I like to recycle. I save cans, plastic bottles and bags, paper, and cardboard, putting them out front of my house every other Monday. Do you know what else I like to recycle? Content. I’m sick and tired of coming up with my own article ideas, so I’m going to steal from four previously published pieces here on DLF, putting just enough of a spin on it that my editor, James Simpson, won’t notice what I’ve done. (Don’t worry, James doesn’t even read my stuff. My guess is he has a program that searches for four letter words that rhyme with duck and as long as there are no hits, I’m good to go. Who can blame him, really? I assume if you are reading this, you are drunk or just misclicked while looking for Ryan McDowell’s latest.)
[Editor’s note: In fact, here are one or two or Ryan’s latest pieces. Go ahead, no one will blame you for not sticking around here.]
There have been four big name receivers 29-years-old or older to find a new home this off-season: Brandon Marshall, Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson, and the vivacious Eric Decker. As each signed their free agent contract, DLF covered the event in both our Dynasty Player News section and in the form of an article (links will be provided below). My spin on the topic isn’t just to rehash what others have already said, but to discuss my dynasty ranking of each player and use my patent pending, proprietary Truly Huge and Now Known Super Official Best and Most Accurate™ (THANKSOBAMA) prediction metric to give a stunningly accurate projection for each for 2017.
For those who missed the debut of the THANKSOBAMA metric, here is a quick recap on how it works: I get drunk, throw things at other things, bang my head off the wall, eat ice cream, and make totally random guesses. It has proven to be the most accurate system for projecting players since simming Madden Franchise Mode.
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Eric Decker, WR TEN – WR28
The last of the group to sign, Decker found his way into a cherry situation, especially this late in the free agent process. Sure, Tennessee has a (hopefully) stud rookie already in place, but as we’ve seen in Oakland, high-end veteran wide receivers are a perfect steadying influence for a young offense with an emerging superstar at quarterback.
In his post-Peyton Manning career, Decker has continued to produce at a high level, posting a per game stat line of five receptions for 66 yards, .58 touchdowns, and 14.9 PPR PPG in his three years with the Jets. A bit of incredibly complicated math gives us a full season pace of 79/1058/9, which is roughly 240 PPR points. We’re talking top-12 wide receiver territory here, folks.
Even if Decker’s targets are down in Tennessee, their quality should rise precipitously as he transitions to Marcus Mariota from the ghost of Ryan Fitzpatrick, who, incidentally, went to Harvard. Speaking of Harvard, did you know Ryan Fitzpatrick went there?
My biggest concern with the insanely handsome former Jet is his one-year contract. It would be the pits if he ended up in a less rosy situation in 2018, but considering his prodigious talent and nose for the end zone, I’m confident he will rise above the fray, regardless of where he plays in 2018 and beyond.
THANKSOBAMA projection: 74 receptions, 976 yards, nine touchdowns, 226 PPR points
DeSean Jackson, WR TB – WR43
There is a pretty big gap from Decker to DeSean. While I love Jackson, Jameis Winston, and the Bucco’s offense as a whole, he has topped 181 PPR points only twice since 2011. Playing across from Mike Evans should certainly open up the field for the NFL’s best deep threat, but a limited target volume gives him less margin for error than Decker in Tennessee, and almost certainly the two others we have yet to get to.
Don’t misinterpret my slight wet blanketing of Jackson as distaste for the speedster. Quite the contrary, as I’ve long championed Jackson as one of the most underrated players in fantasy. With five of my peers at DLF ranking him 50th or higher and his June ADP at WR49, it appears I’ll be beating his drum once again in 2017.
My faith has been consistently rewarded in the form of six top-31 finishes in the seven seasons he has played at least 12 games. Jackson also has two WR1 seasons to his credit, but none since 2013. While those days are long past, you’ll be hard pressed to find a higher floor guy with higher weekly upside than DeSean.
