While he checks all the boxes we look for when acquiring wide receivers in dynasty leagues, Donte Moncrief has been a polarizing player as of late. In a high scoring offense tethered to a high-end quarterback, Moncrief should have been a keg cog in dynasty fantasy football lineups for years. But there are still questions surrounding him entering his contract year season in Indianapolis. Moncrief is being touted as a buy as a post-hype sleeper, and a sell as someone who has flashed potential but under-performed his athleticism, “injury prone”, and being overvalued due to a gaudy touchdown rate and his current situation.
Rookie Year Trajectory
The third-round rookie was eased into the Colts offense in 2014 as a 21-year old. Playing behind a then 36-year old Reggie Wayne, an emerging young star in T.Y. Hilton, and the broken-down Hakeem Nicks. Donte Moncrief showed well in his limited opportunity and flashed downfield ability, posting 32 receptions for 444 yards and three touchdowns in a promising rookie year.
Second Year Leap
Entering his sophomore season, expectations were growing for Donte Moncrief to make another jump in production. He established himself as Andrew Luck’s No. 2 option in the passing game behind T.Y. Hilton, earning a 17.4-percent Target Share and a +12.5-percent Target Premium. Moncrief was showing signs of a breakout season before a shoulder injury to Luck held him out for two games, and then a kidney laceration in week 9 ended his season.
With Andrew Luck at quarterback, Moncrief’s pace of 222 PPR fantasy points would’ve been good for WR20 in 2015. He led the team in touchdowns (6) and finished second to Hilton in receptions and yards. Entering the 2016 season, it was wheels up for Donte Moncrief and there was a real debate as to who was the Colts WR1 of the future, him or T.Y. Hilton. So much so that entering last season Moncrief passed Hilton in dynasty ADP.
A Tumultuous 2016
Donte Moncrief came out in week 1 and picked up where he left off in the Colts offense. The potential third-year breakout took a major hit (literally) as a fractured scapula cost him 5 games. Upon returning, Moncrief was a touchdown machine, scoring in each of his next 5 games. Solidifying himself as one of the best red zone threats in the league, Moncrief offered little else being used mostly in the shorter area passing game seeing only 5.5 (No. 98) yards per target.
Check out Donte Moncrief on the Updated PlayerProfiler Seasonal & Dynasty Rankings:
The injury bug came back in week 14, forcing him to miss week 15 with a hamstring, then another shoulder injury in week 16 ended his season.
Answering the Questions in his game
While although earning a +6.4 Production Premium (No. 40) in 2016, outside of the touchdowns Donte Moncrief wasn’t very efficient. The 64 yards posted in week 1 turned out to be his game-high for the season. His catch and yardage totals left a lot to be desired, logging just 30 receptions for 307 yards. There are concerns regarding his usage and production within the offense outside of the red zone, seeing just 4.4 (No.86) Air Yards Per Target last season. The biggest area of concern is his yard after the catch (No. 111). Also trending downward each season has been his catch rate (No. 82 in 2016) and yards per reception.
With a dynasty ADP sitting at 44 overall (WR22) the cost to acquire Moncrief may be considered high, as he could be potentially acquired for less in trade. Some label him injury prone, although before 2016 he had never missed a game in his short career. Can we chalk 2016 up to bad luck and randomness? The narrative from his detractors are that he is a “touchdown dependent” receiver, after last season that could be considered fair criticism, as his 12.5-percent touchdown rate will surely drop. Entering his 4th season at age 24 with a chance for a full 16 games with Andrew Luck, and with his talent profile, the opportunity to truly breakout could be aligning for Donte Moncrief. The true question being are you looking at this as a chance to sell an overvalued player or do you see this as a buying opportunity for a young talent on the cusp of putting it all together?