Fantasy Impact: Jordan Matthews Traded to the Bills

by Mike Tagliere | @MikeTagliereNFL | Featured Writer
Aug 11, 2017

Jordan Matthews to the Bills may seem like it’d be good for his fantasy value, but Mike Tagliere says to be cautious.

About the same time the Bills were trading away their No. 4 overall pick from 2013 (Sammy Watkins), they were also working on replacing him. In another blockbuster move, the Bills have acquired Jordan Matthews and a 2018 third-round draft pick from the Eagles in exchange for cornerback Ronald Darby.

Who’s in the Slot?

We’ve heard rumblings about Matthews being traded all offseason, but I don’t think anyone expected the Bills to be the team to jump on him, especially when they signed Anquan Boldin just last week. The reason this is confusing is because Boldin has been a slot wide receiver almost exclusively over the last two years playing over 70 percent of his snaps there. Meanwhile, Matthews played 93 percent of his snaps out of the slot in 2014-2015, and then 67 percent in 2016. We haven’t even mentioned Zay Jones, who was supposed to man the slot prior to the Boldin signing and Watkins trade. Something has got to give, and it’s got to be Matthews playing on the perimeter.

Need more advice? Get access to our Draft Kit and Draft Wizard tools >>

Taking a look at the targets Matthews has seen while outside the slot over his three years in the league hasn’t been ideal. He’s received just 42 targets while playing on the outside, accumulating 27 receptions for 284 yards and one touchdown on those targets. What that has amounted to is 0.82 fantasy points per target, compared to his almost 300 targets from the slot that have yielded 1.22 fantasy points per target. Now is that a statistic you should take to the grave and convince you that Matthews can’t play the perimeter? No, but it’s noteworthy because it’s been a question about Matthews since he came into the league.

Increase in Bills Pass Attempts

The underlying story in all of these offseason moves for the Bills is that their secondary is going to be pretty brutal after losing Stephon Gilmore via free agency, and now Darby in this deal. Those were their top two players in the secondary, and keep in mind that they allowed opponents 23.6 points per game with those two, which was the 16th most in the league. With that number almost certainly rising in 2017, you can expect a bump in pass attempts, which wasn’t hard to do to begin with, seeing as the Bills have ranked in the bottom-two for pass attempts in each of the last two years.

Still, new head coach Sean McDermott is a former defensive coordinator, so this will likely be a run-heavy team, trying to hide the inefficiencies of the defense. So when trying to project this offense as a whole, it’s hard to say they’ll throw the ball more than 500-520 times. And keep in mind that would be a 30-50 pass increase over last season. There were just 26 wide receivers who saw at least a 20 percent share of their teams targets last year, and with the company surrounding Matthews, it’s difficult to say he’d even get that. But playing devil’s advocate, let’s say they throw the ball 520 times and he gets a 20 percent target share, we’re looking at 104 targets. That’s not going to get it done as a WR2/WR3 as Matthews has been in two of his three seasons.

What’s Most Likely to Happen

So the best case scenario for Matthews in 2017 is as a No. 3 wide receiver on fantasy teams, as there was just one wide receiver who finished inside the top-24 with fewer than 108 targets, and that was Tyreek Hill who also had 24 carries and a bunch of special teams touchdowns. Even trying to project Matthews as a No. 3 wide receiver is tough with Boldin on the roster, as he’s been one of the more dominant red zone wide receivers over the last few years, including 2016 when he scored eight touchdowns, ranking eighth among wide receivers. Matthews himself scored three of them, ranking 60th at wide receiver. You want to say it’s a good thing for Matthews to get out of Philadelphia, but in this case, it doesn’t increase his fantasy value a whole lot. Look at him as a No. 4 wide receiver who has No. 3 upside.

If you’ve missed any of the player profiles that have gone up, I urge you to check them out right here.

SubscribeiTunes | Stitcher | SoundCloud | Google Play | TuneIn | RSS

Mike Tagliere is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeTagliereNFL.

