If you are a Will Fuller owner, you are doing yourself a disservice by not trading him for Kenny Stills, and a bundle. In this article we will compare the two players, and hopefully address some of your counter arguments before they make it to the twitter mentions. But as always, I love constructive debate, and the exchange of ideas in our phenomenal community. Let me know what you think @DHH_Adam, and give the rest of the Dynasty Happy Hour crew a follow! I'd like to give a huge shout out to the guys over at DLF for their monthy ADP data, the minds behind PlayerProfiler.com for the great profile tools, and Pro-football-reference.com for easily accessible player stats. Lets dig in.
|Will Fuller||Player Profile||Kenny Stills|
40 Yard Dash
Feb18 DLF ADP
Some of these times may have changed since both of these players entered the league, but what you see here is what we've seen on Sundays. The two year gap between players isn't a note worthy counter argument. As we've seen with Kevin White, and now Calvin Ridley, some guys play their rookie year at age 24. At 25 Kenny Stills has played five seasons, and succeeded with four different starting quarterbacks throwing his way. Neither Will Fuller, or Stills are very large with the slight weight advantage going to Stills. Draft stock goes a long way when we're discussing guys like Josh Doctson or Laquon Treadwell we so desperately want to hold out hope for. But, after producing for five years at the pro level the pick you were taken at becomes irrelevant. From the Player Profile perspective we're essentially looking at the same person. What really makes the difference is that last row.
Stills is being drafted a whopping 72.83 picks behind Fuller in DLF's February mock drafts. In the DLF consensus rankings compiled by a group of gentleman I have immense respect for, Fuller is sitting at WR35 while Stills is on another planet all the way down at WR74. The purpose of this piece is not to dispute others' rankings, though I personally consider Stills more valuable than Fuller. We want his value to hold true so we can take our shares of Fuller, and turn him into Stills plus the best package possible.
In Stills' first three seasons before Fuller entered the league, he averaged 65.3 targets, 40.6 receptions, 670.6 yards receiving, 3.66 touchdowns, 17.03 yards per reception, and a reception rate of 60.93% on a per-year basis. Here's how Fuller's numbers stack up in the two years that he's had "a dog in the fight."
In year one Fuller had the big ole' elephant in the room tossing him the ball as he tried to get his feet wet in the league. The elephant's name is Brock Osweiler, and he's more of a giraffe. What is far less documented is the fact Stills wasn't working with much of a signal caller himself. I'm not quite the Ryan Tannehill hater some tend to be, but in 2016 both Osweiler, and Tannehill failed to throw for 3,000 yards. Tannehill was much more efficient but threw only 4 more touchdowns, and 4 less interceptions than Osweiler. Lastly, for what its worth, both quarterbacks finished with a QBR of ~49. Tannehill wasn't worse but he certainly wasn't much better in terms of helping his receiver's cause. Let's fast forward to 2017.
|Will Fuller||2017||Kenny Stills|
If you've followed me in any capacity for any amount of time you know I often disagree with the "regression police". In this instance we aren't talking about Alvin Kamara's inevitable regression from an insane yards per touch to a likely still great yards per touch. We're talking about a wide receiver that caught a touchdown on every fourth reception last season. We have such limited data to support that Fuller is in fact a touchdown machine as he's only shown this with Deshaun Watson, who was unfortunately injured during his historic rookie campaign.
So we've arrived at the last frontier for the Fuller camp. "He was only able to play four games with Watson." With weeks one through three missed due to injury, Fuller was only paired with Watson weeks four, five, six, and eight. The "with Watson" split of games were Fuller's most productive fantasy weeks. I've taken Stills' top four weeks in fantasy production, and compared them with the four weeks we so often hear about with Fuller. Keep in mind the Dolphins’ bye came week one, and the Texans’ bye was in week seven. Watson relieved Tom Savage in the second half of game one, and Matt Moore played in weeks seven, eleven, and twelve.
|Fuller w/ Deshaun Watson|
|Four Highest Scoring weeks (PPR)||Stills w/ Jay Cutler/ Matt Moore|
The Dolphins have recently placed the franchise tag on Jarvis Landry with the intention of trading him. With the departure of Landry, 161 targets are up for grabs in 2018 without any outside competition likely to be added. This leaves an underwhelming DeVante Parker, Kenny Stills, and Leonte Carroo to fill the target void. With Tannehill healthy, and already named the starter for this coming season, watch for Miami to look down field more often with a lack of underneath presence.
Despite losing Watson, Fuller could not have had much better circumstances for his fantasy production from a target share perspective. Players like Stills, and Fuller dream of play next to elite receivers like DeAndre Hopkins as they take on double, and sometimes triple coverages. Fuller was the clear cut WR2 in Houston with only Braxton Miller, and Chris Thompson to note behind him. Miller, and Thompson combined for just 35 targets in all of 2017. The slot position was so void of talent the Texans had to trot out newly signed running back Andre Ellington at receiver. There is little to no chance the Texans go into 2018 without adding another receiver in either this loaded free agent market or the draft. Fuller will get his quarterback but he may also be hard pressed to acquire the target's people seem to be expecting.
My intent is not to bash those who love Fuller, and are thrilled to see touchdown after touchdown with Watson next season, but to draw light to the fact that a better, equally exciting option exists for far cheaper. All off-season you will have the argument: "wait until Watson is back." To that I say: It is hard enough to rely on one player's health for his production, let alone two players' health for his production. That is not a sentiment regarding the durability of Watson or Fuller, but a testament to the brutality of the game at hand. Give me the player that has produced three seasons over 700 yards receiving with four different quarterbacks, and only a single game missed. You can have the player who's value is only close to justified when paired with a super star quarterback, and less than average options behind him on the depth chart.