Are we sleeping on DeVante Parker or have we finally given up in the Fantasy Football community waiting for the Miami Dolphins WR to hit? With Ryan Tannehill down and out for the year and Jay Cutler at the helm for Miami what can we expect? I believe could be the year for Parker to prove his doubters wrong and turn it on, but draft with caution.
DeVante Parker has always tantalized fantasy football owners with his elite athletic measurables. Coming out of Louisville he posted a 4.45 40 Yard Dash (78th-percentile). At 6-3 209-pounds he posted a 109.5 (88th-percentile) Height Adjusted Speed Score. The Speed Score specifically is the quintessential upside metric. Recent wide receivers posting a 100-plus Speed Score reads like a who’s who of high ceiling prototypical No. 1 NFL X-wide receivers. A.J. Green is Parker’s closest comparable on PlayerProfiler.com, which has always had fantasy enthusiasts excited about the upside of Parker, who actually looks like a more explosive A.J. Green. He is the size-speed specimen that can dominate as an outside wide receiver.
DeVante Parker was taken with the 14th overall pick in the 2015 draft despite his senior season shortened to six games after he suffered a foot fracture in August. This injury showed up again in his pro rookie season, limiting his availability. Parker’s production led to a 46.3-percent (91st-percentile) College Dominator. Straight out of the gate Parker was producing for the Louisville Cardinals with a 19.6 (73rd-percentile) Breakout Age.
Wayne or Dwayne?
Since being drafted by the Dolphins, DeVante Parker has been dealing with one major question: Is he a Dwayne or a Wayne? Has he coasted by doing minimal work in the weight room, watching little film and not dedicating himself to his craft – a Dwayne (Bowe)? Or has he rededicated himself and rebranded himself by making football a priority like a (Reggie) Wayne? Word out of camp has been very positive. Coaches state that he has physically dedicated himself with his diet and workout. Prior to his injury, Tannehill called Parker the most improved player. The coaching staff and Dolphins Offensive Coordinator Clyde Christensen expects Parker to have a gigantic year for the team. Jay Cutler called Parker a “faster Alshon” (referring to Cutler’s former Chicago teammate Alshon Jeffery) after their first preseason game.
In 2016, DeVante Parker posted WR50 numbers in PPR leagues with a 56 reception, 744 receiving yards, 4 receiving touchdown season on 88 targets. A sizable amount of the Dolphins passing opportunities were directed at Parker; a 20-percent Target Share good for 34th-overall in the NFL. None of Parker’s opportunity advanced stats or analytics jump off the page from 2016.
In the efficiency analytics he fared slightly better. DeVante Parker posted a +9.1 (31st overall) Production Premium showing that he is more efficient than a large number of WRs. He posted a monstrous 24 Slot Yard Per Route (7th-Overall) however he was only used a paltry 9.1-percent of the time out of the slot. Catching the ball hasn’t been the issue for Parker. He”s only had one recorded dropped pass with a 63.6-percent (36th-overall) Catch Rate. If Cutler can be more productive than Tannehill and push the ball to Parker we will see a spike in volume and production.
The Receiver Air Conversion Ratio on AirYards.com measures how well a player converts a yard thrown at him into receiving yards. Looking at DeVante Parker’s RACR by Depth of Target you’ll see that Parker was inept when he was close to the line. He excelled the further the ball traveled from the line of scrimmage. He then went below average around targets deeper than 30 yards and spiked back up on deep throws. Parker posted a .71 RACR score which shows strong efficiency for his fantasy owners if he gets a spike in opportunity.
The Miami Dolphins were 31st in the league last year, only throwing the ball three more times than the Buffalo Bills. The Dolphins 477 passing attempts in Adam Gase’s first year are likely a sign of what the team aims to do with star running back Jay Ajayi. With most of the Dolphins target leaders returning it would take an injury to swing enough targets to DeVante Parker to make him worthwhile.
We are heavily relying on a lot of what ifs for DeVante Parker. Parker is finally being drafted at a value. He is going as ADP 63.2 (WR34) in MyFantasyLeague keeper league PPR drafts and in redraft as the ADP 79.15 (WR33). On the PlayerProfiler player rankings he is ranked near his ADP. The Dolphins have a difficult schedule for WR’s projected ahead and having Cutler come out of retirement three weeks before season starts casts an ominous shadow over Parker’s 2017 season.
Check out DeVante Parker on the Updated PlayerProfiler Seasonal & Dynasty Rankings:
For those in dynasty leagues, 2017 might be a good buy low window for Parker. DeVante Parker has a tough schedule and owners who invested high draft capital in rookie or startup drafts might decide it’s time to cut bait. The team has been reluctant to give Jarvis Landry a new deal so it is possible that the front office sees Parker as the WR of the future for the Dolphins. He is a player who at his ADP will assist your team in 2017 but do not go reaching for him.