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2017 Player vs. Player - Stefon Diggs vs. Devante Parker

You're on the clock. The timer's ticking. You're torn between two players. Who do you take? That's the question we'll debate in this player vs. player series. In this article, Charlie Kleinheksel advocates for Stefon Diggs (ADP 5.08) and Pierre Camus will make the case for DeVante Parker (ADP 6.01) in dynasty startup formats.

Fantasy football draft season is upon us and RotoBaller is here to help! In this series, two RotoBaller experts will discuss the merits of two players with similar value and average draft position (ADP). Remember that situations will change for all players over the course of the summer and it may impact where they are selected in drafts.

ADP data is taken from FantasyFootballCalculator as of July, 2017.

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Stefon Diggs (WR, MIN) - Charlie

Here are three reasons I prefer Diggs:

  1. Role - Diggs is the Vikings clear-cut No. 1 wide receiver. Diggs out-targeted Mike Wallace in 2015 and Adam Thielen in 2016, despite playing three fewer games than either of those other WRs. Neither Michael Floyd nor Laquon Treadwell should be considered a serious threat to eat into Diggs' workload. Floyd has been bounced from two teams already, and despite what the Vikings say, his hold on a roster spot is tenuous. As for Treadwell, here are the last six first-round WRs that earned ten or fewer receptions as rookies: Treadwell, Josh Doctson, A.J. Jenkins, Michael Jenkins, Darrius Heyward-Bey, and Rashaun Woods. Tight end Kyle Rudolph out-targeted Diggs last year, but that's okay. Rudolph's usage didn't impede Diggs. Conversely, if Rudolph (or someone else) misses time, Diggs would be first in line for increased usage.
  2. Volume - Having established Diggs primacy among Vikings WRs, what exactly is that role worth? Last year, it was worth 8.6 targets per game. That's a 137 target pace for the season. Diggs averages 1.7 PPR points per target, meaning a 16-game season would equate to 236 points, or a WR13 finish last year. There's no reason to expect a volume change. In games without Adrian Peterson over the past two years, the Vikings have averaged four more plays and seven more passing attempts per game. I'm not ready to say Dalvin Cook will be so good that the Vikings go back to their slow, run-heavy ways.
  3. Relative to DeVante Parker - Unlike Diggs, Parker is his team's second WR. Jarvis Landry remains well ahead of him in target share. For that matter, Parker (87) barely out targeted Kenny Stills (81) last year. I expect Diggs to earn more targets than Parker. Diggs is also a more efficient receiver. Sam Bradford averages 7.9 adjusted yards per attempt when targeting Diggs (eight percent above his AYA to other receivers), while Ryan Tannehill averages just 6.8 AYA when targeting Parker (12 percent below his AYA to other receivers). That relative inefficiency will make it hard for Parker to earn more targets, or to outproduce Diggs on the targets he does receive.


DeVante Parker (WR, MIA) - Pierre

The case for Parker as a superior choice also lies in three primary reasons:

  1. Team offense - The Dolphins took a while to gel, but by Week 6 they had it figured out. Jay Ajayi asserted himself as the main running back, Ryan Tannehill became comfortable with Adam Gase and the new offense, and the trio of talented receivers gave the team multiple options in the passing game. Unfortunately, injuries to the offensive line and ultimately to Tannehill as well derailed some of their success, although they wound up making the playoffs anyway. In year two of the Gase era, expectations will be even higher and the production should match. The Fins might not finish among the top passing teams in the league, but they don't need to be for Parker to make his presence felt in the red zone on a semi-regular basis. Keep in mind, the Vikings weren't much better last year in the pass game. Minnesota finished 18th in passing yardage and 21st in passing touchdowns, whereas the Dolphins were 12th in passing TD.
  2. Physical talent - Parker was a first-round pick for a reason. According to the Guru Score developed by @DynastyGuruFF, Parker finished with a perfect score and tied with Amari Cooper for best in the 2015 WR class. Diggs was a close third, but didn't post the same combine numbers and isn't as physically imposing. Parker stands at 6'3" yet ran a 4.45 40-yard dash and finished with a speed score in the 89th percentile. Diggs is a tad slower, but also undersized at 5'10", which explains why he fell to the fifth round. Parker has been dealing with nagging injuries and inconsistency in his first two seasons, but that could change. According to reports, he has improved his dedication to the game by changing his diet and training regiment for his all-important third NFL season. This could be the year where his talent shows on the field.
  3. Law of regression - While Diggs outperformed all expectations last season, it was mainly due to a high volume of targets. The Vikings will make a concerted effort to run the ball much more this season and to insert Treadwell in the passing game as well. Diggs will naturally see his market share drop by at least 25%. Parker disappointed greatly according to last year's ADP, but he will be a verifiable bargain this year. Assuming he doesn't suffer unfortunate injuries again, he has nowhere to go but up. His season-long stats (56 receptions, 744 yards, four touchdowns) aren't impressive, but he only fell 159 yards short of Diggs and actually outscored him. It's far from a stretch to think that Parker can put up a couple more big games and finish ahead of Diggs this year. Parker and the Dolphins seem to be on an upward trajectory, while Diggs doesn't figure to put up numbers any better than last season. When choosing between two players in similar situations at similar ADP, talent should always supercede in dynasty leagues.


More 2017 Fantasy Football & ADP Analysis

Check out all of RotoBaller's fantasy football rankings. Staff rankings are updated regularly for all positions and include standard formats, PPR scoring, tiered rankings and dynasty leagues.

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