Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:

NFL    NBA    MLB

Already have an account? Log in here.

[X]

Forgot Password


[X]

Wide Receiver VOS (Values Over Starter): 2019 Season In Context


The one (and only) good thing about fantasy football season ending is that we have plenty of time to analyze what happened during the past few months and put performances into context to prepare for next season. As football is an ever-evolving game, though, it makes sense to assess how good players were in fantasy leagues according to how the rest of the players in the league performed. That is what I will be doing in this series of articles, one per skill position.

In order to know how good a starter (top 12 for QBs and TEs, top 24 for RBs and WRs; the number of starters per position in Yahoo! standard leagues without considering the FLEX spot) was in any given season we shouldn't just look at his numbers in a vacuum, but rather in that year's environment. To do that we can use what I've called Value Over Starter or VOS. VOS is calculated on the basis of the top performers' fantasy points obtained during the full season, so different years have different performing levels (for example, a great passing year in 2019 might look more impressive than one in 2000 in terms of counting stats, but the best 2000 passer might have had a better year when compared to his contemporaries in their context).

This article will cover the wide receiver position and the top-24 players (that is, WR1/WR2) at the position during the past 20 years going from the 2000 season to the just finalized 2019 campaign. Let's get started!

Editor's Note: Get any rest-of-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive DFS Tools, Lineup Optimizer and Premium DFS Research through the Super Bowl. Sign Up Now!

 

Value Over Starter: A Quick Primer

As I already introduced in my first article, I'll be using the Value Over Starter metric to asses how good a player was in a given season compared to the rest of starters at his position. The VOS metric is calculated following a simple set of steps:

  1. Divide each player's total fantasy points into three categories: passing (paPPR), rushing (ruPPR), and receiving (rePPR); knowing what each stat is worth in PPR-format fantasy leagues (0.1 points per receiving yard, 6 points per rushing touchdown, 1 point per reception, etc...)
  2. Calculate the total points generated by the top 12 QBs and TEs and the top 24 RBs and WRs for each category.
  3. For each player inside those top 12 or top 24, subtract his paPPR, ruPPR, and rePPR for the combined addition for the position/year/category, then divide that number by 11 or 23 depending on the position.
  4. Divide the player value for each category by the number calculated in Step 3. The resulting number would tell us if the player was dead average among starters (VOS 1), if he performed over the starters' average level in that position in that category (VOS>1), or if he performed under the starters' average level in that position in that category (VOS<1)

Quarterback's VOS is based on both the passing and rushing categories, running backs' VOS is based on both the rushing and receiving categories, and wide receivers' and tight ends' VOS is based just on the receiving category.

Here is an example of the calculation to make things a bit clearer and allow you to replicate the method if you want to. Taking Lamar Jackson's 2019 season and following the steps aforementioned:

  1. Jackson scored 417.7 total points in 2019. 259.1 of those came via passing (259.1 paPPR), and 160.6 came via rushing (160.6 ruPPR).
  2. Top-12 QBs (starters at the position in standard leagues) combined for 3048.2 paPPR and 664.7 ruPPR.
  3. If Lamar Jackson had not been part of that top-12, the average starter would have averaged (3048.2-259.1 divided by 11) 253.6 paPPR, and (664.7-160.6 divided by 11) 45.8 ruPPR on the season.
  4. Lamar Jackson's passing VOS would come from dividing his paPPR by the average of the other 11 starters (259.1/253.6) and would yield a 1.02 paVOS. Same with the ruPPR (160.6/45.8) for a 3.50 ruVOS. Jackson's QB VOS in 2019 would be paVOS+ruVOS = 4.52 VOS, then adjusted for the season's environment taking in consideration the percentage of points the average starter got from passing/rushing/receiving stats. The final value comes down to 1.374 VOS on the 2019 season for Jackson, making him the leader among all starters.

