Popular Features

  • Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Draft Rankings
    April 30, 2019
    2019 NFL Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Draft Rankings

    Davis Mattek’s 2019 NFL Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Draft Rankings With the 2019 NFL Draft wrapped up and in the books, it is time to get to Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Draft Rankings. Most dynasty leagues that I am in are ready to begin their rookie drafts for the 2019 NFL Draft class. The draft brought…

  • Five Legitimate Fantasy Football Sleepers At Tight End
    May 28, 2019
    Three Impending Fantasy Football Breakout Seasons

    These Three Fantasy Football Breakout Players Are Ready To Shine It is no secret that every year in fantasy football, players emerge who were just barely on the periphery of fantasy football relevance during fantasy football draft season. Last year at this time, you did not know who Phillip Lindsay was, James White was just…

  • Superflex Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Draft
    May 8, 2019
    Industry Superflex Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Draft

    Fantasy Insiders Industry Superflex Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Draft It is Superflex Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Draft season! While I compiled my top 40 rankings of rookies for dynasty fantasy football purposes, we have yet to address Superflex dynasty leagues in the NFL365 package. I participate in the Fantasy Insiders SuperFlex Best Ball Dynasty league with…

  • Zero Wide Receiver Fantasy Football Strategy
    May 14, 2019
    Zero Wide Receiver Fantasy Football Targets

    Ten Zero Wide Receiver Fantasy Football Targets By this point, most RotoExperts readers are probably familiar with the concept of Zero RB drafting. Last week, I put together a list of ten Zero RB fantasy football candidates to help you in your fantasy football leagues. However, a less discussed strategy is the Zero wide receiver fantasy football…

  • Five Legitimate Fantasy Football Sleepers At Running Back
    May 30, 2019
    Five Legitimate Fantasy Football Sleepers At Running Back

    Five Running Back Fantasy Football Sleepers Finding late round running back fantasy football sleepers is the surest way to attain a league-winning roster. Phillip Lindsay and James Conner were legitimate league-winners at the running back position last year and they barely had ADP’s. Unlike most of our recent content, including the ULTIMATE Guide To Winning…

  • How To Approach Josh Gordon In Fantasy Football
    August 20, 2019
    How To Approach Josh Gordon In Fantasy Football

    How To Approach Josh Gordon In Fantasy Football It actually happened! After taking an aggressive stance on Josh Gordon in the DRAFT Best Ball championship and in other league formats, Gordon has been reinstated by the league and returned to the New England Patriots organization. Of course, this is not the first time that Josh…

  • Buffalo Bills and the Josh Allen Dilemma
    August 20, 2019
    Buffalo Bills and the Josh Allen Dilemma

    Buffalo Bills and the Josh Allen Dilemma: A Fan’s Plea For A High Variance Offense I’ve been meaning to write this article for a while, and it’s difficult to tell where to start. I think the best place is my feelings about Josh Allen when he was first drafted.  I was upset. I thought it…

  • 32 Things To Learn For Fantasy Football From Week Two Preseason NFL
    August 19, 2019
    32 Things To Learn For Fantasy Football From Week Two Preseason NFL

    32 Things To Learn For Fantasy Football From Week Two Preseason NFL Preseason continues to matters for those who are serious about winning their fantasy football leagues. Not every team flashed their true colors in week two preseason action but there was plenty to take away from a fantasy football context. The to-the-decimal projections here…

  • Three Core Zero RB Targets After Round 10 In All Formats
    August 16, 2019
    Three Core Zero RB Targets After Round 10 In All Fantasy Football Formats

    Three Core Zero RB Targets After Round 10 In All Fantasy Football Formats This is mostly an addendum to the Ultimate Guide To Zero RB Draft but a worthwhile exercise for everyone who is making it a point to follow the Zero RB Drafting methodology. These Zero RB targets fit the dictum of what all teams…

  • 2019 Fantasy Football Do Not Draft List premium
    August 15, 2019
    2019 Fantasy Football Do Not Draft List

    2019 Fantasy Football Do Not Draft List Drafting the right players is almost as important as just not weighing down your roster with players who cannot help you win. Your fantasy football do not draft list is just as key as the players you are actively targeting. This doesn’t just have to happen through injury…

Fantasy Football Wide Receivers: Size Doesn’t Matter

RotoExperts Staff February 26, 2015 9:30AM EDT
Does size matter? No, this isn’t a NSFW article that will get you in trouble with HR. We’re examining the assumption that taller/bigger receivers are better prospects, specifically in garnering touchdowns, than smaller receivers.

Every season, “team tall WR,” which has morphed into “team big WR” (more on that later) clamors for the big boys, claiming those receivers are the far superior options. Of course, Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham and Emmanuel Sanders are making the case for me, but I’m bringing the data to prove once and for all that size doesn’t matter… again, in the NFL receiver sense only.

