Don’t Write Off Randall Cobb In 2017

Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Getty Images Sport / Dylan Buell
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After the resurgence of Jordy Nelson and emergence of Davante Adams in Green Bay this past season, Randall Cobb has become somewhat of an afterthought in fantasy circles. Due to a variety of lower body injuries, Cobb was limited to thirteen regular season contests in 2016. On the other hand, Nelson and Adams were active for all sixteen of Green Bay’s regular season games. As a result, both wide receivers earned a larger target share than that of Cobb, in addition to contributing superior receiving totals. Will this trend continue in 2017? I answer that pressing question, and evaluate Cobb’s fantasy value for this year by offering three reasons to invest in him below.

Career Production

As is often the case in fantasy football, it is crucial to eliminate bias towards a player after an unprecedented season of production. This philosophy applies directly to Cobb, who prior to 2016 was a rather consistent fantasy asset in PPR formats. For a closer look at how productive Cobb has been thus far in his career, reference the table below:

Year Receptions Receiving Yards Touchdowns Targets PPR Finish
2011 25 375 1 31 WR90
2012 80 954 8 104 WR16
2013 31 433 4 46 WR64
2014 91 1,287 12 126 WR8
2015 79 829 6 129 WR25
2016 60 610 4 84 WR52

In three of his past five seasons, Cobb has recorded a minimum of 79 receptions for 829 yards and six touchdowns. As evident from the table above, he has posted WR16 (2012), WR8 (2014) and WR25 (2015) finishes in each of those respective campaigns. On the other hand, it is also worth noting that Cobb has only delivered one 1,000-yard receiving campaign in his six-year career to this point.

The root of Cobb’s volatility in 2016 can be attributed to a lack of targets, as he only earned 84 overall. Assuming that he receives an uptick in attention similar to that of 2015 and 2016, it is reasonable to expect a rebound in overall production in 2017. Outside of his rookie season in 2011, Cobb’s availability is positively correlated to his fantasy output. For the three seasons in which he has participated in at least fifteen regular season games since 2011, Cobb has finished no worse than the WR25 in PPR formats.

Price

If there is one benefit from Cobb’s lackluster performance last season, it’s that his fantasy value has taken a substantial hit. This is excellent news for those that believe in the Kentucky product’s talent, as he will be available at a discount in 2017 drafts. Presently, Cobb’s ADP in twelve-team PPR leagues is a back-end WR3. Given his output in 2016, that appears to be a fair assessment. At the same time, Cobb’s pedigree demonstrates that he also possesses the capability to deliver WR1 or WR2 numbers on a regular basis.

After a monster 2014 season, it is fair to assert that Cobb has been an overvalued fantasy asset. There’s no issue in bringing it to the forefront of this discussion, as his price needs to be adjusted accordingly. A case can be made that the fantasy community as a whole has expected more out of Cobb than realistically possible. Yes, that could mean that Cobb’s receiving line in 2014 represents his statistical ceiling. That’s fine. As long as he is not valued as an elite wide receiver, there is no problem in viewing the 26-year-old as an above average player in fantasy football that can be obtained at a reasonable price.

Situation

Entering this upcoming season, Cobb is under contract with the Green Bay Packers until 2019 after signing a four-year, $40 million deal in 2015. Despite rumors that he could be forced to take a reduction in pay, Cobb’s contract all but guarantees him a roster spot in 2017. Outside of Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams, Cobb currently faces minimal competition at wide receiver. This is especially the case since Ty Montgomery has officially been designated to the running back position, as he absorbed 56 targets in Green Bay’s aerial attack last year. Geronimo Allison and Jeff Janis remain in the picture, but have proven to be inferior talents to Cobb so far in their NFL careers. With Aaron Rodgers coming off of a career-high in completions (401) and passing attempts (610) in 2016, volume should not be a concern for Cobb owners. Instead, durability figures to impact his fantasy value the most after being forced to miss three contests a season ago. Feel confident investing in Cobb as a WR3 in 2017, but realize that he is in an excellent position to return even greater value after an uncharacteristic season in 2016.

 

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