 

2019 WR1/WR2 In Historical Context

Now that you know how the VOS metric works, we can put the 2019 wide receiver class in context. There have been 480 top-24 wide receivers since 2000. The best of them had a 1.608 VOS (2003 Randy Moss) while the worst had a 0.213 VOS (2000 Jamal Lewis). In terms of seasons, here is how things look like historically:

As you can see, and relative to each year's context, the 2019 season was indeed one for the ages. The best WR (WR1) was the third-best ever among his peers other than in 2002 and 2003, while the worst WR (WR24) was the best ever in context. Michael Thomas finished the season as WR1 with a 1.585 VOS while Stefon Diggs was the WR24 with a 0.844 VOS (A.J. Brown had the lowest VOS at 0.840 but finished WR21).

While looking at the individual player/season entries of the last 20 years, Michael Thomas' 1.585 VOS ranks third all-time only behind 2003 Randy Moss and 2002 Marvin Harrison:

You might wonder why Moss' 2007 season was the best among the top-six in terms of total FP and average FP/G, but only ranked fourth in VOS. That is related to both the context of the 2007 season and what Moss did that year. In 2007, the average starting wide receiver (WR1/WR2, that is, the top-24 players at the position) was better than those of 2019, 2002, and 2003, which made Moss look less impressive when compared to his peers.

Antonio Brown's 2015 and 2014 seasons are impacted more by what he himself did during those years. He had a slightly better season in 2015, but that difference came from his rushing and not his receiving. As rushing is not factored into a wide receiver's VOS, Brown's 2014 season ranks higher when considering him a "pure receiver".

The second-best 2019 wide receiver, Chris Godwin (276.1 FP, 19.7 FP/G) ranks a staggering 108th-overall among starters since 2000 with a 1.141 VOS. That means he only performed 14.1% better than the average WR1/WR2 this past season, so he didn't provide a really huge ROI to those rostering him in comparison to other top-tier receivers in 2019. Here are the top-25 WR seasons in VOS since 2000:

If you take a good look at the list, you'll notice there are only four players from the past three seasons on the list. That means that the WR position is featuring more similar players in terms of production, and therefore that the differences between the very best of them and the rest of top-tier players are not that exaggerated.

This can be seen in the 2019 WR1/WR2 leaderboard, pictured next:

While Michael Thomas had a season for the ages (376 rePPR), the rest of starting wide receivers all ranged between 275 and 205 rePPR. That is just a 70-point gap between 23 players, quite small compared to other years in which the second-best performer at the position and the 24th had much more notable differences.

More Fantasy Football Analysis


Check out all of RotoBaller's fantasy football rankings. Staff rankings are updated regularly for all positions and include standard formats, PPR scoring, tiered rankings and dynasty leagues.




Today’s Most Viewed Players

More Recent Articles

 

Bases Loaded Podcast - Relief Pitchers Preview

Mike Kurland (@Mike_Kurland) is joined by Jorge Montanez, Zach Braff and Mike Simione as they jump into their relief pitcher preview! Subscribe to the Bases Loaded podcast, part of RotoBaller Radio's Podcast Network. Like and Subscribe to the RotoBaller channel on Youtube to get all our latest podcasts and catch us on iTunes and BlogTalkRadio as well!... Read More


2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers - Jose Urquidy

It's been a tumultuous winter for the Houston Astros. Not only were they embroiled in a sign-stealing scandal (which has, naturally, progressed apace to unsubstantiated conspiracy theories about ever more sophisticated methods of cheating), but they watched staff ace Gerrit Cole sign a mammoth free-agent deal with the Yankees. Plenty of virtual ink has been... Read More


2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers - Mark Canha

Mark Canha had a solid 2019 campaign and is one player that probably deserves more attention heading into 2020 than he is currently receiving. He finished the season hitting .273/.396/.517 with 26 HR, 58 RBI, 80 R, and 67 BB in 410 at-bats. It was a very productive line for a guy that played in... Read More


