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FANTASY FOOTBALL – Wide Reciever Ranks: Size Matters


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If you’ve watched two seconds of football this preseason, you’ve seen a flag … or seven. Defensive Pass Penalties (illegal contact, holding, and pass interference) have been trending upward since 2006 and were up 16 percent last season when comparing last season to 2006. Passing stats are on the rise (4,000 yards is the new 3,000), but that is not breaking news and doesn’t really help you in our Fantasy world as numbers are up across the board. But not all receivers are affected in the same fashion by this heightened awareness of the rules, which begs the question to be asked: What type of wide receiver is benefiting the most from the focus on DPP?

Average size of Top 5 WR in terms of yards from 2006-2007: 6’1.5” 202 pounds
Average size of Top 5 WR in terms of touchdowns from 2006-2007: 6’1.8” 211 pounds
Average size of Top 5 WR in terms of receptions from 2006-2007: 6’0.6” 202 pounds

Average size of Top 5 WR in terms of yards from 2012-2013: 6’3.3” 204 pounds
Average size of Top 5 WR in terms of touchdowns from 2012-2013: 6’3.2” 219 pounds
Average size of Top 5 WR in terms of receptions from 2012-2013: 6’1.5” 215 pounds

As you can see, the most successful receivers in the game are increasing in size as the limitations on defensive contact tighten. Remove an outlier in Antonio Brown from the 2012-2013 data, and you’re looking at a 3.3 percent rise from 2006 in the average height of a Top 5 yardage receiver. The weight increase is even more significant (up 12.9 percent without Brown), indicating that big receivers are imposing their will down the field more now than ever as a result of the zebras. Digging a bit deeper, you’ll notice that Antonio Brown was the only receiver in the last two years to finish the season ranked among the Top 5 wide outs in receiving yards that was shorter than 6’3”. Those percentages may not sound like a massive spike, but consider this: the average Top 5 yardage receiver in 2006 mirrored the dimensions of Brian Hartline while the 2012 standard was Brandon Marshall.  Supersize me.

While the change in average size of elite touchdown/reception wide receivers is not nearly as significant, it is still on the rise since the change of rule enforcement. The top scoring receivers have experienced a 1.9 percent rise in height and a 3.8 percent uptick in weight while the top possession players have increased by 1.3/6.4 percent in height/weight.

Scoring is on the rise in the NFL and using the preseason as an indicator, that’s not changing any time soon. You want upside in your draft and the statistically savvy owner will maximize the positive impact of these rules instead of complaining about the amount of laundry on the field. So yea, go ahead and make Percy Harvin (5’11” 184 pounds) or DeSean Jackson (5’10” 178) your WR2, I’ll wait and nab Marques Colston (6’4” 225) or Eric Decker (6’3” 214) 2-3 rounds later.

Size does matter.


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