Jamison Crowder Fantasy
No that’s not deja vu you’re experiencing. It’s true. Jamison Crowder has been the offseason darling fantasy football before. Last offseason NFL rumors of Jamison Crowder building a rapport with his quarterback and his ability to create plays were rampant. Crowder was selected on average at 6.01 as the WR28 in 12 team points per reception (PPR) leagues per Fantasy Football Calculator. The truth behind the headlines is that 2018 presents an excellent opportunity for Jamison Crowder to take that next step in his evolution as a wide receiver. The question remains whether Crowder can take advantage.
Redskins Offense 2018:
Jay Gruden’s offense will have a new quarterback under center week one this year. After endless roller coaster rides fueled by franchise tags and contract drama, the Redskins let Kirk Cousins sign elsewhere this offseason. Before Cousins had even packed his bags, the Redskins agreed to a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs to bring Alex Smith to Washington. With variations in play at the quarterback position regarding decision making, attributes, and tendencies, to name a few, we can not merely transpose Kirk Cousins’ stats onto Alex Smith.
The one constant is play calling and volume. From 2015-2017, the Redskins ranks 20th (543), seventh (606), and 18th (540) in pass attempts. In each of the last two seasons, the Redskins have ranked 24th or worse in rushing attempts. The rushing offense struggled to find an identity last season dealing with a combination of injuries and ineffectiveness to varying degrees with Rob Kelley, Chris Thompson, and Samaje Perine. The Redskins addressed the positional need by drafting college workhorse Derrius Guice. The addition of Guice would seem to signal at least a small shift to a more run-focused offense, but the signing of Paul Richardson, returns of Jordan Reed and Thompson from injury, and the lack of any significant additions on the defensive side of the ball suggest differently. The Redskins will find themselves passing with enough regularity that the 540 passing attempt mark should be viewed as the floor with room for higher totals if the improved run game can extend drives for an offense that finished 27th in the NFL in first downs per game.
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Jamison Crowder’s Career History:
During Jamison Crowder’s first two seasons with the Redskins Crowder found himself buried on the target totem pole behind Desean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, and Jordan Reed. Last season with the departures of Jackson and Garcon, Crowder was expected to climb that ladder but straining his hamstring in July and tweaking it again in October put a damper on that plan. Crowder has four documented hamstring ailments and a knee strain.
Crowder recently stated that he played with lingering injuries last season that he felt like set him behind. Even while playing at less than 100% during various parts of his three seasons, Crowder’s target volume has risen in each season to a new career high of 103 last year. Jamison Crowder’s fantasy finishes as the 33rd (2017), 31st (2016), and 53rd (2015) ranked wide receiver over each of the past three seasons have been impacted by his place on the depth chart and injury history. Will Jamison Crowder be fantasy late round treasure or fool’s gold in 2018?
Why Jamison Crowder will Succeed in 2018
Entering his fourth season with the Redskins, Jamison Crowder is the longest tenured pass catcher in Washington outside of the oft-injured Jordan Reed. Jamison Crowder has proven himself as a sure-handed, dependable asset in the passing game. From 2015-2017 among wide receivers with 150 or more targets, Crowder is tied for 11th in catch rate at 68.6% with Keenan Allen.
|Player||Catch Rate %||Targets|
The combination of familiarity with the offensive system and soft hands can be a cozy security blanket that Alex Smith nestles in when NFL defenses attempt to make him uncomfortable in the pocket. Alex Smith has already spoken glowingly of Crowder in stating that “come crunch time…here’s a guy who will constantly work his tail off to get open” and that “you love that as a quarterback.” From the current depth chart of receiving options
From 2015-2017: Even with variable roles and target volumes Jordan Reed and Chris Thompson lead the Redskins over the past three collective seasons in catch rate. Reed and Thompson despite their on the field prowess the fact remains that in their combined ten years in the NFL they played a total of 13 games in any given season only twice between the two of them. Despite dealing with his fair share of injuries, Crowder has missed just one game during his three seasons with the Redskins.
Jamison Crowder despite establishing a new career high in targets with 103 still ranked 25th in targets among wide receivers. For a player that has never garnered an upper echelon target volume over a full season, the question can be asked “How would he perform? Would his efficiency or effectiveness decline?” Over the past two seasons, Jamison Crowder has already answered these questions on a per game basis. From 2016-2017 Crowder amassed 15 games in which he received seven or more targets which provide approximately one full season of high volume usage.
|Based on 2017 WR PPR Rankings|
|Total Points (PPR)||231.3||10|
The Chart shows his totals from those 15 games. In those 15 games, Crowder finished among the top 24 wide receivers in that given week nine times. Again in comparison to 2017 regarding consistency Crowders nine wide receiver two or, better finishes would have been tied for fifth most with Golden Tate. When comparing Crowder’s high volume sample size to wide receiver production in 2017, Crowder displays that when given the target volume of a wide receiver one he produces as such.
