The DC Times

A New Way to Look at the Cowboys, NFL, and Fantasy Football

By Jonathan Bales

Fantasy: How to Project Wide Receivers’ Yards

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My first post at FF Today is up and deals with wide receiver projections. A big part of my draft philosophy is implementing regression toward the mean into all rankings, and one of the individual stats that tends to regress most is yards-per-catch. Some players are certainly more explosive than others, but you can use a player’s history to determine whether he over or underachieved the previous season. From the article:

For wide receivers, one of the statistics that is most likely to change from year to year is yards-per-catch. Every year, wide receivers’ YPC are vastly different from previous seasons due to a few big plays, a change in offensive philosophy that results in extra screen passes, and other similar factors. By simply adjusting for YPC in our projections, we can obtain projections that are more accurate than simply mirroring the previous season’s numbers.

For some rate statistics, such as yards-per-carry, we can regress players’ stats to a league average. Yards-per-catch isn’t one of those stats. Certain players (think Mike Wallace) are simply more likely to post explosive plays than others (think Wes Welker).

To regress wide receiver YPC toward the mean, we need to figure out exactly how a player’s stats in the previous season match up with his “true” talent. If we were to simulate 1,000 seasons, for example, how many times would Victor Cruz repeat his 18.7 YPC from 2011?

You can head over to FF Today to read my full methodology. You’ll be surprised to see who I have projected to lead the league in receiving yards.

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5 Responses to Fantasy: How to Project Wide Receivers’ Yards

  1. moses says:

    I agree

    However, I also think it depends on the offensive philosophy of the team and the capabilities of the QB.

    For example, the Broncos had the #1, and #25 receivers Brandon Lloyd , and Gaffney in 2010. In 2011, the Broncos top receiver, Decker, was #71.

    Why? Because the offensive philosophy changed dramatically. In 2010 Denver was a passing team. In 2011 during Tebowmania, Denver was a running team.

    There are a lot of things to keep an eye out on for fantasy including coaching changes, OL changes, QB injuries, the opposite WR, etc

  2. moses says:

    Interesting that no Cowboys broke into the top 20. Where do you project Dez and Austin?

  3. Moses–I only used the top 20 WR from last season…I would definitely have both Dez and Miles in the top 20..I actually think both are great values this season. Dez has top 5 WR potential. Once I create final WR projections using all players, I can send them over to you if you would like.

  4. moses says:

    getting your full projections would be great. It would get me ready for the fantasy draft

  5. I usually finish them up around the end of July (and then tweak them), but I might have them sooner this year because of the book. Remind me around that time to send them over to you. I create them in Excel.

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