Game-By-Game Projections: DeVante Parker (2020 Fantasy Football)
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Year after year, miserable season after miserable season, the fantasy community predicted a breakout for DeVante Parker. By Year 5, it had become a running joke among fan and analyst alike… until it became a reality. Parker provided a 72/1,202/9 line in 2019 that saw him easily record career highs across the board while finishing as a WR1 for the first time in his career. Understandably, some fantasy managers still have reservations about Parker, who – until last season – had spurned them repeatedly. He’ll be the top option for a new-look Miami squad, but can Parker duplicate his huge 2019, or will the huge season be remembered as a flash in the pan? Let’s go game-by-game to answer that question:
Week 1: @ Patriots
Despite the loss of Tom Brady in the offseason, New England should still pose a significant challenge for Miami. The Pats’ defense was one of the best in the league in 2019, and with such glaring deficiencies on offense, Bill Belichick will almost certainly strive to make this defense as imposing as possible. Parker struggles in the opener at Foxborough.
Predicted stat line: 3 receptions, 46 receiving yards, 0 receiving TDs (6.1 fantasy points)
Week 2: vs. Bills
Unfortunately for Parker and his fantasy owners, Week 2’s matchup doesn’t get much easier, as Miami faces a strong Bills defense. Buffalo will hand Miami its second straight loss, and Parker owners are left reeling after seeing his final receiving line. Some jump ship and curse his name, while conceding last season was a fluke. But for those who stay the course…
Predicted stat line: 4 receptions, 57 receiving yards, 0 receiving TDs (7.7 fantasy points)
Week 3: @ Jaguars
Week 3. Yes, it’s been a tough start to the season for Parker, but what better way to get on track then by squaring off against the lowly Jags. Just three short seasons after “Sacksonville” came up just shy of a Super Bowl bid, this team has been blown up, and the defense is shot. The Jags will likely be one of the worst defenses in football in 2020, and Parker owners who held on for one more week are rewarded with a big game. Exhale.
Predicted stat line: 5 receptions, 82 receiving yards, 1 receiving TDs (16.7 fantasy points)
Week 4: vs. Seahawks
Riding high from the previous week’s victory, Miami hosts Seattle in a game that ends up much closer than expected. Travelling on the road to Miami, Seattle gets a fight from the Dolphins, and Parker scores his second touchdown of the season while eclipsing double-digit fantasy points in consecutive weeks.
Predicted stat line: 4 receptions, 50 receiving yards, 1 receiving TDs (13.0 fantasy points)
Week 5: @ 49ers
After two straight weeks with a touchdown and at least 50 yards, it’s time for Parker and the ‘Fins to journey to San Francisco. Ouch. This won’t be a week to count on Parker making big contributions for your fantasy team, as Nick Bosa and Co. wreak havoc on whoever is under center for Miami in Week 5. Parker owners aren’t too concerned given the circumstances.
Predicted stat line: 3 receptions, 47 receiving yards, 0 receiving TDs (6.2 fantasy points)
Week 6: @ Broncos
The second week of a West Coast road trip finds Miami in Mile High in another brutal matchup. Parker posts a nearly identical stat line as the Broncos’ solid pass rush tees off against Miami. No reason to panic yet.
Predicted stat line: 3 receptions, 44 receiving yards, 0 receiving TDs (5.9 fantasy points)
Week 7: vs. Chargers
Broken, beat, and scarred, Miami returns home to play host to the Chargers in what should be a better game for Parker, though not by much. Los Angeles’ secondary is one of the best collections of talent the NFL has to offer, and Parker goes yet another week without a touchdown and without double-digit fantasy points. Fantasy owners wonder if they can trade Parker and still get reasonable value in return.
Predicted stat line: 4 receptions, 52 receiving yards, 0 receiving TDs (7.2 fantasy points)
Week 8: vs. Rams
A second straight home game is a get-right spot for No. 11, as the Rams’ so-so pass defense comes to town. The risk of a Jalen Ramsey shadow is certainly in play, but I think Parker gets free for at least one big score to get his season back on track.
Predicted stat line: 4 receptions, 66 receiving yards, 1 receiving TDs (14.6 fantasy points)
Week 9: @ Cardinals
After some ups and downs, a trip to the desert is just what the doctor ordered. Parker picks up some big yards and hits the scoring column once again, as Miami tries to put up points against the electric Cardinals offense led by Kyler Murray.
