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Mike Mularkey Says Dorial Green-Beckham Is a Fantasy WR1

There’s no better way to locate severely under drafted fantasy players than to use coaching tendencies to find players who could see a lot more opportunity than others are predicting. It is certainly a more effective way than trying to guess which guys will have career years based on things like OTA talk, or which players will suffer injuries. Mike Mularkey is new to Tennessee, but certainly not the NFL. If Dorial Green-Beckham knows anything about Mularkey’s past, he probably can’t wait to get 2016 started.

Dorial As a Rookie

Everyone knows Dorial’s story. He’s a freakishly big athletic wide receiver who had some of those dreaded character concerns coming out of college, which pushed him down into the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft before Tennessee snatched him at pick 40. Ken Wisenhunt, the Titans’ previous coach, kept Green-Beckham on the bench for the majority of the first half of 2015. After only seeing 176 snaps from the first eight games, the rookie saw 377 in the final half. In the final eight games, Green-Beckham saw 16 percent of the Titans’ targets. During that same span, Green-Beckham was just efficient on a per target basis as Eric Decker, and more efficient than Alshon Jeffrey, Larry Fitzgerald, and Demaryius Thomas, according to The Fantasy Efficiency App. There’s some indication that Green-Beckham can play with the big boys.

In-House Competition

DGB has the highest ADP of any Titan WR, and that would only make sense. Kendall Wright has seen 90 or more targets in the past three seasons, but has failed to do anything great with them. Wright likely was the only real receiving option the Titans had outside of Delanie WalkerRishard Matthews is a 27 year old WR who’s career high point was an 11-game stretch last season where he looked like a productive WR for Miami. Was his 11 game stretch in Miami a sign of him developing into a solid WR or was it just a string of lucky games for a fourth year player? That’s debatable. Here’s how the three stack up from a physical standpoint:

Titants16WRsDGB has a massive size advantage on his two teammates. The fact that he is just as fast as Wright who is seven inches shorter and 41 pounds lighter is borderline unbelievable. All three players are similarly agile, but again, with DGB being so much bigger that just shouldn’t be the case. We don’t have explosion numbers for Matthews, but Wright is more explosive than DGB if thats what you choose to hang your hat on. Which WR would you rather funnel a massive amount of your team’s targets to? I think the answer is pretty simple. The young physical freak seeing more targets than two average athletes who’ve proven to be average NFL WRs only makes sense.

Mularkey’s Past

Mularkey has a ton of coaching experience under his belt, which is good news for us because it gives us a better idea of how he likes to run an offensive attack. For our sample we’ll use the 11 seasons where he was either an Offensive Coordinator or Head Coach. Those seasons include with Jacksonville in 2012, Atlanta from 2011-2008, Miami in 2006, Buffalo from 2005-2004, and Pittsburgh from 2003-2001. Here are the pass/run splits during those seasons:

TeamTotal PlaysPass PlaysRun PlaysPass %Rush %
JAX 201299463635864.0%36.0%
ATL 2011107362045357.2%42.2%
ATL 2010109760049754.7%45.3%
ATL 2009104859745157.0%43.0%
ATL 2008101145156044.6%55.4%
MIA 2006103463240261.1%38.9%
BUF 200593150342854.0%46.0%
BUF 200498250048250.9%49.1%
PIT 2003102057544556.4%43.6%
PIT 2002109758651153.4%46.6%
PIT 2001106548558045.5%54.5%
Average103256247054.5%45.5%

Mularkey’s teams averaged 1,032 total plays, which would have finished as 17th most last season. His 562 pass plays would have checked in at 23rd, and his run plays would have finished as sixth most in 2015. So in summary, Mularkey runs an average number of plays, but tends to be more run heavy than most coaches. That’s good news for DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry, but what about Green-Beckham?

The good news for DGB is that Mularkey loves, and I mean LOVES, to feed his top WR. Using the same sample of Mularkey coached teams, WR1s in Mularkey’s system saw 30 percent of team targets. That’s a massive percentage. Sure, Mularkey had Hines Ward and Roddy White in seven of those 11 seasons, but even Chris Chambers saw 27 percent of the Dolphins’ targets in 2006, and Eric Moulds saw 29 and 34 percent of the Bills’ targets in 2005 and 2004. A rookie Justin Blackmon was the least targeted WR1 in all of Mularkey’s offenses in 2012, and even he saw 23 percent of the teams passes.

What Could DGB’s 2016 Look Like?

Mularkey is going to load up DGB this season. Just to put these numbers in perspective we’ll use DGB’s efficiency numbers from last season (48 percent catch rate, 8.2 yards per target, and 6 percent touchdown rate) and plug them into Green-Beckham’s potential target market share of Mularkey’s average of 562 pass plays.

msTRGTTargetsReceptionsYardsTDsPPR FPs2015 WR Rank
23%129621,0587.74214.2421
25%140671,1488.40232.2016
27%152731,2469.12252.3215
30%169811,38610.14280.448

Even if Mularkey only gives Green-Beckham what he gave Blackmon in 2012 he’ll easily outperform his current MFL10 ADP as the 41st WR off of the board. If DGB sees 30 percent of the Titans’ targets market share, like Mularkey’s past suggests, he’s a WR1. Mularkey gives Green-Beckham a floor well above his current ADP and a ceiling higher than you can see.

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