A huge portion of fantasy football projection is based in comparison. Some of those comparisons are player-based, others are situational. Some are heavily based in both, like this one:
In 2012, a 6’0″, 198 lb., 33 year-old WR who was drafted as WR29, and had finished as WR25 the year before, finished as WR8 in PPR leagues. In 2011 this WR had one of the worst years of his career, playing without an elite QB like he had previously. Instead, he was forced to play with a rotation of truly terrible QBs. A 2012 1st-round draft pick QB came in, and since he had no other established targets, quickly developed a rapport with the WR that revitalized his career.
In 2014, a 5’11”, 195. lb., 30 year-old Greg Jennings is being drafted as WR631 a year after finishing as WR34. In 2013, Jennings had one of the worst years of his career playing without Aaron Rodgers and being forced to play with a rotation of truly terrible QBs. 2014 1st round pick Teddy Bridgewater is coming in, and Minnesota has no other established targets.
I’m just saying that if you squint a little Greg Jennings looks like a 2012 Reggie Wayne.
Obviously, there are some factors that are more favorable for Wayne. Wayne is slightly bigger, and he’s almost certainly just a better WR. Andrew Luck was obviously drafted higher than Bridgewater, but Bridgewater is a great prospect in his own right. Wayne also had a better finish in 2011 than Jennings did in 2013, and Jennings has been more prone to injury throughout his career.
Even considering all that, I think it’s still a very solid comp, and there are some things that make me like Jennings’ situation even better. Price is chief among them. Jennings is currently being drafted as a WR6, a year after finishing as a WR3. Even if he doesn’t improve, that price makes him a huge steal. I imagine he’s being similarly undervalued in dynasty formats, and you can probably get him as part of a package deal, play him this year, and then sell him for a profit. His age comes in handy in that situation as he’ll be young enough that people won’t discount him too heavily because of his age.
Of course, this all presupposes that Jennings’ 2013 output was heavily affected by Minnesota’s poor QB play, so I should probably back that up. Greg Jennings is always open, for one thing. Using the Game Splits App, here’s how Jennings did in games with and without Matt Cassel, the best of Minnesota’s mediocre options:
Jennings more than doubled his output when Cassel played. If we assume that he’ll be at least equally effective with Bridgewater, and that he’ll be playing with some mixture of Bridgewater and Cassel, there’s not much to be worried about. Interestingly enough, the WR Similarity Score App likes 12.2 points as Jennings’ high-end projection in .5 PPR, which is what the Game Split App calculates.
I’m not forgetting Cordarrelle Patterson. The truth is, nobody seems sure what to make of him. What I do know is that the Colts added T.Y. Hilton, Coby Fleener, and Dwayne Allen in 2012. Those three combined for 204 targets in 2012. That didn’t stop Wayne from receiving 194 of his own. Patterson’s presence may limit Jennings’ upside, but he can’t singlehandedly stop Jennings from getting 150+ targets. Adrian Peterson is actually a bigger threat, but he has a tendency to miss games and you have to figure Minnesota will pass at least a little more frequently now that they have a legitimate QB.
Honestly, I don’t think Jennings will have as much success as Wayne did. Realistically, I expect him to finish as a WR2 or high-end WR3 with around 150 targets. But if he reaches that level of success at his heavily discounted price, I expect him to be a staple on championship teams next year.