Unfamiliar with the SAP Player Comparison Tool? Well it's about time you get acquainted! The tool can be a great asset for those tough roster decisions, whether you're dealing with start/sit conundrums, trade comparisons, or decisions on which players to pick up on the waiver wire, you can benefit by learning the ins and outs of the customizable tool. This week in what we like to call Fantasy Football Audibles, we take a look at three player comparisons to help you take some of the guesswork out of those mind-boggling roster determinations.
Here's a quick primer in the factors that the SAP Player Comparison Tool takes into consideration when analyzing players:
»Performance:player performance (NFL statistics and Fantasy points) from the current season
»Matchup:opponent-specific fantasy points against (FPA) data and matchup analysis
»Consistency:stability of historical player fantasy point production
»Upside:potential for significant fantasy point performance
»Intangibles:additional factors including injury status, weather, game location, team support and player rest
Who should I start: Jeremy Maclin or Mike Evans?
In terms of performance, Maclin has an unfair advantage here because Evans didn't play in Week 1. But in the three games since, Maclin has garnered more targets, receptions, yards and touchdowns than Evans. In fact, in the last two weeks alone, Maclin has racked up 19 catches for 289 yards and a touchdown compared to 10 grabs for 133 yards and no scores for Evans. That's double the production! So the Player Comparison Tool is on point with the performance analysis.
Maclin also has the better matchup here, going up against the Bears defense which has allowed 26.20 FPPG to the wide receiver position. That includes 47 receptions for 588 yards and eight touchdowns through four games. Evans faces a middle-of-the-pack Jaguars pass defense that has allowed just three touchdowns to wideouts this season, though Jacksonville has allowed nearly 100 more yards to the position.
While Evans was drafted rounds ahead of Maclin this season, keep in mind that Evans has a turnover-prone, (Jameis Winston threw four picks last week and has seven total this season) rookie quarterback under center. Alex Smith is a seasoned veteran who knows how to get the ball into the hands of his playmakers, even if he's not airing it out ... like ever. It might be hard to stomach, but the Player Comparison Tool has this one right and recommends Maclin over Evans for Week 5, as do I.
Who should I start: Ronnie Hillman or C.J. Anderson?
In my Committee Meetings piece from earlier this week, I looked at the changing landscape of the Denver backfield. Ronnie Hillman has earned himself more opportunities and C.J. Anderson is no longer the feature back we thought he would be during draft season. Clearly Hillman has the upper hand here because he has performed better than Anderson so far this season, and has scored the Broncos only two rushing touchdowns so far, so the Player Comparison Tool at least got that part of this analysis right.
In terms of matchup though, for some outrageous and inexplicable reason, the Player Comparison Tool gives Hillman the advantage, even though he and Anderson are on the same team and are playing the same defense, the Oakland Raiders. This glitch makes the tool hard to trust when making decisions about players. But overall, I tend to agree that Hillman is the better play for fantasy owners and has more upside than Anderson. So we'll just sweep this under the rug and pretend it didn't happen.
Who should I start: Martellus Bennett or Jimmy Graham?
This is one of the closer comparisons we've seen this season. Bennett has performed only a little bit better than Graham so far. Fewer than 2.7 fantasy points separate the two tight ends in standard leagues through four weeks. A season or two ago, this would have been a no brainer in Graham's favor, but now it's become a real question.
Graham has averaged fewer than six targets per game with Seattle while Bennett has averaged over seven targets per game with Chicago. And as you're well aware, it's these kinds of opportunities that matter in fantasy. But so far, both tight ends are of the touchdown dependent variety. In the games where Bennett and Graham have failed to get into the end zone, neither has posted greater than five fantasy points.
Both players have tough matchups this week against defenses that have yet to allow much production to opposing tight ends. But based on how much it seems like Russell Wilson is straight up ignoring Graham in the passing game, I have to side with Bennett in this comparison. He has a rapport with Jay Cutler and knows his role in the Chicago offense. Unfortunately for Graham owners, the once elite fantasy tight end seems lost with the Seahawks and he hasn't yet built a fruitful relationship with Wilson. Heck, even Luke Willson is still getting tight end targets for the Seahawks. Hopefully this situation course corrects itself as the season wears on, but at least for Week 5, Bennett should be your TE1 over Graham.