Chris Godwin is running extremely hot.
He leads all WRs in fantasy points over expectation (FPOE) and is second in FPOE per game. He’s first in PPR per game among WRs, but just 11th in expected (EP) points per game.
As you can see above, Godwin’s WOPR — his weighted market share of the passing offense — ranks just 24th among WRs.
This highlights two red flags for Godwin:
- Godwin is still the second option in his offense.
- Mike Evans has the 10th ranked WOPR (0.62) and has seen 192 more air yards than Godwin on the same number of targets.
- Because he’s not seeing an elite share of his offense’s output, Godwin is at high risk of under-performance if TB cools off of its scintillating passing pace:
New Offense, Similar Role
Godwin is clearly a good fit for the new Arians offense. And he’s clearly stepped his game up, delivering on the promise of his much-hyped third-year breakout.
However, even assuming much of Godwin’s success is the result of a breakout WR thriving in a new offense, he’s still performing way above expectations. As you can see below, his 2019 RACR of 1.07 is absolutely phenomenal for the depth of his targets:1
And Godwin isn’t just over-performing the efficiency we’d expect to see for his aDOT, he’s dramatically over-performing his past performance.
Godwin’s past RACR is relevant because Josh Hermsmeyer, the metric’s creator, notes that it’s one of the few efficiency metrics that is sticky year over year.
Furthermore, it should still be meaningful despite the change in offense, because Godwin’s depth of target has barely changed from his first two NFL seasons. Godwin has a career aDOT of 12.0, and this year his aDOT is 11.5. Yet his RACR has skyrocketed from a career mark of 0.83 to 1.07.
It’s worth noting that Godwin’s efficiency was already quite respectable. For example, his career RACR was better than Odell Beckham Jr.’s 2016-2018 RACR on a similar aDOT of 11.2.
This year, however, Godwin is on another planet. He’s nearly matching Michael Thomas‘ 2016-208 RACR of 1.08. In other words, he’s keeping pace with one of the NFL’s most consistently efficient WRs, and doing so on targets three yards deeper down the field on average.
This is probably unsustainable.
To top it all off, Godwin faces the prospect of TD regression.
Godwin leads all WRs with six TDs, scoring a TD on more than 11% of his targets. For comparison, last year’s top-24 WRs scored TDs on less than 6% of their targets.
If Godwin maintained his ridiculous yardage efficiency but was simply scoring TDs at the typical rate, his output would be reduced by three points per game.
Moreover, if we lower Godwin’s yardage efficiency to something less insane — let’s use Tyler Lockett‘s ultra-efficient 2016-2018 RACR on a similar aDOT of 12.3 — a normal TD rate lowers Godwin’s output further to just 17.5 PPG.
And if we assume Godwin was scoring TDs a typical rate, and was producing at his career RACR, he’d be on a 15.5 PPG pace this season.
That’s not bad by any means, but it would make him a borderline WR1 instead of the overall WR1.
How to play it
So far in 2019, Godwin has yet to finish a single game with negative FPOE, and he already has three games with double-digit FPOE.
Some eventual underperformance is inevitable, and it could come sooner than you expect. So what are you doing with Godwin if you own him?
Here’s the thing — Godwin may be running hot, but his points count. And he has 145 of them.
Even if Godwin slows to a 15.5 PPG pace the rest of the way, he’ll still crest 300 PPR points over a 16-game season. And if he misses games it’ll only make his 2019 points per game all the more mouthwatering to 2020 drafters.
However, because Godwin is likely to fall off considerably from his current pace, it still makes sense to shop him around. Perhaps counter-intuitively, it makes more sense to aggressively shop Godwin if you’re a strong contender. He can likely bring back a WR like Keenan Allen — who is likely to outscore Godwin the rest of the way — plus additional RB or WR help.
For those in rebuild mode or on the playoff bubble, I would still shop Godwin, but only to see if I can cash in at the true top of the market. I’m talking top-six startup pick prices. If not, I’m happy to hold. Godwin is likely to have over 300 PPR points and/or 20 plus points per game as a 23-year-old. That’ll make him an early second-round startup pick next year at worst.
In redraft, Godwin is a clear sell at elite WR prices. Heading into his bye, your league mates may be hesitant to add him, but you also get an extra week to make a deal. I would accept anything that values Godwin as a top-five WR going forward.
Image Credit: Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Chris Godwin.
- RACR stands for receiver air conversion rate and measures the rate at which a receiver turns air yards into actual receiving yards. Godwin’s RACR of 1.07 means he turns every air yard thrown his way into 1.07 receiving yards. The league-wide average RACR for WRs in 2019 is 0.75. (back)