Austin Collie, Jeremy Kerley, and Jarius Wright


Via Training camp report: Another big practice for Collie, Gray

SANTA CLARA – Here’s what stood out to me during Thursday evening’s light, non-padded practice…Austin Collie – He caught a team-high seven passes for 50 yards and a touchdown.

Austin Collie is reportedly looking good in training camp. And A.J. Jenkins continues to not look good. Could the oft-concussed Collie beat out former top pick Jenkins for playing time? And should we care? Let’s take a quick look.

Austin Collie (Was) Productive

First, check out this quick analysis of Collie from our own inimitable Staff writer. If healthy, Collie can produce. In fact, for two years in Indianapolis, he and Peyton Manning formed the Colts’ most efficient QB/Receiver pairing.

Peyton Manning Reggie Wayne WR 324 210 2597 15 15 6.86
Peyton Manning Pierre Garcon WR 210 115 1581 10 4 7.62
Peyton Manning Dallas Clark TE 185 137 1453 13 2 8.77
Peyton Manning Austin Collie WR 156 116 1287 15 1 9.88
Peyton Manning Jacob Tamme TE 97 69 645 4 4 5.62

There’s Not Much “There” There

Collie averaged over 11 fantasy points/game in his first three seasons. So you should target Collie as a late round/waiver player with some upside, right? Nah. The 49ers ranked second to last in pass attempts last year (436). With a presumably stout defense, the loss of Crabtree, and a successful running game, there’s not an obvious reason to expect a huge increase in pass attempts.  To get those 11 points/game, Collie needed an average of 5.7 targets/game. From week 9 through week 17 last year, Colin Kaepernick averaged 26 pass attempts/game. So Collie would have to garner over 21% of the 49ers total pass targets – and that’s assuming he could be as efficient with Kaepernick as he was with Manning – in order to get to 11 points/game. Last season only Michael Crabtree garnered a higher percentage of targets; it seems unlikely that Collie would lead the team in targets this year.

Conclusion? Leave Collie on the waiver wire.

Here, Try One of These Instead

According to Fantasy Pros, Collie is the 83rd WR selected in PPR formats. Nothing special, so if you want to spend a waiver wire or last-round pick on him, the cost is minimal. But check out these other players available in the same range (i..e. waivers) as Collie.

Overall Player
281 Jeremy Kerley (NYJ)
277 Nate Burleson (DET)
298 Donnie Avery (KC)
293 Austin Collie (SF)
291 Jon Baldwin (KC)
313 Jarius Wright (MIN)

All of these players cost nothing to acquire, and come without Collie’s concussion history. They also offer at least as much, or more, upside. Our WR Sim App projects all of them to score in the 10+ points/game range.