FANTASY FOOTBALL DRAFT 2011 ~ The Colts Shift Toward Austin Collie, and it's 2011 Fantasy Football Impact on Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon...and "Kramerica Industries"

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FANTASY FOOTBALL DRAFT 2011 - WR

 

By R.C. Fischer
Release Date:
  8/15/2011

The Colts WR Shift Toward Austin Collie, and it's 2011 Fantasy Football Impact on Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon...and Kramerica Industries

Austin Collie, Pierre Garcon, Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts -- 2011 Fantasy Football Draft Guide, Dynasty Leagues

 

Don't ask me why, but I spend much of free time thinking about statistical theories and number relationships. I should be listening to the instructions my wife is giving me about what kid needs to go where by what time, or enjoying a good book or movie, or just enjoying the moment. Occasionally, I will. However, I have a problem (first step towards recovery...check).

The problem is -- I will be minding my own business, and something/someone interrupts me. It's like on the TV show Seinfeld. I'm in a "figurative" Jerry's apartment in my own mind, and then my happy-go-lucky existence is suddenly intruded upon by a wildly entering, non-knocking thought/concept/idea in the form of Cosmo Kramer sliding into, and disrupting, my "happy-place". I was going about my day in peace and tranquility, but suddenly Kramer comes sliding in to borrow something or to discuss the merits of a coffee-table book about coffee tables.

Sometimes the interrupting idea merits some consideration, like Kramer's theory on "why not Mustard and Ketchup in the same bottle?" Other times the idea makes practical sense, but is totally ridiculous in reality -- like Kramer's (and Frank's) "the Bro"/"Manssier" concept.

I was minding my own business at my son's Lacrosse practice the other day, and with no warning...a Kramer-idea for Fantasy Football came bum-rushing into my mind -- "how is it even possible for the Colts to have 3 WRs rated among the top-30 WRs for Fantasy Football, how is there even room for that possibility?" There are 32 teams in the NFL, most teams have one WR in the top-30, and obviously, some teams have none...and yet the Colts have three?

You might think there is an easy answer to this question, "Well, the Colts throw the ball so much...of course there is room for that level of Fantasy Football success for multiple WRs..." I thought the same thing, while watching my son get hit over the head with a lacrosse stick. Then this thought occurred (after I knew my son was OK of course), the Rams/Sam Bradford threw the ball a ton in 2010 too, and they don't have ANY clear-cut WRs in a Fantasy Football top-30 (Mark Clayton was on-pace early, but then was lost to injury). The Texans threw the ball ton in 2009, and they didn't have 3...or even 2 WRs finish in the top-30 for Fantasy scoring in 2009. How can the Colts do it, and also have top TE receiving production as well?

Suddenly, the Colts WR productivity situation for Fantasy Football was consuming me. The idea was consuming me in a similar way to figuring out the economics of how many cans and bottles it would take to make fiscal sense to take them all to Michigan to profit from the extravagant .10-cent deposit refund. How can so many WRs coexist and thrive on one team for Fantasy Football, when no other team is even close to that statistical possibility?

Before we delve into the numbers, a few things to keep in mind:

  • In most all of our Fantasy Football research and analysis, we look at Games 1-15 only (unless otherwise noted). The final game in any season is typically a non-indicator of true performance...as players are sitting out, playing half games, playing against other teams who are playing all their backups, etc -- and we are doing that here.

  • We consider fractional games played where we feel it is appropriate. Games played where a player (like Austin Collie, and his concussions) is injured, and misses the 2nd half (for example)...it doesn't make sense to look at his stats in the prism of a full game played, in that particular game.

  • Everything for this article surrounds a top-30 WR "marker," whether discussing actual results or preseason opinion rankings. We're using "30" as that's what hit me initially...and most Fantasy leagues are 12-teams, 24 WRs starting in a given week, or with a flex position up to 30 WRs playing each week (each league obviously can vary).

 

2011 Preseason Fantasy Football Draft Rankings of Colts WRs (currently through July 2011)

Looking at our latest compilations of Fantasy Football Draft data that we have for "ADP" (Average Draft Position) in actual drafts or mock drafts, the 3 Colts WRs are currently trending among the ADP top-30 WRs for 2011 preseason (traditional scoring 12-team league, PPR leagues are almost identical trends as well):

  • #8 overall WR ADP = Reggie Wayne

  • #25 overall WR ADP = Austin Collie

  • #29 overall WR ADP = Pierre Garcon

No other team can boast such a lofty honor as 3 WRs among the top-30 selected WRs for Fantasy Football. Only three NFL teams can boast having TWO of their WRs in the top-30 ADP among Fantasy Football WRs:

  • Cowboys = Austin/Bryant

  • Eagles = D.Jackson/Maclin

  • Giants = Nicks/Manningham

No NFL team has a trio of WRs that are as highly regarded as Wayne, Collie and Garcon. Which really started to bug me -- why is this the case? Actually before I asked why, my first thought was -- I have to see how this is even possible? Can three WRs from the team actually coexist while producing top-30 Fantasy Football scoring output?

