Before the 2019 season, many had deemed DeVante Parker a disappointment. The former 1st-round pick had struggled mightily during his first four years, failing to average more than 60 receptions and 700 receiving yards. However, the 2020 season was a turning point for Parker, who eclipsed 1000 receiving yards at a whopping 16.7 yards per catch. Most of this production came at the end of the season after he and Fitzpatrick established chemistry. I’m curious to see what magic this tandem could produce in 2020, but am less enthusiastic about Parker given his injury history, and lack of consistency in production. Unlike Julian Edelman, Parker has less moving parts at quarterback which leads me to consider Parker a bit higher on my wide receiver big board.
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By all means, DeVante Parker was on a prove-it year. If he had failed to produce in year 5, the Dolphins would have found a trade partner or head coach Brian Flores would have put Parker in the doghouse. Instead, he impressed, finishing the season with 72 receptions for 1202 receiving yards and nine receiving touchdowns. This production translated to 238 fantasy points for an average of 14.875 points per game. Also notable is that this production came in 15 games; he failed to catch a pass vs New England in week 2. Parker absolutely dominated in standard leagues, ranking 6th in total fantasy points for receivers.
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While his 2019 season was elite, many remain skeptical of whether Parker can produce in back-to-back seasons. I am one of them. The main knock on DeVante Parker is his consistency. Am I supposed to believe that one year changed Parker? I find it hard to believe that Parker won’t struggle with consistency issues in 2020. Lineups agrees projecting the receiver to finish with 68 receptions for 888 receiving yards and seven receiving touchdowns. Lineups also projects a dip in fantasy production with an estimate of 196 fantasy points and 12.25 fantasy points per game.
Part of the concern is consistency, but also Parker’s injury history. The receiver has struggled to stay healthy, playing only one full season his entire career. While never long-term absences, he tends to miss a couple of games per season, which should also hurt his production. I cannot help but believe that the receiver will struggle to stay healthy in 2020.
Lastly, the Dolphins have many moving pieces on the offensive side of the ball. We have no idea whether Tua Tagovailoa or Ryan Fitzpatrick will be the starting quarterback next season, nor do we have a sense of how the offensive line will fare. The Dolphins drafted two tackles Austing Jackson and Robert Hunt in the 2019 draft. With both expected to fill the tackle role, they will be crucial factors in whether Fitzpatrick or Tagovailoa have time in the pocket. Wide receiver Preston Williams is making his return, potentially taking away targets from Parker. These uncertainties make me fearful that Parker may not repeat his 2019 season.
DeVante Parker is the most divisive fantasy WR in drafts. Preston Williams presence, possible QB change at some juncture and anomalous season have many skittish.
Still, it's hard to ignore his stellar second half and elite efforts against top CBs. Value at WR24 (54.4 ADP).
— Brad Evans (@NoisyHuevos) May 24, 2020
ADP: 81.5 WR:24
Auction Value: $16
DeVante Parker’s ADP is 81.5 which I think is fair given his consistency issues. Lineups has him as the 24th wide-receiver on their big board which I also think is fair. I think he can work well as a flex/WR3 on many teams and will be a steal in non-PPR leagues if he continues to be Fitzpatrick’s red-zone target. Regardless, I feel somewhat comfortable drafting Parker this low given his upside being higher than those with similar auction values. However, all the aforementioned issues make me believe that he won’t meet his 2019 expectations. Yet, at this ADP, you aren’t drafting him for those numbers. Instead, you are drafting him in hopes that he will obtain 60+ receptions for 800+ yards.
If Parker had produced a couple of consistent 1000 yard seasons, I would have a higher floor for the receiver. While I do think Parker will be productive, I think it is a huge risk for fantasy owners to bet that he will match or exceed his 2018 numbers. Also, his nine touchdown season could be an anomaly as Parker did not achieve more than four touchdown receptions in his entire career. I have a slightly higher floor than others such as Julian Edelman because of his age and potential quarterback consistency. However, for this ADP, I do not mind the pick.
Parker has a high ceiling. At 27, the receiver is entering his prime which will hopefully translate into production. The same physical attributes that led to his 1st-round selection haven’t disappeared. He has all the tools in the world to succeed. I think at this point it depends on DeVante Parker himself. If he keeps focused, the sky is the limit, especially with his ability as a deep-threat option. I am rooting for Parker to succeed.
The Dolphins revamped their offense, drafting Austin Jackson and Robert Hunt to become premier offensive tackles, adding running backs Matt Brieda and Jordan Howard, and drafting their quarterback of the future in Tua Tagovailoa. The question becomes how these moving pieces will fit in the offense, and will the offense improve from last year.
The receiving core remained largely the same with Parker, Preston Williams, and Albert Wilson all returning in 2020. It should be noted that Preston Williams did not play in 2019. Williams could come back strong, stealing targets away from Parker. Nonetheless, the wide receiver core, in general, is average, but Williams and Wilson have the ability to force one-on-one matchups for DeVante Parker.
I think the offense’s effect on Parker comes down to whether these additions can develop chemistry. If so, Parker could have a magical season. If not, expect Parker to struggle as well as the rest of the unit.
Strength of Schedule
The Dolphins, unfortunately, play in the AFC East with some of the league’s best secondaries. On top of this, the Dolphins face the 49ers, Broncos, Rams, and Chargers all with expected strong pass defenses. With a schedule this difficult, Parker could struggle. However, the receiver had some of his best games in 2019 against the Bills and Patriots. At least we know that Parker is capable of beating some of the leagues best defenses.
DeVante Parker has elite talent and at times you can see why the Dolphins used their first-round pick on the receiver. However, consistency is an issue as well as the Dolphins offense which could severely cripple his production value in 2020. But at his current ADP, I think it is worth the gamble if you have a strong WR1 and WR2.