The DC Times

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

By Jonathan Bales

Fantasy Football: Value of Second-Year WRs

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At RotoWire, I suggested that a wide receiver’s second year is the time to jump on him.

The Numbers

The stats back up that idea. As I did with running backs, I tracked the top rookie wide receivers since 2000 in terms of both efficiency and bulk metrics: receptions, yards, yards-per-catch and touchdowns. I then calculated the average approximate value – an excellent gauge of overall fantasy value – for the rookie receivers ranked highest in each category.


You can see the numbers aren’t even close; receptions and yards are the best predictors of future NFL success for rookie wide receivers. Touchdowns are a close third, but YPC is way, way down the list. That’s the exact opposite of rookie running backs; for them, yards-per-carry is more predictive of future fantasy value than both carries and yards.

It’s worth noting that yards and touchdowns are functions of approximate value, so we’d expect those stats to contribute to their total AV a bit. Still, that fact can’t come close to accounting for the vast gap in AV between rookies with high bulk stats and those with great efficiency. Plus, remember that the same is true for rookie running backs, yet their efficiency still proved to be a greater predictor of future value than bulk numbers.

Who to Target in 2013

There’s a widespread notion that wide receivers break out in their third seasons, but I think their second year in the league is really the time to pounce. If you’re in a keeper league, especially, it’s better to secure a few second-year receivers at low price tags than waiting until their third years when you’ll likely get into a bidding war of sorts for their services.

Ultimately, any rookie wide receiver that posts respectable stats is at least worthy of consideration in his second season. And since rookie wide receivers almost never finish even as No. 2 options at their position, you won’t really be hindered by “paying” for bulk stats in the same way you’ll have to spend an arm and a leg for many second-year running backs; you’ll likely need to use a first-round pick to secure someone like Doug Martin or Trent Richardson in 2013, yet the top second-year receivers may not get drafted in the first four or five rounds.

Read the whole article at RotoWire.

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