RotoViz spends a lot of time on positions that lend themselves to advanced analytics, especially those with premium fantasy relevance. We obsessively profiled the wide receivers leading up to the draft and waited with bated breath last weekend to see where they would fall. Not surprisingly, they came off the board almost randomly and with apparently little regard for what their athletic profiles and collegiate production said about the probability they would experience professional success.
Although Jon Moore, Chad Parsons, and the Fantasy Douche all have slightly more complicated approaches that are probably also slightly better, I like to use the Dominator Rating (DR) and Height-adjusted Speed Score (HaSS) for simplicity and ease of illustration. Guys who dominated their teams’ market share of receiving yards and touchdowns excel in the DR. Players with elite height/weight/speed profiles see that show up in their HaSS. Systems like this handily defeat draft order in predicting NFL success, so I think the accompanying chart of receivers taken after Round 3 is interesting. The projection is my quick assessment of their mostly likely NFL futures.
|Pick #||NFL team||Player||College||DR||HaSS||Prediction|
|101||Jaguars||Ace Sanders||South Carolina||0.25||69||Bust|
|123||Seahawks||Chris Harper||Kansas St.||0.25||106||Depth|
|128||49ers||Quinton Patton||Louisiana Tech||0.38||96||Starter|
|171||Lions||Corey Fuller||Virginia Tech||0.30||107||Starter|
|174||Cardinals||Ryan Swope||Texas A&M||0.29||113||Depth|
|195||Texans||Alan Bonner||Jacksonville St.||0.37||82||Released|
|209||Raiders||Brice Butler||San Diego St.||0.17||109||Released|
|216||Packers||Charles Johnson||Grand Valley St.||0.50||113||Starter|
|236||Bears||Marquess Wilson||Washington St.||0.38*||97||Depth|
I’m probably optimistic in labeling any of these players as eventual starters – the track record of late round receivers is terrible – but I’d like to think some of the more sophisticated organizations knew the draft was deep at WR and specifically waited to take whoever ended up falling. Patton, Fuller, and Mellette are all decent prospects who went to teams that are unsettled at No. 2 receiver. Don’t be completely stunned if the Packers allow James Jones to walk in 2014 and turn his spot over to Charles Johnson.
* Ace Sanders barely has a priority free agent profile, but the Jags could take a flyer on him at the top of the fourth round because they’re set at quarterback.
* Chris Harper is a solid pick, although a slightly lesser prospect than the similar but undrafted Marcus Davis. NFL teams seem to prefer the former’s intangibles over the latter’s.
* Quinton Patton’s draft stock was artificially high due to media-driven exuberance, but he was still a steal where the 49ers selected him. Patton and Ryan Swope figure prominently in the RotoViz Composite WR Rookie Dynasty Rankings.
* As a Lions fan, I was desperately rooting for Charles Johnson – although certainly not at the expense of Sam Martin – but Corey Fuller is a decent consolation prize. The former track athlete emerged with a draftable .30 DR and possesses better long speed than the disgraced Titus Young on a three inch taller frame. He’s a better prospect at a fraction of the cost.
* NFL teams clearly attached no credence to the tremendous seasons turned in by small school stars Johnson and Aaron Mellette. It was still odd to see players like Alan Bonner and Brice Butler go before them (not to mention punters and fullbacks).
* The selections of Tavarres King, Justin Brown, and Kevin Dorsey help bolster my argument that late round picks usually have negative value.
* While drug addiction doesn’t necessarily keep players out of the early rounds, teams do appear to draw the line at defecating on the floor of your hotel room. Mark Harrison went undrafted, while you can almost see Da’Rick Rogers interviewing at the Combine and answering, “I’ve always been considered an asshole for about as long as I can remember. That’s just my style.”