ADP Collision: A Wide Receiver Battle

ADP Collision: Stefon Diggs, Julian Edelman, Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods, Kenny Golladay

It’s the fourth round and you’re on the clock in your PPR redraft league. Needing a wide receiver, you quickly look over your options. Five names pop up: Stefon Diggs, Julian Edelman, Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods, and Kenny Golladay. Which one do you take? Let’s explore these five players, separated by just ten picks. The ADP rankings are derived from fantasyfootballcalculator.com.

Let’s start with Stefon Diggs:

Stefon Diggs

Stefon Diggs has seen his ADP rise ever since coming into the NFL. Diggs had his best season last year and to reward him, his ADP dropped for the first time since entering the league. The former fifth-round pick has been dominant when healthy. That is the key for him, as Diggs has not played a full season and missed nine of a possible 64 regular season games. In the line graph, you can see the trajectory of his ADP.  It looks like an airplane from tarmac to flight!

ADP Collision

He had his biggest success with Kirk Cousins catching 102-1021-9 in fifteen games. Perhaps he’s hit his ceiling, or perhaps he is capable of much more in his growing rapport with Cousins. Diggs is an excellent route runner and a big reason for him to get the targets he does is he is straight trusted by his quarterback and that goes a long way. Diggs scored 17 times in his past 29 games and produced eight games of 12 or more PPR points.

Vikings Offense

The Vikings are now incorporating a new offense as the previous coordinator John DeFilippo was fired after just 13 games. Kevin Stefanski filled in as interim and is now the full-time coordinator. Stefanski is far from green, having been in the Minnesota organization for the previous 13 seasons as a quarterback, tight end, and running back coach.

There was a big difference in the passing scheme as Stefanski dropped to a more balanced offense, having Cousins throw 52.2 percent of the plays comparable to the DeFilippo 67 percent game plan. A balance is solid, but with a worry of Dalvin Cook injury and only rookie Alexander Mattison, it would be a little surprising to not see that 52 percent climb up near the 60 mark. A jump in percentage will be imperative for Diggs to improve, especially rotating with Adam Thielen as the number one receiver in Minnesota.

Cousins threw for 30 touchdowns with just 10 interceptions. Cousins also added 4,298 passing yards while compiling a 70.1 completion percentage. This spells good news for Diggs. Now, he just needs to stay healthy.

Julian Edelman

Julian Edelman is pushing hard against the age wall. He is now 33-years old and with the number of injuries he has racked up, it makes his body even older. However, after last season, age might just be a number. Edelman finished with 74-850-8 in just 12-games coming off a lost 2017 season (16 games) due to an ACL tear. He missed the first four of 2018 because of PED suspension. His performance proved once again that Edelman is Brady’s number one guy. Here we can see Edelman’s use in the Patriots offense since 2010. Each season represents his total PPR points average for each game played. Ever since 2013, Edelman has been a monster.

Edelman is a high-volume receiver (it’s hard not to be when a player is involved in 88% of the offensive snaps.) Not only is he reliable, he is a versatile weapon, carrying the rock nine times for 107 yards. Edelman would go on to score at least 12 PPR points in 11 of 12 games and would average 16.6 PPR points. From week 5 on, Edelman finished as the WR9 and consistently finished within the top five. However, as consistent as he was, he only scored above 19 PPR points once in 12 regular season games.

Edelman’s Involvement

When it came to the NFL playoffs, Edelman was spectacular. Catching 26 passes for 398 yards and saving his best game for the most important contest of the year. The Rams had no answer for him as he caught 10 balls for 141-yards and won the MVP award.

Edelman’s importance has earned him a two-year contract extension worth $18 million. With Rob Gronkowski enjoying his retirement, Brady will look Edelman’s way more often. He is their most experienced downfield threat. Chemistry is what separates Brady and Edelman from 99 percent of the NFL and, with all the fresh faces New England has brought in, this will be even more important.

Edelman’s consistency is on display in this graph:

ADP Collision

Look for the Patriots to involve Edelman as much as possible. It is highly possible that he will be on the field much more than the 80 percent of snaps he had last season. More involvement should put him on pace to once again lead New England in yards, receptions, and touchdowns.

Brandin Cooks

Brandin Cooks has bounced around to more cities than a vagrant on a train. Cooks has seen a home in New Orleans, New England, and now in Los Angeles, all in just five seasons. Something you would expect out of a role player and not a starter, especially a good one. He’s seen over 100 targets in each season outside of his rookie year and caught 360-5147-32 in 74 games played. That’s close to five catches, 70 yards, and a touchdown every other game.

Cooks was consistent all-season as he hooked up with Jared Goff 80 times for 1204 yards and five touchdowns. Not too shabby for a player’s first year on a team with a load of various weapons and a middle-of-the-road QB.

In 2018, Cooks finished as a WR2 or better 53.3 percent of the time, ranking 14th among wideouts. Cooks scored over 12 PPR points seven times and averaged 11 PPR points per game. That’s solid production considering Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, and Todd Gurley are getting their share of the pie at the same time.

This graph demonstrates Cooks’ strong season in 2018. As you can see, he was often above the 16-point mark:

ADP Collision

Rams Offense and Cooks Troubles

Since the Rams are strong offensively, finishing fifth in passing (295.6 yards per game) and second overall (421.1 yards per game), the volume should be there, however, Goff will need to feed the beasts, which will likely keep Cooks from establishing himself as a WR1. As an owner, you can’t count on injuries to help your cause either. Though Kupp went down in week eight, Josh Reynolds filled in nicely (29-402-5).

