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Shower Narrative: Can Carr-Adams and Murray-Brown Recreate College Success?

Jun 22, 2022


 
Last season, we saw former college teammates Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase and Tua Tagovailoa and Jaylen Waddle find immediate success in their first seasons together in the NFL. “Shower Narrative” is a phrase popularized by Adam Levitan that suggests college teammates, specifically QB-WR batteries, who had success in college are likely to be similarly successful at the NFL level.

The Bengals and Dolphins drafted all four of the players mentioned above, but the Raiders and Cardinals looked to the trade market this offseason in an attempt to find similar connections. Las Vegas acquired WR Davante Adams to pair with former Fresno State teammate Derek Carr, while Arizona traded for WR Marquise Brown to catch passes from former Oklahoma teammate Kyler Murray.

Let’s take a look at the best shower narratives around the NFL and evaluate what their fantasy impact might be this season.

Fantasy Football Redraft Draft Kit

Joe Burrow (QB – CIN) and Ja’Marr Chase (WR – CIN)

Joe Burrow Projections

PASS CMP PASS ATT PASS YDS PASS TDS PASS INTS RUSH ATT RUSH YDS RUSH TDS FUMBLES POINTS
375.7 560.7 4368.1 30.2 14 46.9 159.8 2.4 2.3 307.6

Joe Burrow finished the regular season as PFF’s highest-graded passer (91.2) while also ranking first in super sticky stats like passing grade from a clean pocket (94.6) and passing grade throwing at the intermediate level (95.6). He finished the season as the QB8 averaging just north of 20.5 fantasy points per game.

The Bengals quarterback has undoubtedly entered the conversation as one of the league’s best real-life NFL passers, but might be slightly overvalued based on early best ball ADP with impending regression. He’s the QB6 despite finishing as a top-6 fantasy quarterback just thrice in 2021.

No quarterback scored more fantasy points over expectation, which hints that regression will hit Burrow in 2022. The LSU product also rushed for just 118 yards and two TDs. He rushed for fewer yards than Mac Jones, who is notorious for being ranked low across consensus due to his lack of upside as a rusher.

However, there is a legitimate path for Burrow’s upside to be further unlocked if the Bengals increase their pass rate as they did during his rookie season and down the playoff stretch. Burrow led the NFL in passing attempts per game (40.4) during his rookie season and averaged 38 passing attempts/23.0 fantasy points per game in his final six weeks

An uptick in passing volume won’t help Burrow’s efficiency per se, but his fantasy numbers will be much more stable from week to week.

Also can’t forget to mention the Bengals revamped their offensive line as they look to not let their franchise quarterback get sacked 70 times – 22 more than the next closest quarterback.
– Andrew Erickson

Ja’Marr Chase Projections

RUSH ATT RUSH YDS RUSH TDS RECS REC YDS REC TDS FUMBLES POINTS
12.3 60.5 0.3 88.2 1374.7 9.8 0.9 202.3

Ja’Marr Chase broke Justin Jefferson’s record for most receiving yards by a rookie, finishing 2021 as the WR5 in fantasy points per game and the WR22 in expected fantasy points per game. Only Deebo Samuel scored more fantasy points above expectation (+74.3) than Chase – a testament to his home-run hitting ability. Chase’s 18.0 yards per reception ranked second-best in the NFL behind only Samuel.

The Bengals wide receivers’ dominance continued in the postseason with back-to-back 100-yard games in the first two rounds of the playoffs. Chase commanded a 27% target share when it mattered most during postseason play, a 5% increase from his regular season target share.
Andrew Erickson

Derek Carr (QB – LV) and Davante Adams (WR – LV)

Derek Carr Projections

Season Projections
PASS CMP PASS ATT PASS YDS PASS TDS PASS INTS RUSH ATT RUSH YDS RUSH TDS FUMBLES POINTS
403.2 598.5 4525.5 27.3 13.1 39.1 133.4 1.2 4.9 287.6

The biggest winner in the aftermath of the Davante Adams trade is Derek Carr. He now has the luxury of throwing to a surplus of offensive weapons including arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL in his old college teammate.

Let’s not forget that when Carr had everybody available last season, the Raiders quarterback ranked second in the NFL in passing yards and 15th in fantasy points per game. However, his ceiling was limited due to his lack of mobility and weaponry; Carr did not finish better than a top-8 quarterback at any point in 2021.

