The Demaryius Thomas Effect
Alshon Jeffery looks primed to provide plenty of fantasy football production for his owners in 2015, but where does Kevin White come into the picture, and will his presence come at the expense of Jeffery? Is it possible that the pendulum could actually swing in White’s favor, and if so, when?
Jeffery has the clear advantage in the short term – it isn’t a question of whether or not he will take on the WR1 role – it’s a question of whether or not he stays in that role.
Anthony Amico made a compelling argument that Kevin White is being over drafted this off season in redraft, coming off the board as the WR30. This thesis is primarily based on the lack of potential targets for White in this offense. I tend to think White can pretty easily perform at or above this level based on likely usage and target market share, and here’s why:
- The number 2 WR target market share in an Adam Gase offense hasn’t fallen below 23 percent.
- If looking at the Trestman offense just for recency, you can see Jeffery as the number 2 WR earned no less than 24 percent target share last year. Jeffery did need a kickstarter himself, however, earning only 16 percent in his first season.
- Gase’s WR2 hasn’t fallen below 8.44 reYPT, and Trestman’s low-point is 7.81, still very respectable.
- The WR2 in Gase’s offense averaged 6 REC/G and Jeffery averaged 5.5 REC/G.
- Gase’s WR2 averaged a 0.07 reTDRT and Trestman’s a 0.06 reTDRT.
Is this Town Big Enough?
From a usage standpoint in a vacuum, it doesn’t seem like there is much to question as to whether or not Kevin White can achieve a top 24 WR status. This could actually make him a good value at WR30 in drafts, but how does White fair from a talent standpoint in the event he gets the target share in line with past WR2s in this offense?
We know it took White a while to get going per the heat map, so there is some concern in that he’s an older prospect that didn’t perform as well until late. When he did breakout, he did enough to make me much less concerned about his earlier production misses. When you compare White’s final season to Jeffery’s best season, you really get a sense of how White compares to Jeffery coming out. We’re also reminded of some of the question marks that legitimately surrounded Jeffery as well. The REC Yards and the SoS is a bit lower for White, but the REC YPG, REC TDPG, and forty time are all better from the same weight.
Below is the list of similar prospects via the similarity map:
Take Ten Steps and Draw
Kevin White has a fun set of comparable players, and there are a few overlapping names with Jeffery as well. White could have heavy touchdown potential as evidenced by the Mike Evans and Julio Jones comps, yet there’s the possibility he’s a one-hit wonder at the same time. How do these two wideouts compare in the gym?
The vertical, broad jump, shuttle time, explosion, and BMI metrics are all dead even across the board. Jeffery surprisingly takes the nod in agility/ 3 cone, yet White takes Jeffery down in both the Speed score and Freak score metrics. At this point, based on dissecting these two as prospects, is it really far-fetched to think that White can actually perform on the same level as Jeffery? If he can, couldn’t he also, in time, take over the lead WR role in Chicago?
Holster Your Weapon
From a redraft perspective, you can make the case that White is a nice arbitrage play on Jeffery. His measurables stack up, his college production stacks up, and the case can be made that he is the more high- upside type of player.
From a dynasty perceptive, I actually think White is the one to own. I know this sounds kind of crazy, but everything we’ve seen shows White is no worse than Jeffery was as a prospect and has a good chance of slanting the target share within a couple seasons when Jeffery starts a production decline based on the age curve alone. To add to that, if and when Cutler isn’t in Chicago, there’s a chance that the Bears quarterback situation is in flux. In that case, I’d rather take the receiver with the similar talent that can be had at a fraction of the cost.
Instead of drafting Jeffery at his current start-up ADP, you can draft DeAndre Hopkins for the same price, save a couple years in age in doing so, and still draft White 2-3 rounds later. For me, that last college season for White looks pretty good, and when you bump the two up against one another Jeffery’s only clear advantage is that he’s done it before.
To tie a bow on it, White has the final season of production we want to see at a high level. The Bears spent an early draft pick on him which means he’s going to be involved early and often, and he has the physical profile to potentially dominate at the next level. Adam Gase’s receiver usage profile tells us the WR2 in his offense is going to be fantasy relevant, and White can be had at a really affordable price in both redraft and dynasty.
Sign me up.
Here’s how I projected the Bears Wide Receivers for 2015: