Now that the 2019 regular season is in the books, Shawn Siegele utilizes a quick hack and the RotoViz Screener to locate 15 breakout wide receiver candidates for 2020.
Each offseason I write an in-depth series on the characteristics of breakout players. Receivers with different experience levels break out at different rates, to different scores, and for different reasons. It hurts our chances to select the best players if we lump them all into one category.
We’ll dive into those numbers again soon, but there is a simple hack for owners looking to get a jump on next year’s dynasty acquisitions.
The Wrong Read and Wide Receiver Breakouts
Blair Andrews’ 2019 research demonstrated a wide gulf between WRs with positive and negative fantasy points over expectation (FPOE) and what that means for their performance the following year. Receivers with positive FPOE score 47 more fantasy points, accrue 40 more expected points (EP), and again average positive FPOE. Receivers with negative FPOE again average negative FPOE.
Given those stats, it’s not surprising that receivers with positive FPOE break out much more often. The Wrong Read: No. 59:
|Mecole Hardman||48.7||117.5||41||26||538||6||Not as fast as Tyreek Hill but still one of the most explosive players in the NFL, Hardman was a big play machine in 2019 and should be one of your top three dynasty acquisition targets for 2020.|
|Terry McLaurin||35.6||191.9||93||58||919||7||An immediate star in Washington, Pat Kerrane explains the pluses and minuses on his resume.|
|Darius Slayton||32.9||170||83||48||740||8||A surprising star in New York, Slayton faces an uncertain offseason in NY but will likely be less expensive than his rookie season deserves.|
|Tre'Quan Smith||30.1||71.4||25||18||234||5||Smith's low point total in a high-scoring offense is a big red flag, but he makes plays when targeted.|
|Marquise Brown||29.6||146.4||71||46||584||7||Injuries and a low-volume passing offense held Brown back after an initial month that made him look like an impending superstar.|
|Deebo Samuel||25.6||198.9||81||57||880||3||Almost a rookie breakout, Samuel should be a compelling WR2 for the long haul as an elite run-after catch player.|
|D.K. Metcalf||21.5||193.1||100||58||900||7||Metcalf slowed down the stretch before a big Week 17, but he largely answered questions about his agility and route running.|
|Allen Lazard||18.6||102.8||52||35||477||3||Lazard has long been an underappreciated RotoViz favorite. Another strong performance in Week 17 illustrates his upside.|
|Diontae Johnson||15.8||160.3||92||59||672||5||The rookie picked up much of the slack from Smith-Schuster's lost season and should move into the No. 2 role in 2020.|
|Kendrick Bourne||15.8||97.8||45||30||358||5||Bourne had his moments in 2019 and could be their Raheem Mostert at WR.|
|Hunter Renfrow||15.3||133.5||71||49||605||4||A surprisingly effective underneath receiver as a rookie, Renfrow is a good depth pickup.|
|Zach Pascal||14.6||135.3||72||41||607||5||A Jon Moore favorite from back in the day, Pascal blew up several times in a poor passing offense.|
|Miles Boykin||12.6||50.8||22||13||198||3||Not as finished as M. Brown and likely never a favorite for big volume, Boykin is still a great lottery ticket if purchased on the cheap.|
|Andy Isabella||11.5||35.4||13||9||189||1||Isabella never got things going in 2019, but his combination of speed and team scheme give him potential to take a Chark-like jump in 2020.|
|James Washington||10.4||135.5||79||44||735||3||Washington turned his entire career around at mid-season but may be pricier than his situation supports.|
We’ll individually profile all of these receivers this spring. To go into more detail now, jump over to the NFL Stat Explorer. It has visualizations for every raw and advanced stat you can imagine.
Positive FPOE isn’t just for locating breakout players. It can also help you land the top Bounceback WRs. We’ll follow up on them in January.