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Looking at the Bills Draft Picks Using the Heatmap

082312_gragg_chris_001.jpgThe great thing about the RotoViz apps is that they give you numbers in a few seconds, rather than the minutes or hours that the same exercise would require in Excel. That’s what we want to do at RotoViz. We want to make analysis easy enough that it can scale to every last player on your fantasy roster. To illustrate this idea, I was curious how the Bills draft picks would look if I threw them all in the College Career Graphs app and then looked at the heatmap tab.  The graph below is what came out:

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*msYDS = Player Receiving Yards/Team Passing Yards in games that the player appeared, msTD is like msYDS but for touchdowns, YPT = Yards/Target, TRGS = Total Targets on the Season, RZTDR = Red Zone Touchdowns/Red Zone Targets

Some notes:

  • Da’Rick Rogers’ 2011 season is easily the best season that any of the Bills picks had during their college careers. It was easily more efficient than any of Robert Woods’ seasons. Also, the difference between Rogers and Marquise Goodwin is about the same as the difference between Zero Dark Thirty and whatever the latest Adam Sandler movie is.
  • Marquise Goodwin is the fastest of this group, but it doesn’t show up in any of his yards/target numbers. Also, Goodwin is fast, but Chris Gragg is also fast and weighs about 55 pounds more than Goodwin. That’s like the size of a bulldog. How fast do you think Goodwin would be if he was carrying a bulldog? Is this the first football article you’ve ever read that hypothesized about how fast a player would run while carrying a dog? Don’t answer that… and don’t click back on your browser yet, I’m moving on from the dog point.
  • Woods accounted for a pretty consistent amount of USC’s offense over the time he was there, but that was also consistently good and not great. Even with 166 targets in 2011, Woods only accounted for 37% of the team’s receiving yards. It’s not that 37% is bad, it’s that Woods’ mediocre yards/target kept him from peaking up into the 40% range where more elite receivers reside.
  • I’m obviously biased, but I think that BUF inverted its selection of pass catchers. The bigger players, Rogers and Gragg, were more efficient in college and represent the more scarce resources. The smaller players, Woods and Goodwin, sit in the really thick part of the distribution of receiver skills. That is with the exception of Goodwin’s speed, which is more rare.
  • Some might try to compare Goodwin to fellow speedster Mike Wallace, which may or may not be a worthwhile comparison. Actually the app lets us do that quickly. Here’s what it looks like when we stack the numbers of the two receivers up against each other:
  • download (24)
  • Wallace pretty much dominates Goodwin both across categories and across seasons. Also, Wallace’s speed shows up in his yards/target numbers. It is interesting to note though that Wallace’s poor red zone performance was evident even as a college player. He hasn’t gotten much better in the NFL.

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