Fantasy Football: One Washington Receiver Is A Sleeper And The Other A Bust
As we continue our stroll through the offseason of Fantasy Football Sleepers and Busts, it's time for Round 2 of the receivers. This time, the two players are even more interesting because they are teammates. Fortunately, I don't think we have to worry about these two coming to blows in camp a la Dez Bryant and whoever the next unfortunate teammate is. Well, that, and the fact that these Washington players likely have better things to do than read my piece.
Previous Sleepers And Busts of the Week
Sleeper: Pierre Garcon, WSH
Do you remember Garcon's ADP from last year? To refresh your memory, Garcon was the 12th receiver off the board with an average ADP in the fourth round. This year? Garcon is lucky to make it into the 11th round with an ADP of 142 overall. What happened? Well, tons of disappointment happened.
When you draft a receiver as high as Garcon, you expect fringe WR1 production, possibly even better, but at worst, no less than Top 15 value. Garcon finished the 2015 season as WR54 in Yahoo! standard scoring. That's tough to swallow when you invested so much in him.
What happened? Well, the inconsistent - and poor - quarterback play in Washington didn't help, but the biggest factor was Garcon losing 42.3 percent of this targets. Whoa! Garcon went from 182 targets in 2013 (tops in the league) to just 105 last year. His yards per catch barely decreased (11.9 to 11.1) and Garcon only caught two fewer touchdowns, so his Fantasy Points per catch (FPPC) was still good at 1.37 after being 1.45 in 2013. In addition, he Fantasy Points per target (FPT) was nearly the same at 0.887 after being 0.894. Nevertheless, when you lose 77 targets… well, you do the math.
So why would you want Garcon, and why would I call him a sleeper? First, go back to his ADP. That's absurd. Even if Garcon only repeats last year's numbers, you simply paid equitable value. Secondly however, Garcon's ceiling is so much greater. Garcon is averaging 1.69 FPPC and 0.988 FPT for his career. While a good portion of that came with Peyton Manning in Indianapolis, it still shows how productive he can be. But let's just focus on his last two years for argument's sake.
Washington's plan to use Garcon as their "No. 1" receiver this year. I put No. 1 in quotes because there are several offenses in which it really doesn't matter who the top option is, as it's more about the usage. And Washington's usage plans point to a rebound in targets for Garcon. He's much more consistent than DeSean Jackson, and getting Garcon more involved will make the team more dangerous and balanced. Garcon won't get back to 184 targets, but let's say he simply gets 30 more over last year. Reasonable, right? Using his last two years FPT, you get 120.2 Fantasy Points in standard leagues, which would have ranked as WR30 last year. Yep, Garcon still has WR3 potential in modest projections with room for more. Yet, you're buying him at a WR5/6 price. That is the definition of value!
Bust: DeSean Jackson, WSH
With Garcon's teammate, I already mentioned one of the reasons he'll disappoint this year: inconsistency. Yes, DJax finished as WR15 in Yahoo! standard, but he also had seven games with 5.3 points or less. That was just 15 games too, so Jackson was barely above the 50 percent mark for quality games. Jackson was also touchdown reliant, as in those double-digit games, only two came without a touchdown.
For receivers with 50-plus receptions last year (76), only two were higher in FPPC. DJax checked in at 2.74 with Terrance Williams and Torrey Smith at 2.98 and 2.91, respectively. In FPT, Jackson was again third (1.62) behind Williams (1.69) and Dez Bryant (1.68). Everyone cautions Fantasy owners from overdrafting Martavis Bryant based on his insane FPPC and FPT (4.00/2.17), but no one is talking about Jackson. On top of those numbers, Jackson led the league in yards per catch (YPC) at 20.7, 3.0 more than second place Michael Floyd and 2.2 over his career average. While DJax has always been a big-play receiver, last year brought his highest FPPC and FPT marks since 2010, and they were 0.36 and 0.31 above his career averages heading into 2014. If you simply took Jackson's norms, he loses about 25 Fantasy points, falling to WR28.
There is nothing wrong with owning Jackson. In fact, I like him quite a bit as my WR3. Notice I said "WR3" and not "WR2," though. The inconsistency Jackson brings already makes him a risky WR2 pick, and with an ADP of WR18, that's what you have to pay. In fact, you're nearly paying for Jackson's ceiling and buying all of the risk. That risk is that Jackson regresses back to his norms, and that's all before worrying about fewer targets this year. Save the draft cost and take his aforementioned teammate.
Main image photo credit: Keith Allison
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