Another issue facing Cooks is his inconsistency. Outside of last season, he was inefficient (which is part of the reason he played on as many teams as he has). Cooks’ numbers tell the story, he has roughly 120 targets per season and anywhere from five to nine touchdowns. His production fluctuates like the stock market: booms and busts. This isn’t a good sign with the athletes on the Rams and the way they like to spread the ball around like butter on warm bread.

Cooks floor is a top-notch WR3, but to get him you will have to pay WR2 prices. Trust that he won’t be there for you every week, but you will enjoy the majority of the weeks he is booming.

Robert Woods

Robert Woods’ career was floundering on the Buffalo Bills as he caught just 203-2451-12 in four seasons. The word “bust” was floating around, and then he broke free from the frigid cold of Buffalo and entered the Hollywood weather in Los Angeles, California.

Sometimes all you need is a little sunshine, and the extra vitamin-D has helped Woods become a top-tier wide receiver. Since joining the Rams in 2017, he has nearly caught up with his numbers over the four-years as a Bill. In just two years with the Rams, Woods has brought in 142 passes for 2000 yards and has scored 11 times.

Here is Woods’ ADP.  You can see the dramatic rise ever since leaving Buffalo in 2016:

ADP Collision

Woods isn’t the most reliable receiver; how can he be with the Rams displaying such an awesome offensive force? However, Woods put up 1,219 yards last season, 13th for all wide outs, and his 86 receptions placed him 18th. He also finished 16th on the target list with 130. This all screams “upper WR2,” but what worries me is his touchdowns: He scored six in last season, and Cooper Kupp is a touchdown vulture. Woods had four of his six touchdowns come only after Kupp tore his ACL and was out of commission.

Out of the Woods

Woods finished as the WR10 and was the 12th most consistent. He had two explosive games, scoring 27 points against the Chargers and 23 versus the Cardinals. Overall, Woods had seven games where he scored more than 12 PPR points. He averaged 11 points over the course of the season. He finished as a WR3 88 percent of the time. Only Davante Adams, DeAndre Hopkins, and Antonio Brown were more consistent.

These are great stats from the 2018 season, but the big question is can he do it again? Getting 130 targets will be the most difficult to reproduce, which will impact both his receptions and yards unless he can come up with some home run plays. Woods has averaged 7.1 and 7.8 targets per game with Kupp in the lineup, which would give him anywhere from 114-125 on the season, so the drop-off should not be extreme.

This graph displays the 2018 season between Cooks, Woods, and Kupp, showing where they finished among the PPR rankings and how many times they have done so. Kupp played in only eight games and did not finish any lower than 24th wide receiver:

 

Kenny Golladay

Kenny Golladay is electric, and it didn’t take him long to prove it. Going back to his rookie season, the 6-foot-5 and 213-pound wide receiver out of Northern Illinois was making a name for himself during the preseason summer of 2017. After winning the third-down role, his first game against the Cardinals was explosive: Four cathces for 69-yards and two touchdowns.

Kenny Golladay injured his hamstring in week three and missed the next five games. Golladay would make his first start in week 12, catching two passes for 44-yards. He then caught 13 more passes for 154-yards and one touchdown. At the end of the season, he had 28-477-3 touchdowns and a superb 17.04 yards per catch average.

Entering the 2018 season, Golladay would still not have much of a chance to create volume with both Golden Tate and Marvin Jones on the roster. His appeal was the deep ball, something Matthew Stafford excelled at going back to his days with Calvin Johnson.

Have a Nice Golladay

However, he had much more in store. Against the New York Jets on Monday Night Football, Golladay went off for seven catches and 114-yards. Even though he didn’t score in that game, things would change, as Golladay put up a touchdown in three of the following four games. By the end of 2018, Golden Tate was traded and Golladay would finish the season leading the Lions in receiving with 70 receptions for 1063 yards and 5 touchdowns.

This sets the stage for Golladay to be the Lions number one receiver for the long haul. Golladay has the great ability to be a beast when it comes to going after the ball, and when you combine this with his size and speed, he is one difficult train to stop.

Though he has only two seasons under his belt, so it is too early to tell how much upside he has, as his consistency hasn’t been that strong. However, all he has done in his first two-seasons is to prove people wrong. Also, the offense was terrible last season and so was Stafford.

This graph displays the volatility of Golladay in his 2018 season:

Conclusion

This is a heads-up battle between many receivers offering various positives and negatives. The best way to handle this situation is ask yourself what you are going for? If the answer is volatility with upside then Cooks, Woods, and Golladay offer the most in that department. Golladay is on shakier ground and I would place him third among the group. However, he has the highest ceiling among them as well.

Looking for a safer bet with hardly any ceiling? Diggs or Edelman will fit that scenario the best. Whoever plays the most games between the two will probably be the winner. However. I don’t see much change in the passing game with Minnesota, but New England will more than likely run the ball much more.

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Photo Credits:

Robert Woods
(Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/42/Robert_Woods_%28wide_receiver%29.JPG under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/deed.en)

Kenny Golladay
(Picture credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kenny_Golladay_In_Lions_Uniform.jpg under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/deed.en)

Stefon Diggs
(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a8/Stefon_Diggs_%2826600152089%29.jpg under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/deed.en)

Brandin Cooks
(https://live.staticflickr.com/5617/20555850485_e814a6c2a8_b.jpg under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/deed.en)

Julian Edelman
(Source: https://live.staticflickr.com/2888/13296155245_95f63e09a7_b.jpg under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)