Welcome to the 2018 Game Level Similarity Projections (GLSP) for wide receivers, a weekly column designed to help you identify high-upside standouts and set your season-long lineups.
GLSP uses historical matchup, team, player, and Vegas lines to generate situation-agnostic projections. The low projection is equivalent to the 25th percentile point total from the comparable matchups. The median projection provides a benchmark, with even odds of the player producing more or less. The high projection is equivalent to the 75th percentile point total from the comparable matchups.
Please note that the model is run three times: 8 weeks back, 5 weeks back, and 3 weeks back and that the results are averaged. As a result, rookies that are trending well will be somewhat overstated and second-year players who did not score well last year will be underprojected.
Remember, the most valuable way to incorporate GLSP into your lineup-setting process is to identify surprisingly high and low projections, then strategically start or fade the outliers. All of Dave’s Week 11 WR GLSP projections are included below.
|Odell Beckham Jr||NYG||TB||16.7||23.3||26.3||24||WR|
These are the projections from Dave Caban. They’ll be available each week on Wednesdays as part of the Weekly Explorer. The apps version of the GLSP is available here for your own research.
Surprisingly Strong Projections
Brandin Cooks and Tyreek Hill hold lofty ceiling projections in what could be the most exciting game of the season.
Cooks, who is the overall WR10 and the WR16 in points per game, has separated from fellow wideout Robert Woods in the last four weeks. What was a close split in opportunity between Cooks, Woods, and Cooper Kupp to begin the year has slowly seen Cooks take the clear lead.
Week 1 – Week 4:
|Player||Target Share||Air Yards Share||Weighted Opportunity Rating||PPR|
Week 7 – Week 10:
|Player||Target Share||Air Yards Share||Weighted Opportunity Rating||PPR|
Notice that Cooks and Woods were split in target share and air yards to begin the season, but that Cooks has emerged as the leader in both categories – and as a result weighted opportunity as well – in the last four weeks. Expect this trend to continue.
Indeed, the RotoViz AYA App supports the notion that Cooks deserves to be the lead in Los Angeles, as he has been Jared Goff’s best target.
There is no historical signal that suggests Kupp’s injury will trigger a spike in target volume for Cooks or Woods. Offensive mastermind Sean McVay’s schemes are so dynamic that no receiver requires excessive usage. Instead, McVay maximizes the utility of all the players at his disposal. As such, GLSP “correctly” does not account for Kupp’s absence. However, Cooks and Kupp have been the clear pass-catching red-zone usage leaders on their team – Woods has five red-zone targets to Cooks’ and Kupp’s 12 and 11, respectively – so Cooks does have the potential for more touchdown equity with Kupp gone.
The specifics of Los Angeles’ upcoming clash with Kansas City are mouthwatering from a fantasy perspective. The game boasts what will likely be the highest Vegas total of the season at 62 points and has potential to go the way of the Los Angeles versus New Orleans tilt which saw 80 points scored. Naturally, the upside for players on both Los Angeles and Kansas City are at an all-time high this week.
Following his 133 yard and two touchdown explosion in Week 10, Allen Robinson is awarded a top-15 projection this week. Robinson was a popular buy low candidate after the first few weeks, when his production lagged behind his usage. Instead of a turnaround, investors got burned as Matt Nagy stunted Robinson’s volume and overall opportunity in order to integrate dynamic weapons like Taylor Gabriel and Tarik Cohen. Notably, Gabriel and Anthony Miller have broken into Robinson’s downfield role as the season has worn on.
The Weekly Explorer illustrates the peaks and valleys of Robinson’s utilization this season via a graph of his air yards totals by week.
Robinson’s target volume has been less than impressive lately – even in his blowup last week he saw a good not great eight targets. Robinson’s fantasy efficacy will be a product of the depth of his usage, something that seems to vary on a weekly basis depending on how Nagy chooses to utilize his pass-catchers in each matchup.
If Robinson garners over 100 air yards per game, he should be a solid start, but if he is schemed out of his downfield usage, then his fantasy outputs will suffer as they did across the middle stretch of the year.
His projection is overshot in a matchup versus a Minnesota defense that, excluding their shootout versus Los Angeles in Week 4, has not allowed a touchdown to a wide receiver since Week 2 and has allowed only 23.2 PPR points in total on average to opposing wide receiver corps.
Larry Fitzgerald has seen a resurgence in usage after recovering from his early-season injury. Fitzgerald has the ninth highest average projection and fifteenth highest ceiling projection this week.
The Weekly Explorer elucidates the positive trend in Fitzgerald’s usage.
After seeing zero targets in the first half of last week’s game versus Kansas City, the coaching staff obviously made a point to involve him in the second, as he was fed ten targets after halftime. It is apparent that Fitzgerald and David Johnson are the cornerstones of this developing Arizona offense.
Emmanuel Sanders has a top-12 ceiling this week versus the Los Angeles Chargers. Courtland Sutton has been one of the most hyped players of the season, particularly following Demaryius Thomas’ departure from Denver, but as I hinted at in my GLSP article from two weeks ago, Sanders is just as likely to benefit from the vacated target volume as Sutton is.
After experiencing a drop in targets in Weeks 7 and 8, Sanders rebounded with a nine target outing versus Houston. Jeff Heuerman saw the biggest spike in usage and continues to be the most targeted red zone option for Denver, but Sanders’ volume is certainly on the up with Thomas gone.
Adam Humphries cracks the top-24 this week according to GLSP with a median projection of 15.3 PPR points. Given Humphries’ weekly outputs, I will stake the “under” on that 15.3 line.
Humphries has only two top-36 weekly finishes this year. His GLSP projection for Week 11 is evidently skewed by his Week 9 outlier performance. He is a fringe starter.
Antonio Brown and Juju Smith-Schuster have low floors in an imposing matchup versus a Jacksonville secondary that, despite public sentiment, has remained stout versus enemy pass catchers. Jacksonville has allowed the fewest PPR points to wide receivers this year.
Ben Roethlisberger imploded with a five interception outing at Jacksonville in the regular season last year, but then made right with a five touchdown showing versus them in the playoffs.
Hold no fear in rolling out Brown and Smith-Schuster this week. In Roethlisberger’s humiliating defeat in his first meeting with Jacksonville’s secondary last year, he still locked into Brown to the tune of ten catches for 157 yards for the eminent hall-of-famer. If Pittsburgh struggles, Roethlisberger will not go down without airing it out to his top two options.
Kenny Golladay’s projection is certainly undershot because of his stretch of non-usage. Golladay is someone who broke out to start the year but fell flat after Detroit’s Week 6 bye.
After a rough outing versus the formidable Minnesota secondary in Week 9, Golden Tate’s absence hit full effect when Golladay saw a career-high 13 targets versus Chicago in Week 10. Expect Tate’s volume to be distributed evenly as a whole across the Detroit offense, but recognize that the door is open for big volume spike weeks like Golladay had versus Chicago, and that Golladay and Marvin Jones have improved outlooks.
As has been true throughout the season, Golladay is eclipsing his teammates in efficiency and has the highest raw upside of all Detroit pass-catchers.