Can You Play Teammates Like Kittle, Aiyuk, and Samuel Together? The Historical Results Will Surprise
Image Credit: Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Brandon Aiyuk.

Just how many of your stars can come from the same NFL team? Shawn Siegele uses the Best Ball Win Rate Explorer to examine the results of drafting multiple wide receivers and stacking them with a tight end.

Yesterday, Blair Andrews and I were a couple of picks away from making our selection at 11.11 in an FFPC Superflex, and Deebo Samuel was a screaming value. We were tracking his fall in the FFPC Best Ball Command Center, and if you’ve read How We Used the Command Center to Grab 10 Big Values in 17 Rounds, you know how much fun it is to follow your draft in the tool.

The only problem? We’d already selected George Kittle at 2.02 and Brandon Aiyuk at 8.02. Did we really want three receivers from the same team, especially if that team ranks 28th in pass plays per 60 minutes over the last two seasons?

The Case for Drafting All 3 Players

Aiyuk and Samuel both impressed as rookies and logged win rates above 13%. Kittle earned an 18% win rate in 2018 and a 12.9% win rate in 2019 before injuries torpedoed his 2020 season. Kittle and Samuel also won at higher rate together in 2019 than they did individually.

The Player Win Rate Explorer tab provides the breakdown.

We also have an indirect answer to whether they’ll cannibalize each other in a low-volume passing offense. While injuries kept the trio from sharing many snaps in 2020, both Samuel and Kittle scored substantially better in 2019 after Emmanuel Sanders‘ arrival. Samuel scored seven more PPG, and Kittle also made a big jump.

This doesn’t mean that we should ignore the way a healthy season from all three players might affect their individual target rates, but it does provide optimism for the offense’s potential passing upside. The addition of a third weapon can dramatically improve a team’s explosiveness and efficiency, as looking at the 49ers in the Team Splits tool illustrates.

With their third weapon in 2019, the 49ers averaged 0.7 more points per drive, almost doubled their passing TD pace, and averaged 56 more passing yards per game.

But What If We Put Them All on the Same Best Ball Team?

We can examine the results of a three-player stack in the Stack Analysis tab.

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Shawn Siegele

Author of the original Zero RB article and 2013 NFFC Primetime Grand Champion. 11-time main event league winner. 2015, 2017, 2018 titles in MFL10 of Death.

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