Megachoice: Is Calvin Johnson Worth a Top 6 Pick?

Jul 12

Megachoice: Is Calvin Johnson Worth a Top 6 Pick?

It would be a mistake for us not to value Calvin Johnson as the best receiver in Fantasy Football. After all, he was a solid 44 pointsbetter than the second-best receiver last season, using standard scoring. And there’s a reason his nickname is Megatron: his body of work is out of this world.

But let’s not be too naïve. His numbers from last season indicate a clear dip in the middle of the season. And you should be a little careful during draft time because of it.

 

Calvin Johnson’s Stats Don’t Lie

Last season, Megatron’s individual game numbers looked like the following:

Game

Receptions

Yards

Touchdowns

1

6

88

2

2

3

29

2

3

7

108

2

4

8

96

2

5

5

130

1

6

7

113

0

7

5

115

1

8

6

125

1

9

7

81

0

10

5

89

0

11

4

49

1

12

6

69

0

13

3

29

0

14

9

214

2

15

4

102

1

16

11

244

1

 

As you can see, nearly six of the eight games played in the first half of the season resulted in 100-yard performances. And moreover, he scored a touchdown in all but one of those games.

His second half wasn’t nearly as unbelievable. He reached 100 yards only three times in eight games, and failed to score in half of them.

To put this into a Fantasy perspective, Megatron scored 142 points over the first half of the season. His weekly ranking among all wide receivers for each week during the first half of the season looked like the following:

  • Week 1: 4
  • Week 2: 15
  • Week 3: 4
  • Week 4: 4
  • Week 5: 6
  • Week 6: 9
  • Week 7: 5
  • Week 8: 1

As you can see, he ranked outside of the top 10 just once throughout the first eight weeks of the season. His average weekly ranking through the front half of the season was an incredible 5.875 among WRs. The median weekly rank by Megatron was 4.5.

Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions - 2012 Fantasy Football

Calvin Johnson had a great first half to 2011 and an awesome finish. The middle weeks, however, were a little iffy. Photo Credit: FotographerTV

 

Megatron’s Not-So-Mega Second Half

Over the second half of the Fantasy season, Megatron posted 112 points — still a very impressive point output. However, take a look at his weekly WR rankings from that portion of the 2011 season:

  • Week 10: 33
  • Week 11: 25
  • Week 12: 24
  • Week 13: 43
  • Week 14: 61
  • Week 15: 1
  • Week 16: 10
  • Week 17: 2

He failed to reach the top 20 WRs in a given week five of the eight weeks. His average weekly rank was 24.875, and the median rank was 24.5.

Before I go on, remember this: Weekly ranks aren’t the same as year-to-date ranks. For example, Megatron had an average weekly rank of 5.875 over the first half of the season, but that doesn’t mean he was the sixth-best wide receiver in the league. What it means is that each week, on average, he was better than all but five wide receivers. EACH WEEK! That high performance consistency from Megatron over the first half of the 2011 season was nothing short of unbelievable.

And it’s not as though his second half was poor. It’s just that there’s a clear discrepancy between it and the first half of his season. And if we take away the outstanding performances in Week 15 and Week 17, then his numbers were kind of mediocre.

I get it, though. We can’t just “take away” stellar performances, especially when there are only 16 games in a season. But it’s still somewhat alarming. If you take away those top two performances, Megatron’sweekly average over the second half of the season drops from 14 to 8.6. Do that to his top two performances over the first half of the year, and his average goes from 17.75 to 16.5.

Now, I’d say that it would be unfair for us to conclude that the second half Megatron is the real Megatron. But the Lions were just 4-4 over the second half of the season after starting 6-2. And while we can credit some of that to their backhalf schedule, we can’t be blind to the fact that defenses double- and triple-teamed Megatron after seeing his first-half performance.  Who wouldn’t if that’s the way you beat the Lions?

So is Megatron’s tough second half reason enough to avoid taking him with a top-10 pick? Here’s Part II of my breakdown!

 

J.J. Zachariason is a self-proclaimed fantasy football expert, blogger at lateroundqb.com, and the author of The Late Round Quarterback: It’s Fantasy Football Strategy on Steroids

Remember when you agreed/disagreed with me!?! ... Feel free to leave a comment or share it with friends/enemies!

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