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Player Spotlight: DeVante Parker

A detailed look at DeVante Parker's fantasy prospects for 2016.

POTENTIAL IN PARKER

The 2015 rookie wide receiver class was fraught with injury disappointments among prospects with great promise. Kevin White of the Bears missed the entire season with a shin injury. The Ravens’ Breshad Perriman missed his rookie year with a partially torn PCL in his right knee.

The news wasn’t quite as bad for DeVante Parker. An injury sustained during Parker’s time in college at Louisville required a screw to be inserted into his foot. That screw needed to be replaced a year later, causing Parker to miss training camp and the first two games of the season. When Parker did return, the team was cautious and limited his workload. He came on late in the season, logging 80 or more yards in four out of the last six contests. As the new season approaches, and with an exciting, offensive-minded head coach now in place in Miami, the momentum has started to build for Parker. Can he live up to the lofty expectations fantasy owners are placing upon him?

DAZZLING DEVANTE

Parker’s scouting report coming out of college has matched up with his NFL play. Parker demonstrates great body control and soft hands to pluck the ball out of the air. His concentration on the ball in the air and tracking ability is second to none. Parker is also extremely fast for his size. Remember, he registered a  4.45 forty at the NFL Combine. That’s pretty amazing for someone who is  6'3" and 210 pounds. He excels as a “go-up-and-get-it” receiving threat. You can see most of these attributes at work in the animated gif below. Parker torches Ladarius Webb on the route to get in position for the pass. He then high points the ball for a beautiful touchdown catch.

The team has announced that Parker will play the X position in new Miami Head Coach Adam Gase’s offense. Owners should be very excited about this, because this position in Gase’s scheme traditionally gets a ton of targets. Both Alshon Jeffery and Demaryius Thomas have had career seasons playing the X with Gase at the helm.

As Matt Waldman has said time and time again, Draft pedigree is important when it comes to opportunity given to players. Even though he was selected by a previous regime, the Dolphins spent the fourteenth overall pick of the 2015 Draft on Parker. Deserved or not, he will be given every chance to succeed.

PARKER IN PARK

Health issues are the primary concern for Parker. As previously mentioned, he suffered a fifth metatarsal fracture that required a screw insertion. Dr. Jene Bramel stated in his Injury Rounds column that he believes Parker is another receiver on his way to being an example of a successful long-term recovery:

"DeVante Parker is on his way to being another reassuring data point. That's not to say every player is a lock to recover. But Dr. Robert Anderson, the surgeon nearly every NFL player goes to for this procedure, has published data showing a near 100% success rate after revision surgery in NFL players."

Parker has also been battling an undisclosed injury in training camp, rumored to be to his opposite foot. The team will only confirm it was not a re-aggravation of his surgically repaired foot.

As our own Matt Harmon pointed out in his Reception Perception, route running is still a work in progress for Parker:

"We saw the flashes of greatness from DeVante Parker in this two week trial run, and man, were they impressive. However, to this point, we are still waiting for that route-to-route consistency. His lack of nuance in patterns, and deficient techniques off the line, are anchoring him in this department."

Jarvis Landry and newly-drafted Leontee Carroo are talented receivers in their own right and have the potential to do more than owners think. While Parker should still earn the majority of targets in this offense, if both Carroo and Parker are playing well, it could take the edge off his upside in PPR leagues.

POSITIVES:

  • Parker has exceptional speed, concentration, body control, ball tracking, and hands.

  • He will be moved to the X receiving position in the offense, which should boost his output.

  • Parker’s draft pedigree and talent intersection portend ample opportunity in this offense.

NEGATIVES:

  • His foot issue that caused him to miss time in his rookie year is a lingering concern.

  • Parker needs to clean up his route running to elevate his game to the next level.

  • Jarvis Landry and Leontee Carroo are two credible receiving threats that could tamp down on Parker’s upside.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Parker’s current ADP places him in the mid-fifth round of 12 team redraft league. For a player locked into WR2 numbers with WR1 upside, Parker is being seriously undervalued. However, anticipate that his ADP will continue to climb as summer wears on.  In dynasty formats, Parker is going in the late-second or at the beginning of the third round in startup drafts. There are players around the same range that owners should prefer over Parker, (Brandon Cooks, Kevin White) but he is a fine selection if they are off the board.


2016 PROJECTIONS

JASON WOOD'S PROJECTIONS

G

RSH

YD

Y/R

TD

REC

YD

Y/R

TD

FPT

16

0

0

0

0

67

1040

15.5

7

213.00

DAVID DODDS' PROJECTIONS

G

RSH

YD

Y/R

TD

REC

YD

Y/R

TD

FPT

16

1

5

5

0

66

924

14.0

7

200.90

OTHER VIEWPOINTS

Bucky Brooks of NFL.com believes Parker is poised for a breakout season:

I think DeVante Parker will break out this year. I'm a big believer in his talent -- he can be a No. 1 receiver in that Miami Dolphins offense, particularly under first-year head coach Adam Gase. Gase will simplify the scheme to make sure quarterback Ryan Tannehill is comfortable making decisions from the pocket. Based on Parker's talent, he will be one of the focal points of the passing game. With Jarvis Landry playing in the slot and possibly getting double-teamed, Parker will win a number of one-on-one matchups, and I fully expect him to have 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns by season's end.

Ryan Ward of NumberFire profiles Parker as a player who can succeed even if he’s second to Jarvis Landry in targets:

“With Gase's history of giving a nice workload to his number-two targeted receiver, his recent history in improving a once inefficient quarterback's performance in Jay Cutler, and his affinity for the X-receiver role in his offense, Parker may have the tools in place to really show the world what he's made of.”