THANKSOBAMA projection: 51 receptions, 920 yards, six touchdowns, 179 PPR points
Jeremy Maclin, WR BAL – WR50
This is ranking is perhaps the most tenuous of the group, as I’m quite open to the idea Maclin has lost more than a half step. To be fair to the 29-year-old, his last healthy season wasn’t that long ago (2015), and boy was it a good one. Still a Chief at the time, Maclin posted 87 receptions, 1088 yards, and eight touchdowns in an offense that did/does everything in its power to keep receivers from scoring. The year before that, when he was still with the Eagles, our subject tallied 279 PPR points, good for a WR9 finish.
Playing out of the slot with Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman keeping safeties honest, Maclin figures to slide into a high-volume underneath role for the Ravens. Assuming none of their 12 uninspiring tight ends steps up for the retirement bound Dennis Pitta, there are a gob of targets to be had between the hash marks. New addition Danny Woodhead should command his fair share, but at this point I’d consider it an upset if Maclin didn’t lead the team in targets.
It is reasonable to wonder why I have a younger Maclin ranked after Jackson despite predicting a better year. I wondered the same thing as I was writing. It is difficult to articulate, but I have Maclin projected at close to his ceiling, whereas Jackson has room for another 15 receptions, 250 yards, and two or three scores. So why do I have Maclin so close to his ceiling? It is all about that target volume.
THANKSOBAMA projection: 71 receptions, 852 yards, four touch downs, 180.2 PPR points
Brandon Marshall, WR NYG – WR56
At 33, Marshall is the oldest of an old group. He is also the only player from this foursome to play a full slate in 2016 and resoundingly disappoint versus his pre-season projections. In fact, it is the second time in three seasons the former elite pass catcher posted poor numbers, leading me to think to myself, “Self, what if Marshall’s goose is cooked? Also, you should eat some cooked goose. It’s been years since you enjoyed such a treat.”
Of course, there are some good reasons for Marshall’s two sub-par seasons. 2014 was an injury riddled and controversy filled nightmare, as he wore out his welcome and his ribs in Chicago. 2016 was the year of the Fitzmagic meltdown, a season so bad it nearly sent the Harvard grad out of the league. If not for Colin Kaepernick kneeling, the former Harvard standout may still be without a job.
The last two paragraphs ignore a 339 point 2015. Unfortunately for Marshall and his owners, that appears to have been the outlier. Also unfortunate is Marshall’s position across from Odell Beckham Jr. At this point in his career, the mercurial wide receiver needs target volume and red zone opportunities to produce. Whether those will be there with OBJ and sophomore standout Sterling Shepard in tow is an question we can’t answer.
One thing we do know is Marshall is planning to retire after next season. That fact alone makes it difficult to push him above fourth in this group, and for comparison’s sake, it slots him three spots lower than Larry Fitzgerald, who could probably post top-15 numbers well into his 60s.
THANKSOBAMA projection: 76 receptions, 914 yards, five touchdowns, 221 PPR points
Instant Analysis: Eric Decker Signs in Tennessee
Tampa Bay Lightning: Bucs Add DeSean Jackson
Empire State of Mind: Brandon Marshall Signs with the Giants
Jeremy Has Spoken: Jeremy Maclin Chooses the Ravens
- How to Win Without Watching Football - July 22, 2021
- 2018 Summer Sleeper: Chicago Bears - July 9, 2018
- NFL Draft Aftermath: Winners and Losers from the AFC North - June 18, 2018
Thanks for the write-up, Jeff. I think your math is off on Marshall, though. Your projected stat line would give him 197.4 points, not 221.
What’re you talking about Moishe? That Marshall math looks perfectly fuzzy… er GOOD to me!
I drink. A lot.
But mostly, I meant that to say nine touchdowns.
Replying to your own replies is the new replying to others replies.
Not using an apostrophe to show possession in others is the new @fehnt3fhafa4#$~!fhigas *Jeff blacks out on his keyboard*
“most accurate system for projecting players since simming Madden Franchise Mode.” I thought I was the only one! Lmao! Nice!
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