Buy/Sell Fantasy WRs (08/12/13)

By John Ewing
Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Johnson, and Greg Jennings: buying and selling three fantasy wide receivers that have slipped in 2013 drafts.



Fantasy football players (and humans in general) are terrible at assessing risk. This is evident by recency bias in fantasy football drafts. Recency bias is the tendency for people to look at only the most recent events while disregarding older but equally important pieces of information. If you fall prey to it, recency bias will be detrimental to your fantasy team.
 
Luckily, the Predictalator is able to account for all of the statistical contributions of a player without including our natural human bias. As such, we are able to tell you which players that are currently experiencing the effects of recency bias should be taken earlier in drafts than their current ADP (average draft position) commands and which players to avoid.
 
Below we buy or sell three wide receivers that were drafted in the first or second round last season but are currently going in the third round or later in standard ten-team leagues. The 2012 and 2013 ADP rankings are per ESPN and are for standard scoring leagues.
 
For all of our 2013 fantasy football rankings click here.
 
Larry Fitzgerald
2012 ADP: Overall - 10, WR 2
2013 ADP: Overall - 32, WR 11

 
Fitzgerald might have been our best call in fantasy last season. ESPN and Yahoo both ranked Fitz as the No. 2 receiver and a 1st round pick. We had Fitzgerald ranked as the No. 9 WR going as a late 2nd or 3rd round pick. A disappointing 2012 saw Fitz catch the second-fewest yards in his career, only 18 more than his rookie season (finished as the 43rd best WR in fantasy).
 
PredictionMachine.com’s 2013 Projection:
103 receptions, 1,210 yards, 9 TDs 

Carson Palmer may not be considered an upgrade at quarterback to most NFL teams but for Fitzgerald he is a godsend. Last season Fitz was targeted 153 times (7th most in the NFL) but only caught 71 passes (26th in NFL) mostly because the balls were uncatchable. Palmer completed 61% of his passes; the four quarterbacks in Arizona combined to complete 55% for 11 TDs and 21 INTs. If our projections are accurate his 103 receptions would tie his career high and his 9 TDs would be his highest total since 2009.
 
Verdict: Buy
 
Andre Johnson
2012 ADP: Overall - 11, WR 3
2013 ADP: Overall - 29, WR 9

 
Johnson had a fantastic 2012 campaign. He had 112 receptions (4th NFL) and a career high in yards 1,598 (2nd NFL) all while staying healthy and playing a full 16 games. So why is he slipping in drafts this season? Johnson only reached the end zone four times and with Arian Foster dominating in the red zone it may be difficult for Johnson’s TD total to increase.
 
PredictionMachine.com’s 2013 Projection:
87 receptions, 1,234 yards, 8 TDs
 
Touchdowns are fickle in the NFL. For wide receivers that catch 10 or more TDs in a season, 76% do not catch double-digit touchdowns the next year. It is extremely difficult to predict who will catch touchdowns. However, I would bet on a guy that is going to accumulate a large number of receptions and yards.
 
Verdict: Buy
 
Greg Jennings
2012 ADP: Overall - 15, WR 5
2013 ADP: Overall - 80, WR 29

 
After playing every game from 2008-2010, Jennings has missed 11 games over the last two seasons. In addition to lingering injuries, the 29-year-old receiver is switching from the best quarterback in the league, Aaron Rodgers, to Christian Ponder who finished 23rd in TDs and 25th in yards last season.
 
PredictionMachine.com’s 2013 Projection:
74 receptions, 753 yards, 6 TDs
 
While Jennings will be the clear No. 1 option in Minnesota, he may also be the only option for Ponder, garnering double teams on nearly every passing down. Don’t get it twisted; Minnesota is a run first team. The Vikings have not had a 1,000 yard receiver since 2009 when Brett Favre was slinging passes for the purple and gold.
 
Verdict: Sell