Zach Pascal: Don’t Sleep On This Week 15 Waiver Wire Target
Earlier this season we took a deeper look into Indianapolis Colts WR Zach Pascal as a top priority add. He disappointed in his first three games after that and saw his ownership level on Yahoo to fall to 17%. In the last two weeks, Pascal has stepped up again as a focal point of the Colts’ passing game. He has hauled in 12-of-19 targets in the last two weeks totaling 183 receiving yards and one TD in that span, yet his ownership level still sits at just 35%.
So, I think it’s about time we recap once again what kind of player Pascal is. We will take a look at the current state of the Colts’ offense and what we can expect from Pascal as we soldier on through the last two weeks of the fantasy football season.
Pascal came into the league as an undrafted free agent in 2018. He played his college ball at Old Dominion where he was a consistent contributor putting up stat lines of 59-743-7 as a sophomore, 69-975-8 as a junior, and 65-946-9 as a senior. He was an all-purpose threat as he also compiled 310 rushing yards and one rushing TD over his final two seasons combined in college and was used on special teams as a kick returner as well, a role he still has today with the Colts. He’s currently the all-time leader for receptions at ODU.
Pascal has average size for an outside receiver at 6’2″ and 219 lbs. His NFL Draft Profile noted him as having “decent size and ball skills but his routes and separation are just okay.” They also noted that he would need a solid combine showing to get better noticed in the NFL Draft due to the low-caliber of competition he faced in college. He wound up running just a 4.55 40-yard dash at the combine and thus went undrafted. He has spent time with the Redskins and the Titans before the Colts claimed him off waivers last Summer.
Last season, Pascal had just two solid games for the Colts while averaging a 46.7% snap share on the season according to Player Profiler. Both of his noteworthy games came against the Texans last season. In Week 4 he put up a 6-56-1 stat line in a game where Andrew Luck threw for 464 yards and four TDs, finishing as the WR21 with 17.6 fantasy points. His second solid game was a similar performance with a final line of 5-68-1, good for 17.8 FPTS and a WR13 finish in Week 16. This was also a product of Luck throwing for 399 yards and two TDs.
He has been a different player for the Colts this season as he has already surpassed his receiving yardage and TD totals from last season. His snap share has maintained in the 90% range since he took on a bigger role in Week 8. He has spent slightly less time in the slot, which has helped his yard per reception total go from 9.9 last season all the way up to 15.6 this season which ranks 12th in the NFL. His best game this season again came against the Texans where he had a 6-102-2 line in Week 7, finishing as the overall WR2 that week. He has shown the ability to put some incredible catches down on film this season though like this catch against the Steelers:
– Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) November 3, 2019
State of the Offense
After sitting in first place in the AFC South just a few weeks ago, the Colts have suddenly fallen apart and lost their last three games, two of which were against division rivals. Their rash of injuries has continued with both Eric Ebron, Chester Rogers, and Parris Campbell all landing on IR recently and T.Y. Hilton has continued to struggle to get back to full health. Hilton failed to practice at all last week and has mentioned he’s unsure that he will be able to return at all this season. The team is currently rolling with a three-wide set that features nothing but players who were undrafted in Pascal, Marcus Johnson (third-year UDFA), and Ashton Dulin (rookie UDFA).
A concern I had before with Pascal was never his talent, but the conservative approach the Colts passing game has had with Jacoby Brissett under center. The team is bottom-12 is passing attempts and yards this season while Brissett also sits in the bottom-12 averaging just 6.9 YPA this season while averaging just 208 passing yards per game. So, Pascal offers a big-play threat on a team with a more risk-averse QB which doesn’t really feel like a fit, but it has worked lately.
The Colts’ playoff aspirations likely came to an end when they lost to the Bucs last week, but they are not officially eliminated just yet. With that, you have to assume the team probably isn’t in a rush to get T.Y. Hilton back on the field at all this season which would lock Pascal into the lead wideout spot for the remainder of the season. His biggest competition for targets right now is Jack Doyle.
Jacoby Brissett was given a hefty $20 million contract extension to begin this season, but his future with this team is far from secure. According to Spotrac, he offers a cap hit of $21.5 million next season and would leave behind $0 in dead cap space if the team decided to move on. He was basically getting paid a ton of money to audition this season which means regardless of their playoff aspirations, he needs to be flawless. This narrative would bode well for the Colts and all pass catchers involved, including Pascal, that the team doesn’t just mail it in once eliminated from playoffs.
The outlook more specifically for Pascal is pretty good for the final two games as he will be at New Orleans next week on Monday Night Football and at home against the Panthers in Week 16. Both teams have been generous when it comes to fantasy points allowed to WRs this season and the Panthers basically called it quits this season when they let Ron Rivera go. I think it is fair to expect WR3/Flex value from Pascal the remainder of the season and if you just got hit with some of these late-season injuries last week, he could be a guy worth starting as you push for a fantasy championship.