Guide to the Breakout Finder: 2023 Edition
The Breakout Finder is an effort to bridge the gap between analytics and prospect tape using only college football metrics. Brought to life by Russell Clay and Nate Liss, the app can be downloaded on Google Play and the Apple App Store. Every year, through PlayerProfiler analytics, the Breakout Finder releases ratings for running backs and wide receivers of the incoming rookie draft class. Earlier this week, through PlayerProfiler analytics, the Breakout Finder released its preliminary ratings for the 2023 class.
Below is a brief guide on how you can use the Breakout Finder. The guide details the multitude of ways fantasy gamers can utilize the metrics and rankings to help win rookie drafts and much more! A more detailed explanation of how the college metrics are used, and which ones were found to be more important to predicting success, can be viewed through the research breakdown of the 2022 Breakout Finder in this prior article.
For the intent of the project, a breakout season by a player is defined to be a fantasy season recording at least 200 total fantasy points (half-PPR scoring) or at least 1,000 scrimmage yards. For example, rookie Garrett Wilson posted a breakout season in 2022. He did this by recording 1,107 scrimmage yards. Wilson’s Breakout Rating ranked second-highest in the draft class. The Breakout Rating of a prospect is meant to be an approximate modeled probability that the player has a breakout season in the NFL.
The app costs $4.99 but can deliver more than just the final ratings from the predictive model. Prospects can be analyzed by the various metrics, including:
- Dominator rating (available for free with ratings purchase)
- Breakout age (available for free with ratings purchase)
- College yards per reception / yards per carry (available for free with ratings purchase)
- College target share (available for free with ratings purchase)
- Agility score (available for free with ratings purchase)
- Speed score (available for free with ratings purchase)
- SPARQ-X score (available for free with ratings purchase)
- Burst score (available for free with ratings purchase)
- Level of competition (available via additional purchase of $1.99)
- Teammate score (available via additional purchase of $1.99)
- Receiver rating (for running backs, available via additional purchase of $1.99)
- Dynamic score (for wide receivers, available via additional purchase of $1.99)
The definitions of these are outlined in the PlayerProfiler glossary of terms. Additionally, several of these are used as inputs for the Breakout Rating Model. Research on how predictive those metrics are for breakouts over the last 15 years can be viewed in the aforementioned article.
It is important to note that breakout ratings are produced independently of the landing spot. Another way to say that is the team/situation a player gets drafted to has no effect on their rating. Rather, the model seeks to provide judgment on how likely a player is to succeed based on the metrics alone. This is so you are not tied to speculation on variables relating to their NFL team. This is where the metrics database can be useful. For example:
- Rachaad White stood out in the 2022 Breakout Finder due to his 97.13 receiver rating. This proved to be the highest of any running back since 2010. The Breakout Rating Model took into account all of his metrics. However, users know from his receiver rating that his strength is in being able to catch passes and produce offense through the air at a high level. This is what makes him an excellent candidate to be a PPR asset if given the snaps.
The Breakout Finder app has been Officially updated 💎
It was close, but Bijan Robinson is your RB 1️⃣
Check out the rest of the 2023 RB/WR Prospects NOW
— PlayerProfiler College (@Profiler_CFB) March 14, 2023
- DeVonta Smith still has the No. 1 teammate score of all time. This is thanks to a college career competing for volume with Najee Harris, Jaylen Waddle, Brian Robinson Jr., Slade Bolden, and John Metchie. He thrived in this setting. This made it clear that even in a pass-catching room where he wasn’t the only great option, he could earn opportunity. Smith’s true success story sunk in during the 2022 season when he finished as the fantasy WR15.
Through the Prospect Comparison menu of the app, users can compare prospects. Users can do this not just within their own draft class, but with players of their position from prior draft classes.
How Breakout Ratings Can Help You Now
Since breakout ratings aim to predict the long-term success of players (whether they will have a breakout season in their career) and not just their rookie performances, users may find it useful to use Breakout Ratings to decide between rookies of the same position in dynasty rookie drafts.
Where the Breakout Finder wins is when the model has taken stances on rookies within their own class. Thus, being particularly higher or lower on certain rookies than consensus. Some examples of this were on display in 2022:
- Running back Dameon Pierce stood as one of the biggest upwards movers of the offseason. The hype due to his situation caused him to skyrocket on draft boards. However, the Breakout Finder found Pierce’s lack of opportunity in college coupled with his lack of pass-catching experience troubling. Therefore, despite getting a near-perfect situation to be fantasy-relevant, he only managed to finish the season with 12.8 fantasy points per game. This proved to be good for No. 20 among running backs.
- Wide receiver Christian Watson ranked particularly high in breakout rating. Although injury caused him to not complete a breakout season in his rookie year, he was well on his way to one. He ranked top five in his class in Breakout Rating as opposed to teammate Romeo Doubs. Doubs did not crack the top 15 in Breakout Rating. Indeed, consensus draft positioning was defied in this scenario as Watson (ADP WR65) finished 2022 with 11.7 fantasy points per game (No. 32). Doubs (ADP WR58) finished with 7.8 fantasy points per game (No. 64).
You can find out where the 2023 rookie running backs and wide receivers rank by downloading the Breakout Finder app today. Check out which rookies the model loves in a class that may not be as thrilling at the top, but certainly can give us plenty of talent with longevity in the NFL and fantasy relevance.