Using Numbers To Predict A Breakout WR

Trevor Ruszkowksi-USA TODAY Spor

How does a person foresee who will be a breakout player, and how do they also find out who will be a bust? The poster boy for last season's breakout performance can be handed to one of many players. How about we choose the man who finished as the number one WR in standard formats, Josh Gordon. He even did this, despite having to sit out two games at the start of the season for a suspension. At this point you may be thinking, "Oh, great. Someone who is going to tell us he saw this coming and is going to start tooting his own horn." That is not what this is going to be about, because it is near impossible to predict a person, like Josh Gordon, to finish as the number one receiver. Frankly if anybody was not saying Calvin Johnson, they were probably getting laughed at last preseason. I think I may have found the next receiver who is ready to take that giant leap that Josh Gordon did, to being a stud fantasy receiver, but highly unlikely to finish number 1.

Let's do a comparison on some measurable between Josh Gordon and Player X.

  • Josh Gordon: 6ft. 3in. 225lbs 4.43 40 Time 36in. Vertical Jump

  • Player X: 6ft. 2in. 220lbs 4.42 40 Time 37in. Vertical Jump

Josh Gordon and player X have similar measurable features. Player X has just as much athleticism as Josh Gordon, if not more, which is key, since Gordon did his damage in the open field and by using his athleticism to his advantage.

Another comparison between Josh Gordon's rookie season and the rookie season of player X

  • Josh Gordon: 50 Receptions, 805 Yards, 5 Total TD's

  • Player X: 57 Touches, 627 Total Yards, 9 Total TD's

Josh Gordon appears to be the more explosive player based on his yards per touch compared to player X, but he did only get 5 TD's compared to the other guy who scored 9 times. A key distinction from the numbers that are listed above, is the fact that for player X, I used touches and total yards instead of just receptions and receiving yards. This is done because that player had rushing attempts as well during the season, and scored three times running the football, four times catching the football, and two times on kick returns. I believe it is time to reveal who player X is if you have not figured out yet.

Cordarrelle Patterson

Cordarrelle Patterson was a rookie last season selected by the Minnesota Vikings with the 29th pick in the first round. He was touted as a raw player who needed to refine his route running, and understanding of the game during his first year. It was also noted that he was a special football player when given the ball and some space to work with. Josh Gordon had the same type of reviews about him going into the supplemental draft, however there were a few makeup issues, along with the uncertainty based on the college system he played in at Baylor.

All snap count numbers are courtesy of Football Outsiders who keep track of each players snap count and percentage of plays for each week of the season. During Patterson's rookie season, he was buried down on the depth chart through the first nine games of the season only accumulating 146 offensive snaps during that span, which was roughly 34% of the Vikings offensive snaps. For the last seven games of the season, he amassed 290 offensive snaps, which was roughly 60% of the Vikings offensive snaps. It seemed as though Minnesota realized they had a special talent and needed to find ways to get him on the field more, which will then correlate into more touches for the explosive player. During the final month of the season Patterson was given 10 carries, which he turned into 156 yards and 3 TD's. Along with the rushing numbers, he had 16 receptions, 219 yards, and 3 TD's to go along with the rushing. His total fantasy numbers for the last five games in a standard scoring league was 69 points, or 13.8 points per game. Over a full season that would result in 220 points or tied for second best last year with Demaryius Thomas, and one less than Josh Gordon. Take the last seven games where he saw a massive increase to his snap count and the total is 76 fantasy points, or roughly 10.9 points per game. Take those numbers and prorate it across a full 16 game season and he has 174 points, which was one more than Jordy Nelson, and good enough for being the 11th best WR that season.

Now let's take a look at more than just the numbers factor that will lead to a breakout season for Cordarelle Patterson. During Josh Gordon's incredible 2013 season, his offensive coordinator was Norv Turner, who is now the new offensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings. According to on February 23rd, Norv Turner's first order of business was to implement 10 new plays that were designed for Patterson, since he is a special talent, according to Rick Spielman at the scouting combine. Norv has been known as a coach who likes to take a lot of risks down the field. That kind of playing style will help out Patterson, because it gives him the ability to use his athleticism to win balls in the air and get chunks of yards in the process.

One negative that people may point out about Cordarrelle Patterson is the lack of a decent QB to get him the football. Well I would come back by asking you if the trio of Browns QBs that were throwing the ball to Josh Gordon are any better than the person that will be getting the ball into Patterson's hands. One thing that tends to be overrated when judging the season a WR will have, is the QB that will be getting him the ball. The QB is important, but what is more important is the system in which that QB is placed in. With Cleveland, they were put into a system that was tailored around getting there star player the ball. That same system will be put in place for Minnesota with Adrian Peterson, and Cordarrelle Patterson. Turner knows he can't run Peterson into the ground because of the nagging injuries he has had the past few years. Having Adrian Peterson on your team also helps because it will be difficult for a defense to consider playing double coverage on Patterson when one of the best RB in the league is also on the field and can destroy every time he touches the ball.

After looking through all of the numbers and outside factors for Cordarrelle Patterson, it should all help the public believe that he will be the next big breakout WR for 2014, posting numbers that could easily lead him to being a potential top ten guy at his position at the end of the year. Not bad for a guy that you can draft as your Flex option or even a bench guy this season, depending upon the helium that he may catch in the offseason from people like me. Questions that you may have regarding this article, or about something else relating to Fantasy Football is always welcomed and I would gladly help out those in need of advice.


Bleacher Report

Football Outsiders

Mile High Report

Pro-Football Reference

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