Posted May 26, 20176
Let me get this out of the way, I love Mike Evans and wholly believe he is a great player. Let me also acknowledge that you already have a strong opinion on Mike Evans and his worth in a dynasty league. I would even go as far to say that you are reading this just to discredit my opinion. However, regardless of your view I am writing this paper to provide additional insight in order to add a piece to the over arching puzzle of fantasy football.
As a starting fantasy analyst, the majority of people don’t know my love and background in mathematics. Numbers will never lie. Knowing this, I had to start looking at the ever so popular Mike Evans to determine if the player was worth the price tag, or is his value much like a holey Kanye West sweater.
The first place I had to look was his targets. This past season, all we heard about were target raining down on him and all the love that this young duo (Mike Evans & Jameis Winston) had for one another. After graphing the total targets over the last few years, this is what we get:
The first reaction to this chart is ¨Oh yea, that is saucy!”. However, looking at it from a different point of view, is it reasonable to believe that these targets can continue to climb? In mathematics we know that natural data cannot just continue on this linear path, but must return to the true mean. Sustaining that many targets would be almost preposterous and almost everyone I talk to admits that they too suspect some type of regression in targets.
Followed by this regression in targets, comes the idea that Evans had become the physical dominating specimen that he should have always been. Has this promising rookie started to gain more receptions or yards off each target? Has he begun to supersede into a better player than he was before? In order to answer all these questions, I once again turned to the numbers:
In 2014 Evans had 68 Receptions from 122 Targets
In 2015 Evans had 74 Receptions from 148 Targets
In 2016 Evans had 96 Receptions from 173 Targets
Doing a simple ratio of Targets/Receptions
2014: 55.7% Reception to Target percent
2015: 50% Reception to Target percent
2016: 55.5% Reception to Target percent.
In 2014 Evans had 1051 Yards from 122 Targets
In 2015 Evans had 1206 Yards from 148 Targets
In 2016 Evans had 1321 Yards from 173 Targets
Doing a simple ratio of Yards/Targets
2014: 8.6 Yards per Target
2015: 8.15 Yards per Target
2016: 7.64 Yards per Target
Thus nothing has changed. Mike Evans is not growing in production at all. His reception or yard per target isn’t growing which means his pass-catching ability has not transcended into an outrageous player.
Well surely there is more to life than targets, yards, and receptions. How about fantasy points? When it comes down to it, I just need to know what points he is giving me. Continuing with the on going theme of targets, the question arose ¨How many points on average does he produce per target (ppr)?¨
In 2014 Evans had 244 points on 122 targets
In 2015 Evans had 211 points on 148 targets
In 2016 Evans had 304 points on 173 targets
Doing a simple ratio of points/targets
2014: 2 points per target
2015: 1.43 points per target
2016: 1.76 points per target
The production of fantasy points were not overwhelming or convincing. This player had not shown me that his overall fantasy production had grown per target. All of this data just seemed to point to the ever-growing suspicion that maybe Mike Evans’ production is based primarily on his target share and not a growth in his athletic ability. Having this type of consistent data lets us take an average of targets and overall fantasy production:
Mike Evans averages a year:
1.72 Points per Target
Although a great lineup of statistics, and not a bad 2017 prediction for Evans, it is much different than last year’s numbers of:
1.75 Points per Target
So Why Sell?
Just like any good stock we know to sell high and buy low. Mike Evans is no exception. I understand that he is a young talented wide receiver with a young gifted quarterback, but I am also aware of his outrageous price tag right now. My opinion is the targets have to go down and the data shows it is the main variable in his production. Targets go down, so does his capital. When it boils down to it if I have Mike Evans on my team I am not trading him for half a ham sandwich and a rusty nail, but I am shipping him out for top dollar. Here are just a few trades that can be seen on DLF trade finder:
Mike Evans for:
WR Michael Thomas, NO
1.07 draft pick
1.09 draft pick
WR Odell Beckham Jr., NYG
2.09 draft pick
RB Carlos Hyde, SF
WR AJ Green, CIN
WR Jeremy Maclin, KC
WR Doug Baldwin, SEA
WR Dez Bryant, DAL
1.08 draft pick
WR Michael Thomas, NO
1.08 draft pick
2.01 draft pick
3.01 draft pick
WR Davante Adams, GB
WR Demaryius Thomas, DEN
Year 2018 round 1 draft pick from Killer Cans
At this point, you may look at these trades and tell yourself that is completely reasonable for Mike Evans. However, I would encourage you to go back to 2015. These trades would not have even been considered let alone gone through. I don’t at all want to take away from his 2016 year, but I also want to shed some light on the fact that I doubt this can be considered the new norm. If we cannot expect the same 2016 Mike Evans for the next few years, then I will gladly sell him at this high capital. The data has been presented and represented. If you are still convinced that Mike Evans hung the moon and all those targets are going to go up then by all means keep him. However, there is nothing wrong with putting him up for auction and seeing what silliness gets thrown your way.
Tyler Ghee is a husband, father, teacher, disc golf lover, and fantasy football enthusiast. Although a new and upcoming writer, he plans on implementing his multiple math degrees to change the face of fantasy football and offer some humor along the way. Follow @TheMrGhee