Welcome to this weeks’ edition of the Monday Morning Sleeper. Last week I profiled a rookie running back playing behind a legend, whose opportunity may be closer than it appears, named Elijah Hood. This week I will be profiling a young wide receiver playing for the New York Jets, who despite the uncertainty at quarterback, may become a vital part of their offense in 2017.
A Fantasy Football Sleeper is a player that is in a position to play beyond their rankings or expectations, and who may provide you with some value at their draft position.
This week I will be profiling Robby Anderson, wide receiver for the New York Jets, and a player I predict will out-perform his rankings in 2017. Anderson is currently the 97th ranked wide receiver, and the 218th ranked player overall, according to FantasyPros.com Dynasty rankings. With players like Tajae Sharpe, Tavon Austin, and Eli Rodgers ranked higher than him, you may be able to steal a potential number one receiver late in your draft.
ROOKIE SEASON AS A JET
In his rookie season, Anderson put up some pretty impressive first year numbers, after playing in 14 games for the Jets. He earned 587 yards on 42 receptions and two touchdowns, with 78 targets. Receiving double-digit targets in weeks 13 and 14, he looks capable to handle an increased workload. Over the 2016 season, he averaged 14 yards per catch, and was targeted 5.6 times per game. These numbers are even more impressive when you consider that he was playing behind Brandon Marshall and Quincy Enunwa. While Marshall was the de facto number one receiver, Enunwa quietly led the team in yards and touchdowns in 2016, but Anderson was third on the team in targets, yards, and touchdowns. Watch for his role to expand after the departure of Marshall and Decker.
KEEPING IT REAL
Sometimes keeping it real can go wrong. Anderson was arrested at a music festival in Miami on May 7th, 2016, as reported by ESPN. While attending the Rolling Loud Music Festival, Anderson was asked to leave the concert by security and he refused. The police were called and they attempted to arrest and remove him. The arrest became physical and Anderson allegedly ended up in a scuffle with the police on the ground. The police ended up charging Anderson with felony resisting an officer with violence, and a misdemeanor charge of obstructing an officer. While the results of this incident could adversely affect his opportunity on the team, I don’t believe this issue will have a profoundly negative affect on his playing career, or more specifically, his 2017 season. Legal cases can be long and drawn out, and this issue may not be resolved until next year, or even longer. It doesn’t appear that this season will be compromised by this incident, at the moment.
Last year, Anderson was playing behind Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, and Quincy Enunwa. Playing in his third season as a Jet, Enunwa was surprisingly the Jets leading receiver in 2016, with 857 yards on 58 receptions. The veteran Marshall was the team leader in targets, receiving 128 targets and catching 59 of them, for 788 yards. Eric Decker missed significant time last season and has left the Jets in free agency for an opportunity with the Titans.
With Marshall leaving his 128 targets behind, this leaves a huge opportunity for Anderson and Enunwa to receive a drastic increase in targets coming their way next season. Enunwa and Anderson are first and third, respectively, on the team in targets in 2016, and they are the likely recipients of the extra targets in the upcoming season, as the Jets clear top two wide receivers.
The current downside to owning any Jets receiver, on your fantasy team, is the quarterback. This has been an ongoing area of concern for the Jets for quite some time. With Geno Smith behind center off and on from 2013, and other pivots like Ryan Fitzgerald and Josh McCown picking up the duties when Smith has been sidelined with a number of injuries over his tenure, the team has yet to find their identity. Enter Christian Hackenberg, who some believe may be the answer at quarterback for the Jets. Hackenberg, who was drafted in the second round, 51st overall, will be in the mix to compete for a starting job this summer. While this uncertainty at quarterback affects Anderson’s value, he will still receive over a hundred targets in 2017, and if one of their quarterbacks can win the job and get into a groove, Anderson could become a significant fantasy asset, and definitely worthy of a late round flier.
I would try to take Anderson in the 11th to 13th rounds, but you may be able to grab him later in your draft if other managers are sleeping on him. I would still take Enunwa ahead of Anderson. If Anderson is still there in the 14th round, I wouldn’t risk waiting another round to see if you can grab him later. Don’t sleep on this sophomore.
Thank you for reading The Monday Morning Sleeper, and follow me on Twitter, @HaehnelJames
Have an opinion? Let me know in the comments below.