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Jordan Matthews is a 2018 Sleeper (Fantasy Football)

by Mitchell Renz | @mitchellrenz365 | Featured Writer
Jun 26, 2018

Cheap is definitely a word I’m sure all my college friends would use to describe me considering the dollar menu was out of my price range. Now I have a full-time job which means I can’t play Mario Kart for three hours every day and can afford the dollar menu. If there is one thing that hasn’t changed and probably never will with my spending habits is if something is free, well then it’s totally for me. This is why Jordan Matthews is the wide receiver in fantasy football you can’t miss on in 2018.

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If you’re getting Matthews for free or virtually free can you really go wrong? Currently, he is WR75 in standard, WR73 in PPR, WR69 in half-PPR, and his ADP is 201. This means he is going undrafted in most 12-team leagues so why not pull the trigger on him in 2018? Matthews had a nightmare season in 2017 in Buffalo seeing only 36 targets and hauling in 25 of them for 282 yards and one touchdown. He burned some people last year, but I’m telling you to put the lotion on and move on.

Matthews is no longer stuck in Buffalo’s fantasy football black hole and instead find’s himself in New England, in Bill and Tom’s fantasy land. The Bills last year ranked 31st in pass attempts per game with 30.4 and have been bottom two in the league in pass attempts the last three years. The Bills also were ranked dead last in passing yards per game with only 174 yards per game in 2017.

The Patriots, on the other hand, have been top five in passing yards per game the last three seasons.

  • 2017: 276.1 passing yards per game (2nd)
  • 2016: 269.2 passing yards per game (4th)
  • 2015: 286.7 passing yards per game (5th)

Does anyone think Tom Brady has slowed down at the ripe age of 40? I know I sure don’t. Brady tossed for 505 yards in Super Bowl 52 against the Eagles, breaking his record he set the previous year tossing for 466 yards against the Falcons. Brady, over the last three years, has thrown for 96 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. Pretty good, right? That’s a TD/Int ratio of 5.65. For comparison, below are the three best career TD/Int ratios in NFL History:

  1. Aaron Rodgers 4.01
  2. Tom Brady 3.05
  3. Russell Wilson 2.88

So Matthews is on a better team that will throw the ball a lot more with Tom Brady. Yeah, sign me up for that.

But will he get the opportunity? I sure as heck think he will, especially the first four weeks of the season when Julian Edelman is serving his four-game suspension. The Patriots no longer have Brandin Cooks who saw 114 targets or Danny Amendola who saw 86 targets last season. That’s 200 targets up for grabs. As for battling for those targets, Matthews is listed behind Chris Hogan on the depth chart and will also compete with Malcolm Mitchell. Both players struggled with injuries last year, as Hogan missed seven games and Mitchell missed the entire season. I understand Matthews also missed six games last year, but he missed only two games his first three years with the Eagles.

Speaking of those first three years in Philadelphia, let’s not forget how productive Matthews was.

  • 2014: 105 targets, 67 receptions, 872 yards, 8 touchdowns
  • 2015: 127 targets, 85 receptions, 997 yards, 8 touchdowns
  • 2016: 117 targets, 73 receptions, 804 yards,  3 touchdowns

From 2000 to 2016 there were only 17 wide receivers to score more than 200 fantasy points as a rookie and Matthews was one of them. For a receiver to average over 67 receptions and 800 yards in his first three seasons isn’t an easy task especially amongst a head coach and total culture change during that time going from Chip Kelly to Doug Pederson.

Maybe the number that surprised me the most when writing this article was 25, the age of Matthews. He is entering his fifth year in the NFL and is only 25 years old. A 25-year-old who is a gifted athlete. According to playerprofiler.com he is in the 91st percentile of SPARQ athletes. That’s a percentile worth putting on your fridge.

So why can’t you miss on Mathews in 2018? At his current price plus his opportunity the first four weeks of the season, I don’t think you can go wrong drafting Matthews with a pick in the last three rounds of your draft. He’s a talented player who had one bad season in an unfriendly offense for wide receivers and is now playing with Tom Brady and has a chance to see a solid target share early on and earn a role with the Patriots. If Matthews plays all 16 games and turns into a starter for the Patriots why couldn’t he see 100 targets in 2018? If I can find a wide receiver going undrafted who could see 100 targets from Brady, that’s a player I’d target in every one of my leagues.

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Mitchell Renz is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Mitchell, check out all his fantasy football articles and follow him on Twitter @mitchellrenz365.

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