Earlier in the offseason, we looked at the top historical comparables for the top-11 rookie WRs in scoring from the 2018 class.
However, doing the list by total points means that I omitted one key name from the list — Keke Coutee. On a per-game basis, Coutee was about as good as any rookie in 2018. Let’s dive into the numbers and the historical comps to get a picture of what to expect from the Texans WR in 2020 and beyond.
Keke: The Low-Key Best Rookie?
Coutee was the 11th WR off the board in the 2018 NFL Draft, as the Texans took him with the third pick of the fourth round, 103rd overall. He immediately made the late selection look silly. Playing just six games, his per-game rankings among rookies were elite:
- 1st in targets (6.8/game)
- 1st in receptions (4.6)
- 5th in yards (47.8)
- 1st in expected points (11.4)
- 3rd in points (10.5)
Those figures put him on pace for a 167-point rookie season, which would have made him the WR31 last year. None of this came as much of a surprise to Hasan Rahim, who was banging the drum on Coutee all of last offseason.
Using inputs of volume, production, efficiency, age, weight, and draft position, I used the RotoViz Screener to come up with the most similar rookie seasons to Koutee’s since 2000.
This list is not good, but it’s also not really reflective of Coutee’s potential since the Screener is going by raw numbers, not per-game stats. Yes, Coutee was within six points of De’Anthony Thomas as a rookie, but he did it in half the number games, and that’s not being accounted for here.
Fortunately, the Screener does have the option to filter the results on a per-game basis, rather than per-season. While we haven’t done this for other WR prospects, it seems like a worthwhile exercise since we’re clearly not getting relevant results from so few games.
If we switch to per-game, here are Coutee’s comps.
Further down the list, we see names like Will Fuller, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Percy Harvin, Corey Coleman, and Robert Woods.
It’s probably a good idea to temper expectations on this list a little bit, but these names are also closer to realistic Coutee comps than Courtney Roby and Vincent Brown.
Regarding the per-game-generated list, Allen Robinson and Brandin Cooks might be a bit of a stretch considering they’re bigger players who were drafted higher, but it does give a glimpse into Coutee’s potential.
The only thing holding Coutee back from a true rookie breakout was health. You might think that the return of Will Fuller from his own injury would cause him to lose looks. But in a small sample, at least, that wasn’t the case.
The Texans are a sneaky-good target for fantasy purposes — over the last four years under Bill OBrien, they’ve ranked (starting with the most recent) 7th, 13th, 6th, and 1st in offensive plays per game.
Over that same period, the team has averaged 34.95 pass attempts per game. In his six games as a rookie, Coutee commanded a 24% target share. Let’s be conservative and nerf that down to 20%. At those figures, we still get 8.38 targets per game. At his 7.0 yards-per-target mark and 68% catch rate, we get a projected stat line of 134 targets, 92 receptions, and 938 yards.
Coutee is currently the 41st WR off the board with an overall ADP of 92, making him a great target in PPR leagues in that point of the draft.
In dynasty, I’d place him firmly in the second tier of the 2018 rookie WRs, behind only the D.J. Moore.
Here’s a look at the comps for the rest of this rookie crop.
11. Michael Gallup
8. Dante Pettis
2. D.J. Moore
Image Credit: Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Keke Coutee.
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