Nearly every year in early December as we’re all aimlessly wandering around stores and looking for plasma bikes and such — seriously, in my day we were happy with one dimensional hockey guys who moved on long poles (*shakes fist*) — another gift is bestowed upon us. He is the holy one, the championship winner, the money maker, the winner of all the bread, and the Samkon Gado.
He is the late-season waiver pickup who wins everything for everyone, and he is Pierre Garcon this year. Maybe, likely, and if by the grace of the almighty he can stay healthy.
During Washington’s win over New York last night in a highly entertaining game, Garcon had eight catches for 106 yards and a touchdown, which included grabs for 35 and 25 yards. With those two catches he’s now already had six receptions of 20 yards or more, despite only 23 receptions overall. That means 26 percent of Garcon’s receptions have resulted in chunk yardage.
It gets better, as the +20 yards metric only tells part of Garcon’s long-ball proficiency, and his quick connection with Robert Griffin III. Back in Week 1 he had that now famous 88-yard touchdown catch and run that made Griffining a thing, and he also added a 59 yarder for a TD in his first true game back from injury in Week 12.
Again, look at his total receptions, and then consider that on those minimal catches due to his minimal playing time, Garcon has still recorded two scores that went for 50 yards or more, one coming only a yard short of 60. You need to realize how remarkable that is, and for that you need perspective. Thankfully, I’m here for all of your needs (but no, not that).
Just for some good, wholesome fun, let’s compare Garcon’s deep-ball catching to that of other top receivers, using the more generous +40 yard catch metric.
- Brandon Marshall has 1,182 receiving yards overall, and he has two +40 yard catches, meaning Garcon has equaled him on 68 fewer receptions, and 106 fewer targets. Yep.
- Calvin Johnson leads the league in receiving yards (1,428), a category in which he’s on pace to break Jerry Rice’s single-season record. Yet on 63 more receptions and 112 more targets, he has only two more +40 yard grabs than Garcon.
- A.J. Green leads the league in 40 yarders with seven, meaning he’s averaging one on every 10.9 receptions (he has 76 receptions). Garcon, meanwhile, is clipping along at a pace of one every 11.5 receptions.
Yes, clearly that all comes with a disclaimer regarding Garcon’s small sample size, something that I hardly felt the need to acknowledge since it should be assumed. But as far as his fantasy value going forward is concerned, I care little about that small sample, and in fact, I think it raises Garcon’s ceiling days before the fantasy playoffs begin in many leagues.
He’s needed very few targets and very few touches this year to maintain pace with some of the league’s elite speed threats. Screw it, let’s make that sample size even smaller, and look only at the games when Garcon was truly Garcon, and he was operating at full health. That’s three games (Week 1, and then weeks 12 and 13), and in those games he had 303 receiving yards on 16 catches for an average of 18.9 yards per reception.
That reflects an immediate and strong relationship with RGIII, the leading fantasy scorer, and one that you either stashed on your bench by holding on to Garcon for weeks, or more likely — and even better — purchased for a bargain waiver price a week ago, as Garcon was available in nearly half of Yahoo leagues last week, and 40 percent of ESPN leagues. With weak Ravens and Eagles secondaries teed up over the next three weeks, that cheap claim could quickly ascend to become your WR2.
Value is still delicious.