What's your take? Leave a comment

Fantasy Games
FanDuel photo
Win your first contest
Or we'll credit your entry fee
DRAFT photo
Get a free best ball entry with your 1st deposit!
CBS Sports photo
Serious Fantasy Football
1David Johnson (ARI)RB
2Le'Veon Bell (PIT)RB
3Antonio Brown (PIT)WR
4Odell Beckham Jr. (NYG)WR
5LeSean McCoy (BUF)RB
6Julio Jones (ATL)WR
7Melvin Gordon (LAC)RB
8A.J. Green (CIN)WR
9Mike Evans (TB)WR
10Devonta Freeman (ATL)RB
 View All Rankings 
11Jordy Nelson (GB)WR
12Jay Ajayi (MIA)RB
13Jordan Howard (CHI)RB
14DeMarco Murray (TEN)RB
15Michael Thomas (NO)WR
16Dez Bryant (DAL)WR
17T.Y. Hilton (IND)WR
18Todd Gurley (LAR)RB
19Leonard Fournette (JAC)RB
20Amari Cooper (OAK)WR
21Doug Baldwin (SEA)WR
22Rob Gronkowski (NE)TE
23Ezekiel Elliott (DAL)RB
24Lamar Miller (HOU)RB
25Isaiah Crowell (CLE)RB
26DeAndre Hopkins (HOU)WR
27Brandin Cooks (NE)WR
28Demaryius Thomas (DEN)WR
29Aaron Rodgers (GB)QB
30Marshawn Lynch (OAK)RB
1Mike Trout (LAA)CF,DH
2Paul Goldschmidt (ARI)1B
3Jose Altuve (HOU)2B
4Nolan Arenado (COL)3B
5Charlie Blackmon (COL)CF
6Max Scherzer (WSH)SP
7Chris Sale (BOS)SP
8Joey Votto (CIN)1B
9Giancarlo Stanton (MIA)RF
10Mookie Betts (BOS)RF
 View All Rankings 
11Kris Bryant (CHC)1B,3B
12Corey Kluber (CLE)SP
13Freddie Freeman (ATL)1B,3B
14Anthony Rizzo (CHC)1B,2B
15Corey Seager (LAD)SS
16Manny Machado (BAL)3B,SS
17George Springer (HOU)CF,RF
18Daniel Murphy (WSH)1B,2B
19Nelson Cruz (SEA)RF,DH
20Francisco Lindor (CLE)SS
21Aaron Judge (NYY)RF,DH
22Clayton Kershaw (LAD)SP
23Edwin Encarnacion (CLE)1B,DH
24J.D. Martinez (ARI)RF
25Robinson Cano (SEA)2B
26Yu Darvish (LAD)SP
27Cody Bellinger (LAD)1B,LF
28Jose Ramirez (CLE)2B,3B
29Miguel Cabrera (DET)1B,DH
30Josh Donaldson (TOR)3B,DH
1Russell Westbrook (OKC)PG
2James Harden (HOU)PG,SG
3Stephen Curry (GSW)PG,SG
4Kevin Durant (GSW)SF,PF
5Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)C
6Anthony Davis (NOR)PF,C
7LeBron James (CLE)SF,PF
8Chris Paul (HOU)PG
9Kawhi Leonard (SAS)SG,SF
10DeMarcus Cousins (NOR)PF,C
 View All Rankings 
11Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL)PG,SG
12Paul George (OKC)SF,PF
13Hassan Whiteside (MIA)C,PF
14Damian Lillard (POR)PG
15John Wall (WAS)PG
16Kyle Lowry (TOR)PG
17Paul Millsap (DEN)PF,C
18Jimmy Butler (MIN)SG,SF
19Draymond Green (GSW)SF,PF
20Kemba Walker (CHA)PG
21Kyrie Irving (CLE)PG,SG
22Al Horford (BOS)PF,C
23Victor Oladipo (IND)PG,SG
24Isaiah Thomas (BOS)PG
25C.J. McCollum (POR)PG,SG
26LaMarcus Aldridge (SAS)PF,C
27Brook Lopez (LAL)C
28Klay Thompson (GSW)SG,SF
29Kristaps Porzingis (NYK)PF,C
30Carmelo Anthony (NYK)SF,PF