We’re rolling along in our deep sleeper series, and by now you know the drill — these are guys who have something in their profile that gives us hope, despite what their depressed ADP is telling us.
Something a little different for this one, as we’re getting our first look at this year’s wide receiver Phenom Index numbers, a Jon Moore metric which measures age-adjusted production.
And our Buccaneers deep sleeper comes in No. 1 in the 2019 class. Before we tell you who it is, here’s a look at the rest of this year’s dark horses so far:
Scotty Miller, WR
Pat Kerrane got the Scotty Miller hype train going back in May, just in time for me to snap up Miller in the final rounds of a dynasty rookie draft.
The rest of us at RotoViz were sleeping while Kerrane was tabulating this year’s Phenom Index scores and realizing that the 208th overall pick from this draft is perhaps the most prodigious receiver of them all.
2019 Phenom Index Scores
Before we jump into this year’s Phenom Index (PI), a quick refresher on why PI matters from Jon Moore, who created the metric.
The Phenom Index is calculated by looking at player’s age and their final season market share of receiving yards and bolting them together using z-scores. Typically, I like to think about this as a filter for finding young, talented players who could emerge to be among the game’s best within three seasons.
Pat Kerrane has calculated not only this year’s PI scores but also whether or not the player was an early declare. Blair Andrews recently found that WRs who declare early average more than 200 fantasy points over their first two seasons.
|Player||NFL Team||Round||Draft Pick||School||DOB||FY MSY||MSY Z||Age||Age Z||Phenom Index||Early Declare|
|Scott Miller||TAM||6||208||Bowling Green||7/31/1997||44||1.7||21.42||-1.13||2.87||No|
|N'Keal Harry||NWE||1||32||Arizona St.||12/17/1997||38||1.2||21.04||-1.55||2.73||Yes|
|Kelvin Harmon||WAS||6||206||NC St.||12/16/1997||30||0.4||21.04||-1.55||1.96||Yes|
|Hakeem Butler||ARI||4||103||Iowa St.||5/16/96||42||1.6||22.63||0.23||1.33||Yes|
|KeeSean Johnson||ARI||6||174||Fresno St.||10/9/96||35||0.9||22.23||-0.22||1.11||No|
|Parris Campbell||IND||2||59||Ohio St.||7/16/97||21||-0.5||21.46||-1.08||0.63||Yes|
|Olabisi Johnson||MIN||7||247||Colorado St.||3/17/97||23||-0.3||21.79||-0.71||0.45||No|
|Miles Boykin||BAL||3||93||Notre Dame||10/12/96||26||0||22.22||-0.23||0.26||Yes|
|Travis Fulgham||DET||6||184||Old Dominion||9/13/95||30||0.4||23.3||0.98||-0.57||No|
|Deebo Samuel||SFO||2||36||South Carolina||1/15/1996||26||0||22.96||0.6||-0.57||No|
|Gary Jennings Jr.||SEA||4||120||West Virginia||3/7/96||23||-0.3||22.82||0.44||-0.7||No|
|Terry McLaurin||WAS||3||76||Ohio St.||4/15/1996||15||-1||22.71||0.32||-1.34||Yes|
**Note: There was some bad information out there regarding Kelvin Harmon’s birthday at the time this data was put together. He’s actually a full year older, making his PI a bit meh.
Miller was unfortunately not an early declare, but with a dominant 44% of Bowling Green’s receiving yards at 21.4-years old, his 2.87 PI score wins the class going away.
Some notable results from the names atop the Index in recent years:
- D.J. Moore, 4.64 (2018)
- Curtis Samuel: 2.91 (2017)
- JuJu Smith-Schuster, 2.70 (2017)
- Tyler Boyd, 2.75 (2016, a year which had Tajae Sharpe & Pharoh Cooper atop the Index)
Miller was also the only WR in the class to break out (at least a 30% market share receiving yards) at under 20-years old. Although undersized at 5 feet 9, 174 pounds, Miller’s 4.44 forty time puts him in the 84th percentile. That, and his 16.2 YPR average as a senior hints at the kind of WR that has found success under Bruce Arians — a speedy vertical threat who can get behind the defense.
His lack of draft equity hurts the outlook, and maybe he’ll go on to be the next Tajae Sharpe, but considering the cost to acquire him in all formats, there’s no risk involved.
Justin Watson is getting a little bit of early heat at camp, but latest reports indicate he’s competing more with Chris Godwin for a role in the slot, meaning it’s unlikely he’s the one who keeps Miller off the field. Breshad Perriman is more likely to compete for an outside role, but as a first-rounder who’s not yet amassed even 1,000 total receiving yards in his four-year career, he doesn’t look like much of a threat.
It’s never a good idea to overreact to camp clips, but acrobatic catches in double coverage while playing with the first team are never a bad thing.
Buccaneers WR Scotty Miller leaps up and makes the TD catch in double coverage pic.twitter.com/MLCzTGcsbC— The Render (@TheRenderMedia) July 30, 2019
Playing as a rookie on a depth chart with Larry Fitzgerald, Tedd Ginn, Jaron Brown, and one-time-stud Michael Floyd, fellow undersized and under-drafted WR John Brown commanded 103 targets in Arians’ offense.
Miller absolutely has the profile to make some noise as a rookie and should probably be included in the redraft conversation.