Is Devante Parker the Real Deal?
We’re coming back from spring break for a lot of colleges, and Fantasy School is back in session. We’re going to take a deep look into Devante Parker, the statistics behind his resurgent year this past season, and what to expect from him headed into 2020.
Devante Parker has been the king of, “this year is his year.” Year, after year, after year. After many fantasy managers had given up on him 2019 (He was Drafted as WR70), he quietly had a comeback year, really producing at the level he was expected to all these years, finishing as WR11 in PPR formats. So what led to that incredible finish? Parker ended the season with 9 receiving TDs, good for 3rd in the NFL. He also finished 4th in receiving yards with 1202. These numbers are a massive jump from what he had early in his career, so much so, that he finished with as many touchdowns in his fifth year (9), as he had in the first 4 seasons of his career. So what led to this increase in production?
First and foremost, last season was the first time in his career that Parker played all 16 games. While QB play was not a strong point for the Dolphins in what was a lost season, Parker shined. Part of the reason I believe this occurred is the Dolphins moved on from head coach Adam Gase, and that allowed that offense to rise from the slowest pace in the league. Dolphins ran the 13th most offensive snaps in 2019 at an average of 63.9 per game. They were DEAD LAST in 2020, with an average of 54.9 snaps per game. The Dolphins increased pace of play is good for all Dolphins, but Devante Parker in particular.
Parker’s role in the offense was definitely solidified in 2019, and hopefully that continues in 2020. What was the most impressive in his jump this year is his increase in targets at 128. Parker finished the year 13th in targets amongst WR, which is more than Chris Godwin, Amari Cooper, and Courtland Sutton. His receiving output wasn’t a fluke. The most important thing in fantasy football is opportunity, and Parker had plenty in 2019. The Dolphins are in a position to add play makers to the offense this year, but with a new QB likely coming into the fold, I don’t expect them to draft a ton of competition for Parker in the realm of targets.
If Davante is going to get his fill of targets, he has to do something with them. Air yards are a good indication of target depth and what kind of looks a WR is getting. Devante Parker is 6’3” with the ability to turn on the burners. This allows him to stretch the field, and that correlates with his average targeted air yards (13.8 per Next Gen Stats). This is more than OBJ, Copper, and DK Metcalf. All of these guys listed are the big play threats, and Parker is no exception. Parker also had 33.1% of his teams air yards, leading the Dolphins in that category.
Parker is poised to continue on his success of last season. While I think he has to consistently perform to earn the trust of Fantasy Managers, he should be able to do that going into next year. With his ADP still low since his dicey statistical past, this year might be the best time to get him while he’s a value. He’s a great flex option with a chance to outperform that into WR2 numbers.
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