WR Prospect Regression Tree Analysis Identifies Underrated NFL Draft Prospects

by Yung Jabba Du Hut, February 26, 2017

This piece is not about Corey Davis, Mike Williams, Juju Smith-Schuster or John Ross. These receivers are covered enough by NFL Draft analysts and fantasy football dynasty league enthusiasts. Instead, I will be leveraging Kevin Cole‘s WR Prospect Regression Tree and PlayerProfiler’s Data Analysis Tool to review and analyze the key college metrics for the remaining draft-eligible wide receivers to identify potential busts and sleeper gems for dynasty league rookie drafts.

Top-3 NFL Draft Regression Tree WR Prospects

1. Jalen Robinette, Air Force

The WR Prospect Regression Tree absolutely loves Jalen Robinette.  His Career Team Receiving Yards Share at 39-percent puts him on the right side of the tree and his 2017 Team Receiving Yards Share at 54-percent puts him over the top with the highest projected-success-rate leaf of 61-percent.  The tree also places a premium on Robinette’s 27.4 yards per reception.  Not that he needed it to gain a higher success rate, but something worth noting none the less.

2. Kenny Golladay, Northern Illinois

At the highest projected-success-rate leaf of 61-percent, we must also circle Kenny Golladay in our dynasty rookie drafts. Golladay just barely makes it over to the right side of the regression tree with a 30-percent Career Team Receiving Yards Share, but his 43-percent Team Receiving Yards Share in 2017 comfortably cleared the 42-percent threshold.

3. Jerome Lane, Akron

Jerome Lane is a surprising name after the linebacker converted to wide receiver.  Lane posts a Career Team Receiving Yards Share of 32-percent, but fails to meet the 42-percent 2017 Team Receiving Yards Share threshold.  However, Lane did post 16.4 Yards Per Reception putting him at a 57-percent success rate.

4-8 NFL Draft Regression Tree WR Prospects

The next five WRs all finished with a 50-percent success rate. Each failed to accumulate a Career Team Receiving Yards Share over 29-percent, but did post over 933 receiving yards with less than 4.8 receptions per game.

4. Josh Reynolds

5. Josh Malone

6. Chris Godwin

7. DeAngelo Yancey

8. Shelton Gibson

9-12 NFL Draft Regression Tree WR Prospects

This group posted 900-plus receiving yards during the 2016 season, but the WR Regression Tree discounted each player based on relatively low receptions per game.  On the other hand, the model awards this group for their relatively young ages and 32-percent success rate.

9. Carlos Henderson

10. KD Cannon

11. Taywan Taylor

12. Zay Jones

13-25 NFL Draft Regression Tree WR Prospects

The remaining WR Regression Tree prospects sifted scored towards the bottom.

13. Amba Etta-Tawo (5.8-percent)

14. Noel Thomas (5.8-percent)

15. DeDe Westbrook (5.8-percent)

16. Trent Taylor (5.8-percent)

17. Keevan Lucas (3.8-percent)

Keevan Lucas started off promising with Career Team Share Receiving Yards Share of 31-percent putting him on the right side of the tree, but he didn’t meet the 2016 season threshold of 43-percent. Lucas barely missed the Yards Per Reception threshold with 14.57 and then again barely missed the total reception threshold by gaining 81 receptions.  Note that that with three less receptions on the season, Lucas would have finished with a 30-percent success rate.

18. Cooper Kupp (3.8-percent)

19. Isaiah Ford (3.8-percent)

Like Keevan LucasIsaiah Ford started on the right side of the WR Regression Tree but posted 79 total receptions.  One less reception on the season would have put him on the 30-percent success rate leaf.

20. Fred Ross (3.8-percent)

21. ArDarius Stewart (2.6-percent)

22. JoJo Natson (2.6-percent)

23. Amara Darboh (2.6-percent)

24. Tim Patrick (2.6-percent)

25. Malachi Dupre (2.6-percent)

Conclusion

Kevin Cole’s WR Prospect Regression Tree on RotoViz.com is instructive, particularly prior to the NFL Scouting Combine. This exercise helps dynasty league enthusiasts find their predictive signals in the anecdotal noise cloud that quickly envelops NFL Draft prospects. Pay close attention to the top-12 prospects listed during the Combine and circle back to PlayerProfiler.com to see how their athleticism stacks up against their peers at the position as part of a full composite prospect profile. From Dez Bryant to Brandin Cooks, many of the top-ranked wide receivers on the PlayerProfiler Dynasty League Player Rankings paired precocious college production with elite athleticism on their way to fantasy football stardom.