5 Reasons Why Terry McLaurin is a Fantasy Bargain

Learn why Terry McLaurin is set to outperform his draft-day price tag.

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Terry McLaurin was arguably the most surprising top-30 wide receiver in fantasy football last season. His current ADP indicates early drafters aren’t expecting much of a step forward in year two. The crowd has it wrong. McLaurin has a clear path to a top-15 finish in his sophomore season for five reasons:

  1. You already know he was good as a rookie, but may not realize how good

  2. Competition for targets in Washington’s offense barely exists

  3. Big plays help win weekly matchups and they happen to be McLaurin’s specialty

  4. Washington’s quarterback play has nowhere to go but up

  5. New offensive coordinator Scott Turner has shown a willingness to tailor his scheme to the strengths of his best players

Torching Expectations

McLaurin was the 77th pick in last year’s draft (3.12) and probably would have gone later had it not been for a strong Senior Bowl and an electric showing at the scouting combine. It’s not that McLaurin was a dog at Ohio State, especially not as a senior. He led the entire 2019 wide receiver class with 14.3 yards per target and scored 11 touchdowns.

But it wasn’t until McLaurin ran a 4.35 40-yard dash at 208 pounds (95th percentile size-adjusted speed) that he was thought of as an early-round option for NFL teams. Before his standout senior year, in which he was still only fourth in targets on the team, McLaurin was rarely featured in OSU’s offense.

If any doubts remained about McLaurin’s lack of college production (which can be attributed primarily to the Buckeyes run-first offense from 2015-2018), he erased them in Week 1 of his rookie season by hanging a 7-5-125-1 receiving line on the Eagles. McLaurin went on to score five touchdowns over his first five NFL games, ranking 14th in cumulative PPR wide receiver scoring through Week 6, despite missing one game due to a hamstring strain.

His production waned in the middle of the season, but McLaurin wasn't to blame. Washington jettisoned offensive-minded head coach Jay Gruden after the team started 0-5 and handed the reins to assistant head coach, Bill Callahan. On Callahan’s watch, Washington finished with the second-fewest pass attempts in the league despite being outscored by a combined 60 points.

McLaurin would end the season as a top-30 wide receiver. We know that’s helpful in fantasy football, but history shows us wideouts who achieved similar statistical milestones as McLaurin did as a rookie often go on to bigger and better things. Take a look at the cohort of rookie wide receivers since 2000 to total at least 800 yards, five touchdowns, and average 9.0 yards per target:

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