Four Prospect Sleepers for 2020 Redraft Leagues

Recently, Rotoballer launched a list of the Top 50 MLB prospects for the coming year. The top of the list was populated by names such as Gavin Lux, Luis Robert, and Brendan McKay. These players, among others, feature a promising combination of talent and favorable playing time projections to suggest they’ll be the cream-of-the-crop among... Read More


ADP Cost Analysis – Robbie Ray vs Trevor Bauer

With fantasy baseball draft season in full swing, those of us who partake in this joyous game are now looking through as much draft data as possible in a bid to find players we love who have lower average draft positions (ADP) than we believe they should. All this to eke out as much draft... Read More


2020 Keeper Value Rankings - Second Base

Keeper Value Rankings are intended for Keeper Leagues in which a fantasy owner must forfeit a designated draft pick in order to keep a player into the upcoming season. These rankings are based on Keeper "Values". In the marketing world, Value can be defined as "the extent to which a good or service (player) is... Read More


2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers – C.J. Cron

As another fantasy baseball season approaches, we once again have the chance to discuss C.J. Cron as a fantasy sleeper. Cron will be playing for his third team in three seasons. It is tough to wrap one's head around the idea that a player of Cron's talent continues to be undervalued by professional and fantasy... Read More


2020 Starting Pitcher Rankings - H2H Points Leagues

Points leagues may seem like a slight variation from traditional 5x5 category scoring leagues but you must approach draft day with a very different strategy if you wish to truly compete. All preseason long, RotoBaller has you covered with the latest rankings for all fantasy baseball league types. Here we present our points league rankings... Read More


Second-Half Improvements: Buy Into These Starting Pitchers

The second half of the season is always put under a microscope for starting pitchers. Fantasy players have a love for the second half of the season, as the belief is that pitchers who take a step forward could carry over that success the next season and perhaps even build upon it. But, as we... Read More


How to Attack RP in SV+HLD Leagues

No position has seen as much evolution in recent seasons as the relief pitcher. Gone are the days where starters were expected to go seven innings as most teams have embraced the idea of "super-bullpening" and try to fit as many pitchers that can throw 95+ MPH into their bullpen as they can. Many fantasy... Read More


Using Sabermetrics for Fantasy Baseball: Pitch Info

One of the most fundamental questions in fantasy sports is if a player's current performance is sustainable. More than any other sport, baseball has a slew of statistical measures that can be dissected in numerous ways to analyze player performance. Pitch Info is a publicly-available pitch tracking system that provides a lot of different data to... Read More


2020 Fantasy Baseball Staff Rankings

Below you will find RotoBaller's 2020 fantasy baseball rankings, tiers and auction dollar values for the 2020 MLB season. Our Ranking Wizard displays our staff's rankings for various league formats, all in one easy place. Here's what you'll find: Mixed, Head-to-Head, Points, AL/NL Only, Two-Catcher Top 2020 prospects, Dynasty leagues, Keeper values Export the rankings easily... Read More


Mock Draft Review: Best Late-Round Targets

Last week, some members of the RotoBaller staff completed a 12-team mock draft for standard 5x5 format. After the draft, we each broke down our strategy and some of our favorite picks, which can be found here. However, I want to take a closer look at one portion of the draft in particular. Since we know that... Read More


Faster and Furious: Pitchers with Rising Velocity/Performance

Welcome fantasy baseball players! I’m sure that you, like me, are anxiously counting down the days until your drafts and Opening Day. While the fantasy season may not start for several weeks, there are plenty of things we can do to start preparing for a successful season. One of those things is to take a good... Read More


James Karinchak Is A Relief Pitcher To Know in 2020

One of the lesser-known players that intrigues me for the 2020 MLB season is Indians relief pitcher James Karinchak. The former Bryant Bulldog was drafted by Cleveland in the ninth round in the 2017 draft and went on to have one of the most outrageous statistical seasons in minor league baseball history. As someone who... Read More