When the news broke that Jarvis Landry was on his way out of Miami, there became a massive hole in the Miami Dolphins roster. Over the last four years, Jarvis has racked up a whopping 400 receptions on 567 targets. With those receptions he accumulated more than 4,000 receiving yards and 22 touchdowns. Needless to say, there is a lot of production leaving Miami that needs to be replaced. In walks Albert Wilson.
Born the same year as Landry, Wilson has also played four years in the NFL. In his career he caught 124 receptions for a bit more than 1,500 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns. However, keep in mind the target variance between these two receivers was pretty large over the past four years. If you just look at last season, Jarvis Landry had a whopping 160 targets, resulting in 112 receptions. Wilson on the other hand had 63 targets and 42 receptions. While I’m not saying Jarvis leaving means all 160 targets will automatically go to Wilson in 2018, it is reasonable that a majority of these targets will go to him, especially considering the contract Miami signed him to so early in free agency. Let’s assume, on a very conservative approach, that Wilson gets half of Landry’s targets from 2017 in 2018. That would result in 80 targets. Converting those 80 targets to catches using Wilsons 67% catch rate from 2017 would result in 53 receptions. Then using his 2017 13.2 yards per catch average, we can project a conservative 2018 stat line of 53 receptions, 700 yards and 4 touchdowns. Stats that won’t blow you away, but also a decent late round receiver option in deeper leagues.
That was the conservative view, now let’s look at other possibilities. Two receivers fighting for targets on the Dolphins roster are DeVante Parker and Danny Amendola. Two receivers who have a well-known injury history. Amendola hasn’t played a 16 game season since 2014 (one of only two full seasons in his nine year career) and DeVante Parker has yet to play a 16 game season in his young career. Needless to say there is a pretty good chance that these players are going to miss some time due to injury in 2018. That being said, maybe we look at our projections again and assume instead of Albert getting 50% of Landry’s targets from 2017, maybe he gets 75%. We’re still not assuming he gets the outrageous 160 targets, but instead a more modest 120 targets, not completely unrealistic since Gase likes short passes to receivers on slants or bubble screens. Using the same math as above, these 120 targets translate to a stat line of 80 receptions, 1,061 yards and 6 touchdowns. While maybe his ceiling, still not bad for a low end WR2/WR3 target.
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Albert Wilson is not going to be Jarvis Landry. He probably won’t surpass 100 receptions in 2018, he almost definitely won’t get 160+ targets, and he isn’t a WR1 target for you in your fantasy drafts. He is going to a very crowded, receiver-heavy team with Kenny Stills, DeVante Parker, Danny Amendola, Jakeem “the dream” Grant, and some recently drafted young guns on top of that. However, he is a very good football player. He has a career 12.5 yards per catch average compared to Landry’s average of 10.1. He’s never fumbled a reception (Landry had three last season). He is also very fast and ran a 4.43 40 at his combine compared to Landry’s infamous 4.77. However the most eye-opening stat comes down to what Landry does best, forcing missed tackles. According to PFF, Landry forced 17 missed tackles last season, ranked 2nd in the NFL for receivers, only behind Golden Tate. 17 missed tackles on 112 receptions means Landry made someone miss him on more than 15% of his receptions. However, what’s more interesting is Albert Wilson was tied for 3rd with 15 missed tackles. Consider this, Wilson forced 15 missed tackles on only 42 receptions, meaning he forced a missed tackle on an incredible 36% of his receptions. While Albert Wilson probably won’t be the next Jarvis Landry, he certainly could.
Albert Wilson is probably not going to blow the league away in 2018. He’s probably not even going to lead the Dolphins in targets, receptions, or touchdowns, but the fact remains when Landry left he left a large hole for production on this roster. A large hole that someone needs to fill, and I know I will be taking a late round flyer on Albert Wilson, just in case his talent shines and 2018 becomes his breakout season.
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