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The 2018 Post Draft Rookie WR Model and Projections

I’ve been doing a lot of work this off-season with modeling rookie production. The goal has been to find a player’s best season within his first three years in the NFL. This allows us to find players who can be successful within a reasonable range of time for your dynasty rosters. Now that the draft is over, it is time to unveil the post-draft model for wide receivers.

Model Components

Much like the pre-draft WR model, the post-draft version incorporates a prospect’s adjusted age and adjusted final year dominator rating. The main change is that instead of taking the log of NFL Draft Scout ranking, it now takes the log of draft position. It was found through testing that draft position rendered the NFL Draft Scout ranking obsolete at WR. This change had a sizable impact on out of sample r-squared, going from 0.375 to 0.4184. That represents an 11.6 percent improvement.

2018 Class

Below are the projections for the 2018 WR draft class.1 In an effort to add context to the projections, you will see a column titled “xPredict.” That is the expected projection for each player based solely on draft position. It is based off of all 247 players in my WR sample. “PoE” represents the projected points over expectation, which should give some idea as to the likelihood a prospect has at achieving success based purely on historical comps at that draft slot. Keep in mind that the projections do not factor in landing spot, which certainly play a role in success.

PlayerSchoolF AgeBreakout AgeAdj AgeAdj DomDraft PositionLog(DP)xPredictProjectionPoE
D.J. MooreMaryland20.719.719.90.532241.380158.6202.243.6
Calvin RidleyAlabama23.
Christian KirkTexas A&M21.
Courtland SuttonSMU22.
James WashingtonOklahoma State21.820.821.00.315601.778117.9120.32.4
Dante PettisWashington22.
Anthony MillerMemphis23.
Michael GallupColorado State21.820.821.00.347811.908104.6116.311.6
Tre'Quan SmithUCF21.519.519.80.286911.95999.5115.315.8
D.J. CharkLSU21.4-21.40.299611.785117.2111.6-5.6
Keke CouteeTexas Tech21.
Antonio Callaway*Florida20.0-20.00.2561052.02193.1102.89.7
Jordan LasleyUCLA21.
Cedrick WilsonBoise State22.
J'Mon MooreMissouri22.621.621.80.2611332.12482.675.3-7.3
Equanimeous St. BrownNotre Dame21.320.320.50.2352072.31663.071.78.7
Auden TateFSU20.920.920.90.2822532.40354.168.214.2
Richie JamesMTSU22.321.321.50.3062402.38056.467.911.5
Deon CainClemson21.4-21.40.2491852.26768.066.6-1.4
Jaleel ScottNew Mexico State22.922.922.90.2791322.12182.965.0-17.9
DaeSean HamiltonPenn State22.8-22.80.2381132.05389.863.9-25.9
Trey QuinnSMU22.
Javon WimsGeorgia22.322.322.30.2962242.35059.558.2-1.3
Marquez Valdes-ScantlingUSF23.2-23.20.2831742.24170.753.3-17.4
Braxton BerriosMiami22.2-22.20.2402102.32262.351.3-11.0
Damion RatleyTexas A&M22.7-22.70.2291752.24370.449.3-21.1
Ray-Ray McCloudClemson21.2-21.20.1341872.27267.547.9-19.6
Russell GageLSU21.9-21.90.1211942.28865.936.1-29.8
Marcell AtemanOklahoma State23.3-23.30.2262282.35858.733.1-25.5
Austin ProehlUNC22.2-22.20.1732552.40753.733.0-20.7
Dylan CantrellTexas Tech23.5-23.50.1901912.28166.530.0-36.6
  • It is a tale of two prospects with D.J. Moore and Calvin Ridley. Drafted just two selections apart, Moore has a much larger projection. In fact, Ridley doesn’t even meet expectation for his draft slot.
  • Michael Gallup and Cedrick Wilson were two of the bigger winners in terms of landing spot, as they join a Dallas team missing a ton of targets from 2017. They were also draft model winners relative to their draft slot.
  • Equanimeous St. Brown was the third WR the Packers drafted over the weekend, but was the only one to have a positive projection over expectation. He has a great chance to succeed under Aaron Rodgers compared to other day three picks.
  • Tre’Quan Smith was a huge crush for me during the pre-draft process. He lands with Drew Brees, and has the second best projection over expectation of top 100 selections.
  • Overall, it is easy to see why people say this draft class is not exciting. Moore is the only prospect projected to break 150 points in his first three years.

  1. Undrafted players were not included.  (back)

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