Predicted stat line: 6 receptions, 85 receiving yards, 1 receiving TDs (17.5 fantasy points)
Week 10: vs. Jets
Miami gets a tough draw before heading into the bye, as the Jets come to town with their strong defense. Parker nabs four balls but fails to do much with them as Miami takes another divisional loss. Fantasy owners are a little disappointed that Parker isn’t close to his 2019 pace, but they can’t scoff at 580 yards and four touchdowns through the season’s first 10 games.
Predicted stat line: 4 receptions, 51 receiving yards, 0 receiving TDs (7.1 fantasy points)
Week 11: BYE
Week 12: @ Jets
That’s right, lucky fantasy owners. Parker faces New York in Week 10, on your bench in Week 11, and then off to the Meadowlands in what will predictably be his lowest receiving output of the season. Miami gets smoked in this one, but a favorable matchup with Cincinnati is just around the corner.
Predicted stat line: 5 receptions, 38 receiving yards, 0 receiving TDs (6.3 fantasy points)
Week 13: vs. Bengals
Miami gets a crack at one of the league’s worst defenses, and Parker rebounds in a big way after back-to-back duds. The Dolphins should win this one at home, with Parker leading the way. Expect a big game, as he scores his fifth touchdown of 2020.
Predicted stat line: 5 receptions, 79 receiving yards, 1 receiving TDs (16.4 fantasy points)
Week 14: vs. Chiefs
In the second game of a three-game home stand, Parker and the Dolphins give Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs a scare and keep this one competitive throughout. Kansas City ultimately prevails, but Parker has a big game while going toe-to-toe with Tyreek Hill.
Predicted stat line: 6 receptions, 95 receiving yards, 1 receiving TDs (18.5 fantasy points)
Week 15: vs. Patriots
This is the perfect spot for a letdown, and it comes at the worst possible time – the fantasy semifinals. Coming off of a close loss to the Chiefs in Week 14, Miami comes out flat against New England and gets beaten handily. For the first time in recent memory, Miami doesn’t give the Pats a run for their money late in December, and Parker busts.
Predicted stat line: 3 receptions, 38 receiving yards, 0 receiving TDs (5.3 fantasy points)
Week 16: @ Raiders
If you rostered Parker and somehow made it to fantasy championship week, you should be breathing a sigh of relief. The matchup in Las Vegas is as good as any, and the home-run hitting Parker gets loose for a 60-yard score while topping 100 yards for the first time on the season. Better late than never, right? It’s a week-winning performance.
Predicted stat line: 5 receptions, 101 receiving yards, 1 receiving TDs (18.6 fantasy points)
Week 17: @ Bills
Parker and the Dolphins close out the season in the frigid air of Buffalo, and though it’s a tough matchup, Parker doesn’t completely bust. Buffalo comes out firing with playoff seeding on the line, and the Dolphins get crushed. While chasing points, Parker is able to pick up some garbage-time yardage,, falling just shy of his second 1,000-yard season.
Predicted stat line: 4 receptions, 61 receiving yards, 0 receiving TDs (8.1 fantasy points)
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Miami’s offense was a dumpster fire for most of last season, and under the brilliant coaching of Brian Flores, the team showed some very competent moments down the stretch. The Dolphins played from behind for most of 2019, though I don’t think that will be the case in 2020. The additions of Jordan Howard and Matt Breida set up the Dolphins with a solid rushing attack, and the defense should be wholly improved as well. In 2019, the ‘Fins chucked the ball 618 times, but I think that number falls closer to 550 in 2020, especially if Tua Tagovailoa gets on the field early in the year. Either way, Miami’s offense should be more balanced, and there will be less targets to go around. Parker’s target share should be in the 20-22 percent range, and given his propensity for a mid-50s catch percentage and his deep-ball abilities, I’m pegging him for a good year, albeit one that shows a noticeable drop-off from last year’s overall WR7 campaign. He’ll fall just shy of 1,000 yards, but his healthy scoring keeps him in the conversation as a top-25 guy.
2019 stats: 72 receptions, 1,202 receiving yards, 9 receiving TDs
2020 prediction: 68 receptions, 992 receiving yards, 7 receiving TDs