Do Surprise Week 1 Studs Continue to Produce?

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By John Paulsen (Senior Editor) on September 6, 2012

John was named FantasyPros Most Accurate Expert of 2010, was runner-up in 2011 and finished 4th in 2012 for in-season rankings accuracy. He also won the Fantasy Sports Trade Association award in 2011 for the most accurate preseason rankings. Follow John on Twitter: @4for4_John.

The fantasy world is abuzz after Kevin Ogletree torched the Giants for eight catches for 114 yards and two touchdowns. Entering the season as the team's WR3, Ogletree saw more targets (11) than did Dez Bryant and Miles Austin combined (9). Fantasy owners are justifiably curious as to whether or not Ogletree is worth a pickup. The answer to that is yes, but it depends on who has to be dropped.

Every year, at least one undrafted WR explodes in Week 1 and becomes one of the hottest players on the waiver wire. To put Ogletree's performance into perspective, I compiled all of the big Week 1 performances from the last five years by undrafted and underdrafted WRs. I'm interested to see how these players performed during the rest of the season.
 
I included anyone who scored more than 15.0 points in W1 (in PPR formats) and was either undrafted or drafted in the 11th round or later in 12-team drafts. This should cover anyone who was available on the waiver wire, even in shallow leagues.
 
Player Year Tm Tgts Rec Yds TD FP ADP EOS Rank FP (PPR) Avg ROS Equates to Role

T/G (2-17)

Jordy Nelson 2011 GB 8 6 77 1 19.7 122 4 284 17.6 WR1 3 5.8
Austin Collie 2010 IND 12 11 163 1 33.3 125 35 171 17.2 WR1 3 7.5
Ronald Curry 2007 OAK 12 10 133 1 29.3 128 42 151 8.1 WR5 2 5.7
Justin Gage 2009 TEN 11 7 78 1 20.8 132 80 84 5.8 - 5 5.1
Robert Meachem 2011 NO 8 5 70 1 18 136 51 140 8.1 WR5 6 3.5
Patrick Crayton 2009 DAL 6 4 135 1 23.5 139 51 132 7.2 - 4 4.1
Nate Burleson 2009 SEA 11 7 74 1 20.4 140 35 163 11.9 WR3 2 7.7
DeSean Jackson 2008 PHI 10 6 106 0 16.6 142 31 181 10.9 WR3 1 7.4
Wes Welker 2007 NE 9 6 61 1 18.1 143 10 281 17.5 WR1 2 9.1
Deion Branch 2011 NE 9 7 93 0 16.3 144 44 151 9.6 WR4 4 5.8
Legedu Naanee 2010 SD 8 5 110 1 22 146 92 66 4.9 - 5 4.2
Eddie Royal 2008 DEN 11 9 146 1 29.6 156 16 230 14.3 WR2 2 8.4
Amani Toomer 2007 NYG 11 9 91 0 18.1 156 40 153 9.0 WR4 2 6.2
Devery Henderson 2009 NO 8 5 103 1 21.3 165 43 145 8.2 WR5 2 5
Devery Henderson 2011 NO 9 6 100 1 22   75 95 4.9 - 7 2.7
Mark Clayton 2010 STL 16 10 119 0 21.9   91 66 11.1 WR3 2 6.5
Antwaan Randle El 2007 WAS 6 5 162 0 21.2   56 130 7.7 WR5 3 5.1
Shaun McDonald 2007 DET 7 6 90 1 21   21 210 12.6 WR2 1 8
Early Doucet 2011 ARI 3 3 105 1 19.5   43 153 8.9 WR4 2 6.3
Mark Clayton 2009 BAL 9 5 77 1 18.7   75 97 6.0 - 3 5
Louis Murphy 2009 OAK 8 4 87 1 18.7   67 113 6.3 - 2 5.7
Doug Baldwin 2011 SEA 6 4 83 1 18.3   41 154 9.0 WR4 2 5.3
Hank Baskett 2008 PHI 3 2 102 1 18.2   69 95 5.5 - 6 3.4
Nate Washington 2010 TEN 4 3 88 1 17.8   44 146 8.5 WR5 2 6
Drew Carter 2007 CAR 3 3 19 2 16.9   62 114 6.5 - 3 4.8
Antwaan Randle El 2009 WAS 9 7 98 0 16.8   73 103 5.7 - 3 4.5
Brandon Lloyd 2010 DEN 8 5 117 0 16.7   2 286 18.0 WR1 1 9.7
Ike Hilliard 2008 TB 6 6 45 1 16.5   59 113 6.5 - 5 3.5
Chansi Stuckey 2009 NYJ 8 4 64 1 16.4   91 74 4.1 - 6 6
Brandon Stokley 2009 DEN 4 1 87 1 15.7   87 76 4.0 - 8 1.9
Greg Lewis 2008 PHI 7 5 104 0 15.4   97 50 2.3 - 10 1.9
Devery Henderson 2008 NO 2 1 84 1 15.4   46 133 7.8 WR5 6 3.7
Avg (all) - - - - - - - - 52 142 8.9 WR4 3.6 5.5
Avg (undrafted) - - - - - - - - 61 123 7.5 WR5 4.0 5.0
 
