In this article I’ll be taking some time out of my completely empty day to focus on a dynasty sell high candidate for the 2020 season. After an absolute banger of a night spent shotgunning Four Loko’s, chainsmoking darts and huffing gas with Deandre Baker (guy he beat for most of his yards in week 16) and Quinton Dunbar (former teammate) I received some invaluable information about our little friend, Terry McLaurin.
Terry McLaurin, WR, Redskins
Sure to be controversial, today’s sell high begins and ends with the universally adored Terry McLaurin. Let me start by saying that I don’t think he’s a bad player. Nor do I believe that he’ll wash out of the league in the near future. In fact, I think Terry should provide you with a serviceable option at the Flex for a few years. But, this is a sell-high article. It’s unrealistic to expect you can flip some dog shit player for anything of value, even if it does happen on occasion.
Let’s start by doing a little digging into Terry, beginning with his time at Ohio State. While not a prolific college player by any stretch, Terry posted respectable 29 and 35 reception campaigns in his junior and senior years. During that time he played second (or I guess third) fiddle to the likes of Parris Campbell and K.J. Hill. During his run up to the NFL draft Terry caught some buzz and earned high-praise from scouts who singled out his polished route running ability. At the combine he blazed a 4.35 and put up solid numbers across the testing board that led to him being selected as the 12th WR drafted at 76th overall.
As a rookie, McLaurin exploded onto the scene amassing 408 yards and 5 scores in his first 5 games. This led to some serious, and justifiable buzz around him in fantasy circles. If I press my ear to the glass and listen hard enough, I can still hear the Hypetrains leaving their stations. Over the remaining 9 games he played, McLaurin posted 511 yards and 2 scores. Not bad, but not great. If we look a little closer into his performances, we can see that 48% of his receiving yards last year came in just 4 games. Who were those games against you might ask? Oh you know, just the Eagles (x2), Dolphins and Giants. I’ll mention that a significant portion of those yards came on long touchdown passes. However, I don’t consider that a knock on Terry as I believe it’s part of who he is as a player. From a probabilistic standpoint, I don’t think it’s likely (>50%) to be sustainable.
There has been a lot of change in Redskinville over the past year and this is where my Sellingsenses really started to tingle. Before diving into it, I want to elaborate on how correlated opportunity and production are for any athlete. Regardless of the sport or talent level of the individual, players who are thrust into large roles will produce respectable numbers (especially to fantasy players). Let’s use John Brown as our first example. Last year, Brown produced 1060 receiving yards operating as the Bills primary receiving threat. Posting a slightly higher catch-rate (62.6 vs 62.4) in the process. I also found it eerie that Brown runs a 4.34 to McLaurin’s 4.35 as well but that’s of little importance here. Next, let’s look at Waller’s 1145 receiving yards last year as the only receiving option on his team. A very different player than Brown or McLaurin but put into a very similar situation. What do we get? Good fantasy production. When you’re the best option on a bad team, you’re going to put up numbers.
The Redskins have done some retooling of their offense since the end of last year and there will undoubtedly be more competition for targets. How much more? That’s debatable. Regardless, less targets on a per game basis should translate to less production barring an increase in efficiency.
The offense should also remain on the run-heavy side of the fence this year as they currently roster 9 running backs (I lied, it’s only 7). In turn, this should lead to less plays on a per game basis as the clock grinds down, negatively impacting all members of the offense. Furthermore, while I fully expect the Redskins to be bad next year, there will conceivably be less garbage time than there was this year. As a fantasy player, garbage time is dear to my heart and a valuable contributor to strong production. Finally, we come to his college and now NFL QB Dwayne Haskins. If you’re a believer that Haskins is going to be a quality QB in the NFL power to you, I am not. People will argue McLaurin produced with Haskins last year. To that, I will respond with sure, 62.5 yds/gm is solid but unspectacular. Especially when taking into account he was the top receiver on a team that lost 6 of those 8 games.
Terry is not likely to become an alpha WR in the NFL, no matter how hard we try to envision it. Can we expect some good years from him? Yes, I think that’s reasonable. In my opinion, this offseason could very well be the apex of his value and if we sell for a premium even if he proves us wrong, we should receive good compensation in return.
What do we sell for?
Okay, so let me reiterate, McLaurin is not some dump you trade for whatever Stephen Schmuck in your league offers. He has value (remember, sell high) and we need to maximize our return based on that. If we can’t get adequate compensation we DO NOT SELL. As we enter the selling process we can talk up his route running, rookie numbers with bad QB play and age (though he will be 25 next September) to drum up interest. Lately, I’ve seen McLaurin fetch anywhere from a mid-late 1st and change, to multiple high 2nds, to players like ARob, Landry and Lockett to name a few. Any of the above would be very nice compensation but I would also be interested in adding a less popular, yet similarly talented receiver (think Gallup, Diontae, Cooks) and a pick. If it’s close, go with your gut, not mine.