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Fantasy Football: What should we expect from Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel in the FitzMagic era?

Detroit, Michigan, USA; Washington Football Team wide receiver Terry McLaurin (17) runs after a catch against Detroit Lions strong safety Duron Harmon (26) during the fourth quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

We’re in the thick of the NFL offseason and it’s officially time to start fantasy football prep. I’ll be answering the biggest questions heading into the 2021 season. Click here to read the series of questions answered so far.

The Washington Football Team hasn’t exactly made a habit of enabling fantasy-friendly wide receivers in recent history. Sure, the likes of Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson, Laveranues Coles and (especially) Santana Moss managed to put together some more than solid seasons, but things have generally been rough since the Shanahan family left town following the 2013 season.

Enter: Terry McLaurin, who has looked the part of the next big thing at the position by ripping off 58-919-7 and 87-1,118-4 receiving lines in the first two years of his career. He’s been reunited with fellow Ohio State alumnus Curtis Samuel, meaning the Football Team has their best one-two punch at the position in quite some time.

What follows is a breakdown on just how good both McLaurin and Samuel are and what to make of their fantasy stock ahead of 2021.

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McLaurin has made the most out of his rather poor situation

It’s tough to say any wide receiver has had worse luck under center than Andre Johnson or Allen Robinson over the past two decades, but McLaurin has been giving them a run for their money through two years. Overall, McLaurin has caught passes from Case Keenum, Colt McCoy, Dwayne Haskins, Kyle Allen, Taylor Heinicke and Alex Smith. Sheesh.

Through it all, McLaurin has somehow managed to maintain at least above-average efficiency by just about any metric.

  • PFF receiving grade: 85.1 (No. 17 among 77 wide receivers with 100-plus targets since 2019)
  • Yards per reception: 14.1 (tied for No. 27)
  • Yards after the catch per reception: 4.9 (tied for No. 20)
  • Yards per route run: 1.95 (No. 23)
  • QB rating when targeted: 105.1 (No. 29)

Nobody is exactly banging the door down in order to crown McLaurin as a true top-10 wide receiver; that shouldn’t distract from the fact that the rising third-year receiver has already put together one of the prettier mixtapes you’ll come across in terms of pure route-running ability.

Note that somehow McLaurin managed to play as well as he did in 2020 despite playing through not one but two high ankle sprains. The artist known as F1's age (26 in September) and relatively modest collegiate production (75-1,251-19 career) caused him to fall to the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft; now he has a legit argument as the single best wide receiver in the NFC East.

Luckily for McLaurin, defenses might not be able to focus as much attention on him moving forward thanks to the presence of his new partner in crime.


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