Last week, we resumed the fantasy football predictive autopsy that began after the 2021 season. This is a validation of my best (and worst) predictions. We’ve already covered quarterbacks and running backs, but this week we’re going to dive deeper into wide receivers and tight ends. Again, this includes an analysis of “what did you learn/how do you apply the good and the bad in the next year?”

wide receiver projection


Christian Kirk, JAX: 201.9 FP, 194.2 Project. 140-91-1126-6 vs 133-84-1108-8 — Volume is king. Of the top 20 receivers in target (119+), Dionte Johnson was the only one to finish outside of the top 26 wideouts (147 targets, 133.7 points, 39 WRs). Kirk placed him 14th in targets and 11th in points. “Chasing” wideouts with high expected volume can yield big returns (if you don’t have Kenny Pickett at quarterback). In fact, only five of his 26 have failed to meet his 20.8% or more of the team’s goals, and all five (Cooper Cup, Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, Jerry Judy, Tea Higgins ) missed at least two of his games.

Tyler Rocket, SEA: 199.3 FP, 181.6 Project. 126-83-1067-6 vs 117-84-1033-9 — There were a lot of worries about the Rocket without Russell Wilson, but a closer look at the depth chart reveals an aggressive struggle with Wilson (lack of top notch firepower) and a thin wideout depth chart for 2021 He pointed out that the concern (equivalent to a large rocket volume) was minimal. As we mentioned last week, Geno Smith beat his predictions, but the team’s totals were close, setting the Rockets up for a pretty accurate season.

JuJu Smith-Schuster, Kentucky: 131-88-1000-9 vs 101-78-933-3 ――It’s a work that mixes good points and bad points. Smith-Schuster failed to score a true No. 1 volume with Patrick Mahomes and was nowhere near the touchdown mark, but he came close in receptions and yards.Smith-Schuster’s catch rate was his 10% higher, making up for most of the target difference. To account for these differences, you can manipulate forecasts (target share, team volume, acceptance rate, etc.).

Christian Watson, GB: 59-37-498-4 vs 66-41-611-7 — the missed time worked well, although it was for a different reason. Watson’s predictions hinged on him not being a top 2-3 option until later in the year to move up the rawness and depth charts. Injuries have affected Watson’s slow development and participation in the mix, but he’s behind Allen Lazard and others at the start of 2022.

After returning from injury, Watson saw an opportunity to step up. Watson’s ceiling, even if it’s back-end weighted, is more than enough to justify his projected share, and he’s another case for long-term potential on the bench spot. If Watson had clicked right away and avoided injury, he would have blown these predictions.

Not really

Tyreek Hill, MIA: 281.7 FP, 220.6 Project. 138-95-1161-8 vs 170-119-1710-7 — Hill had near-perfect catching percentage and touchdowns, but wow, his targets and yardage (also YPC) were way off. For someone with a high Tua Tagovailoa this year, I didn’t expect Hill to achieve a career high in targets/targets per game. Overall, this could have been a closer prediction (the prediction was even a bit below his Jaylen Waddle’s share) had the target distribution been less distributed over the ancillary parts.

Chris Olive, no: 164.2 FP, 148.7 Project. 92-55-794-5 vs 119-72-1042-4 — I have not included injury as a reason for the error, but Michael Thomas’ injury was not a major factor in Olave’s accurate prediction. , already had a great volume. With YPC so close and a touchdown off him by one, Olave wasn’t a big miss, but the target and yardage were pretty short. Don’t underestimate what an early-round rookie wideout can do.I’m not suggesting ignoring incumbent talent or guaranteeing that a rookie will take over soon…with a target percentage.

Elijah Moore, NYJ: 123-73-983-7 vs 65-37-446-1 — on the other end of the target distribution, Moore’s building on the rookie’s success now feels like a pipe dream. Granted, Zach Wilson was the main reason the Jets were disappointed (Garrett Wilson was great for everyone but Wilson), but Moore’s failure to take a clear second place was a big part of his season. I gave it a shot. Not only did Wilson step in as number one, but Corey Davis never left (aside from the game he missed), and Moore’s TmTGT% was just 10.4%, which ruined him.

Kenny Goladay, NYG: 92-50-730-4 vs 17-6-81-1 — Speaking of ruined, Golladay’s career is certainly ruined. After his two seasons with injuries and his first year with the Giants were rough, Golladay was a “final round flyer” for some of my teams. After all, Golladay is toast. Goladay not only made Sterling Hepard and Wandale immediately dropable despite Robinson’s injury, but he was only 6-81-1. The Golladay is a “round peg square hole” case. So I should have listened to his advice when I signed. The styles of Daniel Jones and Golladay don’t match. Just because you have a chance at targeting doesn’t mean your lack of fit (and talent) won’t prevent you from doing so. No more “last chance” (see Thomas, Michael, Chark, DJ, etc.).

tight end projection


Dawson Knox, BUF: 111.7 FP, 122.6 Project. 76-47-549-7 vs 65-48-517-6 — this is very close and many have taken Knox a step closer to tier 2 tight end. The reason I didn’t was understanding usage/sharing/attacks, similar to the conversation above. Knox is at best his 3/4 choice of Josh Allen. Even if Knox is a decent touchdown target for Allen, his usage isn’t high enough to justify higher projections.

See Noah Fant: 97.6 FP, 89.2 Project. 71-47-491-3 vs 63-50-486-4 — Like Knox, Fant’s arrival in Seattle was expected to be a volume advance. Not only did it not happen, but it’s quite possible that Fant wasn’t consistent from 3rd behind Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick to 3rd behind a good wideout with a higher total share. It was in Like Knox, this is a breakout tight figuring out whether his end should be a second target (Cole Kmet) or a high-volume third target (Evan Engram) with a strong offense.

Not really

Evan Engram, JAX: 138.4 FP, 123.3 Project. 92-56-633-5 vs 98-73-766-4 — Speaking of engrams, it was misguided as too many were assigned to Marvin Jones and not enough for engrams. To be honest, this wasn’t a massive mistake like some wideouts, just a small mistake and the engram made his TE13 from his preseason he made a whole transition to TE5, so the tight end position was It shows how unstable and gross it is.

Cameron Blate, Tuberculosis: 27.4 FP, 98.2 Project. 71-47-492-4 vs 38-20-174-0 — Blate was a fiasco even with its modest projection. This was not a case of predicting Brate to be like Engram or Knox. As a reminder, before chasing Cade Otton too much as a second-year breakout, he’ll be the third option behind Mike Evans and Chris Godwin…at best. For me personally he needs 8+ touchdowns to be in the top 10 Dawson Knox he’s not the type and next year he could be Kmet or Engram tight in the end I would like to bet.

(Photo by Courtney Calbreth/Getty Images)


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