Now Is the Time to Buy Low on Robby Anderson in Fantasy Football
Robby Anderson has had a troublesome offseason to say the least. Even after having charges dropped in a felony resisting arrest case, the 25-year-old is facing a reckless driving charge after fleeing police at a rate of 105 miles per hour a few months ago. The young Jets receiver is set to appear in court on July 19th, and he could be cleared of his final charges at that time.
Even if cleared, though, there is still some inherit risk with the NFL tightening up its stance and suspending players for off-the-field behavior, legal ramifications or not. Anderson recently said that he's turned his life around that he doesn't expect to face league discipline, but the potential for a suspension has seemingly kept Anderson's average draft position (ADP) at bay in most fantasy circles.
Given the current circumstances, it is logical to assume Anderson's pending legal issues are the reasons for his falling in drafts. Looking at MFL10 ADP data for the month of June, the Jets wide receiver is being drafted 106th overall, which puts him at the 8th-to-9th round turn of 12 team best ball drafts. Fantasy Football Calculator currently has Anderson pegged as WR41 in 12-team PPR leagues.
Like any situation with unknowns and question marks, windows of opportunity open and allow us to take calculated risks. And, with Anderson, now is the time to take the risk for the long-term reward.
Career to Date
A wideout's third year can tell us a lot about them as a player and as a fantasy football performer. After having two years to get acclimated to the style and pace of the NFL, it's common for a guy to reveal himself as either an effective early-round asset or a bust best kept to the early-season waiver wire.
Although an older prospect, Anderson took significant strides between years one and two, and he embraced the big-play role in New York. As an undrafted free agent rookie, he recorded a 42-catch season, producing 587 yards and 2 touchdowns in 2016. In year two, he improved his statline to the tune of 63 catches, 941 yards and 7 scores.
In his sophomore season, Anderson's 14.9 yards per reception ranked 12th among receivers with at least 75 catches as he also eclipsed 200 PPR points with 5 weeks as a WR2 or better. That doesn't quite have a WR41 ring to it.
The Jets' offseason moves tell us that they're not making an attempt to replace Anderson in his offensive role, as the only notable signings were thumper running backs Isaiah Crowell and Thomas Rawls, and big-bodied Terrelle Pryor out wide.
Pryor, a productive receiver in his time in Cleveland , quickly flamed out in Washington, lacking rapport with his quarterback and battling ankle injuries throughout his time there. While not a free agent signing, Quincy Enunwa is expected to return to the receiving corps after missing all of 2017 with a neck injury that placed him on Injured Reserve. Enunwa’s most relevant (and recent) season was in 2016, when he posted a WR43 season.
Tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins departed the team to join the Jacksonville Jaguars , which throws 74 of the team's 2017 targets back into the target pool. In his stead, the Jets signed Clive Walford to serve as their starter, but he is unlikely to siphon significant targets away from Anderson’s target share. And outside of quarterback Sam Darnold, the Jets are only adding tight end Chris Herndon -- a 2018 fourth-round pick -- to the offensive depth chart.
Strength of Schedule
According to Warren Sharp’s projected strength of schedule, the Jets are tied for third in passing defense efficiency in 2018, which suggests that Anderson will not be facing an uphill battle toward being relevant and valuable in fantasy. In fact, 7 games of his 16 weeks will come against opponents that rank in the bottom third of passing defensive efficiency.
The cherry on top? The Jets will also have opportunities to create explosive passing plays as 5 of their opponents are 27th or worse in explosive pass defense (per Sharp). In 2017, only 1 of Anderson's 7 touchdowns was inside 24 yards, and 4 came from 30 and beyond. So any fantasy player that knows this is Anderson's game should be licking their chops with this exploitable schedule.
Big Play Threat
Taking a magnifying glass to Anderson’s 2017 season reveals even more promise.
From an advanced metrics perspective, he ranked 18th in the NFL in air yards, with notable fantasy names and earlier round values Stefon Diggs, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Alshon Jeffery, and T.Y. Hilton all immediately ahead of him. Furthermore, his team air yards share is good for eighth out of all NFL receivers. And by Josh Hermsmeyer's weighted opportunity rating (which takes into account a player's target share and share of air yards), Anderson was 13th in 2017 with second-round receivers Keenan Allen and Davante Adams just ahead of him.
Pro Football Focus had Anderson down for 26 targets of 20-plus yards, which placed him 9th in the NFL. They also had him as the 11th-best receiver in terms of yards per route run, which captures the total receiving yards based on the number of routes run and signals us as to his usage in the Jets' offense.
At his current MFL10 ADP of WR45, Anderson is a considerable value given his boom-or-bust potential, and that's something drafters should be seeking in best ball formats. His current price is his floor in most outcomes, barring an unreasonably long suspension. Anderson provides a solid third wide receiver to fantasy rosters, especially if drafters are looking to start their drafts with two or three running backs in the top three rounds (which seems to be a trend this year).
In re-draft formats, he is worthy of a late-round pick, with the worst-case scenario making him a drop candidate in the event he's handed a suspension.
It's time to buy in with the hope taking advantage of an uncertain situation and capitalizing on Anderson's talent and production.