On the surface the premise makes sense. If two equal receivers are attempting to catch the same exact passes, but one is taller than the other, you would expect the taller receiver to catch more passes and/or touchdowns. Bigger is better. Or is it?

http://a.disquscdn.com/get?url=http%3A%2F%2Fi.imgur.com%2FQdeTOsE.gif&key=T1aaWblte5gd_3krlg60lQ&w=600&h

For the study I went back a decade. Why 10 years? Well, first it’s a solid sample size, and second, I don’t have enough time to pull up every receiver in history. From each year I took the Top 25 (approx) receivers in touchdowns (actually, I averaged 22.9/yr. with 229 total receivers). The cutoff ended up at six or seven touchdowns each year. Why did I stop around 25? Well, partly for the aforementioned time constraint, and also because “team tall” often argue that the receivers totaling the most touchdowns would include more tall receivers than if you took everyone who scored. I also took the Top 100 receivers overall for the decade (103 to be exact) so we could see a yearly comparison versus the decade’s best.

The consensus straight from the mouths of the “team tall WR” guys is that a “tall receiver” is 6’2″ or taller. I said I’d come back to the “tall” versus “big” change, and I’ll now explain. For the past few years it was “tall, tall, tall.” Then, similar to scientists having theories debunked, they adjusted their theory and called the receivers “big.” Even that is unclear, though, as you will see some saying “big” is 225 lbs. or more, or actually 215 lbs. or more, or even in-between. We’ll tackle the weight issue too, but from a different angle than just “he weighs ___.” The height premise is easier, so we’ll start there.

Taking the yearly leaders in touchdowns, we had 229 receivers as mentioned. Receivers 6’1″ or shorter scored 1,001 times. 6’2″ and taller? 1,044 times. In other words, an insignificant difference (0.19 TDs per player). The totals swing significantly for the decade’s Top 100, as 6’1″ and under had 1,788 touchdowns, while the 6’2″ and up group had only 1,451 TDs.

Size doesn’t matter.

Let’s segment out the Top 100, though, to appease the “top player groups will have more tall receivers” argument. The Top 50 touchdown leaders for the decade has 1,262 touchdowns for 6’1″ or shorter receivers and 1,029 per for the 6’2″and taller group. How about the Top 10? Ah, we finally see a change to the tall side, albeit with a small gap, at 308 for 6’1″ or less and 354 for 6’2 and up.

Size doesn’t matter.

The taller receivers don’t make it up in yardage either. For the yearly leaders, 6’1″ and under had a YPC touchdown average of 23.9 yards, while 6’2″ and taller had a 22.4 yard average. Decade leaders: 24.3 and 21.9. Top 50: 23.4 and 22.1. Top 10: 23.5 and 22.7.

Size doesn’t matter.

Now, there is one area where we can have the data back the tall receivers somewhat: in a per player mark. For yearly leaders in the Top 25 (approx), 6’1″ and shorter receivers averaged 8.4 touchdowns while 6’2″ and taller receivers averaged 9.5. The gap isn’t so dramatic for the decade leaders, as 6’2″ and up averaged 3.9 more touchdowns, or 0.39 TDs per year. That gap is really small for the Top 10 at 1.6, or 0.16 per year. While there are minor improvements on a per receiver basis, there are still more “short” receivers overall: 119:110 for yearly and 60:43 for the decade.

Size doesn’t matter… or maybe you will try to say it barely does here.

http://i.imgur.com/y2Zwk.gif

The fact is there is no tangible proof that a tall receiver will be a better option at registering touchdowns. If anything, the study points to opportunity being a significant factor. The Top 10 of the decade players are Larry Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson, Marques Colston, Randy Moss, Brandon Marshall, Greg Jennings, Steve Smith, Roddy White, Anquan Boldin and Reggie Wayne. Think about the quarterbacks behind these receivers for the majority of their high-end touchdown years. Smith and Marshall arguably have the worst of it, and even their gunslingers weren’t awful.

Before we wrap up this size talk, I want to hit the weight issue, as I was curious what the data would tell us. I started with the 225-plus versus under 225 lb. groups, but the touchdown totals were wildly different. For yearly, 225-plus had 510 touchdowns and under 225 had 1,535. For the past decade, the numbers are 608 and 2,631. Looks like a big difference, huh? However, far fewer receivers fall into the 225-plus group.

I decided that instead of looking at it from an over/under 225 lb. metric, which also uses a somewhat arbitrary cutoff, why not look at a weight-to-height ratio. I simply took a player’s total pounds and divided it by inches. The numbers range from 2.4 lbs. per inch to 3.1 lbs. per. The data reveals that there is a clear “sweet spot” range. The players on the endpoints don’t do nearly as well as those in said sweet spot. Players who average 2.6-2.8 lbs. per inch accounted for 1,212 touchdowns in the yearly study, or 59.3 percent. The decade is higher at 62.4 percent (2,021) and dips a bit to 55.8 (1,279) for the Top 50. You could argue 2.6-2.9 is the true “best range,” as those percentages jump to 72.3, 76.7 and 71.5 percent. Basically, 2.4-2.5 and over 2.9 are statically less successful.

