As Jacob Rickrode has shown, year after year the same Wide Receivers finish in the top 24 in PPR scoring. Largely, they do at least. I promise to stop stealing Jacob’s hard work shortly. But he’s also shown that on average there are 3 receivers that fall out of the top 24 every season. In 2015 that number spiked to 7.
With that in mind, fatalist that I am, I decided to determine who exactly from last seasons top 24 scorers will not repeat the feat in 2017. One item of note. Because this is based on total scoring and not based on per game scoring, A.J. Green finished outside of the top 24 last season.
Because I am very creative, I came up with some amazing designations for last years top 24 and if they’ll finish in the top 24 this season. (Please don’t try this at home I am a professional)
- Locks to Repeat
- Likely Safe
- The Patriot Way
- Last in
- Outside of the Top 24
Finishes Outside of Top 24 in 2017
Golden Tate worries me. Why? As @ChristipherBean so succinctly stated to me while we discussed Tate: “He’s a safety net, volume dependent WR who only shines when injury removes his target competition.” That is about as spot on as a description as I could ever come up with. I was going to use that as the title of this article, but it’s a tad wordy. Let’s take a look at some splits.
Ameer Abdullah missed most of the 2016 season due to injury, so I decided to use 2015 games as well to get a truer perspective of his effect on Tate’s fantasy production. Tate would have ended as theWR26 in 2015 with 201 fantasy points and tied for WR23 in 2016.
Let’s take a look at some other splits just to see if form holds. Again to increase the sample data I’ve used the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
When anyone who is a competition for targets misses time Tate thrives and falls off considerably when they do play. At least Tate maintains low-end WR2 value with Eric Ebron in the lineup.
Let’s see how Tate fairs with and without Theo Riddick.
Similar to the splits with Abdullah, Tate is a low-end WR2, or just outside of the top 24, when Theo Riddick plays but, in this case, he sky-rockets up to WR1 territory whenever Riddick misses time. It’s almost as if Tate is a volume dependent wide receiver who is adversely affected by competition for targets.
In 2015 Tate finished 20th in targets but only 24th in scoring. In 2016 he was 14th in targets only 17th among WR in scoring. It would appear that for Tate to end in the top 24th in scoring he’d need to maintain at least the same target volume he’s received the last two seasons. Without a ton of targets, Tate isn’t going to be able to make up the scoring difference in Air Yards, considering he’s finished 60th and 79th the last two seasons.
Not only do a healthy trio of Abdullah, Riddick, and Ebron dilute Tate’s fantasy scoring he still must contend with Marvin Jones who should improve, if even slightly, in his second season with Matt Stafford. But it’s not just the competition for targets that is Tate’s downfall. It’s the ADOT as well.
Golden Tate and Eric Ebron have nearly the same Average Depth of Target, that’s not ideal. In fact of all the reasons that point to Tate falling outside the top 24 in WR scoring this season, Eric Ebron is the biggest. Ebron is a trendy year four breakout candidate this upcoming season. There’s a reason for that. Ebron increased his snap share, targets, target share, receptions and receiving yards from 2015 to 2016.
Based on ADOT alone it’s obvious the Lions use Tate and Ebron very similarly. The only real difference between the two is that Tate is wildly inefficient where as Ebron is his polar opposite. Did someone say inefficient? Wait I did, that’s probably cheating. But since someone brought it up, I’m just going to leave this here.