Not All WR Classes Are Created Equal (2014 – 2017)

In this article we take a look at the WR classes from 2014-2017 using my Prospect Success Indicator or PSI and identify just how good the 2017 class can become.

Context, is defined as the circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood and assessed.

So why do I bring this up? Well, a month ago I released my Top 12 Rookie WR’s to Draft article (Click to learn about the PSI Calculation) and the same question kept coming up from my readers/followers. “Well how does this class compare to the 201_ WR Class?” They were right; I put the cart before the horse. In order to make sense of why I was hyped for many of these WR’s I had to first put into context just how they fit within some of the most recent WR classes to come out.

So with this new found realization I dove back into all the WR’s who attended the combine from 2014-2017 to see just how they stacked up to one another using the PSI Score. The results speak for themselves.

First I pulled the data of each class, calculated each players PSI Score and then used Jacob Rickrode’s  recent article to see how many have hit Top 24 WR status since entering the league. This will help give us a baseline for of what exactly a WR needs to hit on the PSI Score scale to have a chance of bringing you ROI on your draft pick investment.

First up, the class of 2014 that brought us many of the young WR’s we love and value today, and by far away the strongest class to come out from both a real value and WR PSI value. To keep it simple I pulled in the top 12 WR’s from each class according to the WR PSI for that class.

Year Draft Rd Rank TTL Rank Player PSI Top 24 Season
2014 2nd 1 1 Jordan Matthews              4.79 1
2014 1st 2 1 Sammy Watkins              4.79 1
2014 1st 3 1 Mike Evans              4.79 3
2014 2nd 4 1 Davante Adams              4.79 1
2014 3rd 5 1 Donte Moncrief              4.79
2014 1st 6 1 Odell Beckham              4.79 3
2014 2nd 7 2 Allen Robinson              4.69 1
2014 UDFA 8 2 Albert Wilson              4.69
2014 1st 9 3 Brandin Cooks              4.58 2
2014 2nd 10 3 Paul Richardson              4.58
2014 2nd 11 5 Jarvis Landry              4.27 2
2014 UDFA 12 7 Austin Franklin              3.54

There are many things that grab my attention when looking at this chart but the first thing is just how many WR’s have a PSI of over 4.00 – reminder 4.79 is the perfect score – the average for this group is 4.59, AMAZING!

  • Of the 4 WR’s left that have yet to hit top 24 status 2 are UDFA’s, here is where draft stock needs to be accounted for. The other two (Richardson, Moncrief) have shown promise and are either valued highly or gaining value going into this season. Richardson for sure presents a great Buy Low candidate, so sell your Lockett shares and go buy him.
  • 6 WR’s or 50% of the list have perfect scores all but one has had a top 24 WR season – PSI Score is hitting at an 83% rate on perfect scores in the class.
  • For the Top 12 Class the ranking using PSI has hit at 67% rate, with multiple Top 24 performances.
  • Looking back in Jacob’s article Moncrief was being drafted at 2.11 behind guys like Jace Amaro, ASJ, Manziel, Cody Latimer. If I had this score then I would’ve taken Moncrief much earlier with no hesitation.

The 2015 WR Class – This class had tough act to follow and many expected immediate results from them as a result of 2014, but if you held on to them or bought in low this could be the year you are rewarded.

Year Draft Rd Rank TTL Rank Player PSI Top 24 Season
2015 1st 1 1 Amari Cooper              4.79 2
2015 1st 2 1 DeVante Parker              4.79
2015 5th 3 2 Stefon Diggs              4.69
2015 1st 4 2 Breshad Perriman              4.69
2015 2nd 5 3 Devin Funchess              4.58
2015 4th 6 5 Jamison Crowder 4.27 1
2015 1st 7 8 Nelson Agholor              3.39
2015 1st 8 8 Kevin White              3.39
2015 3rd 9 8 Sammie Coates              3.39
2015 6th 10 8 Darren Waller              3.39
2015 7th 11 8 Da’Ron Brown              3.39
2015 7th 12 8 Tre McBride              3.39

