Jordan Matthews: Discarded, Overlooked, and Undervalued in Fantasy Football

by Mike Medeiros ·

Since being drafted in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft, Jordan Matthews has been one of the most productive receivers in the league. Catching passes from Nick Foles, Mark Sanchez, and Sam Bradford, Jordan Matthews posted back to back 8 touchdown seasons to start his career and finished as the PPR WR25 and WR17, respectively. While he was a disappointment for fantasy owners in 2016, Jordan Matthews is being overlooked as a strong rebound candidate for the upcoming season.

The Eagles primary slot receiver in his first two seasons, in 2016 new Head Coach Doug Peterson wanted to utilize Jordan Matthews’ 6-3 frame and 4.46 (76th-percentile) speed as an outside target for his rookie QB Carson Wentz. While moving inside in three receiver sets, Matthews posted a career low Slot Rate at 36.9-percent, although that was still good for No.23 in the league. Matthews’ efficiency dipped in 2016, his Production Premium went from +11.0 (No. 27) in 2015, down to -6.5 (No. 73) in 2016. Matthews’ drop rate of 6.0-percent (No. 27) was a factor, as his catch rate fell from 66.4-percent (No. 28) to 62.9-percent (No.37). One of Matthews strengths his first two seasons was his yards after the catch, which also declined from No. 9 (433 yards) in 2015 to No. 46 (235 yards) in 2016.

Jordan Matthews Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Back in his Familiar Role

The Eagles gave their receiving corps a makeover this offseason. Signing Alshon Jeffrey and Torrey Smith to play on the outside, pushing Nelson Agholor into a reserve role and moving Jordan Matthews back into his familiar role in the slot. Coach Peterson has called Matthews “the perfect slot receiver”, and he has a strong argument. Since entering the league in 2014, Jordan Matthews has the most yards out of the slot with 2,389. In fact, 89-percent of Matthews’ 2,673 career yards have come out of the slot.

Jordan Matthews Production out of the slot via Pro Football Focus

 Enough volume to go around?

While Alshon Jeffrey projects to capture the highest share of targets, there should still be plenty to go around for Jordan Matthews. The Eagles have ranked 5th, 6th and 6th in pass attempts per game the last 3 seasons. Matthews earned a 23.2-percent (No.22) Target Share in 2016 and while that’s likely to come down, Matthews has averaged 116 targets a season for his career. With defenses focused on Jeffrey and the deep speed of Torrey Smith, Matthews will be able to work the middle of the field with less defensive attention than what he is used to seeing the previous two seasons, making up for the potential loss of volume with an increase in efficiency.

Check out Jordan Matthews & Alshon Jeffery on the Updated PlayerProfiler Player Rankings:

Best-value Wide Receiver

Currently, Jordan Matthews has an ADP of WR39 and can be had at the end of the 9th round. And looking at the ADP on, he can be had even cheaper as he is coming in as the No. 52(!) receiver off the board.

Entering his age-25 season and one year removed from a top 20 finish at the position, Matthews is the clear WR2 on his team in a high volume passing offense. A savvy pick in the later rounds of drafts, the under-appreciated Jordan Matthews looks like a solid bet to return value on his current ADP