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Nelson Agholor’s Ankle May Have Hindered Him in 2015

From Philly.com regarding Nelson Agholor:

The Eagles certainly expected more when they plucked him out of Southern Cal with the 20th overall pick. The 2014 class was historically productive in year one, but Agholor’s core numbers still paled in comparison with the average (45 catches for 607 yards and four touchdowns) of first-round receivers from the last decade.

Even if the comparison is per game, Agholor (1.8 catches for 21.8 yards and .08 touchdowns) comes up far short (3.3 catches for 44.4 yards and 0.3 touchdowns).

There is a second-year increase (56 catches for 802 yards and six touchdowns or 3.9 catches for 56.2 yards and 0.4 touchdowns per game), but it’s not significant or enough to suggest that Agholor will ultimately justify the cost.

There are exceptions. And nothing seemed to go right for Agholor last season.

“When we were in camp in preseason, the guy was explosive,” Matthews said. “When he hurt his ankle . . . and then you add all the pressure of being a rookie, first-round pick, it’s hard to just go out there and play your best.

“But he looks really explosive now.”

One thing I’ve been thinking about recently is that typically players only get the injury benefit of the doubt if they’re established players. For instance, a lot of people are ready to forgive Randall Cobb’s 2015 season due to injury. But if that was the first season we’d seen Cobb we would have no idea whether his poor play was due to injury, or just sucking. That issue could also be impacting the perception of Nelson Agholor’s rookie season. Maybe Agholor sucks, or maybe he never got right after that ankle injury and we’re marking him down for playing injured when that’s a highly valued trait in the NFL.

I own Rueben Randle in a deep dynasty league so I wouldn’t mind seeing Agholor play poorly again in 2016, but Randle is just a flier at the end of my bench so I’m not heavily invested. If you want to catch up on an older article, Shawn Siegele speculated last year that Agholor wasn’t any better than some other USC receivers who had already busted. Meanwhile, as long as we’re on the topic of the Eagles receivers, I speculated that while Jordan Matthews’ most likely outcome is returning his draft cost, his range of outcomes might be biased against people who draft him.

If you thought that Agholor’s poor rookie season could be excused for reasons other than the potential that he’s just not good then it might be worth trying to buy low in dynasty. I don’t know how successful you would be in trying this, simply because the 2016 rookie picks have such depressed value, but maybe toss out a current year rookie pick and try to pluck Agholor away from a competitor. If you get Agholor for a second round pick that would be a steal, but consider Agholor versus the current first round picks.

NAME POS POS.ADP ADP STDEV DRAFTED
Elliott, Ezekiel DAL RB 1 1.1 4.91 49
Doctson, Josh WAS WR 1 3.4 3.6 52
Treadwell, Laquon MIN WR 2 3.5 7.54 49
Coleman, Corey CLE WR 3 3.8 2.28 53
Henry, Derrick TEN RB 2 6 4.94 49
Shepard, Sterling NYG WR 4 7.4 6.31 53
Thomas, Michael NOS WR 5 8 5.7 52
Dixon, Kenneth BAL RB 3 8.3 3.49 52
Fuller, Will HOU WR 6 10 4.41 53
Boyd, Tyler CIN WR 7 10.9 7.4 48

I would probably slot Agholor in ahead of Kenneth Dixon and Tyler Boyd, although I would rather have Will Fuller than Agholor. My reasoning in all of the above cases pretty much comes down to Agholor’s draft pedigree, which means he’ll continue to get opportunities. But note that versus Will Fuller we’re talking about similar draft pedigrees with Fuller being preferable to me because he has a clean slate and doesn’t have the black mark of a poor rookie season. Shawn Siegele called Fuller “shockingly undervalued” pre-draft, while Justin Winn says that his comps are promising post-draft.

I just offered the 13th overall pick for Agholor in one league although I’m not optimistic. Attempts to use 2016 rookie picks to buy low on under-performing 2015 rookies haven’t gone well thus far.

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