Robby Anderson is setting elevated expectations for 2019, but should fantasy football owners be on board?
As they build around quarterback Sam Darnold the New York Jets took two notable dips in free agency, signing running back Le’Veon Bell and wide receiver Jamison Crowder. But it’s one of the incumbent skill position players, wide receiver Robby Anderson, who is excited to work with new head coach Adam Gase.
Anderson led the Jets in all receiving categories last year, with 50 catches (on 94 targets) for 752 yards and six touchdowns over 14 games. In his final seven games, he had 33 receptions on 58 targets as rapport with Darnold appeared to build nicely.
Anderson set career-highs in catches (63), yards (941) and touchdowns (seven) in 2017, so he obviously has not yet had a 1,000-yard season. But speaking to the media on Thursday, via Brian Costello of the New York Post, Anderson set a couple bars for himself in 2019 while criticizing how he was used by former offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates.
It’s frustrating when you know your capabilities. You know that you should be at least a 10-targets-a-game receiver because you know the impact you have on the game and that’s not given to you. You’ve proven that. Now, I have a coach that’s going to utilize me as a player and not just make me run straight down the field.
Along with that 10 targets per game benchmark, Anderson said he believes he should be a 1,000-yard receiver.
Last year, only five receivers — Julio Jones, Davante Adams, Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster and DeAndre Hopkins — averaged double-digit targets per game over 16 games. Over the aforementioned seven-game stretch to end 2018, Anderson averaged 8.3 targets per game. So it would be a solid step up from there, sustained over a full season, for him to enter that conversation. Even with that uptick, Anderson was WR33 in standard scoring leagues from Week 9-Week 17 last year (via Fantasy Pros).
In 2017, with Josh McCown and Bryce Petty throwing him passes, Anderson finished as WR16 in standard scoring fantasy leagues (also via Fantasy Pros). Darnold is at least a theoretical upgrade, but it’s hard to confidently push Anderson into that high-end WR2 territory heading into 2019.
Fantasy owners can and should be optimistic about Anderson’s prospects this year. But he’s in line to only be worth drafting as a risk-reward WR2 in standard scoring formats, with less upside in PPR leagues.