5 Wide Receivers Who Drastically Outperformed Their Teammates in 2016
As kids, we learn that actions carrying negative consequences are generally things we shouldn't repeat. After touching the hot stove once, twice, or seven times, you might realize this is something you want to avoid in the future.
The reverse is also true. That warm, bready chicken nugget you gobbled down last Tuesday is going to taste just as good today, and you want to keep shoveling those puppies down your throat as often as possible. By trial and error, we can find the most optimal actions for the future. A 16-game NFL schedule gives us plenty of time for just that.
After feeding 106 targets to Tavon Austin and getting 509 receiving yards in return, do you think the Los Angeles Rams realized this might be a bad idea? They seemed to, cutting his target market share to 14.38% after their Week 8 bye. Conversely, Kenny Britt was a relative beast, and they fed him 23.86% of the targets from Week 9 through Week 16.
When a wide receiver outperforms his teammates, it will occasionally result with a spike in targets going forward. And why wouldn't it? If you want to operate efficiently, you should be getting the ball to your best assets as often as possible.
This obviously has big implications for fantasy football, as well. Volume drives the game, and if we can spot which players may be in line for additional volume, we can buy before the price gets too high. The best way to do this is by seeing how players performed relative to their own teammates, helping to account for the struggles of the team's quarterback, offensive line, and so on.
To spot these discrepancies, we'll be using numberFire's Net Expected Points (NEP), the metric we use to track the efficiency of both teams and players with the team totals being weighted on strength of schedule. For wide receivers, our main focus will be on Target NEP per target. This tracks the expected points a player adds on each reception while also deducting expected points lost on incompletions and interceptions. Yes, this means it will be influenced by outside factors, but again, that's why we're comparing these guys to their own teammates who had to deal with the same conditions.
With that in mind, let's dive on in. Here are five wide receivers who outperformed their teammates in 2016 and could be due for some increased volume because of it.