But Adams figures to provide Carr with a red-zone weapon like no other that will unlock his fantasy ceiling. He’s the exact positive touchdown regression that should launch Carr’s fantasy numbers. Carr’s 3.7 TD rate in 2021 was below his career average (4.3). And his 23 total passing touchdowns were seven below expectation.

Fully anticipate Carr throwing for 30-plus laser scores bare minimum with Adams at his disposal. Every quarterback last season that threw for at least 30 touchdowns finished inside the top-10 in 2021.
Andrew Erickson

Davante Adams Projections

RUSH ATT RUSH YDS RUSH TDS RECS REC YDS REC TDS FUMBLES POINTS
0 0 0 106.6 1324.5 8.4 0.7 181.4

A healthy Davante Adams has finished no worse than WR5 attached to Aaron Rodgers since 2018, and he ended 2021 third in fantasy points per game at age 29.

Adams’ high level of play won’t stop in Las Vegas, but his fantasy stock does get slightly dented going from Rodgers to Derek Carr. It’s unlikely that Carr hyper-targets Adams to the length of a 28% target share as Rodgers has done for so many seasons. Incumbent Raiders pass-catchers Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow represent more target competition than Adams has ever played with since becoming the alpha in Green Bay.
Andrew Erickson

Kyler Murray (QB – ARI) and Marquise Brown (WR – ARI)

Kyler Murray Projections

PASS CMP PASS ATT PASS YDS PASS TDS PASS INTS RUSH ATT RUSH YDS RUSH TDS FUMBLES POINTS
382.1 566.9 4204.5 26.2 13 104.6 507.1 5.2 3 336.2

DeAndre Hopkins is being suspended six games for violating the NFL’s Performance Enhancing Drug policy. This penalty has massive fantasy football repercussions for the Arizona Cardinals offense starting with quarterback Kyler Murray.

Murray’s production dipped last season without Hopkins in the lineup over the final four weeks of the season. He averaged 18.8 fantasy points per game and 6.3 yards per pass attempt.

Murray averaged 24.9 fantasy points per game and 8.7 yards per attempt in the nine games with Hopkins fully healthy. He also posted the No. 1-ranked PFF passing grade (90.5).

Losing Hopkins for six games cannot be ignored, but the addition of Marquise Brown figures to make up for some of the lost production.
Andrew Erickson

Marquise Brown Projections

RUSH ATT RUSH YDS RUSH TDS RECS REC YDS REC TDS FUMBLES POINTS
1.4 8.4 0.1 76.2 947.5 5.8 0.9 129

Marquise Brown seems slated for a massive target share in the Arizona Cardinals’ pass-heavy offense.

Brown posted a top-12 target share last season (23%) with Baltimore. The speedy wideout also commanded a whopping 27% target share back in 2018 at Oklahoma – the last time he played with Murray. Christian Kirk was WR12 during the last four weeks without Hopkins in the lineup.

The Cardinals paid a premium to acquire Brown, so fantasy managers should expect them to use him plenty. Brace yourself for Brown to skyrocket up 2022 best-ball rankings as a top-20 fantasy WR option.
Andrew Erickson

Tua Tagovailoa (QB – MIA) and Jaylen Waddle (WR – MIA)

Tua Tagovailoa Projections

Season Projections
PASS CMP PASS ATT PASS YDS PASS TDS PASS INTS RUSH ATT RUSH YDS RUSH TDS FUMBLES POINTS
379.7 574.8 4036.2 25.5 14.5 55.6 197.7 3.1 2.7 281.9

Somebody on the Miami Dolphins is in for a rude awakening come September. Mike Gesicki, Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill are all being pushed up the rankings/draft boards with hopes that Tua Tagovailoa takes a massive step forward in Year 3 under first-year head coach Mike McDaniel.

I am not as optimistic that Tagovailoa can be the vehicle to deliver fantasy goodness to all these pieces in South Beach because this offense is going to be run-heavy. McDaniel made his way up the coaching ranks under Kyle Shanahan as a standout run-game coordinator. And should he follow in the footsteps of Shanahan as the offensive mastermind in Miami, fantasy managers should expect a lot of rushing and YAC schemes.