A few things stand out here:

  • First, we don’t have nearly as many perfect scores this year 2 v 6 LY.
  • Next, the overall average score of the top 12 drops to 4.07.
  • Only 2 WR’s have had Top 24 seasons with a 3rd (Diggs) having a top 36 season
  • However the WR PSI did give Kevin White a lower score (3.39) but was being drafted as the 1.04 that year. So far Kevin White hasn’t panned out, if we look at the group around him, should we even expect him to at this point? I wasn’t high on him coming out in 2015 and if I owned shares I’d be selling for anything.
  • On the flip side, Perriman, Funchess, and possibly Parker, present great buy low candidates as potential year 3 breakouts. If you can get them cheap, do it. Just know if they miss this year cut your (hopefully minimal) losses and move on.
  • Another win for the WR PSI was the ability to able to uncover two gems in both Diggs and Crowder. I doubt many had them high on their rookie draft boards in 2015 considering they didn’t even come up in Jacob’s article, but if they could go back now they would take them in Rd 1 or 2 – depending on league size.

The Class of 2016, with only 1 year in the books it’s still too soon to draw any conclusions but if I was asked what to expect from them my answer would be “Not much.” This class has an average score of 4.06 just under the 2015 class.

Year Draft Rd Rank TTL Rank Player PSI Top 24 Season
2016 3rd 1 1 Leonte Carroo              4.79
2016 1st 2 2 Corey Coleman              4.69
2016 5th 3 3 Tajae Sharpe              4.58
2016 2nd 4 3 Tyler Boyd              4.58
2016 7th 5 4 Demarcus Ayers  4.48
2016 4th 6 5 Pharoh Cooper              4.37
2016 5th 7 5 Rashard Higgins              4.37
2016 4th 8 8 Ricardo Louis              3.39
2016 2nd 9 8 Michael Thomas              3.39 1
2016 4th 10 8 Malcolm Mitchell              3.39
2016 1st 11 8 Josh Doctson              3.39
2016 2nd 12 9 Sterling Shepard              3.29

So what stands out from this group?

  • Only 1 perfect score. Yikes! This class was not deep at all and Leonte Carroo never really got a shot but at least on the few targets he did see, he managed to catch a TD which is why I’m still stashing him.
  • The big surprise is that Michael Thomas, of all the WR’s, he was the one to breakout early. I wouldn’t have pinned my hopes on him coming out had I had this metric then, but he did land in the best situation when you consider QB, passing volume, and offense.
    • I know you will callout that I just dogged K. White for having the same score but he doesn’t have Brees throwing him the ball and hasn’t been able to stay healthy.
    • My takeaway here is that Thomas is a product of his environment and a good case for why landing spot sometimes overrides everything else.
    • The question now becomes can he keep it up and for how long? Brees isn’t getting younger, he’s 38. If I owned MT I’d be torn on what to do, but I’d probably ride out this year and then sell next year, unless I’m blown away by an offer.
  • Some potential buy low opportunities with Pharoh Cooper, Boyd and the guys around them. I like the LA and CLE WR’s because competition there is low right now so they could/should see the field this year, and if they don’t, that should signal alarms for you.

The 2017 Class – Could this class be better than 2014? Unlikely, but don’t be surprised if they give that class a run for its money. I won’t be.

Year Draft Rd Rank TTL Rank Player PSI Top 24 Season
2017 1 1 Davis, Corey              4.79
2017 2 1 Godwin, Chris              4.79
2017 3 1 Jones, Zay 4.79
2017 4 1 Smith-Schuster, JuJu              4.79
2017 5 1 Hogan, Krishawn              4.79
2017 6 2 Lane, Jerome              4.69
2017 7 2 Malone, Josh              4.69
2017 8 2 Ford, Isaiah             4.69
2017 9 3 Ross, John              4.48
2017 10 3 Robinette, Jalen              4.48
2017 11 4 Cannon, KD              4.37
2017 12 4 Davis, Robert              3.39

With an average PSI of 4.54 they are by far and away the best class since 2014 to come out.