The Fantasy Football Metrics "Big Board" Draft Guide for the 2011 season is now on sale! 500+players analyzed, free updates anytime/all preseason with your purchase, Traditional and PPR scoring ratings. Click Here = Fantasy Football Metrics - 2011 Draft Guide; Unique and Intelligent Stats, Tips, Help, and Cheat Sheet.

 

Is it because the Colts throw more than everyone else?

No doubt the Colts throw a lot, but that's not the exclusive/decisive reason...or the Saints, the Lions, or Broncos could boast the same; but none of those teams have three top-30 Fantasy Football WRs.

 

2010 Passing Attempts per game (Weeks 1-16, no Week-17) for QBs with over 8 games played:

  1. 42.6 = P.Manning, IND
  2. 41.9 = S. Hill, DET
  3. 41.3 = D. Brees, NO
  4. 38.3 = Orton, DEN
  5. 36.8 = Schaub, HOU

 

Is it even true that 3 WRs from the same team can be in the top-30 for Fantasy Football?

The first thing I had to do is look to see if it is actually true -- did the 3 Indianapolis Colts WRs actually all simultaneously produce top-30 Fantasy Football numbers in 2010? If you were to look at the overall raw totals, the answer is no (barely). The problem with looking at just the raw totals is -- Austin Collie missed several full and partial games with injuries/concussions. Pierre Garcon missed a few games with injury as well. In just purely raw Fantasy Football scoring point totals, it was close (keep in mind we are not considering Game-16/Week-17 stats):

  • Reggie Wayne was ranked 10th overall among Fantasy Football WRs in scoring
  • Austin Collie was ranked 30th overall
  • Pierre Garcon was ranked 33rd overall

Only the New Orleans Saints were close to the same realm as the Colts WRs in Fantasy Football productivity in 2010 (in our scoring tallies for 2010, no Week-17). The Saints had Marques Colston (#16), Lance Moore (#26), Robert Meachem (#42). However, the Colts best producing WR (Wayne) is way ahead of the Saints best (Colston), and the Colts 3rd best WR (Garcon) is well ahead of the Saints 3rd best (Meachem). What the 3 Colts WRs are able to produce is amazing.

The 2010 injuries made me wonder something else -- with all the injuries, maybe only two Colts WRs produce at any given time...and maybe when all three are playing together, only Wayne succeeds and Collie and Garcon take a backseat? Would these Colts WRs all cannibalize each other when playing together? When all 3 Colts WRs are playing together, do all 3 (or 2 of 3) become mediocre for Fantasy Football?

 

What is the productivity when all 3 Colts WRs play at the same time?...the story takes a twist...

It was driving me crazy -- "how can three WRs all playing at the same time, be top Fantasy Football producers?". Logic would dictate that someone would take a major back seat in any WR trio for Fantasy Football. It reminded me of the 2010 New York Giants higher rated WR trio (Nicks, Smith, Manningham), but the Giants WR-trio doesn't really pan out statistically either...they do cannibalize to a degree.

I used Mario Manningham for Fantasy Football on occasion last year, but only when Steve Smith went down. Manningham is mostly boring for Fantasy Football when Hakeem Nicks and Steve Smith are in the lineup -- from Weeks 1-9 (pre Smith injury), Manningham was targeted only 4.5 times per game and scored just 7.1 Fantasy PPG (10.2 PPR). When Smith went out, Manningham jumped up to a robust 7.0 targets per game and 10.5 Fantasy PPG (15.0 PPR). Using my Manningham mindset, I was sure when all three Colts WRs played together last season, someone's stats must have suffered...but they really didn't.

Statistical output for the Colts big trio of WRs, in the 5 times they all played together in 2010:

2010 Colts WRRec per gameYds per gameTDs per gameTargets per gameFF PPGFF PPR PPG
Collie7.075.40.88.412.319.3
Garcon4.868.20.29.08.012.8
Wayne6.477.20.410.010.116.5

Not that Garcon was explosive when the trio played together, but he still maintained a heavy amount of targeting from Peyton Manning and a 8.0 Fantasy PPG (12.8 PPR PPG) which would place him right within a top-30 output among WRs.

