To be a successful dynasty owner one must take their shots. This means making a play for guys you predict production from while others may not. In this article I will explore two players that I’m putting my seal of approval on; not only for the 2018 season, but also moving forward.
J.J. Nelson, age 25
DLF ADP: 219
In 2017 JJ Nelson caught 29 of his 61 targets for a wretched 47.5% completion rate. He managed 504 receiving yards with 3 touchdowns. Perhaps the only impressive statistic on his 2017 season was his 17.4 average yards per reception.
I’m not here to tell you that Nelson is a quality receiver, but who says he must be? Both Jaron Brown and John Brown are all but gone in free agency. This puts Nelson at number two on the wide receiver depth chart behind whom? The great Larry Fitzgerald is returning for another season. On paper this may seem like a negative sign for Nelson’s upward pointing arrow, as Fitzgerald demanded 161 targets in 2017, but this actually means something very important for Nelson.
There is no quarterback currently under contract for the Cardinals. This would dampen any wide receiver’s value, however, Fitzgerald likely would not have agreed to come back had the team not discussed their plans for the quarterback position with him.
The Cardinals have $22.7 million in cap space, and will need a large portion to sign a quarterback. At the 15th pick in the 2018 draft Matt Miller has projected Arizona to draft OT Orlando Brown out of Alabama; as the top five quarterbacks should already be off the board. With most of the salary cap going towards the pursuit of a signal caller, the Cardinals have no chance to make a run at one of the premier receivers in this year’s loaded free agent market.
As mentioned previously in my “Free Agent Market: Quarterback” piece, there is a possibility Sam Bradford ends up in Arizona. Bradford actually held the record for highest completion percentage on a season in 2016 before Drew Brees broke it in 2017. During Bradford’s last healthy season (2016) he supported two top 30 wide receivers in Stefon Diggs, and Adam Thielen.
With a healthy David Johnson to demand a loaded box, a veteran signal caller, and one of the league's greatest receivers coming out of the slot, we’ve got a perfect storm to create plenty of open field for Nelson.
With all the aforementioned points being made, add the fact that Nelson is in the last year of his contract. He gets a perfect situation that allows him to play as a true WR2, and he will likely produce inflated stats because of it. Inflated stats can lead to phenomenal contracts. When another team feels that Nelson can replicate his 2018 success as their true WR2, we are looking at a solid workload for a player we payed very little to acquire in dynasty.
With an ADP of 219, Nelson is being drafted in the same range as Paul Perkins, and Jake Butt (check my header @DHH_Adam created by the awesome @NFLDraftTalker himself). He can be acquired at basically no cost in a fair share of leagues. He may even be on a waiver wire or two.
Leonte Carroo, age 24
DLF ADP: 183
It’s needless to say the start to Leonte Carroo’s career has been less than impressive. In the two seasons since being selected in the third round of the 2016 NFL draft, Carroo has caught only 10 passes with 98 yards, and 1 touchdown. He has been buried on the depth chart behind the likes of Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker, and Kenny stills. There isn’t anything to go off in terms of fantasy production for Carroo, but there are things to be said about the other members of his receiving room.
By the majority of reports, Landry is on his way out the door in Miami. In his shoes step Parker, Stills, and Carroo.
Parker has been the apple of dynasty owner’s eye since being drafted 14th overall by the Dolphins in 2015. Unfortunately, Parker has not reciprocated the love. Though finding himself in perfect position for fantasy production, Parker has not managed to meet the hype. In 2017 he played 13 games totaling 57 receptions with 670 yards, and 1 touchdown. Those season totals paired with a 59% completion rate suggest that it wasn’t just on Jay Cutler/Matt Moore, and Landry did not hog all his targets. It’s coming to pass that Parker is just not the WR1 we all wanted so badly for him to be.
Stills is, and always will be, the “deep threat guy”. In his 3 years with the Dolphins he’s failed to reach a 56% completion rate. Though Stills had 105 targets, he caught only 58 passes with 847 yards and 6 touchdowns. He has impressed in his roll the past couple seasons, and could be considered a “buy” in his own right, but he should not hinder Carroo’s production or meet the value Carroo presents.
Carroo came out of college two seasons ago at 6 feet tall, and weighed 211 pounds. His college dominator score was 63% according to playerprofiler.com. Anything over 45% percent is considered “extraordinary”. Pair the remarkable dominator score with his whopping 20.7 yards per reception at Rutgers, plus a breakout age of 19.6, and we’ve got ourselves an incredible prospect. Just two years removed from college, Carroo has the feel that he’s just waiting for his shot.
With an ADP of 183 Carroo is being drafted in the same range as Kevin White, and Albert Wilson. At just 24, he provides WR2 upside with very little cost associated with him.