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Fantasy Football Opportunity Scores: The best landing spots for rookie wide receivers

In this series of articles, I’m going to explore the relationship between receiver ADPs and projections — and what it tells us about the likelihood that a team will upgrade at receiver in the draft.

The implied receiving production for receivers based on their collective ADPs should be roughly equal to the projection of passing output for their quarterback. Assuming the single quarterback projection is more accurate than those for a collection of receivers, large differences in quarterback and receiver projections can mean a couple of different things: Either current receivers are misvalued, or there is an underlying assumption that the team will add additional receivers in the draft.

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It’s the second of those conclusions I’m exploring in this piece, using ADP to find teams with weaker collective receiver projections than those of their quarterback, and thereby identifying which teams have the most opportunity for rookie additions at wide receiver. In addition to mismatched value, I’ll also be using a concept that originated in economics that Football Perspective’s Chase Stuart applied to receiving shares called the concentration index.

The final metric for judging rookie wide receiver opportunity — each team’s opportunity score — combines the mismatches in projections for quarterbacks and wide receivers with the concentration indexes, where less concentrated targets among current wide receivers means more opportunity.

CONCENTRATION INDEX

In this analysis, I’m using the concentration index to measure how much top receivers on a team dominant share. The theory is that the less dominant the top receiver share projections, the more room there is for a new rookie receiver to steal share from weaker competitors.

The concentration index quantifies the degree of concentration by squaring shares and then adding them together. In a simple example, if a single receiver got 100% (of a ratio of 1) of the targets and the rest zero, the squared sum of the target ratios is one, the highest possible concentration index. If another team spread out the ball equally to 10 receivers at 10% of targets (0.1 ratio), the squared sum of the ratios is 0.1. 

The following are our projected target shares for the top three wide receivers on the team with the highest target concentrations in the NFL. In this table, the “concentration” is the squared sums of the receiver shares multiplied by 100.

Team WR1 Share WR2 Share WR3 Share Concentration
Panthers 27% 24% 14% 14.7
Packers 33% 14% 13% 14.5
Vikings 27% 26% 8% 14.3
Falcons 25% 25% 10% 13.5
Seahawks 25% 25% 8% 13.1

The concentration index does a good job of quantifying our understanding of the teams that would have the least opportunity for a rookie wide receiver. Things could change with the Carolina Panthers’ receiving group in 2021 with Sam Darnold likely under center, but our projection assumes a concentrated passing game like we saw in 2020 when Robby Anderson and D.J. Moore left little more than scraps for other pass catchers. The Green Bay Packers are weaker at WR2, but Davante Adams leads all receivers in our projected share in 2021, limiting the WR1 upside of any rookie receiver. The Minnesota Vikings, Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks all have outstanding WR1-WR2 combos.

On the flip side, the teams with the lowest concentration of targets for top receivers are the ones we want to identify as great landing spots for rookie wideouts. The teams with the lowest concentrations are in the table below, and these are the ones that will score higher in the final opportunity score calculation, which also includes the mismatch in quarterback and receiver projections discussed above.

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