Christian Kirk is a wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals, he was drafted in the second round (47th overall) in the 2018 NFL draft. In his first two seasons Kirk suffered two injuries: on December 2, 2018 he suffered a pedal foot fracture and on September 29, 2019 suffered a pedal ankle sprain -- a total of seven games missed. Christian Kirk is criminally underrated going as the WR33 and an average draft position (ADP) of 84, according to The Undroppables Dynasty ADP.

Introduction

Through his first two seasons Kirk has posted 176 targets, 111 receptions, and 1,299 yards in 25 games (25/32).

Kirk was never suited to be an alpha receiver, in 2018 (12 games) he had 68 targets and Larry Fitzgerald had 77 targets, in the games played together. Here are Kirk's first two years snap share:

  • 2018 - 85.9% snap share
    • 21.5% slot
  • 2019 - 98.5% snap share
    • 32.5% slot
In 2019 Kirk had an average depth of target at 9.6 yards -- this is important because Kyler Murray has an average target depth of 7.6 yards, preferring short passing attempts
  • 51.6% (190/349) of Murray's completions came from 0-10 yards (Next Gen Stats, Weekly Charts)
Christian Kirk found himself being the lead receiver for the Cardinals with a 24.5% target share -- with being second on the team accumulating 108 targets, Larry Fitzgerald led the team with 109 targets. Kirk played in three fewer games than Fitzgerald, Kirk saw 1.4 more targets per game when playing together. Below are the 2019 games when Kirk and Fitzgerald played together:

Kirk's full 2020 season:

Kirk's season graphed - targets and receptions on the primary axis and yards on the secondary axis:

Breaking down Kirk's 2019 season:

Targets

  • Kirk saw a minimum of five targets a game
    • 69% of the time saw 7+ targets
    • 38% of the time saw 10+ targets

Receptions

  • 4+ receptions 77% of the time
  • 8+ receptions 23% of the time

Yards

  • Kirk's yardage is concerning, only having more than 80 yards 23% of the time
    • Minimum of 40 yards 54% of the time
Breaking down his yards per game:
An interesting stat is Kirk averaged more receptions for his 41-60 yard games than his 60+ yard games. Is it concerning 46% of the time Kirk had a game with 0-40 yards? Here are the six games with 0-40 yards:

In these six games Kirk averaged 6.50 targets, he was not able to capitalize on the opportunities. During these six games he was in the company for targets with notable receivers averages for the season:

  • Terry McLaurin (6.6)
  • D.K. Metcalf (6.3)
  • Stefon Diggs (5.9)
Conclusion

During the 2020 offseason, the Cardinals brought in DeAndre Hopkins. This made Kirk's value plummet. But why? From 2016-2019 Hopkins saw his targets decrease by 1.63 playing with Will Fuller (RotoViz).
  • In 17 games Hopkins averaged 11.41 targets without Fuller
  • In 37 games Hopkins averaged 9.78 targets with Fuller
Hopkins saw his targets decrease when a talented wide receiver was sharing the field with him. Kirk is the perfect complement to Hopkins. I think it is fair to assume Hopkins will command nothing less than 27% of the target share, given Hopkins has averaged 30.9% target share since his rookie year. Typically when wide receivers change teams they see a reduction in production their first year (e.g., Odell Beckham). I am taking a safe guess of having 550 targets to be spread around the offense in 2020.
  • 30% = 165
  • 27% = 148.5
  • 25% = 127.5
  • 20% = 110
It is important to remember that Kirk is given the opportunities to produce. In 2019 Kirk was 1/30 wide receivers to have over 100 targets for the season and was tied for 14th in targets per game (8.3). In 2020 it is fair to assume Kirk will command no less than 20% of the target share -- he had 20.4% (2018) and 24.5% (2019) in his first two years. If Kirk does get 20% of 550 targets he would be in line for 110 total targets.The Arizona Cardinals were 1/9 teams to support two 100 target wide receivers, why would that change in 2020? Hopkins will unequivocally be the lead receiver for the Cardinals in 2020.

Do not make the mistake of fading Christian Kirk.