  • First thing that pops out is that we once again have multiple perfect scores (5). That’s just 1 shy of the 2014 class.
  • Since we don’t have much to go on yet the only other thing I can leave you with is this. Many of you are familiar with the top 4 guys, but if you been following me since the beginning you know I’ve been pounding the table for Krishawn Hogan as a DEEP SLEEPER – check my Twitter Bio – that you should target in the 3rd round of your drafts. His draft stock and landing spot will be absolutely key though as we have learned so far from previous classes so pay attention to his draft stock. If he doesn’t go in the top 3 rds. – don’t be surprised if he does – then I hope he goes undrafted so he can pick his situation. His college (Marian) is close to IND and GB, both of whom have shown interest in him. If he lands there you bet your ass I’m taking him all day every day. His player comps? Alshon, Jordy, and Gordon – I’ll take that dart throw everyday.

So how do all of these players from the four classes stack up? See below:

Year Draft Rd Rank TTL Rank Player PSI Top 24 Season
2014 2nd 1 1 Jordan Matthews              4.79 1
2014 1st 2 1 Sammy Watkins              4.79 1
2014 1st 3 1 Mike Evans              4.79 3
2014 2nd 4 1 Davante Adams              4.79 1
2014 3rd 5 1 Donte Moncrief              4.79
2014 1st 6 1 Odell Beckham              4.79 3
2015 1st 1 1 Amari Cooper              4.79 2
2016 3rd 1 1 Leonte Carroo              4.79
2017 1 1 Davis, Corey              4.79
2017 2 1 Godwin, Chris              4.79
2017 3 1 Jones, Zay              4.79
2017 4 1 Smith-Schuster, JuJu              4.79
2015 1st 2 1 DeVante Parker              4.79
2017 5 1 Hogan, Krishawn              4.79
2014 2nd 7 2 Allen Robinson              4.69 1
2014 UDFA 8 2 Albert Wilson              4.69
2016 1st 2 2 Corey Coleman              4.69
2017 6 2 Lane, Jerome 4.69
2017 7 2 Malone, Josh              4.69
2015 5th 3 2 Stefon Diggs              4.69
2015 1st 4 2 Breshad Perriman              4.69
2017 8 2 Ford, Isaiah              4.69
2014 1st 9 3 Brandin Cooks              4.58 2
2014 2nd 10 3 Paul Richardson              4.58
2016 5th 3 3 Tajae Sharpe              4.58
2016 2nd 4 3 Tyler Boyd              4.58
2015 2nd 5 3 Devin Funchess              4.58
2017 9 3 Ross, John              4.48
2017 10 3 Robinette, Jalen              4.48
2016 7th 5 4 Demarcus Ayers              4.48
2017 11 4 Cannon, KD             4.37
2017 12 4 Davis, Robert              3.39
2016 4th 6 5 Pharoh Cooper              4.37
2016 5th 7 5 Rashard Higgins 4.37
2014 2nd 11 5 Jarvis Landry              4.27 2
2015 4th 6 5 Jamison Crowder              4.27 1
2014 UDFA 12 7 Austin Franklin              3.54
2015 1st 7 8 Nelson Agholor              3.39
2015 1st 8 8 Kevin White              3.39
2015 3rd 9 8 Sammie Coates              3.39
2015 6th 10 8 Darren Waller              3.39
2015 7th 11 8 Da’Ron Brown              3.39
2016 4th 8 8 Ricardo Louis              3.39
2016 2nd 9 8 Michael Thomas              3.39 1
2016 4th 10 8 Malcolm Mitchell              3.39
2016 1st 11 8 Josh Doctson              3.39
2015 7th 12 8 Tre McBride              3.39
2016 2nd 12 9 Sterling Shepard              3.29

What learning’s can we draw from this rank?