There were 32 players who fit the criteria in the last five years. Eighteen of those players were not drafted in fantasy drafts.
 
The table shows the player's performance in Week 1, his ADP, end of season rank, fantasy points scored and average PPG for the rest of the season. I also included what that PPG equates to in terms of fantasy position (WR1, WR2, etc.) as well as the player's role for the remainder of the season (among all the WR, RB and TE in the passing game) along with his targets per game (T/G) from Week 2 to Week 17. We're trying to get an idea of what kind of upside Ogletree has as the 3rd wide receiver and 4th option in the passing game (when we include Jason Witten).
 
In terms of undrafted players, Ogletree's 31.4 fantasy points blows away the next highest performance (Devery Henderson's 22.0 FP in 2011). On average, undrafted W1 studs average 7.5 points over the remainder of the season, which equate to WR5 numbers. The average role was 4.0, so on average they were the 4th option in their team's passing game. Eight of the 18 undrafted players were fantasy relevant (WR5 or better PPG for the remainder of the season). 
 
When we include those players were drafted in the 11th round or later, the average jumps to 8.9 fantasy points, which equates to fantasy WR4 numbers.
 
Note: Speaking of Henderson, he appeared on this list three times! Over the past four seasons, Henderson has racked up 13 catches for 325 yards and four touchdowns (one in each game) in Week 1. That's an average of 3.3–81–1.0, which are top 5 numbers. He is notoriously undependable, which is why he's typically undrafted, but don't bet against him in Week 1.
 
The interesting thing about Ogletree is that Laurent Robinson thrived in the same role last season. In 14 games, Robinson finished with 54 catches for 858 yards and 11 touchdowns. However, he benefited from Miles Austin missing some time due to injury. In the six games that Austin was sidelined, Robinson averaged 4.7-69-0.83 (or 16.3 fantasy points). In eight games Robinson played with a healthy Austin, he averaged 3.3-56-0.75 (or 13.4 FP).
 
Even with a healthy Austin, Robinson was averaging fantasy WR2 numbers. This bodes well for Ogletree, who looked very capable of exploiting defenses when they are focused on Bryant, Austin and Witten, and Tony Romo has proven that he will take what the defense gives him.
 

BOTTOM LINE

 
I don't think Ogletree is as talented as Robinson, but he does have some upside. I'd pick him up assuming he's going to be a WR4 and perhaps he becomes a WR3. That puts him in the 40s in rest-of-season rankings. I don't think that he's worth blowing your entire Free Agent Acquisition Budget -- but 15%-20% sounds reasonable.
 
Those owners who have Bryant or Austin may want to pick him up as a handcuff. If either of those players went down, he immediately become a viable fantasy WR2/WR3.
 
Filed Under: 2012, w1