Kenny Britt and Mike Wallace Look Like They Could Be Fantasy Football Steals
This time of year, it's hard to always remember that, despite fantasy football having such a massive audience, the majority of that audience doesn't come out of the woodwork until July and August.
You and me? Yeah, so, uh, just so you're aware, our fantasy football mock drafting in early May isn't normal behavior.
We're nerdy as hell, man.
For those of us who're drafting up a storm right now, we've got to keep in mind that fantasy football analysis this early on is fluid. Things are going to change.
Or are they?
While average draft positions will fluctuate day to day and month to month, without a massive transaction altering a backfield or a group of wide receivers, things will generally stay the same. That's a relatively subjective statement to make, but average draft position rises tend to be overrated by the masses.
What happens in May fantasy football drafts will often happen in August fantasy football drafts. So analyzing May fantasy football drafts isn't the most ridiculous thing in the world. It's ridiculous, but not the most ridiculous.
A lot of folks have been participating in MyFantasyLeague.com's best ball leagues -- better known as MFL10s -- since the offseason started. These are real drafts and leagues with real people with real money on the line. They aren't mock drafts. They're as real as JLo and Ja Rule.
Because people are playing for something, the average draft position data that comes from these drafts are a little more reliable. And looking at some of this data has shown some eye-opening trends.
Today, we'll focus on one of them: there seems to be a lack of love for a pair of wide receivers who are bound to see a lot of volume in their respective offenses this year.
The Mike Wallace and Kenny Britt Dilemma
Mike Wallace and Kenny Britt aren't in great offenses. The Ravens are coming off a season where the passing offense ranked sixth-worst in football according to our schedule-adjusted metrics, while the Browns -- Britt's new squad -- were just one spot ahead of them. In 2017, there more than likely won't be loads and loads of scoring in Baltimore and Cleveland.
But both Wallace and Britt are lined up to see a crap-ton of volume.
We all know a wide receiver needs volume -- targets -- to be a successful fantasy football asset. In PPR formats last year, every top-24 wide receiver saw at least 100 targets. (Tyreek Hill ranked 25th with 83 targets.) In 2015, just one wide receiver in the top-24 made it there without 100 looks (Sammy Watkins).
Well, according to my volume projections (these aren't our official numberFire algorithm-driven ones, for the record), both Wallace and Britt should be able to easily surpass the triple-digit targets mark this year. And their average draft position doesn't really reflect that.
Wallace is projected at roughly 126 targets, and Britt's at 123.
Britt's number stems from the fact that Josh Gordon still isn't reinstated, and the combined market share (percentage of team targets) for Britt and teammate Corey Coleman could and should be slightly higher this season than what we saw from Coleman and the now-departed Terrelle Pryor last year. This is mostly because Coleman and Pryor would've averaged close to that had they played a full season together, and Coleman's got an additional year of experience now. The Browns also haven't done much in terms of additional pass-catchers -- they replaced Gary Barnidge's production with the hopefully-awesome rookie tight end, David Njoku. And Seth DeValve will be involved in some way, too.
Wallace's average draft cost is the real head-scratcher, though. With Britt, at least you can understand that drafters may be hesitant because it's the Browns (even when they probably shouldn't). Wallace, though, has finished outside the top-30 in fantasy scoring at wide receiver just once in eight years. And he's currently being selected at WR52 according to FantasyADHD.com.
The Ravens, who've been the most pass-happy team in the NFL over the last two years, will more than likely throw the ball less in 2017. They did nothing to improve their skill position players through the draft, and they hired Greg Roman -- a coach who's known for loving the running game -- as a senior offensive assistant this offseason.
But even with a more run-heavy approach, Wallace should be able to lock in a big market share in the Baltimore offense. Steve Smith is retired, making Breshad Perriman the biggest competition for targets in the offense. And there's not much else passed that at wide receiver.
I can understand, to a degree, why players like Wallace and Britt wouldn't be drafted in the top-30 at their positions. But to have someone like Mike Williams -- a rookie -- being drafted ahead of Wallace, and questionable players like Josh Doctson and John Ross being selected around Kenny Britt?
Something's gotta change.