Seth’s Notebook: Belief in Others & Jacksonville’s New Receivers
The second installment of “Seth’s Notebook” fittingly begins as a new chapter of my life is also underway.
The often-late nights of creating fantasy sports content have begun shaping a path to a career doing what I love. While I’ll be sure to fill readers in on the full details of everything that’s changed this offseason in an installment of my usual column series, “Start, Sit & Seth,” this summer, I’ll leave you with my notes from the last six weeks.
Offseason Take No. 3: Belief Goes a Long Way
I’m not quite sure if it’s an underdog mentality or a narcissistic one, but I’ve longed to have others believe in me and my vision for what I wanted to do with my life. But usually, by the time they do, my want of being understood turns to a chip needing to prove those who’ve doubted me wrong.
Recently, I’ve seen the belief others have in me. Maybe it’s because now I’ve proven something – or perhaps it’s just being in the right place at the right time.
Either way, I’ve tried to make the most out of every opportunity that has arisen from someone who has believed in me. In my personal life, I aspire to be the best partner, friend and family member I can be to those who have supported me.
I’ll always feel in debt to those who have come along on the ride that’s been In-Between Media. And whether it’s been Dale DeMott and John Chapman, who trusted me to launch the Cooperative Media Network with them, or those who recruited me to FantasyPros, Sports Med Analytics or Jeawok Media – one thing remained true. I will always give my best to them to show my gratitude for believing in me at a time when others did not.
I encourage readers to believe in others to help inspire them and when the roles are reversed, do your damndest to make the most out of every opportunity given.
Offseason Take No. 4: Don’t Sleep on Jacksonville’s New Receivers
Belief can also go a long way in the NFL. The fantasy football industry mocked the Jacksonville Jaguars as they signed former Arizona receiver Christian Kirk to a four-year, $72-million deal early in the league’s free agency period. The snide comments on socials and streams continued as the Jaguars inked Zay Jones, most recently with the Las Vegas Raiders, to a three-year, $24-million deal.
While I agree that Jacksonville potentially overpaid for Kirk and Jones, they’ll be underpaid for in fantasy football drafts happening now until the season kicks off on Sept. 8.
Christian Kirk Analysis
Kirk has perhaps never had a true breakout season to warrant him to be the 12th highest-paid WR in the league, but he has been consistent. A second-round selection in 2018 out of Texas A&M, Kirk has paced between 590-982 receiving yards and three-six TDs in each of his first four professional seasons.
It’s not jaw-dropping numbers, but it’s efficient for someone who has only ever received 108 targets at most in a season. He’s averaged 12.3 Yards Per Reception (YPR) throughout his career and hit a career-high 74.8 catch percentage in 2021 (top seven among the position) – an impressive stat for a bigger-play WR like Kirk.
Advanced metrics show that Kirk also averaged 2.02 Fantasy Points Per Target (FPPT), 15th best in the league, and that he was winning on routes, totaling 215 won routes (12th most in the NFL).
In comparison, someone like D.J. Moore, who received massive volume in 2021 (163 targets), will be drafted well above Kirk, despite averaging 1.47 FPPT (80th best). Even everyone’s favorite speedster Tyreek Hill won on just as many routes as Kirk and averaged less FPPT (1.86), despite playing with perhaps the league’s best QB in Patrick Mahomes.
The money Jacksonville for him signals that Krik will see at least 125 targets. If Trevor Lawrence improves under new head coach Doug Pederson, 85 receptions, 1,100 yards, and six TDs are within Kirk’s projections. That would have been good enough for borderline top-20 Points Per Reception (PPR) WR finish in 2021. That’s a clear value at his current Underdog Fantasy Average Draft Position (ADP) of WR48, 105.5 overall.
Zay Jones Analysis
While a WR2 finish isn’t likely in the cards for Jones, he could be a difference-maker in the late-round of fantasy drafts.
After entering the NFL as the college football’s all-time receptions leader for a career (399) and in a single season (158), Jones enjoyed a breakout sophomore season in 2018, taking 56 receptions for 652 yards and seven TDs. He was traded to Oakland the following season and never saw north of 45 targets until this past season.
2021 was a fairytale for Jones, beginning on the opening “Monday Night Football” game when he caught the game-winning TD from Derek Carr in overtime. After the game, Carr talked about how Jones is one of the hardest workers on the team, always being his throwing partner before and after practice.
— NFL (@NFL) September 14, 2021
Once Jon Gruden left the team, and after Henry Ruggs’ accident, Jones became a featured part of the Las Vegas offense. After becoming a full-time player in Week 9, Jones was on a 17-game pace for 119 targets, 78 receptions and 813 yards. That would have been enough to put him into the WR3 conversation, ahead of players like Van Jefferson or Chase Claypool.
With Kirk expected to handle duties as the team’s “X” receiver, Jones will likely be the team’s flanker or “Z” receiver opposite of him. This will likely leave Laviska Shenault Jr. and running back Travis Etienne to share slot duties, with veteran Marvin Jones Jr. playing a relief role.
It’s hard to tell precisely the volume Jones could see, but Shenault Jr. and Jones Jr. both saw 100-plus targets last season, and even Laquan Treadwell saw more than 50. At the very least, I expect Jones to receive enough volume to put him in the PPR WR4 conversation with upside for more.
His current Underdog Fantasy ADP has him going as the WR96, meaning he is undrafted in 16-round drafts. Don’t be afraid to make Jones your late-round dart throw and even a perhaps cheap stack with Lawrence in super-flex leagues.