Bargain Shopping: Kenny Britt

Austan Kas

When the fantasy season is over, one of my favorite things to do is go back and look at end-of-season stats. At my core, I’m a numbers person — my job is with a sports analytics site — so spending hours sifting through statistics sounds like a nice little Saturday night to me.

Well, the fantasy season just ended not too long ago, and I’ve been checking out numbers as I’m wont to do. Per usual, I’ve discovered some things which amaze me. Here are a few of those things. For the seven of you who follow me on Twitter, I apologize because some of these will look familiar.

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  • Tyrod Taylor had more QB1 (top-12) weeks than Cam Newton, Philip Rivers and Matthew Stafford.
  • Eli Manning played every game and mustered just one QB1 week. Brian Hoyer played in four full games and finished as a QB1 in three of those weeks.
  • In the fantasy playoffs (Week 14 to Week 16), Newton had one QB1 week, which was one less than both Sam Bradford and Colin Kaepernick.
  • 57.8% of Donte Moncrief’s fantasy points this year (in standard formats) came from touchdowns. 
  • LeGarrette Blount was the overall RB8 in PPR leagues, and he caught seven passes for 38 yards.
  • Cameron Meredith had at least 19 PPR points in all three weeks of the fantasy playoffs. Brandon Marshall and DeAndre Hopkins each had one such week all season.

With any data, funky things happen in small sample sizes. As frustrating as it can be for those of us who invest a lot of time in fantasy football, a 16-game season is a small sample size. If a baseball or basketball player has a bad five-game run, it’s no biggie. If a football player goes cold over five weeks, it’s a problem.

This is the part where I start talking about Los Angeles Rams wideout Kenny Britt, because, well, the article is about him. One of the end-of-season stats which really amazed me was the fact Britt put up a 1,000-yard campaign. It had to be one of the quietest 1,000-yard seasons of all time, and it really only gained mild publicity because he was the Rams’ first 1,000-yard receiver since 2007 (yikes).

Despite being a former first-round pick who just had a career-best season in spite of a terrible situation at quarterback, Britt is still being undervalued in dynasty, so he’s a great fit for this series. Let’s take a look at his 2016 season and make a case as to why you should target Britt this off-season.

An Eighth-Year Breakout

It took him a while, but in his eighth season, Britt finally delivered on some of the promise he once held as the 30th overall choice in the 2009 NFL Draft. Britt set career-best marks in catches (68) and yards (1,002), with his career highs prior to this season checking in at 48 receptions (in 2014) and 775 yards (2010).

Britt wasn’t a model of efficiency — his 61.3 percent catch rate ranked 123rd among all qualified receivers and running backs —  but some of that probably falls at the feet of Case Keenum and Jared Goff. What Britt was able to do, despite a pretty putrid offensive situation, was make big plays. He averaged 14.7 yards per grab, which ranked 17th in the league.

It’s not like Britt was some target monster who ate in garbage time, either. He got more than eight targets in a game just four times in 2016 and finished the year 35th in targets among all players. The Rams ranked next to last in plays run while slotting in 27th in pass attempts. Los Angeles averaged a league-worst 4.4 yards per play. It’s hard to paint it as anything other than an abysmal situation, but Britt still managed to put up decent numbers.

He ended the year as the 23rd-ranked wideout in points per game in PPR formats, per Using year-end totals, he was WR28 in PPR leagues and WR26 in standard formats. In standard leagues, Britt finished ahead of 2016 busts Allen Robinson and DeAndre Hopkins, neither of whom missed a game, while he was also in front of breakout stud Jamison Crowder.

Uncertain Situationbritt-2

The elephant in the room here is the fact Britt is a free agent this off-season. The makes for a lot of uncertainty, which may be some of the reason he’s not being valued higher.

We could list a whole bunch of teams which need receiver help, but speculating — as fun as it can be — is usually pointless, especially this early in the off-season. Getting some hard news and reports confirmed by multiple sources, however, is a little better, and a report broke recently saying the Washington Redskins are going to pursue Britt. Landing with a team where there’s opportunity (DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon are free agents) and a good quarterback would be pretty sweet.

On the flip side, unless Britt re-signs with the Rams, he may not see the 111 targets he saw in 2016. That’s certainly a negative with fantasy being such a volume-dependent game. If he leaves the Rams, though, he’ll have a chance to be a more efficient player if he’s paired with a better quarterback, and it’s going to be hard for him to find a situation worse than Goff and Keenum. It could go both ways.

We do know it’s not a stellar free-agent class for receivers — with Britt falling in behind headliners DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery — so there will be some demand for Britt’s services.

What’ll It Cost Me?

Despite the solid 2016 campaign, Britt’s dynasty value is still pretty low.

According to our December average draft position data, Britt is the 60th-ranked wideout and the 116th player off the board. Britt’s value has risen considerably over the past two months. In October, he was WR88, and Britt was taken as WR69 in November. He’s not the steal he was just two months ago, although you could ask for him at that price, but I think he’s still a bit undervalued for a player who was a top-24 option at his position this past year (in terms of points per game).

In the off-season, it’s always fun to shoot for the moon in an effort to land top-end talent or chase after young guys with upside. That’s fun — and you need elite players to win — but it’s expensive to acquire those types of assets. A lot of times, rounding out your roster with under-the-radar moves for solid veterans can help your team push for a title the following year.

In terms of one-for-one swaps, players going in Britt’s range are Phillip Dorsett, Devin Funchess, Sammie Coates and Matt Forte. As for picks, it’s probably safe to offer up a third-round choice and go from there.

In Summary

At the end of the day, what we have here is an undervalued player, which is exactly what we try to identify in this series. We can speculate about where he’ll be in 2017 or how a move away from Los Angeles impacts his stock, but the truth is we don’t have a concrete answer to either of those things.

All we know is Britt was a very useful fantasy asset in 2016 despite a pretty awful situation, and his dynasty value doesn’t reflect his uptick in production.

This past year could wind up being a career year for him. Or, maybe he’s a late bloomer — a talented receiver and former first-round pick — who is finally figuring out how to be successful in the NFL. Time will tell. Luckily for us, at his current cost, it’s not going to take much of an investment on our end to find out.