49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo ranked 29th in aDOT in 2021 (7.6) after ranking 39th and 35th in the category the two years prior. Tagovailoa’s aDOT was 34th in the league (7.6) in 2021.

Jimmy G’s most productive seasons have seen him average just north of 16 fantasy points per game – good for QB17 in 2021. Tagovailoa has yet to eclipse 14 fantasy points per game two years into his career. He also ranked 31st in throwing at the intermediate level (62.5 PFF grade) among 37 qualifying passers last season.

So although Tua is viewed as a popular late-round quarterback among fantasy circles, I have to admit I won’t be pulling the trigger on him in 1QB redraft formats. Especially with his brutal early schedule. New England, Baltimore and Buffalo are hardly the stream-worthy spots you will be confident in starting the southpaw QB. In the Dolphins quarterback’s four combined starts versus those teams in 2021, his fantasy finishes were QB23, QB24, QB18 and QB16.
Andrew Erickson 

Jaylen Waddle Projections

Season Projections
RUSH ATT RUSH YDS RUSH TDS RECS REC YDS REC TDS FUMBLES POINTS
3.6 20 0.7 92.9 1014.7 6.4 1 144

Jaylen Waddle looked primed to make the leap into the top-12 conversation after a stellar rookie season. Along with breaking Anquan Boldin’s rookie reception record, Waddle commanded a 22% target share and 24% target rate per route run – 18th-best in the NFL.

But with the expensive addition of veteran Tyreek Hill, it is less likely that Waddle is the clear-cut No. 1 receiver in Miami. Hill is coming off a season where he commanded the league’s seventh-highest target rate per route run (27%). The trade moves Waddle down from a fringe WR1 to mid-range fantasy WR2 after seeing almost zero target competition last season.
Andrew Erickson

Trevor Lawrence (QB – JAC) and Travis Etienne Jr. (RB – JAC)

Trevor Lawrence Projections

Season Projections
PASS CMP PASS ATT PASS YDS PASS TDS PASS INTS RUSH ATT RUSH YDS RUSH TDS FUMBLES POINTS
366.2 579.1 3968.3 22.4 14 72.8 327 2.1 4.1 271.7

Joe Burrow’s massive second-year jump is encouraging for this year’s second-year QBs like Trevor Lawrence. The Jags quarterback finished with the same expected fantasy points per game average as Burrow in 2021 (17.3) but underwhelmed tremendously in a poor situation. His -72.3 fantasy points versus expectation were the most of any QB in 2021.

Lawrence posted a season-high 85.1 PFF passing grade in the season-finale, offering some hope that he can turn things around in 2022 with a new coaching staff in place.

There’s a strong chance that Jacksonville dials up the passing attempts with Doug Pederson calling the shots on offense. During his five-year tenure in Philadelphia, only once did the offense not finish top-10 in pass attempts.
Andrew Erickson

Travis Etienne Jr. Projections

Season Projections
RUSH ATT RUSH YDS RUSH TDS RECS REC YDS REC TDS FUMBLES POINTS
175.3 751.7 5 50.1 403.5 2 1.9 153.7

Travis Etienne Jr. was a standout college football running back for the Clemson Tigers from 2017 to 2020 and was selected by the Jaguars in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft -25th overall. However, his rookie season was cut short by a preseason Lisfranc injury. Some NFL personnel reported that Etienne could have come back towards the end of the year had the Jaguars been in playoff contention instead of being the league’s laughing stock.

Etienne is expected to be fully cleared by training camp, giving him a leg up on the RB1 role as the Jacksonville Jaguars install a new offense under new head coach Doug Pederson. With James Robinson attempting to come back from a torn Achilles injury suffered on December 26th, Etienne figures to be the featured back during this spring/summer.

Do not forget what this guy did at Clemson with Trevor Lawrence (QB – JAC) as his quarterback. During his final season as a Clemson Tiger, he led the country in receiving yards and ranked second in receptions among running backs. Etienne also racked up the most rushing attempts of 20-plus yards (40) from 2018 to 2019 while only carrying the ball 20-plus times once since 2018.
Andrew Erickson

2022 Fantasy Football Staff Consensus Rankings

2022 Fantasy Football Rankings powered by FantasyPros

 

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