The lessons of plus-minus
Roddy White and Mohamed Massaquoi are fantasy sleepers via FBO's new metric
It's nearing mid-August, so your fantasy draft is likely approaching. When looking at WRs to draft, there's one metric developed by Football Outsiders that could prove helpful: the plus-minus rating.
A receiver's plus-minus rating is the number of passes he should have caught -- versus his actual catch total -- in a given season. We arrive at the figure by using our Game Charting Project data to strip out as many "uncatchable" passes as possible. From there, we take each pass and use the historical catch rate for the past four years to create a baseline catch percentage.
Let's say that a pass thrown eight yards in the air downfield on third-and-10 to the left side of the field is caught 72 percent of the time. We then take every one of a receiver's targets and figure out how many catches he should have had, using those baselines. After adjusting each individual's figures for the team around him, we compare the expected catches to the receiver's actual catches and produce the plus-minus figure. You can find more info here.
We've discovered that a receiver with a particularly high or low plus-minus tends to regress toward the mean in the subsequent season; this is where the fantasy hook comes in. Very few fantasy projections take into account a player's catch rate -- and because plus-minus is a new statistic, none use plus-minus. We're going to use plus-minus to highlight players who are either overvalued or undervalued heading into 2010.
For the full breakdown of how to view wide receivers through the lens of this new stat -- overrated and underrated -- you must be an ESPN Insider.
MORE NFL HEADLINES
- San Francisco, Houston win Super Bowl bids
- Romo out at least 3 weeks after surgery
- Jets' Goodson to plead not guilty to charges
- Kraft: Positive reports on Gronk's surgery
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
2010 PROSPECT RANKINGS
Organization Rankings (7/14)
Which teams have the best under-25 talent?
Top prospects, 1-10 (7/14)
A Steeler claims the top spot
Top prospects, 11-25 (7/13)
From Lardarius Webb to Chase Daniel
Sleeper fantasy WRs (8/10)
Look for Roddy White to excel
Draft risk by position (6/28)
What positions carry the most risk in their first three years?
Position group salary analysis (6/15)
When it comes to QB, you get what you pay for
Whether the weather (6/8)
Debunking the "warm-weather quarterback"
The art of the hurry (6/1)
A good pass rush isn't just about sacks
Not all tackles are created equal (5/26)
Charting the NFL's best and worst tacklers
Many happy returns
Six biggest injuries to monitor this offseason