Fantasy Football: Josh Doctson Checks All The Boxes

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Fantasy football is supposed to be fun and admittedly thinking of Josh Doctson blowing up in 2018 is exactly that for this Day 1 truther. Do I want it to happen? Absolutely. Can it happen? Let’s dive in.

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The Rundown

Perspective is always nice when analyzing why a player hasn’t lived up to expectations. After Doctson was drafted in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft, he was expected to contribute right away and then take over as Washington’s clear-cut #1 WR in 2017 once DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon had moved on. Unfortunately, it didn’t play out that way and the masses are down on Doctson in 2018 because of it.

They shouldn’t be though and here’s why: let’s remember an unfortunate Achilles’ injury nearly cost Doctson his entire rookie season, stunting his growth and halting his development. Then, entering Year 2, groin and hamstring injuries kept Doctson out of Washington’s preseason dress rehearsal. These injuries likely played a major factor in Doctson’s slow start to 2017 – he didn’t catch his first pass until Week 3. It wasn’t until after Week 6 that Jay Gruden finally said he planned to “actively expand” Doctson’s role. From then on, starting in Week 7, Doctson saw at least four targets in 10 of his last 11 games. Doctson averaged 6.3 targets per game over that stretch and finished the season with back-to-back double-digit target games (13, 10). This promising usage occurred in what essentially was Doctson’s rookie season, a sign more upside is on the horizon.

The Player

It’s easy to forget Doctson checked all the boxes coming out of college according to Player Profiler:

Metric Percentile
College Dominator 77th
Breakout Age 94th
40-Yard Dash 68th
Speed Score 69th
Burst Score 97th
Agility Score 82nd
Catch Radius 96th
College Yards Per Reception 78th
SPARQ-x 86th

By every measure, Doctson was a standout athlete and producer on the football field and his highlight reel catches in college turned me into a truther immediately.

Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

The Upside

Touchdowns are pretty important in fantasy football and Doctson’s ability to produce them are flying under the radar this summer. Doctson produced double-digit TDs (11, 14) in each of his final two collegiate seasons. Then, in 2017, Doctson posted six TDs on only 35 catches – that’s a 17% TD rate. In fact, on only 78 total targets, Doctson caught more TD passes than well-known fantasy stalwarts such as Michael Thomas, Golden Tate, Demaryius Thomas, Adam Thielen, and T.Y. Hilton. TDs can vary from year-to-year but still, this is a very promising sign for a player you can consistently land in the double-digit rounds of fantasy drafts.

Player Completions Passing Yards Passing TDs
Alex Smith 341 4,042 26
Kirk Cousins 347 4,093 27

Doctson gets to catch passes from Alex Smith, last season’s fantasy QB4 overall, who posted similar numbers to Kirk Cousins. Smith may be a downgrade but even if he is, the severity is not nearly as big as the general consensus would have you believe.

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Reach For The Stars

Josh Doctson was always supposed to contribute in year one before really hitting in year two. His 12th round ADP according to Fantasy Football Calculator shows most are forgetting this because thanks to the 2016 Achilles’ injury, last season technically was Doctson’s rookie year. Thus, the added context makes his 35 receptions for 502 yards and 6 TDs in 2017 look respectable. With more health and NFL experience on his side, Doctson is in position to make a leap in 2018.

Doctson is an exciting player but it’s his affordable ADP that truly has me targeting him in every draft. Especially in redraft leagues where the end of the bench roster turnover is constant, targeting high-upside players in the double-digit rounds has always been my MO. With the golden era of the passing game upon us, more WRs carry fantasy relevance than possibly ever before. Thus, there is plenty of value WRs to be had in fantasy drafts this year such as Randall Cobb, Emmanuel Sanders, Jamison Crowder, Allen Hurns, Rishard Matthews, and Tyler Lockett. I’m targeting most if not all of them.

However, Doctson is the only one of the bunch that profiles as a true #1 WR in the league and the upside to hit that ceiling. This time next year, it’s conceivable Josh Doctson could be a fourth/fifth round pick a la what we’re seeing from Marvin Jones currently. Appreciate the value on a potential blow-up player while you can. Shoot your shot.