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WR Dissonance: Danny Amendola, Rueben Randle, and Deandre Hopkins
chris baldwin
chris baldwin

For the first-level wide receivers, check this article, and for second-tier receivers, click here. As a reminder, I’ll start by looking at ADP, then find the receivers about whom the Fantasy Pros experts disagree the most within each tier of receivers. In other words, if a receiver has an ADP between 37 and 48, he’s a WR4 by ADP. From those 12, I’ll look at the two three with the most variable rankings.

WR4 Dissonance

Here are three receivers from the third tier with highly variable expert rankings.

Player Best Worst Ave St.Dev ADP
Rueben Randle (NYG/8) 17 57 37.9 8.7 38
Danny Amendola (NE/10) 34 79 56.7 9.7 39
DeAndre Hopkins (HOU/10) 21 63 43.4 9.4 43

Rueben Randle

This one should be obvious, if you’ve been at RotoViz for any length of time. Owner of one of the best collegiate seasons of the decade, I laid out the reasons you should still buy him. Both Vegas  and the sharks are higher on Eli Manning than the general public. If Manning has a bounce back season, it makes sense that his best red zone weapon will have a good season, too. Shawn Siegele profiled him twice, as a breakout player.

Conclusion: Given the apparent lack of playmaking at the tight end position, and an offense that by all reports will feature three WR sets with regularity, Randle should have a good shot of beating my conservative WR29 projection for him.

Danny Amendola

To return his ADP value (PPR), Amendola needs to average just over 10 points per game. The WR Sim App gives him a median projection of 7.7 points/game, and a high projection of 11.9. So 10 points/game is definitely in his range of possible outcomes. And, among Tom Brady’s most-frequently targeted players last season, Amendola had the best adjusted yards/attempt. So it’s not entirely unreasonable to expect a WR3 season out of Amendola.

On the other hand, at 10 points per game, Amendola needs to play 16 games to return value. He’s only played 16 games once in his five year career, in 2010. At his career average of roughly 11 games per season, he’d need to score 15 points per game to return value, which seems much less likely.

But even if Amendola remains healthy, the health of other players could have an impact on his performance. Here’s what I mean.

amendola

 

When either Kenbrell Thompkins or Aaron Dobson played, Amendola’s numbers took a big hit. Both those players missed time last year, so it’s no lock they’ll be healthy for the entire season this year. Amendola’s three best performances last season came in Week 1 (Dobson out), Week 9 (Thompkins out), and Week 15 (both out). Those three games accounted for about 46 percent of Amendola’s fantasy output last season.

Conclusion: I’ll pass. In addition to the above, Amendola has just nine career touchdowns, which really caps his upside. He’s our 60th ranked receiver; use our rankings to find a better target.

Deandre Hopkins

Many people were disappointed by Hopkins’ rookie season. They shouldn’t have been. Jon Moore explained why, over at his own site.

While the 9th all-time ranking [in yards/game as a 21 year old rookie] is impressive, I’m actually more amazed by the raw numbers.  On a yardage basis, Hopkins recorded the 4th highest total in NFL history.  The reason for his jump from 9th (avg) to 4th (raw) is because he played in all 16 games.  Typically I’d go for the high efficiency player, but I credit Hopkins for “surviving” a 16 game schedule as a 21 year old

Yep. Hopkins’ rookie season was pretty good. Better than Percy Harvin and Larry Fitzgerald’s, in fact.

OK, so when it’s put into context, he played pretty well as a rookie. But it’s hard to get a beat on Houston this off-season. New quarterback, new coach, new offensive scheme. Things can’t be good, right?

Of course there are reasons for concern, which the brothers Kerrane explored in depth. But he’s every bit the prospect Sammy Watkins is. Except he’s cheaper, has a year’s experience, and is getting a better QB than he had last season. He’s definitely one of our guys, and seems poised to score more TDs as well. Don’t think he can break out? Justin Winn explains how most of the arguments against a Hopkins’ breakout are the same arguments that would have been used against a Michael Floyd or Alshon Jeffery breakout. Namely, the presence of “a true WR1” opposite them didn’t hinder their breakout at all.

Back to the QB thing. Ryan Fitzpatrick is nobody’s favorite QB. But there’s definitely reason to think he’s being undervalued. Besides, he’s arguably better than Matt Schaub at this point in time. From Pro Football Reference:1

QB Age G GS Att Y/A+ NY/A+ AY/A+ ANY/A+ Cmp%+ TD%+ Int%+ Sack%+ Rate+
Fitzpatrick 31 11 9 350 98 102 94 96 104 96 87 107 95
Schaub 32 10 8 358 85 88 80 82 100 83 79 108 84

On nearly identical attempts, Fitzpatrick performed much better.

Conclusion. To return value, he needs only manage 9.5 points per game. The WR Sim App, which doesn’t account for the change in quarterback or offensive system, gives him a median projection of 8.6 points per game. I think Hopkins is capable of one more catch, or 10 more yards receiving, per game. And unlike Amendola, his ceiling is much higher. Also from the WR Sim App, these are Hopkins’ most comparable players, based on last season, and how they performed in the next (i.e. 2014) season.

hopkins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The two encouraging takeaways here are the fact that a significant majority improved year over year, and the quality of the comparable players is quite high. Better QB, TD upside, precocious player . . . I’m buying.

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  1. These scores are calibrated so that 100 is a league-average performance. Higher is better.  (back)

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