Caveat Emptor: DR and HaSS Find Red Flags

Before the NFL Draft I debuted the Height-adjusted Speed Score (HaSS) and Dominator Rating (DR) as a means of ranking rookies. This two part series looks at potential breakout players. Part One highlights the guys DR and HaSS are crazy about. This column takes the opposite approach, examining some wide receivers you should approach with caution.

In saying these players sport red flags, I mean they have significant risk in relationship to the lofty expectations. Some of these players make solid WR3/4 targets, but if you’re drafting them as your WR1/2 it’ll be a different story.

These are not players I’m rooting against. In many cases it’s the exact opposite. I’m as big a sucker for a good narrative as the next guy, and nothing thrills like a true underdog story. While it’s very rare, players with poor projections occasionally even emerge as superstars. The Panthers’ Steve Smith is the perfect example of a player with both a terrible Height-adjusted Speed Score and poor Dominator Rating coming out of college.

If you like these players, draft them. Your team should be made up of players you want to root for. I’m merely trying to shed some extra light on players about whom you might be emotionally agnostic.

1. Denarius Moore: HaSS – 100, DR – .32

Although the current hamstring injury has deflated the irrational exuberance surrounding Moore, his pre-camp expectations were definitely out of hand. Moore’s a good athlete and was a good college player. NFL GMs should be embarrassed for letting him fall to the 5th round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Conversely, it’s probably too early to consider him either an elite vertical threat or a strong candidate to emerge as a stud all around receiver. Many pundits are now comparing him to Mike Wallace, but Wallace ran a 4.28 at the Combine, giving him a 116 HaSS. In terms of running away from defensive backs, there’s a gigantic difference between a 4.28 and Moore’s 4.43. The Raiders’ receiving corps is deeper than it’s been in recent memory, and some believe they’ll operate a run-oriented offense under Greg Knapp. I was a Moore owner from Day 1 in 2011, so consider me a confused enthusiast/skeptic. Continue reading Caveat Emptor: DR and HaSS Find Red Flags

Using DR and HaSS to Predict WR Breakouts

Before the NFL Draft I looked at the future NFL potential of the incoming rookie receivers based on their size/speed profiles (Height-adjusted Speed Score or HaSS*) and their dominance at the college level (Dominator Rating or DR). Contrary to popular belief, a receiver’s physical attributes and game results are better indicators of professional success than more esoteric scouting measures.

One player does not make or prove a rule, but perusing the numbers for Calvin Johnson gives a clearer picture of why HaSS and DR seem to be important. Megatron’s HaSS is 143. His Dominator Rating was .55. Those numbers are at the extreme high end of the scale and help to punctuate his on field physical dominance.

To give another sense of the way in which Height-adjusted Speed Score can be handy, we only need to look at Darrius Heyward-Bey. Al Davis was right to be criticized for taking an unaccomplished receiver so early in the draft, but he may get the last laugh from beyond the grave. DHB’s 129 is the fourth best HaSS ever. DHB finished as the No. 27 wideout a year ago and is a trendy pick in some circles this season.

The current crop of rookie receivers is quite impressive, and you’re likely to get very good values on them in fantasy drafts. Due to the depth of the class and rampant disagreement among fans and pundits as to which ones are primed to make initial year impacts, several players who should quickly qualify as WR4 candidates are going in the final rounds of drafts.

Even considering the exploits of rookie receivers in 2011, many fantasy players are more interested in young veterans. Thus we have the non-rookie Breakout Rankings.

1. Julio Jones: HaSS – 128, DR – .32

Jones struggled to impose his will on corners in the SEC, but he’s probably the second best physical specimen in the NFL behind Megatron. You could argue against Jones’ inclusion on this list because he was already successful as a rookie. An ADP that is continuously soaring toward the first round suggests a massive breakout is already priced in.

2. Dez Bryant: HaSS – 107, DR – .62

Bryant is another well known WR with an expensive ADP, but his off field antics and inability to avoid nagging injuries have pushed him into the fourth round of some drafts. If he capitalizes on the immense potential that is suggested by an otherworldly .62 DR, he could significantly outperform such a slot. Bryant’s HaSS is subject to some debate because he didn’t take part in the Combine, but he probably falls in the 103 to 110 range.

3. Demaryius Thomas: HaSS – 119, DR – .68

Thomas wasn’t able to work out at the Combine either, but if we use a conservative forty time of 4.45 (he’s supposedly run as fast as 4.38 in timed workouts) we are left with an awesome, yet believable, HaSS of 119. His .68 DR is the best I have on record but should be taken with a grain of salt since he played in an offense at Georgia Tech where he was often the only receiving option. Thomas could finish as the No. 1 overall fantasy receiver in 2012 or he could end up a distant second on his own team.

Continue reading Using DR and HaSS to Predict WR Breakouts