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Golden Opportunities: Looking for Early Offseason Market Share Values

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You know (or will soon, if you’re a new reader – hi new readers!) the RotoViz crew loves looking at market share metrics when evaluating a player’s fantasy prospects. You’ll see the concept featured heavily in our Apps, and in a lot of our work, especially recent contributions by Shawn Siegele, Ryan Rouillard, and Jon Moore.

You’re also probably going through offseason fantasy football withdrawal (we’re here to help), so let’s cast about for some potential market share opportunities.

It’s very early in the offseason, so there’s a lot of information missing- free agency moves, combine data, the draft. So we can’t get too specific in our search for opportunities just yet. However, we can do two worthwhile things: expand our intellectual horizons, and look for general areas of opportunity, where there might be a big chunk of market share available.

Market Share for NFL Wide Receivers

We’re glad you’re reading our work here at RotoViz, but we’re not the only game in town. Today I’d like to point you to this article by Chase Stuart. I encourage you to follow him on twitter and read his blog; he does some really excellent analysis and research. The part of the article we’re concerned with begins with the table in the ‘San Francisco Passing’ section, and talks about receiving market shares for the 2013 season:

Here’s how to read the table below: Josh Gordon played in 14 games, caught 1,646 yards, and was responsible for 37.6% of all Browns receiving yards. Cleveland had 629 attempts (including sacks) in the games Gordon played1 As a result, he recorded 2.62 Receiving Yards per Team Pass Attempt, the best rate in the league.

Take a minute now and go peruse that table. It’s sorted by receiving yards/team pass attempt, which is a great way to look at the data. I also like sorting it by the team column to see players on the same team next to each other.

If you’re familiar with our work, Mr. Stuart is basically presenting market share information for NFL wide receivers. Here are some quick takeaways. I’ll identify a Suggestion for each. Think of the suggestions as things you might act on, depending on what else happens this offseason, and what your particular fantasy team’s needs are:

  • Michael Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald posted almost identical numbers on Mr. Stuart’s metrics. Floyd is significantly younger, which is something we generally like. Suggestion: Monitor their ADPs, and target Floyd if he continues to be taken after Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald also just restructured his contract, making his 2015 salary cap number an absurd $23 million. Meaning there’s a good chance this is his last year, at least in Arizona, making Floyd the presumptive long term number one WR. Try to acquire Floyd in dynasty, and maybe try to move on from Fitzgerald.
  • Harry Douglas is the only Atlanta WR to crack the list. Other than Cecil Shorts, his 23.5% of team receiving yards is the lowest team-leading figure presented. Suggestion: Monitor Julio Jones’ rehab. So far so good. If healthy, he’ll get huge volume next year, as Tony Gonzales has retired, Roddy White is another year older, and Harry Douglas is Harry Douglas. Perhaps try to acquire Jones now, at a discount. At the same time, given Gonzalez’ retirement and White’s advancing age, Douglas might hold on to a decent chunk of the ATL receiving market.
  • Steve Smith and Greg Olsen posted very similar numbers for Carolina. Both are aging and not exceptionally dynamic anymore. Suggestion: I’m interested in evaluating anyone CAR brings in via draft or free agency. If they don’t do anything significant, I might worry about Cam Newton. A little, not a lot.
  • Justin Blackmon. Don’t get me wrong, I think he acts like a knucklehead. And I do like Cecil Shorts. And the Jags QB situation is awful. Suggestion: I might try acquiring Blackmon. He can’t possibly be worth less than he is right now. If he does return and stays out of trouble, there is a LOT of usage available in Jacksonville, and he’s been productive in the past. He also sports a good Dominator Rating/Breakout Age profile.
  • Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery posted very similar numbers for Chicago. #TeamTrestman in full effect again next year. Suggestion: Get the cheaper one of the two on your team.
  • Eric Decker/Demaryius Thomas. Decker accounted for 23.1% of Denver’s receiving yards. Suggestion: If he stays in Denver, I’d expect similar numbers next year, making him a good arbitrage play on the higher drafted Demaryius Thomas, with a much better age/health profile than Wes Welker. If he leaves Denver, Thomas might be the top overall WR target. Also look to see who fills Decker’s shoes, since, you know, Peyton Manning.
  • Kendall Wright and Nate Washington are the top two market share receivers in Tennessee. That’s not a sustainable model for success, is it? Suggestion: Not sure there is one, but presumably Justin Hunter could assume a chunk of the aging Nate Washington‘s workload. I’d like to get a better handle on how new head coach Ken Wizenhunt’s system has historically affected WR production (hint: artice idea) first though.
  • Vincent Jackson. Number 1 overall in percent of team receiving yards, and 8th in catches/pass attempt. Suggestion: With Mike Williams both injured and in trouble, V-Jax could see even more usage next year. And with a new coach and coordinator, there might be some uncertainty about him this offseason, which might help you acquire him. Also, keep an eye out for possible Williams’ replacements via draft and free agency.
  • Seattle. Free agent Golden Tate accounted for 1.96 receiving yards per team pass attempt. That was 17th overall in the entire league, and the same number posted by Keenan Allen. Suggestion: A PPR WR3 this year, I think Tate is an interesting target, depending on where he ends up (as a Lions fan, I’d like to see him across from Calvin Jo- nevermind, just daydreaming). If he leaves Seattle, Doug Baldwin and Percy Harvin get a bump in value. If he stays, the receiving hierarchy is muddled, and I’d say Russell Wilson would be the best way to play the Seattle offense.
  • Rueben Randle. He doesn’t make the list, but Hakeem Nicks does. Nicks somehow managed to capture 23.1% of the Giants’ receiving yards. He’s almost assuredly not returning to New York. Look for Randle to be a full time player, and a good one.
  • Brian Hartline. Chances are Mike Wallace won’t be improved by ageSuggestion: Hartline was a productive fantasy receiver this year, and if Miami doesn’t address the receiver position this offseason, I’d argue he’s their best receiver next year too. Probably not too expensive to acquire. I’m also interested in evaluating any newcomers to the Dolphins’ receiving corps. If there aren’t any of note, I’m also interested in Charles Clay.

Conclusion

First, make Chase Stuart’s blog a regular part of your reading- you’ll be smarter for it. Second, check the articles linked to within this post for more explanation and exploration of market share concepts. And look for lots more coming soon. Finally, check out our Apps, all of which will help you better analyze fantasy players, and bring home that championship next year.

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