that Golden Tate will not reach his ceiling season threshold in 2013, but that does not mean he should be crossed off your draft board. If Tate beats the odds and has a ceiling season, based on his historical comps, he would average around 10 fantasy points per game, likely putting him in the top 15 for wide receivers at the season’s end. Even if the probability of Tate hitting the ceiling threshold were to be as low as 10% (a conservative estimate), he would still be well worth the investment considering his current ADP of 54 among wide receivers.

Taking our analysis a step further, we can actually come up with a few wide receivers that had comparable seasons to Tate in 2012 as well. Using the ADP Arbitrage app, we can see that Golden Tate had a similar season to Sidney Rice, Ryan Broyles, and T.Y. Hilton.

Golden Tate SEA 2012 24 202 15 4.47 3 45.47 0.47 10.18 54
Sidney Rice SEA 2012 26 202 16 5.12 3.12 46.75 0.44 9.12 39
Ryan Broyles DET 2012 24 188 8 4 2.75 38.75 0.25 9.69 56
T.Y. Hilton IND 2012 23 183 15 6 3.33 57.4 0.47 9.57 41


Let’s throw out Broyles due to his ACL injury, leaving us with Rice and Hilton as similar wide receivers to Tate. But what if we wanted to expand our list?

This is where we start moving away from math and more towards theory. If Golden Tate is similar to Sidney Rice and T.Y. Hilton, wouldn’t that also make him similar to the guys who are comparable to Rice and Hilton? Let’s take a look…

Sidney Rice SEA 2012 26 202 16 5.12 3.12 46.75 0.44 9.12 39
Golden Tate SEA 2012 24 202 15 4.47 3 45.47 0.47 10.18 54
Brandon LaFell CAR 2011 26 211 13 5.85 3.38 52.08 0.31 8.91 52
Pierre Garcon WAS 2012 26 210 10 6.8 4.5 64.4 0.4 9.47 14


T.Y. Hilton IND 2012 23 183 15 6 3.33 57.4 0.47 9.57 41
Randall Cobb GB 2012 22 192 15 6.93 5.33 63.6 0.53 9.17 12
Sidney Rice SEA 2012 26 202 16 5.12 3.12 46.75 0.44 9.12 39
Pierre Garcon WAS 2012 26 210 10 6.8 4.5 64.4 0.4 9.47 14


Because I don’t want to get too carried away using the transitive property, I am only going to include Pierre Garcon on my new list of Tate comps because he appears as a similar wide receiver to both T.Y. Hilton and Sidney Rice (although it’s interesting to note that Randall Cobb pops up as a similar wide receiver to Hilton). My final list of comparable wide receivers to Tate would include Hilton, Rice, and Garcon. Tate is probably a poor man’s Garcon and in the same tier as Hilton and Rice. It’s still very early and this definitely won’t be the last time I write about Tate, but he definitely has a chance to swing some fake championships in 2013.

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