Tom Brady’s contract situation appears to have been resolved, in one manner or another, as we edge closer to the 2019 NFL season. There exists now only the question of who exactly he’ll be throwing the ball to. The Patriots have waved goodbye to a healthy chunk of targets from 2018. Many of the players earmarked to fill this target void have question marks of their own at present.
That’s why the news that Brady has formed something of an attachment to rookie wide receiver Jakobi Meyers is news that fantasy owners probably need to take note of.
All Change on Patriots Mountain
165 targets, approximately 29.7%, and 1,812 air yards walked out on the Patriots this past spring. Tight end Rob Gronkowski retired following the Patriots victory in the Super Bowl in February. Chris Hogan has taken his talents to Carolina. These departures, coupled with the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the availability of Josh Gordon, means that there is just one WR on the Patriots roster who has earned Brady at least 7.0 AYA when targeting him at least 50 times in the last five seasons.
Even this player, Julian Edelman, has spent much of the preseason to date rehabbing a thumb injury. The Patriots invested a first-round draft pick on N’Keal Harry this spring. But he has struggled to earn the trust of his coaching staff or quarterback. Unsurprising, given his current propensity to put the ball on the grass. We have Brady projected to attempt the 13th most passes this season. He needs to throw them to someone he trusts. It is into this uncertain state that Meyers has emerged.
Hungry Like the Wolf
Meyers went undrafted after spending his collegiate career with North Carolina State. He put up decent numbers for the Wolfpack in his two seasons as a starter. He actually spent four seasons with the team, after starting as a QB. 1
Meyers 1,932 receiving yards are the fourth most by a member of the Wolfpack since the 2000 season. His 92 receptions for 1,047 yards in 2018 were the most receptions and the fifth most receiving yards in a season during this span.
It’s fair to say that Meyers didn’t exactly blow anyone away with his performance at the NFL Scouting Combine. Although it is equally fair to say that he wasn’t a disaster either.
The RotoViz Combine Explorer threw up the following comparable players to Meyers. At least two of the top comps led to the raising of at least one eyebrow from the author. 2
Mohamed Sanu has carved out something of a niche for himself in the NFL. This is especially true since joining the Atlanta Falcons. He has averaged nearly 11 PPR points per game in the last three seasons, playing as a big slot receiver.
Tyler Boyd was a slow starter in the pros after starring for Pitt in college. But he finally put it all together in 2018, finishing with his first 1,000 yard season whilst averaging 15.8 points per game.
According to Greg Bedard, Meyers is Brady’s favorite target right now. Meyers is currently the WR97 over at the FFPC. This is a price that could make him an absolute steal should he and Brady continue to make sweet music together throughout the preseason. His is certainly a name to monitor as seasonal drafts approach, and also in dynasty leagues. But let’s not crown him the overall WR1 just yet.