I’m not sure how many times I’ve mentioned that it’s May. But, well, it’s May, and therefore whenever a head coach or player of prominence says something with a statistical prediction attached to it, fantasy fiends begin wondering and imaging. Most of all, we begin discussing, and that’s what we do around here. We talk about stuff.
Yesterday, Aaron Rodgers provided our wandering minds with a nice little jumping off point, and another reason for Randall Cobb infatuations everywhere to grow.
He created many drooling mouths when the Packers quarterback said this to Jason Wilde:
“I think Randall Cobb is a guy who could be a 100-plus catch guy every year.”
Rodgers dropped that while speaking rather fondly of his wide receivers as a whole after the departure of Greg Jennings, noting that James Jones led the league in touchdowns last year. That is a true fact, as he rather remarkably hauled in 14 TDs despite a pretty average overall reception total (64).
With Jennings gone, Jones and Jordy Nelson will man the outside. Usually that would then present a scenario in which Cobb’s targets as the slot receiver are more limited, and therefore his production potential is too. But there’s nothing usual about Randall Cobb.
Cobb is used pretty much everywhere. Although he’s most often featured in the slot, he can slide outside, and he’s part of some innovative trickery when he lines up the backfield. Hell, he even plays goalie sometimes, and there’s no goalie in football. He’s truly ahead of his time.
He received 104 targets last year, and he turned that into 80 receptions for 954 yards and eight touchdowns. Then that backfield presence led to some extra bit of Percy Harvin-esque fantasy gravy, with 132 rushing yards on only 10 attempts, which were highlighted by two +20 yard runs.
So what does Cobb have to do to reach the next plateau that Rodgers speaks of? Just keep being you, Randall.
Despite 90 fewer targets, Cobb finished only eight fantasy points behind Reggie Wayne. Jennings and Nelson essentially missed a combined 14 games last year (Nelson played in two of those games, but he was either severely limited or he exited early), and clearly that helped with Cobb’s usage. But the diversity of his skillset and his slot ability which is best utilized through high volume targets in open space should compensate for the presence of Jones and Nelson, while they’re primarily used in a field-stretching capacity.
Cobb will be a point-per-reception league super stud, and a receiver who’s consistently capable of breaking away for chunk yardage. He had six receptions for 30 or more yards last year, and two multiple-catch games when he averaged at least 20 yards per grab.
If he doesn’t get to 100 receptions, he’ll fall only just short while easily eclipsing 1,000 yards (he didn’t start until Week 3 in 2012, and he fell only 46 yards short of that mark). In most mock drafts right now he’s coming off the board in about the third round, or sometimes early in the fourth. That price is about right for his expected production in an offense that will run more now with Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin, but a team that employs Aaron Rodgers will still feature the passing game as its offensive foundation.
Buy high, and buy happily.