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What did we miss? Deep reception fantasy surprises

Dec 31, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (19) scores a touchdown against the Cleveland Browns during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Most of the teams that lost significant deep threats after 2016 saw their overall reliance on deep throws decrease this season. That suggests that the talent of the skill players themselves dictates the fantasy potential teams could have on deep throws. Fortunately, a few teams did have some internal candidates with the talent to replace the deep threats who left in free agency, and a two in particular became big hits as sleepers.

Teams that needed a deep target

PPR Points Lost on Deep Passes, 2016 to 2017
Team Points Lost Notable Players Lost
WAS 142.4 DeSean Jackson (91.9), Pierre Garcon (46.4)
BUF 117.5 Marquise Goodwin (29.1), Sammy Watkins (27.3)
CHI 112.0 Cameron Meredith (51.5), Alshon Jeffery (33.3)
PIT 111.9 Sammie Coates (49.1), Cobi Hamilton (36.9)
NO 104.9 Brandin Cooks (89.4)
IND 84.8 Phillip Dorsett (42.9)
NYJ 81.5 Quincy Enunwa (41.8)
LAR 74.8 Kenny Britt (37.0)
CAR 69.8 Ted Ginn (66.1)
SF 66.9
CLV 62.4 Terrelle Pryor (36.1)

Washington Redskins

I mentioned in my most recent article that Josh Doctson was the closest thing the Redskins had to a breakout player on deep passes. He produced 44.4 PPR points on deep throws, and while that was just barely ahead of his teammate Vernon Davis’s total (44.3), its timing foreshadows a further increase in 2018. He saw nearly half (20.2) of those points over the final month as his overall target volume spiked to 7 per game. With Chris Thompson and Jordan Reed crowding Jamison Crowder on short and medium passes next season, Doctson could become the fantasy standout as the team’s only vertical threat.

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