In the end, “team tall WR” should be disbanded, but while size doesn’t matter in that aspect, it actually does when we’re talking about a quality weight-to-height ratio.

Main image photo credit: Fernando Escovar 

Popular Features

  • Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Draft Rankings
    April 30, 2019
    2019 NFL Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Draft Rankings

    Davis Mattek’s 2019 NFL Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Draft Rankings With the 2019 NFL Draft wrapped up and in the books, it is time to get to Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Draft Rankings. Most dynasty leagues that I am in are ready to begin their rookie drafts for the 2019 NFL Draft class. The draft brought…

  • Five Legitimate Fantasy Football Sleepers At Tight End
    May 28, 2019
    Three Impending Fantasy Football Breakout Seasons

    These Three Fantasy Football Breakout Players Are Ready To Shine It is no secret that every year in fantasy football, players emerge who were just barely on the periphery of fantasy football relevance during fantasy football draft season. Last year at this time, you did not know who Phillip Lindsay was, James White was just…

  • Superflex Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Draft
    May 8, 2019
    Industry Superflex Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Draft

    Fantasy Insiders Industry Superflex Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Draft It is Superflex Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Draft season! While I compiled my top 40 rankings of rookies for dynasty fantasy football purposes, we have yet to address Superflex dynasty leagues in the NFL365 package. I participate in the Fantasy Insiders SuperFlex Best Ball Dynasty league with…

  • Zero Wide Receiver Fantasy Football Strategy
    May 14, 2019
    Zero Wide Receiver Fantasy Football Targets

    Ten Zero Wide Receiver Fantasy Football Targets By this point, most RotoExperts readers are probably familiar with the concept of Zero RB drafting. Last week, I put together a list of ten Zero RB fantasy football candidates to help you in your fantasy football leagues. However, a less discussed strategy is the Zero wide receiver fantasy football…

  • Five Legitimate Fantasy Football Sleepers At Running Back
    May 30, 2019
    Five Legitimate Fantasy Football Sleepers At Running Back

    Five Running Back Fantasy Football Sleepers Finding late round running back fantasy football sleepers is the surest way to attain a league-winning roster. Phillip Lindsay and James Conner were legitimate league-winners at the running back position last year and they barely had ADP’s. Unlike most of our recent content, including the ULTIMATE Guide To Winning…

  • How To Approach Josh Gordon In Fantasy Football
    August 20, 2019
    How To Approach Josh Gordon In Fantasy Football

    How To Approach Josh Gordon In Fantasy Football It actually happened! After taking an aggressive stance on Josh Gordon in the DRAFT Best Ball championship and in other league formats, Gordon has been reinstated by the league and returned to the New England Patriots organization. Of course, this is not the first time that Josh…

  • Buffalo Bills and the Josh Allen Dilemma
    August 20, 2019
    Buffalo Bills and the Josh Allen Dilemma

    Buffalo Bills and the Josh Allen Dilemma: A Fan’s Plea For A High Variance Offense I’ve been meaning to write this article for a while, and it’s difficult to tell where to start. I think the best place is my feelings about Josh Allen when he was first drafted.  I was upset. I thought it…

  • 32 Things To Learn For Fantasy Football From Week Two Preseason NFL
    August 19, 2019
    32 Things To Learn For Fantasy Football From Week Two Preseason NFL

    32 Things To Learn For Fantasy Football From Week Two Preseason NFL Preseason continues to matters for those who are serious about winning their fantasy football leagues. Not every team flashed their true colors in week two preseason action but there was plenty to take away from a fantasy football context. The to-the-decimal projections here…

  • Three Core Zero RB Targets After Round 10 In All Formats
    August 16, 2019
    Three Core Zero RB Targets After Round 10 In All Fantasy Football Formats

    Three Core Zero RB Targets After Round 10 In All Fantasy Football Formats This is mostly an addendum to the Ultimate Guide To Zero RB Draft but a worthwhile exercise for everyone who is making it a point to follow the Zero RB Drafting methodology. These Zero RB targets fit the dictum of what all teams…

  • 2019 Fantasy Football Do Not Draft List premium
    August 15, 2019
    2019 Fantasy Football Do Not Draft List

    2019 Fantasy Football Do Not Draft List Drafting the right players is almost as important as just not weighing down your roster with players who cannot help you win. Your fantasy football do not draft list is just as key as the players you are actively targeting. This doesn’t just have to happen through injury…