Fantasy Football: Size or Speed for Wide Receivers?
At RotoWire, I took a look at how much speed affects wide receiver production in the NFL.
As I mentioned in my analysis of running back 40-yard dash times, the 2008 NFL Combine was littered with unreal speed at the running back position. Chris Johnson (4.24) led the way, but Darren McFadden (4.33), Jamaal Charles (4.38), Rashard Mendenhall (4.41), Ray Rice (4.42), Felix Jones (4.44), Matt Forte (4.44), Steve Slaton (4.45), and Jonathan Stewart (4.46) all burned up the track as well. Their subsequent success in the NFL isn’t atypical; the majority of the league’s top running backs can fly. Very few backs over the past decade have been able to overcome running 4.50+ times.
In the same 2008 Combine, the wide receiver class was just as fast; twenty receivers ran sub-4.5 times. Unlike the running backs, though, the receivers haven’t fared too well in the big leagues. DeSean Jackson (4.35) has thus far been the best of the bunch, followed by Eddie Royal (4.39) and Pierre Garcon (4.42). Other names who tore it up in Indianapolis that year include Dexter Jackson (4.33), Arman Shields (4.37), Will Franklin (4.37), Devin Thomas (4.40), Brandon Breazell (4.41), Keenan Burton (4.44), and James Hardy (4.45), among others.
More speed is never a bad thing, but it “matters” more at certain positions. Cornerbacks, for example, need to have the recovery speed to catch up to receivers, so it’s rare to see any successful cornerback run above a 4.50. We saw the same phenomenon with running backs, which was a bit unexpected. When we analyze wide receivers, the fastest ones have understandably had more success than others, but perhaps not to the degree you’d expect.
Check out the entire article at RotoWire.