After looking at the output of the three Colts WRs when playing together, I see that they can co-exist statistically for Fantasy Football. Perhaps that is only interesting to me...but as is usually the case, researching one thing led to "discovering" something else unintended.

Our computers picked up on it when our formulas rated Austin Collie ahead of Reggie Wayne for Fantasy Football 2011 in our current Draft Guide (available now!). What our computers pulled, could be the new Colts reality -- the 2011+ reality might now be that Austin Collie is the top Fantasy Football WR for the Indianapolis Colts, not Reggie Wayne. That's not a comment on whether Collie is a better WR in each of their primes...or even better in an NFL game today. This has nothing to do with "who's better", it has to do with (for whatever reason) a statistical shift to Collie by the Colts/Peyton Manning. If you look at the data box above again, you will see that when all 3 Colts WRs played together in 2010 -- it was Collie who had the most catches, the most TDs (by double), and the highest Fantasy Football scoring per game average for both PPR and Traditional scoring leagues. 

There could be a million reasons why...Wayne may draw better coverage, maybe even Garcon somehow draws coverage away too, I wondered that myself. However, Garcon did miss 3 games in 2010 -- and when it was down to Collie and Wayne as the primary WRs to cover by opposing defenses; Collie held his own.

The 2010 Collie/Wayne output with Pierre Garcon out:

2010 Colts WRRec per gameYds per gameTDs per gameTargets per gameFF PPGFF PPR PPG
Collie7.078.31.39.015.822.8
Garcon0.00.00.00.00.00.0
Wayne8.7119.00.311.713.922.6

Wayne was great in the 3-game stretch, and more heavily targeted...yet Collie was more Fantasy Football productive. Collie quadrupled Wayne's TD output when it was the two of them minus Garcon. Three games is not a great sample size, I know. However take these 3 games and mix them with the above 5 games when all 3 played together...and it's a statistical fact that Collie was the much better Fantasy Football WR over Wayne in 2010.

Outside of those 8 games noted above, Collie was gone (not counting the Week-9 game he played for a moment before leaving with injury) with injuries. It was those "other" non-Collie games that Reggie Wayne re-established himself as the top Colts Fantasy Football WR.

Colts WR output in games where Austin Collie was out:

2010 Colts WRRec per gameYds per gameTDs per gameTargets per gameFF PPGFF PPR PPG
B White4.036.00.46.06.010.0
Garcon5.155.10.38.17.212.4
Wayne6.377.70.311.69.515.8

Even Blair White "out-TD'd" Wayne when White received heavier reps. Still, Wayne was the much better Fantasy Football play in 2010 when Collie was out.

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Austin Collie should be rated ahead of Reggie Wayne for Fantasy Football 2011!

Just like the sun rises every morning, so will Reggie Wayne be rated as a top-10 WR for Fantasy Football...sometimes a top-5. It's an automatic thought process, never to be questioned...

Wayne was #5 in overall scoring among WRs in raw Fantasy scoring totals in 2010, but when broken down to a PPG-basis; then Wayne was only the 14th best Fantasy Football WR (10th in PPR). If you look at Wayne's Fantasy scoring only when he is playing with the trio of he, Collie and Garcon...Wayne starts to fade toward a top 15-20+ Fantasy WR on a PPG-basis.

Reggie Wayne's productivity, understandably, is fading a bit. It's understandable because Wayne will be 33 years old this upcoming season, and a "changing of the guard" is inevitable in any profession. On the other hand, Austin Collie will be 26 years old and is in his peak years...and is already proving he is a top NFL WR.

Your choice in 2011 will be = use a 2nd or early 3rd-Round Fantasy Football draft pick on an aging, fading Reggie Wayne...or take the WR in his prime who has already proven he can outscore Wayne when on the field at the same time; in the form of Austin Collie. As a bonus, Collie will likely be available 2-3 rounds later in the 2011 Fantasy Football Draft.

If Peyton Manning isn't back from his neck injury for 2011, disregard the above and take none of the Colts WRs for Fantasy Football 2011...

*This article is not a slam on Reggie Wayne. I admire Wayne, but this is strictly business. Collie has proven he can outscore Wayne when playing together, and is 7 years younger. If you're afraid of Collie's concussions (and that's reasonable to hesitate there), then pass on both...don't overspend on Wayne.

 

By R.C. Fischer
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