Numbers suggest Chris Hogan will be fantasy draft bargain

New England Patriots receiver Chris Hogan should become a favorite target for quarterback Tom Brady this season. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

There are two big changes to the draft board based on preseason Week 3 injuries to Julian Edelman and Spencer Ware, and lots of opinions to go with them. Let’s look at what the numbers say in trying to forecast New England Patriots receiver Chris Hogan. We also looked at the other big riser, Kansas City  Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt.

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Hogan has been buried in ADP all year because it was hard to see a path to appreciable targets for him given the addition of Brandin Cooks and health of Rob Gronkowski. But his efficiency last season, including the postseason (only the most important games), was out of this world. Hogan on 81 targets gained, wait for it, 1,012 yards. That’s 12.49 yards per target and the second highest average among receivers with at least 70 targets but less than 100 since the target stat was tracked in 1992, according to Pro Football Reference. And Hogan also scored six touchdowns on those targets. He scored twice on Brady passes in the preseason game on Friday where Edelman tore his ACL.

Here are Hogan’s comps: 1993 John Taylor, two DeSean Jackson seasons (2010 and 2014), 2011 Malcom Floyd, 1993 Alvin Harper, 2004 Lee Evans, 2013 Doug Baldwin, 2014 Kenny Stills and 1992 Willie Davis.

Stills switched teams and QBs in going from Drew Brees to Ryan Tannehill. So we won’t count him. The other receivers held on to 77% of their yards per target in the second year. That would put Hogan at 9.6 yards per target in 2017. Let’s conservatively assume his usage is somewhere in between what it was in the regular season and postseason, amounting to six targets per game.

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That’s 96 targets and 65 catches for 922 yards. The model doesn’t expect TD rates to change much so that would give Hogan 7 TDs. That’s 199.2 PPR points, or WR25 last season. This year, that equates to an ADP of 51. That’s the target zone for drafting Hogan. It seems high but he went 66th and 71st overall in high-stakes games right after the injury — those prices seem to be bargains. I will bet the over on Hogan’s projection but no one is going to make me given his wide availability in the early fifth round. 

Some want to adjust Hogan for his slot usage but he actually had a higher yards per target on slot plays last year (282 yards on 21 slot targets for a Y/T of 13.4 in the regular season and 442 on 28 including the postseason) and has 57% slot usage overall since 2014. Edelman was in the slot last year on just 59% of targets.

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