Allen Hurns in Context: Do Surprise Week 1 Studs Continue to Produce?
Two years ago, I wrote the following after Week 1 of the 2012 season:
Fast forward 24 months and we can replace “Kevin Ogletree” with “Allen Hurns,” “eight” with “four,” and “114” with “110.” Hurns is the latest undrafted (or late-drafted) receiver to make a big splash in Week 1. The question is – what kind of numbers can we expect the rest of the way?
Every year, at least one undrafted WR explodes in Week 1 and becomes one of the hottest players on the waiver wire. Last year it was Julian Edelman (7-79-2), Leonard Hankerson (5-80-2) and Jerome Simpson (7-140), who all racked up more than 18.0 fantasy points in PPR leagues.
To put Hurns' performance into perspective, I compiled all of the big Week 1 performances from the last seven years by undrafted and late-drafted WRs. I'm interested to see how these players performed during the rest of the season.
I included anyone who scored more than 18.0 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 is/was available on the waiver wire, even in shallow leagues.
There are 27 players who fit the criteria in the last seven years. Twelve of those players were not drafted in fantasy drafts.
|Player||Year||Tm||Tgts||Rec||Yds||TD||FP||ADP||EOS Rank||FP (PPR)||Avg ROS||Eq to||Role||T/G (2-17)|
|Antwaan Randle El||2007||WAS||6||5||162||0||21.2||56||130||7.7||WR5||3||5.1|
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 Hurns has as the 3rd wide receiver and 3rd option in the passing game, assuming he plays behind Cecil Shorts and rookie Marqise Lee.
On average, undrafted Week 1 studs average 7.6 points per game 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. Six of the 12 undrafted players were fantasy relevant (WR5 or better PPG for the remainder of the season).
When we include those players who were drafted in the 11th round or later (up until the 17th round), the average jumps to 9.4 fantasy points, which equates to fantasy WR4 numbers.
What makes Hurns compelling is that not only has his fantastic preseason play – he led all WRs in receiving yards with 14 catches, 232 yards and one touchdown – carried over to the regular season, but also he plays for a team that is in desperate need of playmakers in the passing game. He could end up as the 4th WR behind a healthy Shorts, Lee and Allen Robinson, but it certainly looks like he’s making his case for starter’s snaps (and finish the season with the most or second-most targets on his team).
As history tells us, it’s generally a bad idea to expect starter-caliber (WR3 or better) numbers from a Week 1 star, but it has happened nine times in the last seven seasons, though seven of those wideouts were drafted in the first 17 rounds. (Hurns' ADP - 203 at My Fantasy League - barely makes the cut.)
Bottom Line: I wouldn’t recommend breaking the bank for the undrafted free agent, but 15 percent of a Free Agent Acquisition Budget seems like a reasonable price for a team in need of help at receiver. Pat Fitmaurice suggested 7 percent in Week 2's Waiver Wire Watch. He also discusses Steve L Smith, who does qualify as a surprise Week 1 stud after his 7-118-1 line against the Bengals. Be sure to check out our Waiver Wire Watch for further thoughts on his value moving forward.