Fantasy Football: The Most Intriguing Wide Receiver Projections

Brandon Marshall
Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall. Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy football owners have a lot to learn from those who make their money in the stock market.

That’s a concept I’m exploring in an upcoming book on the psychology of daily fantasy football, and even though this article is about traditional re-draft fantasy leagues, at least one lesson still applies.

“The stock market is filled with individuals who know the price of everything, but the value of nothing.” -Phillip Fisher

This quote should be at the forefront of our degenerate minds as we take a look at players we’ll target and guys we’ll fade this summer. Knowing the price of a player — where you can get him in a draft — has almost nothing to do with what sort of value you can draw from said player in 2014.

Using the ever-useful rotoViz similarity score app as a foundation, I’ve created preliminary median and high projections for fantasy’s elite wide receivers and those who could provide quite a bit of draft day equity if they approach their best case scenario projections.

I’ve given “equity scores” to these wideouts, and I’ll have many more equity scores to hand out next week.

Below is a quick look at three guys who accomplish the rarest of projection-based feats: they appear to be safe fantasy investments with upside that could make them 2014 difference makers in any fantasy format. I think you’ll see why they jumped off the page.

Brandon Marshall, CHI
Median projection: 274.9 (WR11)
Median equity score: -3
High projection: 314.8 (WR2)
High equity score: 6

It’s so very rare to spot a high-end receiver with an equity score of more than one or two. There’s simply no room to go for guys at the top, but Marshall proves to be the exception here. His median score shouldn’t scare anyone since he would still be a WR1 (top-12 receiver) in a high-octane offense run by Lord Trestman. Marshall so far is a much better draft day value than his teammate, Alshon Jeffery.

Jeffery, for the record, has a high equity score that would be exactly in line with his ADP of WR7. His median projection would put him outside the top-12.

Pierre Garcon, WAS
Median projection: 280.6 (WR10)
Median equity score: 3
High projection: 295 (WR8)
High equity score: 5

I know Washington’s signing for DeSean Jackson plunged Garcon into the fantasy abyss for many obsessives examining average draft positions in April, but Jackson’s insertion into Washington’s offense didn’t change my projections for Garcon all that much. He’ll still be a featured part of a pass-happy offense, and while he’ll never dominate the red zone like Marshall or Jeffery, his PPR value is unquestioned. He’s imminently safe with very nice upside potential. Very rarely in the top-15 receivers will you find equity scores above zero for both median and high projections.

Wes Welker, DEN
Median projection: 218.9 (WR20)
Median equity score: 10
High projection: 286 (WR9)
High equity score: 21

This makes me a little nauseous. As an unapologetic member of Team Big Receiver — guys who, you know, are relevant in the red zone — recommending tiny Wes goes against my every instinct. It’s right there in the numbers though: with anything near his high projection, Welker could prove to be a draft day steal. Even Welker’s median prospects would put him 10 spots ahead of where he’s being drafted. That’s tough to ignore. Those who despise small receivers should note that Welker — thanks to a heaping helping of red zone receptions — was fantasy’s No. 2 receiver after the first eight weeks of 2013.

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