Fantasy: How to Project Wide Receivers’ Yards
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.