Elite WRs Stay Elite On New Teams

Fantasy analysts care about "situation" and "target share" too much. The best WRs stay the best, regardless if they're on a new team. This article analyzes 1000 yard WRs on new teams. Did they maintain their target share?

Elite WRs Stay Elite On New Teams

1000 Yard WR Analysis

Since 2012, 12 WRs had 1000 receiving yards and were then traded or signed with a new team.

(Technically, 13 WRs, but Antonio Brown was traded to the Raiders and never played for them. Therefore, AB does not factor into this article.)

On average, target shares increased by 1% after being acquired by new teams.

(Target share is a player's target percentage of his team's pass attempts.)

However, their yards per game dropped by 4%. Their points per game dropped by 1 PPG.

1000 yard WRs on new teams whose target share, YPG and PPG increased:

  • Stefon Diggs

  • DeAndre Hopkins

  • Brandin Cooks (Rams)

  • Vincent Jackson

1000 yard WRs on new teams whose target share, YPG and PPG decreased:

  • Odell Beckham Jr.

  • DeSean Jackson (Bucs and Washington)

  • Wes Welker

Diggs was the biggest beneficiary of going to a new team. His target share increased by 7.2%, his YPG increased by 20.6, his PPG increased by 6.2.

2022 WRs

In the past decade, usually just one or two WRs coming off 1000 yard seasons change teams during the offseason.

This offseason, three WRs fresh off 1000 yard seasons changed teams.

If we were to lower their PPG by 1, this is where their PPG would have ranked them last season.

  • Davante Adams - 21.5 PPG to 20.5 PPG (WR2 to WR3)

  • Tyreek Hill - 17.4 PPG to 16.4 PPG (WR6 to WR11)

  • Marquise Brown - 14.1 PPG to 13.1 PPG (WR26 to WR31)

Conclusion

Marquise Brown is 25. Tyreek Hill is 28. Davante Adams is 30. None of these WRs have showed any signs of decline.

Adams' WR4 ADP is below his "projected PPG decline". He just had a 1500 yard season. His role likely holds. If he's not the best WR in the game, he's at least top three. For my money, he's the best in the game.

While Brown's WR22 ADP is above his "projected PPG decline" it's worth repeating how young Brown is. Also, Lamar Jackson was injured and his stats suffered without him. BREAKING NEWS: Kyler Murray is better than Tyler Huntley and Josh Johnson. In all likelihood, Brown's PPG increases like it did for the other prime WRs: Diggs, D-Hop, Cooks (on the Rams), and V-Jax.

Hill's WR8 ADP is above his ADP. But again, this isn't DeSean on the Bucs. He's an elite WR who gets open at an elite level, in all areas of the field. In all likelyhood, he maintains his WR6 PPG numbers from the previous season.

That 1 PPG average drop occurred because the WRs were either old, injured, or OBJ on the Browns.

The sample size is small, because WRs coming off 1000 yard teams usually don't switch teams. But in the past ten years (excluding Odell Beckham Jr. who clearly was misused in Cleveland), elite WRs in their prime either maintained or increased their roles upon joining a new team.

Draft Brown. Draft Hill. Draft Adams. And although A.J. Brown didn't crack 1000 yards in 2021, you should probably draft him too.

Nobody is denying that Patrick Mahomes is better than Tua Tagovailoa and Aaron Rodgers is better than Derek Carr. While most agree that Lamar Jackson is better than Kyler Murray, an argument could be made that Ryan Tannehill is a better passer than Jalen Hurts.

For anyone who is still unconvinced, or has concerns about their new QB's efficiency, consider this:

  • Brandin Cooks did better in his first year with Jared Goff than his previous year with Tom Brady.

  • Vincent Jackson did better in his first year with Josh Freeman than his previous year with Philip Rivers.

  • DeAndre Hopkins did better in his first year with Kyler Murray than his previous year with Deshaun Watson.

Of these 12 WRs in the past decade to be moved after a 1000 yard season, only four failed to reach 1000 yards in their first year on their new team:

  • Pierre Garcon (31 years old, only played in 8 games)

  • DeSean Jackson in Tampa Bay (31 years old, only played in 14 games)

  • Eric Decker (nagging hamstring injury that arose in training camp and lingered throughout the season)

  • Wes Welker (32 years old, only played in 13 games)

If you remove the old and oft-injured players, this group's average stats increase entirely on their new team, not just their target share.

WR talent trumps situation and target share concerns.