2017 Fantasy Outlook: DeVante Parker
The switch from game manager Ryan Tannehill to noted gunslinger Jay Cutler will transform Miami’s offense this season, and no one will benefit from it more than DeVante Parker.
A former first round pick, the 24 year-old Parker has not lived up to expectations since joining the league in 2015. However, now that Cutler’s at the helm, look for him to realize his full potential and become a reliable fantasy option. With an average draft position of 97.1 according to Yahoo, he’s a low-risk high-reward pick that could turn into your everyday WR2.
Parker had a decent 2016 season, but it was nothing to write home about. He played in 15 games and finished with 56 catches on 90 targets, leading to 744 receiving yards and three touchdowns. This equated to 98.4 fantasy points in standard scoring fantasy leagues, or 6.6 points per game, landing him at 50th overall in points scored by wide receivers, per fftoday.com.
So, why should this season be any different? Like any breakout year, it all starts with the offseason, and his has been encouraging.
A Young Wideout Comes of Age
All reports thus far this season state that Parker is in the best shape of his career, due to a heightened level of commitment and attention to detail. The Louisville product changed his diet, switched his sleeping schedule and has received a lot of praise from the coaching staff in training camp.
In the two preseason games with Cutler under center the tandem’s chemistry has been more than apparent.
In the ‘Fins second preseason game against the Ravens, and Cutler’s first, Parker was the target of three out of Cutler’s six passes. Parker hauled in one pass on a slant for 16 yards. His night would have been more impressive if a holding penalty hadn’t negated a 31-yard connection between the two.
The two built on their chemistry in the next game against the Eagles. Parker hauled in two catches for 78 yards, including a 72-yard catch and run that highlights the building excitement around Parker.
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At 6’3”, 212 pounds Parker has the body of a prototypical starting wide receiver and is the type of receiver that Cutler loves to target, historically.
DVP: The Next Alshon Jeffrey
DVP’s size is comparative to one of Cutler’s favorite targets in Chicago: Alshon Jeffrey.
The two had an electric chemistry that helped Jeffrey finish 12th overall in his position in 2014 (in standard scoring leagues). The two continued their success in the 2015 season when Jeffrey totaled 54 catches, 807 yards and four touchdowns in only 9 games played. This lead to an average of 11.6 fantasy points per game, which was good for top 12 in fantasy points per game at his position, per fftoday.com.
Parker’s combination of size, strength and athleticism allows Cutler to take advantage of one of his strengths: pushing the ball deep down the field. During this preseason, it has been apparent that Cutler has faith that Parker can win at the point of attack on jump balls.
Through the two games, Cutler has thrown jump balls to Parker once in single coverage, which resulted in a 72 yard gain, and once into double coverage, which would’ve resulted in a 31 yard gain if it hadn’t been negated by holding. Look for this to become a staple of Miami’s offense as the season progresses.
This comparison isn’t simply Parker passing the eye test either. “I think he’s kind of a faster Alshon [Jeffery],” Cutler said, per ESPN. “He’s got a lot of range, back shoulder and over the top. He’s got great hands. Then, he can burn you up if you’re flat-footed.”
That’s high praise from a quarterback that’s been in the league since 2006 and has had weapons like Jeffrey and Brandon Marshall at his disposal.
The Bottom Line
While one should never draft a player based on potential, DVP is a player you can take a flyer on in the middle to late rounds that could help you make playoffs or win your league. He’s always had the potential, now he has the right mindset and quarterback to help him take his game to the next level.