Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:

NFL    NBA    MLB

Already have an account? Log in here.

[X]

Forgot Password


[X]

Before free agency, I wrote up a piece on Leonte Carroo and Jakeem Grant and which one would take advantage of the hole left by the trading of Jarvis Landry. That piece is, uhh, going to have to go through some major changes.

Free agency and the Dolphins signing two guys to replace Jarvis Landry happened, which led to this all new piece about how to make sense of the Dolphins wide receiver prospects in 2018.

Now, losing Jarvis Landry hurts. I understand that a team might want to cast their nets wide to find a replacement and I know the Leonte Carroo pick didn't work out and the team needed to go outside the organization. But... Danny Amendola? ALBERT WILSON IS BETTER. I'm getting ahead of myself, though. Let's look at the receivers currently on the Dolphins roster and what hope there is, if any, for fantasy value in 2018.

Editor's Note: Our friends at RTSports have best ball leagues with no in-season management. Just draft your team, and that's it! Use your phone for this casual draft by getting emails or texts when you're on the clock. Sign Up Now!

 

DeVante Parker Is The Man Now, Right?

I guess Parker gets to move into the WR1 role, but I'm not sure what that really means since the majority of the Dolphins passing game has been inside with Landry on the team. Will Ryan Tannehill or IDK NOT MATT MOORE OR JAY CUTLER change where they throw the ball? Will we see Miami work outside more?

One thing seems certain: Parker, who took just 7.6 percent of his snaps in the slot in 2017, won't be asked to move inside. He'll be the deep threat for the Dolphins this year. But the advanced metrics don't really show him doing anything well. Among receivers, he's outside the top 50 in yards per target, yards per pass route, yards after catch, air yards, and end zone target share. Parker's a talented player, but he's got to improve his catch rate -- 59.4 percent -- and he needs to get more separation from receivers.

Matthew Berry has Parker at 46 in his early PPR rankings. I think he's got the upside to do better than that, but it would take wholesale changes to the Dolphins offensive philosophy to see Parker put up numbers anywhere close to the ones that Jarvis Landry had been putting up. It's much more likely that one of the names below becomes a good fantasy option. I'm not saying a big year for Parker is impossible -- he's the most talented receiver on the team now with Landry gone and should be targeted at least a little more -- but he doesn't have a top 50 finish at his position through three seasons. He might be the team's WR1 in just a nominal sense.

 

Kenny Stills: What Could Have Been

Twitter is great because sometimes you see really useful things pop up, like this tweet from RotoBaller's Chris Mangano:

Thus begins the great "Let's talk about slot receivers" part of this post! Stills was significantly better in the slot than on the outside in 2017, which would be great if the team hadn't gone out and signed two players who are also at their best in the slot in Albert Wilson and Danny Amendola. Hahaha! Good joke, Dolphins front office!

Stills 2018 production probably looks like his 2017 production in a lot of ways. With Wilson and Amendola taking slot targets, it wouldn't be a shock to see Stills on the outside even more. Check the chart above again: Stills playing primarily on the outside is just not someone I want to invest draft capital in. He's got the speed to break off big plays on occasion, but his floor is too low to be anything more than a boom-bust WR3 (again).

 

Albert Wilson, New Slot Receiver

I've watched a ton of Albert Wilson because my wife is a Chiefs fan. There's a lot to appreciate about Wilson's game and he could be a good piece for the Dolphins if he ends up in the right role. In 2017, Wilson finished 20th at the wide receiver position in red zone targets. Landry was first in that category, but he was also on the field for 93.8 percent of the plays, while Wilson played just 65.5 percent of the snaps for Kansas City. Wilson has some big advantages, though, in terms of being the unofficial Landry replacement over some of these other guys. According to RotoUnderworld's Player Profile tool, quarterbacks had the eighth-best rating when targeting Wilson at 111.9; Landry ranked 35th in the same stat. Wilson had his position's fourth-best contested catch rate and was 16th among wide receivers in yards after the catch. There are a LOT of things to like about Wilson, but there's one big issue, which is that the Dolphins signed someone else to do the same things: Danny Amendola

 

Danny Amendola, Other New Slot Receiver?!

