One of the players I’ll be targeting in the off-season is Breshad Perriman. Perriman has the physical traits to be the #1 wide receiver for the Ravens and he should have more than enough opportunity to do so in 2017.
The most important statistic for wide receivers in fantasy football is targets. Without targets there are no receptions, yards, or touchdowns. In 2016, the Ravens led the league with 42.4 pass attempts per game. Lest you think this is a one year aberration, they also led the league in 2015 with 42.2 pass attempts per game. Assuming Baltimore continues throwing anywhere approaching those rates in 2017, Perriman certainly will have the available targets to allow his owners to cash in on the 1st round rookie picks they spent on him.
With the retirement of Steve Smith that leaves 102 targets, not to mention the WR1 role, available for Perriman to grab. Among other wide receivers on the Raven’s roster, Kamar Aiken is an unrestricted free agent and accounted for an additional 50 targets this past season. Though Mike Wallace is not a free agent, he does have an $8 million cap hit in 2017 that drops to $2.25 million if he’s cut. If Wallace is in fact cut, that would leave another 117 targets without a receiver to call their own. Even if Wallace does return, you can still reasonably assume that Perriman should see at least 100 targets next season, based on the Ravens targeting both Smith and Wallace with over 100 targets this season.
Obviously wide receivers aren’t the only offensive players to be targeted with passes. Dennis PItta rose from fantasy death this season to account for over 110 targets. Although PItta did turn those targets into receptions, 86, he wasn’t very productive with those targets only averaging 8.5 yards per reception and only finding the end zone twice the entire season. Pitta carries a cap hit of over $7 million next season and if he doesn’t restructure his contract, he could also become a cap casualty.
All this says to me that Perriman has a legitimate chance to take over as the #1 WR in Baltimore next season at worst and be an absolute target monster in a best case scenario.
Perriman was drafted 26th overall in the 2015 NFL draft, so he certainly has the draft pedigree to succeed. At 6’3” and 215 lbs. Perriman also has the size we covet in a #1 receiving option. He’s also ridiculously fast, running a 4.25 40-yard dash at his Pro day. Perriman’s 40 time is in the 99th percentile for height adjusted speed score. So in layman’s terms, Perriman is big and fast. Perriman is a deep threat of the highest order as evidenced by his 15.1 yards per reception average this past season after averaging 19.5 yards per reception during his college career.
Perriman produced 499 yards on 33 receptions and 3 TDs in 2016. His 2016 catch rate of 50% clearly leaves room for improvement, though admittedly this has been an issue for Perriman going back to his college days, so a poor catch rate might just be something you’ll have to live with. Plenty of receivers drop passes and produce, look at DT or Davante Adams for example, I know it’s maddening but as long as they give 10-20 fantasy points a game, it’s something you’ll learn to look past. Don’t forget that Perriman produced his 2016 totals as essentially the 4th option for much of the season for the Ravens. Steve Smith, Mike Wallace and Dennis Pitta all were ahead of Perriman in the pecking order this season. With Smith and Wallace playing so well, there was no reason to force Perriman into a more prominent role this year. Not to belabour the point, but that will not be the case next season with no Steve Smith around. Perriman will be expected to ascend to heights worthy of his draft position.
More importantly, Perriman was able to play every game this past season after having his 2015 season lost to injury. So in effect his 2016 totals are really his rookie year numbers and when viewed through that prism I think they become much more impressive. Raven’s HC John Harbaugh agrees with that assessment, already coming out and stating that Perriman’s 2016 was promising enough to show that Perriman can be the Ravens WR1 in the future.
When I wrote about Perriman last week, I noted I’d be willing to part with a 2nd round or late 1st round rookie pick to acquire Perriman. Since that time I’ve been trying to trade for Perriman, offering 2nd round rookie picks, and that’s not getting it done. So you will more likely need to part with a 1st round rookie pick. I’m more than okay with that price, and I suggest you also try to acquire him at that price. I’m not one for bold predictions, but I will go on record with one now. I see Perriman going for 80 receptions, 1200 yards and 7-10 touchdowns next season.
Thanks for reading, get at me anytime @DFF_Shane.