Why Jamison Crowder will Fail in 2018
For everyone not named Fitzgerald or Hopkins, a quarterback’s level of play can be integral to a receiver’s fantasy production. So heading into 2018 the question is which Alex Smith will be tossing passes to Jamison Crowder? Top five fantasy quarterback Alex Smith or rest of career Alex Smith? Much like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde these two versions of Smith are entirely different.
Crowder’s former quarterback, Kirk Cousins, recorded seasons of 7.8 (2016) and 6.9 (2017) yards per pass attempt during his final two years in Washington. Alex Smith performed much in the same vein in 2017 with 8.0 yards per attempt which ranked fourth in the NFL last year. From 2005-2016 Mr. Alex Hyde recorded 6.78 yards per attempt which ranked 50th among the 93 quarterbacks with 600 or more pass attempts over that span. Alex Smith ranked behind impressive quarterbacks of past and present like Geno Smith, Kevin Kolb, and Vince Young. If Alex Smith continues pushing the ball down the field, Josh Doctson and newly signed field stretcher Paul Richardson could be the primary beneficiaries much at the expense of Crowder.
Outside of Alex Smith, the other factors at play for Jamison Crowder’s fantasy success lie within the depth chart and his hamstrings. Paul Richardson, Josh Doctson, Jordan Reed, and Chris Thompson if all healthy and presumably effective in 2018 can pose stiff competition for targets for Crowder much like Garcon, Jackson, and Reed previously. This dilution of target volume between playmakers could put a significant dent in not only Crowder’s consistency but his overall effectiveness.
A strong correlation between previous soft tissue or muscular injuries and future injuries does exist in both sports and the NFL. For a player that has dealt with hamstring issues numerous times during his short NFL career, the risk of reinjury can’t be easily dismissed. Does this mean that he is destined to strain or pull a hamstring muscle every season? No. A lot of different factors come into play with injuries such as training regimen, preparation, and rehabilitation. The fact does remain that until Crowder enjoys a healthy season the risk of lingering injuries capping his effectiveness can’t be overlooked. If Crowder fails to ascend in this upcoming season, these ghosts of yesteryear will most likely be the primary culprits.[the_ad id=”79657″][the_ad id=”79658″]
Jamison Crowder Fantasy
My Take for 2018
Jamison Crowder is currently being drafted as the WR33 (7.06) in 12 team PPR leagues per FantasyFootballCalculator.com. Crowder’s draft stock has risen precisely two rounds over the past month from 9.06 to its current level. Even if Crowder continues to climb up draft boards into the late fifth round where typically WR24-WR26 come off the board, there is still value at that draft position. During Jay Gruden’s tenure in Washington, per FFstatistics.com the top wide receiver option has garnered a target share of 17.3-20 %. The top passing option in his offenses overall has commanded between 19.2-20.5% of the target volume.
Jamison Crowder has a few factors working in his favor that give him the inside edge to assume the role of top go-to option in this passing attack. Crowder’s tenure and thorough knowledge of the offense will give him a leg up on everyone outside of Jordan Reed. With Jordan Reed’s lengthy injury resume that dwarfs many Super Bowl Sunday shopping lists, it is more than an optimistic proposition to expect him to suit up for more than half a season.
Alex Smith outside of 2017 has primarily been a quarterback that has preferred the short and intermediate areas of the field. Smith revolutionizing his game last season was impressive, but in a new offense with new teammates, the odds are in favor of a veteran quarterback going back to long-standing habits rather than newly acquired tricks. Crowder has ranked 29th or lower over the last two seasons in yards per target among wide receivers per PlayerProfiler.com, but he has been inside the top 20 in yards after the catch over the same period. Those two attributes fit quite well with the Alex Smith that has been under center in every season outside of 2017.
Given the Redskins passing volume in two of the last seasons (average of 541 pass attempts) and Crowder’s target share as the top option in the passing offense (20%), he should reach another career high in targets in 2018. Touchdowns are a difficult statistic to forecast in fantasy from year to year. Factoring in touchdown variance from four to six touchdowns in comparison to 2017 wide receiver scoring in PPR formats would place Crowder anywhere from WR 20 (6 touchdowns) to WR 25 (4 touchdowns). Jamison Crowder will be a low end WR2 in PPR formats in 2018 with the upside to climb higher if his rapport with Smith blossoms as the season progresses.[the_ad id=”61410″]
Thanks for Reading
Derek is a Co-Host of the Fantasy Football 24/7 Podcast. Derek is also a Writer for Gridiron Experts, PlayerProfiler.com, Numberfire, and the Quantedge. Born in Louisiana he is a diehard Saints fan (Whodat). Derek now resides Fort Worth, Texas with his beautiful, football loving wife and three kids.