Calvin Ridley was a polarizing prospect when he came into the league in 2018 and surprised most with his seemingly innate ability to find the endzone. After just one season played, a major decision faces dynasty managers as correctly pegging his value this early into his career can have huge fantasy implications in a startup. Today we’ll examine Ridley’s season in an attempt to gauge what he’s worth in dynasty leagues moving forward. Can this falcon keep flying? Let’s find out.
Ridley’s Role on the Atlanta Falcons
Often the most important parts to understand about any player’s valuation in a dynasty league is that nine times of 10, their role reigns supreme. Volume provides the greatest correlation to fantasy points scored so attempting to view a player in the same lenses his team uses to see him is generally good process. This understood, Calvin Ridley was an erratic play at best. Most likely seen as the team’s third option (shared with TE Austin Hooper) due to his highly variable target workload on a game to game basis he balanced a few boom games against a sea of busts in 2018.
Well, Was He Efficient?
Put bluntly, no.
Important aspects of his performance to note are that Ridley converted no more than eight catches in a contest all year. His 3.8 catches per game on average ranked outside of the top 32 receivers in the NFL. His total air yards (954), yards per target (8.9), yards per pass route (2.0), and catch rate (69%) were all marks unbefitting of the WR2 value he’s viewed at and many are overlooking these indicators. Drops were a problem too as Ridley had seven drops on just 89 targets. His drop rate of 7.6% was top 20 in the league. When you consider that Ridley did this while receiving the league’s 15th ranked catchable target rate (84.8%) these statistics are even more damning (PlayerProfiler & Airyards).
His advanced Airyards metrics, shown below also don’t paint the prettiest picture. Calvin’s RACR score was lower then that of perennial superstars Rashard Higgins, Danny Amendola, and Jordy Nelson. Ridley’s WOPR was unspectacular as well.
— Etan Mozia (@ThisIsTheRunn) March 22, 2019
But Touchdowns Etan…
As evidenced by this article by 4for4’s TJ Hernandez, touchdown rates are highly unstable as well. That understood, even Ridley’s claim to fame of 10 touchdowns don’t hold water. Even those were of the unpredictable sort on an unpredictable measuring stick. Calvin Ridley wasn’t a threat in the RedZone or in the Endzone itself. He received a 12.% and 19.4% red and endzone target share respectively, both sub WR50 marks in the league. His dominator rating of just 22.2% gives credence to this point.
Rookie Year Bro, He’ll See More Volume, Quit Being So Negative
Ridley’s 89 targets are concerning enough, but when we consider that the lack of volume occurred during a season the Atalanta Falcons had 617 pass attempts, the fifth most attempts in the league (in 2017 they ranked 20th, 26th in 2016), it’s downright terrifying for his immediate future. Julio Jones and his 162.5 targets per year (avg 2015-2018) aren’t going anywhere as he’s signed through 2020 with an extension on the horizon. Austin Hooper will continue to be an issue as he received 88 targets himself last season. Every year Hooper has been in the league he has received more looks and recorded a higher catch rate. Even Mohamed Sanu, who I had pegged as a cut candidate earlier this offseason due to Ridley’s “emergence”, seems pegged to return and reassume his WR2 role on that team (94 targets in 2018). So just, looking at that team, it seems as if major regression is in Ridley’s immediate future.
The Last Word
This all isn’t to say that Ridley is a bad player. He showed well as a rookie and accomplished a year one breakout, a feat not often completed by any other first-year wideout. This is just pointing out that Calvin Ridley still has a number of holes in his game and won’t be saved by massive volume in 2019. The smart move for dynasty managers concerning the younger WR product of Alabama is to hold him if you have him or to buy after next season’s fall back to earth at a discount. Timing is of the utmost importance in any situation and dynasty fantasy football is no different. A fifth-round startup pick should be too high a price to pay.
Let’s hope for more opportunities for Calvin Ridley moving forward and hope he shows us less of this…
(Matt Waldman RSP NFL Lens)
Thanks for Reading
If you’re a dynasty junkie you can listen to my podcast here
Follow me on twitter @EtanMozia
Etan Mozia has been involved with sports as a whole for over two decades and has written about athletics in some capacity since 2005. Focused primarily on the NFL and EPL, Etan has seen his work featured on sites like FantasyPros, Advanced Sports Logic, and FFD260 among others. Currently, his work is housed on FantraxHQ and FantasyPros. An avid lover of dynasty leagues specifically, you can also listen to him on his podcast, The Dynasty Diagnostic (@DynoDiagnostic), as he breaks down rosters and provides pertinent and practical advice for dynasty squads looking to give their team an edge. Follow him on twitter @EtanMozia.
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