In my previous article, we found that inefficient rookie wide receivers typically share a number of characteristics. Those include volume, draft capital, efficiency, and weight. I’m also under the impression that they break out later than the typical receiver. Let’s find out when inefficient rookie wide receivers generally become WR1s, which is defined as a wide receiver who scores at least 245 fantasy points.
Here is a quick recap of all WR1 seasons from a receiver who had under eight YPT their rookie year:
|Player||WR1 Season||Rookie YPT||PPR||Year||Rookie Targets|
Below is a distribution graph of which seasons the previously inefficient rookie wide receivers broke out as WR1s.
17 of the 33 players had multiple WR1 seasons (51%).
All five players who broke out in their 2nd season had at least one more WR1 season in their career. Those five players averaged 3.2 WR1 seasons.
8 of the 12 players to become a WR1 in their 3rd season had at least one more WR1 season. That’s a 67 percent hit rate and these players average 2.5 WR1 seasons. Note that I excluded Tyreek Hill from this group as it remains to be seen whether he will post another WR1 season.
3 of the 5 players who broke out in their 4th season had at least one more WR1 season. That’s a 60 percent hit rate and 3.4 WR1 seasons per player.
2 of the 10 players who broke out in their 5th season or later had at least one more WR1 season. That’s just a 20 percent hit rate and only 1.2 WR1 seasons per player.
This means that 15 of the 22 players (excluding Hill) who broke out as a WR1 in their 2nd-4th season produced at least one additional WR1 season. That is a 68 percent hit rate and 2.8 WR1 seasons per player.
What are some actionable takeaways from this?
We clearly see that if a player can overcome the odds and become a WR1 during his first four seasons after having an inefficient rookie campaign, then that player actually has a better than average chance of becoming a perennial WR1. Conversely, players who become WR1s after their 4th season tend to be outliers and are bad bets to produce as a WR1 again in their career. If a player falls under this category, this is a player who screams “sell-high” in dynasty.
Examining the WR1s By Age
One way to examine the WR1s is by the season of their production – another is by age at the time of the WR1 season. Let’s see if their age during the first WR1 season is more predictive and if they achieved a second WR1 season.
- 2 of 33 players became WR1s in their age-22 season (6%), both had multiple seasons as a WR1 (100%)
- 4 of 33 players became WR1s in their age-23 season (12%). 3 of 4 had multiple seasons as a WR1 (75%)
- 6 of 33 players became WR1s in their age-24 season (18%). 4 of 6 had multiple seasons as a WR1 (67%)
- 6 of 33 players became WR1s in their age-25 season (18%). 3 of 6 had multiple seasons as a WR1 (50%)
- 8 of 33 players became WR1s in their age-26 season (24%). 2 of 8 had multiple seasons as a WR1 (25%)
- 4 of 33 players became WR1s in their age-27 season (12%). 2 of 4 had multiple seasons as a WR1 (50%)
- 3 of 33 players became WR1s in their age-29 season (9%). Only 1 of 3 had multiple seasons as a WR1 (33%)
We can see the younger a player is when he becomes a WR1, the more likely they are to achieve a repeat WR1 season. This backs what we saw above when looking at each player by year.
Now, what happens when we start to analyze what these players may have in common prior to becoming fantasy assets? Is there something that signals an impending WR1 season amongst these players?
Let’s stay in a similar mindset and go check to see if these players were efficient in their seasons prior to their WR1 season.
Commonalities Prior To Becoming WR1s
What did these players look like prior to bucking their “inefficient rookie wide receiver” label? The table below shows what each player’s season looked like prior to becoming a WR1.
|Player||Season||Previous WR2 Seasons||Seasons w/ 8 YPT before WR1||reYPT||PPR||Year|
Since the inefficient rookies who broke out in Year 2 naturally wouldn’t have been efficient the prior year, I will not include them as part of this study. This leaves us with 28 players who were inefficient in their rookie seasons and became a WR1 in Year 3 or later.
- 18 of 28 players were efficient in the season prior to becoming a WR1 (64%)
- 8 of the 13 3rd year WR1s were efficient in their 2nd season (62%)
- 5 of those 7 players (excluding Tyreek Hill) went on to have multiple WR1 seasons (71%)
- Only 2 of the 5 players who were inefficient in both their first two seasons went on to have multiple WR1 seasons. (40%) It should be noted that Demaryius Thomas was at 7.9 YPT before hist first WR1 season.
- 3 of the 5 4th year WR1s were efficient in their 3rd season (60%)
- 4 of the 5 4th year WR1s were efficient in either their 2nd or 3rd season (80%)
- 2 of the 5 4th year WR1s were efficient in both their 2nd and 3rd season and both players had multiple WR1 seasons (40%)
- 7 of the 10 5th year or later WR1s were efficient in the prior season (70%)
- 6 of those 7 players were efficient in multiple seasons prior to becoming a WR1 (86%)
This indicates that if we are to bet on a player to hit a WR1 season during or after their 5th year, we want to target someone who has been efficient for multiple seasons in their career.
These are all promising, but what if we narrow our focus and increase the target volume?
Filtering For Volume
Let’s see what happens when we filter for all players who were targeted 50 or more times in the season prior to becoming a WR1.
|Player||Season||Previous WR2 Seasons||Seasons w/ 8 YPT before WR1||Year||reTRGS||reYPT|
This now takes out four misses from our group.
- 18 of 24 players were efficient in their season prior to becoming a WR1 (75%)
- 20 of 24 players were efficient at some point in their career prior to their WR1 season (83%)
- 8 of the 11 3rd year WR1s were efficient in their season prior to their WR1 season (73%)
- 3 of the 5 4th year WR1s were efficient in their season prior to their WR1 season (60%)
- 7 of the 8 5th or later year WR1s were efficient in their season prior to their WR1 season (88%)
At first glance, we see that a few of our misses are actually very close to the eight YPT threshold.
Only 3 of our 24 players on this list were under 7.7 YPT in their season prior to becoming a WR1. If we include the close misses in our tally here is what we see:
- 21 of the 24 players had a 7.7 YPT or higher in their season prior to becoming a WR1 (88%)
- 9 of the 11 3rd year WR1s had a 7.7 YPT or higher in their 2nd season (81%)
- These 8 players (excluding Tyreek Hill) combined for 23 WR1 seasons (2.9 per player)
- 6 of the 8 players had multiple WR1 seasons (75%).
- 5 of the 5 4th year WR1s had a 7.7 YPT or higher in their 3rd season (100%)
- These 5 players combined for 17 WR1 seasons (3.4 per player)
- 3 of the 5 players had multiple WR1 seasons (60%)
- 7 of 8 5th or later year WR1s had a 7.7 YPT or better in their season prior to becoming a WR1 (88%)
- These 7 players combined for 8 WR1 seasons (1.1 per player)
- 1 of the 7 players had multiple WR1 seasons (14%).
The majority of players who end up becoming WR1s after an inefficient rookie season have an efficient season prior to breaking out. While these WR1 seasons are spread out, for the most part, we see that the earlier they are efficient the better chance they have of becoming a perennial WR1.
This should really help us narrow down which players actually have a chance of bouncing back after an inefficient rookie season. In Part 2 of this article, we’ll explore which young players might fit these profiles in 2020.