There are not obvious priority waiver wire claims every week throughout the season. Some weeks injury and breakouts have a few that stick out above the rest, especially early in the season, but as we settle into October and November there are always underwhelming weeks. Looking over the landscape this appears to be one of those weeks. Don’t make the mistake of just sitting on your hands and not making any moves though. This is a great opportunity to scour for players an original owner has already given up on. A few names jumped off the screen as I was floating around, but Jamison Crowder’s name shines just a notch brighter than the others.
His ownership levels haven’t fallen below 50% yet, but they’re close enough to warrant both a quick search and a trash-for-trash trade offer. There’s a good reason his original drafter may have already given up on him (or is just about to) – a short/intermediate receiver that’s averaging just four targets per game is not appealing in our game. There are also good reasons why he was a top 100 pick just one month ago. The Redskins came into the season with a lot of potential targets, but none that really stood out. Four weeks in and that has not changed. Jordan Reed’s health has led him to being the team’s best option in the passing game, but aside from a 14 target week two match up with the Colts no one else has emerged:
Chris Thompson – 23 targets, 20 catches, 155 yards, 1 touchdown
Jordan Reed – 20 targets, 14 catches, 168 yards, 1 touchdown
Paul Richardson – 14 targets, 9 catches, 131 yards, 1 touchdown
Josh Doctson – 13 targets, 5 catches, 48 yards
Jamison Crowder – 12 targets, 9 catches, 79 yards, 1 touchdown
What to make of that? Quite simply, Doctson has not been effective. Arguments can be made for and against the others, but that one is irrefutable. On the heels of the bye week is often when adjustments are made and less of him (for now) makes plenty of sense. There is still the matter of game script dictating personnel usage, but more snaps and more targets early in games are a precursor to the same later in games (and in future weeks). Big first halfs Week 1 and Week 3 led to just 30 and 20 passing attempts, respectively, in each game. 10 of those 30 attempts went to running backs Week 1 as well. Just 38 attempts went to wide receivers and tight ends in two of their three games, a figure that’s unusually low in today’s pass-happy game. There is not sustainability in that trend nor should we read too much into the distribution Week 2 vs. the Colts, as one is not a sufficient sample.
Why will Crowder be the beneficiary of increased targets? Well, Washington just so happens to have upcoming games in which they will be able to exploit favorable match ups for Crowder. Both the Saints and Panthers, the Redskins next two opponents, are currently starting slot corners (P.J. Williams and Captain Munnerlyn) that they essentially benched this off season due to their performance last season. Each have strengths with one personnel group in the middle of the field, but not with the other. The Panthers recently signed Eric Reid in an attempt to tighten up their leaky secondary and the Saints (still) have one of the weaker linebacker groups in the league. This matters because there is only so much help they will be able to offer their over matched corners.
Additionally, these teams will not be scheming to stop Crowder. Thompson and Reed also do their best work in the middle of the field and are clearly bigger parts of the offense. The opposition will be creating their game plan to slow them down — not Crowder. This is a perfect opportunity to unleash the dynamic Crowder as he will see primarily one-on-one coverage. It may have been a forgettable first month, but don’t forget that he net about 100 targets each of the last two seasons, pulling in almost 70% of those targets for catches. He’s also shown the ability to be the focal point in the offense, as evident in the below games:
Week 7 2016 vs. Detroit – 9 targets, 7 catches, 108 yards
Week 8 2016 vs. Cincinnati – 13 targets, 9 catches, 107 yards, 1 touchdown
Week 12 2016 vs. Dallas – 10 targets, 8 catches, 88 yards
Week 8 2017 vs. Dallas – 13 targets, 9 catches, 135 yards
Week 11 2017 vs. New Orleans – 8 targets, 7 catches, 76 yards
Week 12 2017 vs. Giants – 10 targets, 7 catches, 141 yards, 1 touchdown
Those performances were big reasons why he was a Top-100 pick in August. He still has more of those games in him, but impatience runs rampant in our game. Whether his owner has already dumped him or is thinking about it, now is the time to try and get him.
I’m drawing motivation for this week’s Flavor of the Week from a Sunday barbecue – Cornbread.
It’s never going to be at the top of your priority list, but it’s always somewhere on the list when in preparation mode. It can easily get forgotten about once buried among the other options on the table and can also become quickly dismissed if it isn’t made properly – nothing much more unappealing than dry cornbread. But when you have a good batch? You’re reminded why it’s always a staple on the barbecue menu. Cash in on Crowder before the good batch makes its presence known.