  • Everyone with a perfect score has been drafted no later than rd. 3 in the NFL draft this bodes well for Hogan both in real life and FF but he’s also the first guy to come form a tiny school so we’ll see how that goes.
  • Perfect scores have hit on 7 of 9 occasions so far for a 77% average hit rate. If we apply that % to this class we can reasonably expect 4 of 5 to hit early on in their career perhaps even this year.
  • Only 3 players have hit top 24 status who’ve registered a WR PSI below 4.27 since 2014 – Michael Thomas (3.39), Kelvin Benjamin (1.15) and Allen Hurns (1.15) they each have 1 season with top production.
    • General consensus in the FF community for both KB and Hurns is not great, most don’t value either very highly right now. But Thomas should be better, the question just becomes how much better and for how long?
  • Sterling Shepard is a sell for me if I owned him, registering the lowest score of the top WR’s. With OBJ and BMarsh in town I just don’t see it for him. His TD rate was high LY and we all know TD’s are the least sticky stat we can carry over from year to year. Package him up with a draft pick or whatever and go get someone more proven.
  • Of all WR’s to hit none have been drafted later than Rd 4. A small sample size but worthy enough to call out. How would I apply this? Basically if all WR’s in my top 12 rankings that were drafted into the NFL in the 4th or higher are gone in your rookie draft when it stout time to pick, switch to another position.
  • Not all WR classes are created equal as we can see the top 12 WR’s from each class vary greatly.
  • Finally, PSI score seems to be able to uncover hidden gems in each class. For this reason I’m sticking by Krishawn and you should too.

Below is a graph detailing the rank of each class as well as their hit rate (# of WR’s to Hit/by TTL # of WR from Class to Attend Combine). Still early for 2016 but goes to show how awesome 2014 truly was as a whole.

Class Rank Year Avg WR PSI Hit Rate out of Class Total Comments
1 2014 4.59 23% KB (1.15) and Allen Hurns (1.15) – Hit but outside Top 12 for Class
2 2017 4.54 TBD TBD
3 2015 4.07 5% Diggs (4.69) registered (1) Top 36 WR’s
4 2016 4.06 3% Only Michael Thomas in Yr 1 Hit
11% To date 13 of 120 WR’s have hit.

Thanks for reading, if you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them and I will do my best to respond to each one.  You can also find me on Twitter @DynastyGuruFF, give me a follow.

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6 thoughts on “Not All WR Classes Are Created Equal (2014 – 2017)

  1. Really enjoying reading your work. Are you working on a similar formula to apply to RB prospects, or are you planning to mainly focus on WRs? Either way, keep up the good work.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the kind words. You are not the first to ask, I get this question a lot. Right now the truth is I don’t have an equation I feel comfortable applying to RB’s. The same metrics and weights used here are WR specific so I need to spend sometime digging up what matters to RB’s before I can write about them.

    Like

    1. Another question for you: Is there a point where you’ll stray from your rankings/metrics if the perceived value of a player becomes too good to pass up? Let’s say everyone else in your league reads your work and trusts your analysis so much that Mike Williams begins to tumble down your rookie draft. Is there a point at which you’ll just say “OK, my formula says this guy isn’t very good, but he’s 6’4″, 220 lbs., runs a 4.5 40 and got drafted in the 1st round of the NFL draft. He’s going to be given every chance to succeed and his perceived value at pick XX is just too good to pass up, metrics be damned.” Or would you literally take every guy in your top 12, regardless of draft pedigree, before you considered taking a chance on Williams? I ask mainly because draft pedigree seems to be one of the strongest indicators of future success for WRs. Elite RBs have come from every round of the draft and even UDFAs, but the vast majority of elite WRs were taken in the first three rounds of the NFL draft.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Now i don’t fully believe Mike wilams is terrible, I just don;t beluieve he’s the 2nd coming of Dez Bryant as the hype would you to believe. I think he can have a couple of good years just think he’ll never be that elite WR you think you’re drafting. But to answer your question if my Top 5 WR’s are gone (See post on Top 12 WR’s) and he’s still there then you bet your ass i’m grabbing him. His perceived value will be something I can use in a trade, just because I draft him doesn’t mean I need to hang on to him for the year or longer. I know in my league I have some Mike Will truthers who will gladly pay up for him and I would glady trade him to fill a need. Hope that answers your question. Thanks again for reading.

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