Pierre Garcon's best fantasy season (113-1346-5)
came in 2013 with Kyle Shanahan as OC.
I recently spent an afternoon reviewing the last five years of data
for my league of record, looking for trends and outliers with the
hope of identifying something that could help me continue my recent
string of success as the two-time defending champion. In both of
my championship seasons, I did not have the most points at the end
of the regular season, and I certainly did not have the best team.
What I did have is a playoff caliber team that fared well in the
playoffs, which is what all redraft owners should strive to achieve
when drafting their team this summer.
A closer look at the last five years showed that in my particular
league (of course all leagues differ based on size and scoring
metrics), a team made the playoffs if they were able to finish
with a minimum of eight wins. Any more and you were guaranteed
a spot in the top four; any less you were destined for the consolation
bracket and another frustrating finish out of the money.
An even closer examination of the data showed that the magic
number of average points per game to win the required eight games
was 87 points. If an owner managed to reach the magic number of
87 fantasy points per game, they would typically win enough weeks
to make the playoffs. There were a few outliers where Rule 87
did not apply to owners who were significantly more unlucky than
others, but for the overwhelming majority of weeks, 87 points
per game equaled a trip to the playoffs.
To reach the magic number of 87 points per game, I plan on building
a diversified roster of players with high ceilings and high floors,
mixed with safe players that can help balance out my risk. Adding
a Martavis Byrant is great in that he is amazing at home with
Big Ben and could give me double-digit points in each of the Steelers
home games, but the data shows that he and Ben struggle on the
road and could limit my ability to reach 87 points in half of
my matchups. To counteract this problem, I like to target less
sexy players like Donte Moncrief and Eric Decker - players who
may not give me monster weeks but have the ability to give me
65 yards and a touchdown on a relatively regular basis.
Diversification is key for rule 87 (Not to be confused with Mike
Wrightís rule 86 of the Fantasy Footballers Podcast - without
a doubt the best FF podcast on the market), and my safe target
that I want to own on all of my rosters in 2017 is Pierre Garcon
of the San Francisco 49ers.
Over the past four seasons, only ten wide receivers have posted
more targets than Garcon, and only three of those wide receivers
have finished with more fantasy points in each of those four seasons
(Demaryius Thomas, T.Y. Hilton, and Antonio Brown). Sure, the
fact that Garcon has been able to stay healthy and play in all
64 games during that span while more prolific wideouts have not
skewed the numbers in Garconís favor, but it adds to my
argument that he is a reliable producer because he is always on
Playing under Kyle Shanahan is the second reason why I want to
own Garcon in 2017, as the two have a history of solid production
working together. No. 1 wide receivers under Shanahan have a history
of producing near top-12 fantasy production (Andre Johnson, Julio
Gordon, etc.) and Garcon had a career year of 113/1346/5 in
2013 with Shanahan in Washington.
Garcon delivered those stout numbers with an inefficient and
inaccurate Robert Griffin III throwing him the ball. Bryan Hoyer
is certainly no Peyton Manning or Aaron Rodgers, but he has proven
over the past few years with his play in Houston and Chicago that
he can support a viable fantasy wide receiver, and is not at all
a downgrade from 2013 RG3.
Another reason why I am high on Garcon is the fact that the 49ers
have a favorable schedule for outside receivers in 2017. According
to Scott Barrett of ProFootballFocus, one of the most accurate
and highly respected strength-of-schedule analysts in the industry,
Garcon has a top-5 favorable matchup for outside receivers this
season, making Garcon even more attractive at his current ADP
of 85th overall and the 36th wide receiver off the board.
Lastly, the roster construction of the 49ers and the lack of
viable passing options for Hoyer leads me to believe that he will
look to Garcon early and often in the potent Shanahan passing
offense. Bruce Ellington, Marquise Goodwin, and Jeremy Kerley
are not exactly go-to wide receivers and should be more complimentary
pieces for Hoyer this year.
Despite the fact that Garcon has never been a high TD guy (He
tied his career high with six in 2015), his volume is too attractive
to pass up and his consistency as a low-end No. 2 or high-end
No. 3 WR is fantasy gold. I donít think he has the ceiling
to be a top 12 wide receiver, but if he is able to play all 16
games and the 49ers have the positive game script of playing behind
often, I can see Garcon posting 100 catches, making him a steal
at his Round-9 ADP.