Hey, another newly-signed slot receiver! Amendola played a larger percentage of his snaps at the slot spot in 2017 than Albert Wilson did and he's got a longer track record of being a slot receiver, but is he...is he that good? Amendola's yards after the catch pale in comparison to Wilson's. He had over 200 more air yards than Wilson, which helps account for his production even with his struggles once the ball was in his hand. Amendola was also 10th at his position in red zone receptions. He had only six targets that were deemed "contested" though, whereas Wilson had 29 such targets. The Tom Brady factor helped Amendola with that, which doesn't bode well for his move to Miami where his quarterback will not be Tom Brady. Amendola won't get the ball in great situations nearly as often -- can he thrive if he's having to make more difficult catches? I don't know. The advanced stats suggest that Wilson should earn playing time over Amendola, but...who knows! For what it's worth, I'd draft Wilson at the right price but want to avoid Amendola.

 

Leonte Carroo and Jakeem Grant

Okay, I'm just going to copy and paste from the article that I am no longer publishing about these two, because I think there are still some signs in their stats that suggest they can be useful NFL wide receivers even if the Dolphins are moving on from them.

Is [Carroo] good enough to succeed in [the Jarvis Landry] role? Well...we don't know! Carroo hasn't had many chances at the professional level yet. We know that he couldn't consistently beat out Rashawn Scott for playing time at the fourth receiver spot last season (and that's before factoring in Jakeem Grant's emergence at the end of the season), but offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen said last season that specials teams played the biggest role in who would play in that role each week.

Here's what we do know about Carroo as an NFL player: he has just 10 catches for 98 yards and a touchdown in two seasons. His best game came this past season against the Ravens, when he caught six of his eight targets for 48 yards. (And let's just forget that he was targeted a single time after that game, okay!) DaVante Parker was out for that game, which accounts for why Carroo was on the field, but here's what jumps out to me about Carroo's target breakdown (shout-out to Pro Football-Reference!):

In fact, of Carroo's 12 targets in 2017, only one was on a deep throw. Carroo's usage suggests that he's best suited for the same offensive role that Jarvis Landry has occupied for the Dolphins for the past few years. Miami also gave up three draft picks to grab Carroo, so it stands to reason that the team will try to put him in the best position to succeed.

Hey, the team did not put him in a position to succeed! Maybe I was being naive by thinking he could play a role in the Dolphins offense this year, but he really fit the same profile that Landry did.

Here was a briefer Jakeem Grant thought, written in relation to the above Carroo passage:

Grant caught 13 passes for 203 yards and a pair of touchdowns last season, with most of that production coming at the end of the season. He's also a useful returner for the team. Everything I wrote above about how Carroo could fill the Landry role is also possibly true for Grant. I like Carroo's physical make up better--he's six inches taller and better suited for withstanding the physicality of the game in the middle of the field. Grant doesn't fit the Landry profile from a size perspective. A look at Grant's two best games of 2017 show that he was mostly used as an outside target, with just one of his 11 targets over that stretch coming in the middle of the field. If we're looking for a player who can get the ball in the middle of the field like Landry, I'm not sure we can look towards Grant for that. Carroo gives Miami the best chance of plugging someone in to emulate what they got from their former star receiver without needing to look outside the organization for an answer.

I would say that Grant would have a shot at the fourth receiver role after this, but then the Dolphins went and signed two wide receivers who do very similar things, which means they'll have two slot receivers and Grant would be fighting for, like, some fifth receiver role where he'll barely be involved?

 

Fantasy Stock Watch

Stock Up: Albert Wilson

Stock Down: Danny Amendola, Leonte Carroo, Jakeem Grant

No Change: DeVante Parker, Kenny Stills

 

More 2018 NFL Free Agency Analysis