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: seven weeks back, five weeks back, and three 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 9 WR GLSP projections are included below.
These are the projections from Dave Caban. They’ll be available each week on Wednesdays as part of the Weekly Explorer. The app version of the GLSP is available here for your own research.
Surprisingly Strong Projections
Mike Evans stands out as having the fifth highest ceiling and average projection in Week 9. Take this projection to heart, as GLSP does not even account for the added bonus Evans will receive by having Ryan Fitzpatrick under center in Week 9.
On this week’s Fantasy Football Report, I talked about how the only Tampa Bay receiver who is impacted by a switch from Jameis Winston to Fitzpatrick is Evans – and how that quarterback switch would be a positive for his fantasy outlook.
The RotoViz Game Splits App gives a quick snapshot of how much more valuable Evans has been with Fitzpatrick instead of Winston this year.
Digging in a bit deeper to the volume splits in Weeks 1-3 when Fitzpatrick started versus Weeks 4-7 when Winston started or played most of the game is quite revealing.
Air Yards Share
Weighted Opportunity Rating
PPR Per Game
Weeks 1, 2, 3
|Weeks 4, 6, 7||
Evans’ volume is strikingly more commanding by every metric with the journeyman from Harvard and resembles that of a top-12 fantasy receiver – as does his box score. Evans is barely a top-24 WR when catching passes from Winston.
Tampa Bay leads the league in passing yards per game with 376, and Evans owners should expect more fireworks with Fitzpatrick this week in a matchup versus Carolina that has a massive early Vegas total of 55.
Naturally, GLSP thinks the Carolina side of the ball will benefit from their team having their highest Vegas team total of the year thus far at 31 points. Devin Funchess is awarded a top-20 projection, and look for rookie D.J. Moore to have a big game, as well. Moore actually drew more targets than Funchess did in Week 8.
The Weekly Explorer nicely illustrates how Moore’s opportunity is trending upwards.
Moore’s matchup with Tampa Bay is particularly enticing because of Tampa Bay’s vulnerability to slot receivers. Slot men Nelson Agholor, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Tarik Cohen, Mohammed Sanu, Jarvis Landry, and Tyler Boyd have combined to average 23.5 PPR points versus the porous Tampa Bay secondary. Moore has taken approximately 75 percent of his snaps from the slot and is primed to smash this week. Lock him in as a starter.
Emmanuel Sanders was a letdown last week with less than ten PPR points, but GLSP is optimistic about his chances again this week versus Houston. All the talk has been about Courtland Sutton’s eminent spike in usage with the Demaryius Thomas trade, but Sanders has thoroughly outproduced Sutton and should certainly benefit from Thomas’ absence as well.
Sanders continues to be a top-15 option and the clear alpha in the Denver offense.
Marvin Jones is slotted as a top-15 option this week independent of the Golden Tate news. Similar to Sanders, Jones is not slated to be the largest beneficiary on his team from the trade, but he should still see a bump nonetheless.
GLSP is bullish on Jones to begin with, but consider what can happen if he soaks up any bit of the massive target and red zone shares Tate is leaving up for grabs. For what it is worth, Jones posted his best game of last season versus Minnesota in Week 12 when he dropped 29 PPR points.
Cole Beasley and Tyrell Williams are two names that GLSP is projecting too highly – likely the result of overweighting their recent strong outings.
Williams is merely tied with Mike Williams as the third and fourth receiving options on Los Angeles.
A spike week is always in his range of outcomes, but GLSP giving him a top-20 median projection this week is pure recency bias. Consider Tyrell Williams only if you are in a pinch.
Beasley remarkably saw a surge in usage these past two weeks. Unfortunately for his owners, this opportunity spike is likely just an aberration given the arrival of Amari Cooper following Dallas’ bye.
On the other hand, who knows? Maybe Beasley can surprise again coming off 31 and 13 PPR points in Weeks 6 and 7, respectively. His volume and expected point totals were quite impressive these last two games. Beasley’s starter-viable volume along with Cooper entering the scene make the Dallas receiving corps a somewhat interesting situation to monitor for the first time this year.
Since leaving early in Week 5 with a concussion versus Seattle, Brandin Cooks has been trending downward despite what was thought to be a stretch of massive fantasy opportunity with Copper Kupp being out.
Cooks’ opportunity, instead, dipped over this span and leaves his owners faced with the unfortunate prospect of a more volatile asset than is desired.
Los Angeles versus New Orleans is set to be the shootout of the week, with an absurd 60 point Vegas total, giving Cooks his ever-present upside. Nevertheless, especially with Kupp’s return, the numbers suggest Cooks has a lower floor than some owners can stomach.
Remember in Week 1 when Keenan Allen was the slam dunk number one wide receiver according to GLSP? Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
Allen’s lack of box score production nets him just the 32nd highest floor amongst wide receivers this week in what is setup to be another low play volume game for Los Angeles versus the run heavy Seahawks.
Allen remains a great buy low candidate heading into the second half of the season, but it might take at least another week for such an acquisition to pay off.