When a big target wide receiver leaves a team, one of the toughest things to predict — for fantasy football purposes — is which receiver currently on the team will be the biggest recipient of those vacated targets. The Miami Dolphins have 271 vacated targets, largely thanks to Jarvis Landry’s departure and the 161 targets he took with him. Ryan Tannehill has thrown an average of 562 passes in every full seasons he’s played, and 48 percent of those are now up for grabs.
The man we need to immediately look at is DeVante Parker. It feels like Parker was supposed to have his breakout season every year, but this will be the first year he won’t have to compete with Landry for targets. At 6’3, 212 lbs, Parker is the ideal “X” receiver. The fact that he’s only scored eight touchdowns in three years is mind boggling, and I expect that number to go up this season. Parker had a career high 96 targets last year while only playing in 13 games, but he should be in for a substantial increase in 2018. Tannehill’s number one wide receiver has averaged a 26 percent target share over his first five seasons, so if that guy is Parker now, and Tannehill throws according to his average of 562 passes, Parker would be up for a potential 146 targets.
The next man on the list is Kenny Stills. Over the past two seasons, Stills has scored 15 touchdowns; more than any other Dolphin. He doesn’t get heavily targeted in the red zone, but he’s a big play waiting to happen. Despite Landry’s 161, Stills was still able to accumulate 105 targets, and he should be able to build on that this year. Stills and Parker should see a similar amount of work as options 1A and 1B, but Stills is currently being drafted in the 12th round of fantasy leagues, four full rounds after Parker.
Things get tricky with Danny Amendola and Albert Wilson. Miami signed two slot receivers this offseason; a 32-year-old vet who’s played a full healthy season only twice in his nine-year career, and an underused guy from Kansas City whose looking to prove his worth. One of these guys can have a sneaky upside, as we know how much Tannehill enjoys throwing to his slot receiver, but there are way too many question marks to pick one over the other right now, and I doubt we’ll see any week to week consistency from either (barring injury). There is room on this offense for three receivers to be relevant, but one of these two slot guys won’t be in that mix.
I’m a believer in both Parker and Stills this season. The Dolphins were 5th in the league in pass attempts last season and they’re likely to be playing from behind just as often this year. This is a make or break year for Parker. If he can’t flourish as the number one option on the team in his fourth year, he’s never going to get it. Stills is being drafted at a dirt cheap price as the 52nd receiver off the board. There won’t be 51 receivers who finish better than him, he’ll be a high volume second option receiver on a pass heavy team.