By: Joel Davis (Twitter: @PhilNantz)
“A Way Too In-Depth View of DeVante Parker’s Career”
In a perfect world, I would like to start off an article with a funny introduction, or a clever anecdote, but I just watched Ryan Tannehill and a young Teddy Bridgewater throw footballs for over 3 hours, so a slight numbness has overcome my mental state. There is no funny. There is no clever. There is, however, a lot of bad passes.
Weighing in around 212 pounds, standing at a towering 6’3”, DeVante Parker is an outright monster. He looks lanky standing next to an incredibly athletic Jarvis Landry, who is listed at a surprising 6’0” and 205 pounds. Parker did very well at the combine, and was even touted as the top talent in the receiving class by some, but was the 3rd receiver taken in the class at 14th overall behind the obvious Amari Cooper and Kevin White.
The first minute of this video against Pitt on draftbreakdown.com summed up his college career tape for me. For his first target of the game, Parker stutter steps, which threw off the corner and gave him just a split second to beat him with his speed, which he should not have for a man his size. He has the open touchdown…and Teddy B overthrows him.
Dang. That could have been nice.
The second target of the game is similar to the first. DeVante lines up outside, while being inside the Louisville ten-yard line, and streaks across the middle of the field, beating the corner and safety to watch a 90 yard touchdown drop several yards in front of him, out of reach.
After the pair of overthrown TDs, DP won a basic jump ball that he makes look pretty effortless. The jump ball target was textbook, and man, his hands are soft. He makes every catch he makes look effortless. His next target ended in a 75-yard touchdown in man coverage. In most of his college film I watched, he just always seemed to be open, and if he was in single man coverage, he might as well have been wide open.
This was the theme throughout most of his college tape. There were so many missed opportunities that I was actually becoming agitated while watching his college film. In the Florida State game in 2014, with Will Gardener under center, DeVante almost has to come to a complete stop on essentially every throw. The best target that game for DP was a 3-yard slant route, which ended in a gain of 6. Literally the first play of that game, Parker had a TD, but was able to be caught within the 10 because the ball was so underthrown.
This is not meant to be a roast on Teddy B, or Will Gardener, but a certain understanding that needs to be known about DeVante Parker. He was the best player on the field when he played in college, but was hindered by his quarterback play, time and time again. He was still successful in college, but did not see the potential he could have in a better offense.
Fast forward a little bit, DeVante Parker is taken at number 14 overall by the Fins in the 2015 NFL draft, and I die a little on the inside knowing that his quarterback play is still subpar.
First game I watched for Parker in his NFL career was in 2015 against the Buffalo Bills. He was credited with 7 targets, 2 of which were uncatchable throwaway passes in the redzone. Parker was, however, targeted 4 times with a fade route while in the redzone, showing that they are not afraid to use his one-on-one ability. It was a blow out victory for the Bills, and an overall terrible game for Tanny. At this point, Parker is playing behind Jarvis Landry, Greg Jennings, Rishard Mathews, Kenny Stills, and Jordan Cameron for target share. Most of his targets were in garbage time.
DP proceeded to not play until week 10 in 2015, due to injury. In his first game back, he gets 10 targets, and a touchdown! Too bad the touchdown was when the game was already over, but man, he does not give up. The TD did not mean anything, but he turns a simple catch at the 20-yard line into a touchdown, blowing past two defenders on his way with two strong cuts.
Rookie year for a WR in an offense with way too many mouths to feed, he did pretty well.
The next game I watched for the Dolphins was against the New England Patriots in week 2 of 2016. Matt Moore is the starter, but I still think there is value in watching what a player does against Bill Belicheck. DP gets his first target when the Dolphins are down 17-0. Second target comes on a third down play; Parker runs a slant over the middle, gaining the first down. A few other targets were sprinkled in here and there, but many of the targets from Matt Moore were uncatchable. This game was over in the second quarter, but DeVante was still pushing dudes downfield with four minutes left in the game with no chance of winning. It is obvious that he is a competitor, and is not giving up on any play.
The most fun I had watching a game on DeVante was against the Los Angeles Rams. Not because of his film, but because at one point the announcers actually say, “we told you that Jared Goff would open up the Rams running game!” Well, so much for that. Parker’s first completion of the game goes for a first down. He had a man on him, but fights for the ball and rolls into the first. Tannehill is clearly becoming more trusting of Parker at this point in the season, as Parker was his first, and only read. The next target is a nice slant over the middle of the field, which is kind of his signature move. His next target is a deep ball down the left sideline that is thrown into the end zone, Parker gets the position on the defender, and the ball is overthrown. Interception.
So many times throughout this film, DP was so close to having a big day, but an overthrown ball, or overall bad read of the defense kept him from having that fantasy goodness we all seek.
So why is DeVante Parker not a fantasy stud?
There are three main reasons why I believe DP has not been the fantasy asset I had hoped and dreamed he would be in the NFL….yet.
1. Jarvis Landry
Do not let anyone tell you that Jarvis Landry is not a number 1 wide receiver. He is not a typical number 1 wide receiver, that much is true. Landry is extremely athletic, and fits Ryan Tannehill’s skill set perfectly. Until I watched the film for Parker, I did not realize how athletic Jarvis Landry really was.
2. Ryan Tannehill
The obvious reason to shy away from the Miami Dolphins offense, as any common NFL fan would tell you, but I am here to say, I also do not have a lot of confidence in Tanny. However, Kenny Stills scored 9 touchdowns last year. NINE! Landry and Parker had 8 combined. Stills did this on 14 less catches than parker, and 22 less yards. I believe that the cream rises to the top in the NFL, and I believe that it is more likely DeVante Parker will see more touchdowns, and Stills will see less.
It is no secret that DP was hurt for the majority of 2016. Hamstring injuries are scary; just ask Alshon Jeffery, Eric Decker, A.J. Green, Terrelle Pryor, Marvin Jones, and Kevin White… You get the picture. Sometimes these athletic freaks can be too athletic for their own good, but that is a problem I am willing to deal with when it comes to fantasy studs.
In dynasty, I want the players that are the most talented, regardless of situation, because situations can change so much from year to year. As DeVante Parker enters his (magic number) third year, we will see that he is a top talent on his team, and the NFL. Buy him now, before it is too late.
In preparation for this article, I watched every snap I could find on DeVante Parker. Draftbreakdown.com had 9 videos of his snaps from 2012-2014 for his college career, and I watched over 60 of his targets in his two years in the NFL. I like to watch a few games at the beginning, middle, and end of each season, in case a player is injured at a certain time throughout the year. I believe that film analyses paired with the proper analytics is the best way to continually dominate your fantasy leagues. Reading box scores is a great way to see how you could have won, but it is not a good process for predicting future stats.