A cornerstone of RotoViz drafting strategy is using data to assist in selecting young players before they break out. Players vastly outperforming their draft cost is the key to winning in fantasy football.
The ability to consistently earn targets is a foundational skill for wide receivers. Despite consensus agreement on the importance of targets for wide receivers, drafters often ignore target earning ability when it isn’t accompanied with fantasy points. Exploiting this is a great way to identify future stars without having to pay for yesteryear’s points.
DeVonta Smith is an excellent case study.
As a rookie he earned a target on a large percentage of his routes — especially deep routes — and ended the season with a 63% weighted targets per route run (wTPRR) mark. But his fantasy points (11 PPR/game) were underwhelming. He exploded in his sophomore season, rewarding drafters with 15.3 PPR/game from an eighth-round cost. This is a great example of drafters’ tendency to underrate individual player skill such as target earning ability relative to other factors like overall team efficiency and run/pass split. Regular RotoViz readers will know we advocated for drafting Smith again and again.
But Smith is not just a one-off. Among wide receivers with at least 100 routes in 2021,