3 Overvalued Wide Receivers
Fading players is a tough proposition. Any player can be a solid pick if their price is right. In this article, I’ll be your Bob Barker and walk you through three WR showcase showdowns. These receivers profile as overvalued either according to my Air Yards model, the 4for4 ranks, or both. When 4for4 rankings and my model disagree, I side with the model as a contrarian viewpoint. Finally, it’s important to note that fading players doesn’t win you a league. Instead, the aim of this article is to give you some insight into downside the public may be underestimating.
Hill sports an average draft position (ADP) of WR12 in the 4for4 Multi-Site ADP Tool. Our 4for4 rankings, driven by John Paulsen, have him at WR19. My Air Yards model has him even further down the list at WR40. There are both strong analytical and narrative-based reasons to fade Hill at his ADP. Let’s start with the numbers.
In 2017, Hill earned 21 percent of the team’s targets (105 targets) and 31 percent of the team’s air yards (1,227 air yards). When you combine both you get a metric called Weighted Opportunity Rating (WOPR), and Hill's WOPR of 0.52 was good for second on the team, behind Travis Kelce (0.58 WOPR). Hill was not the No. 1 receiver on his team, and yet, he is being drafted in the top 12. This is the first warning sign.
Hill saw double-digit targets on just four routes—the Curl, Screen, Out, and Go. He was below league average in efficiency on the Out route, but absolutely crushed the Go. Three of Hill’s seven touchdowns came on the Go, and his 33 yards per target on an average depth of target (aDOT) of 38.2 yards (RACR of 0.86) was 280 percent better than league average. Hill is certainly better than the rest of the league on Go routes, but they only accounted for 10 of his 105 targets. Moreover, there is little hope of this incredible efficiency repeating. His RACR on Go routes was 0.40 in 2016. Regression is coming.
Now for the narrative. In 2018, instead of Alex Smith, Hill will have a QB (Patrick Mahomes) with one career NFL start in a meaningless game tossing him the ball. Couple this with teams surely playing off coverage and looking to apply pressure on the young QB, and we could easily see Hill’s deep catchable targets fall drastically. Finally, Sammy Watkins will be opposite him this season, and he will surely garner his share of deep and intermediate targets. For a player who was already playing second fiddle to his TE, a position that young QBs often look to as their safety net, paying a top-10 price for Hill appears more than slightly ill-advised.
Continue reading to see why Josh believes Nelson Agholor is being overdrafted at his current ADP, and to see which other wide receiver made his overvalued list for the 2018 fantasy season...