Film Room Checkup: Marques Colston
October 31, 2013 | Sammy Mayers
Hey all. My name is Sam Mayers and I am a new contributor to The Fake Football. I will be doing a new weekly feature called “Film Room Checkup” where I will examine a few high profile fantasy players who had poor weeks to see what went wrong. There are many things that you can find on film that you cannot see during a game broadcast. This information can sometimes help us get a better picture on how a player fared and some of the issues they may have had. For each player, I will share some interesting statistics that I discovered on film and I will also present two or three notable plays. My first examination is on Marques Colston and his performance against the Buffalo Bills in Week 8.
It’s safe to say that so far this season, Marques Colston has been a bust fantasy-wise. He has had the worst statistical season of his career – by far. The emergence of Kenny Stills and the return of Lance Moore did not help matters this week as Colston finished with another dreadful stat line of 3 receptions for 15 yards. However, there were some positives to take away from Colston’s performance on Sunday against the Bills. Colston was on the field for 32 of the Saints 37 passing plays, primarily in the slot (27 of his 32 routes came from the slot). In the first half, he was targeted a whopping 7 times on 22 passing plays but that only resulted in 15 receiving yards. Mainly because the Saints had a pretty sizable lead going into halftime, Colston only played 10 snaps in the second half. Although there were 5 plays in which it seemed as if Meachem replaced Colston near the end of the game (and he got better separation). This leads me to my next point. Colston doesn’t get much separation anymore. Most of his routes were of the short and intermediate variety and were basic clearing routes, allowing Lance Moore, Kenny Stills, and Jimmy Graham to operate deeper down field. Looking at the big picture, Colston is benefitting the offense by using his presence to help other guys on the offense get open and into the end zone. While this is beneficial for the Saints and their fans, it is not a positive development for Colston’s fantasy owners.
I will now show you how Colston is being phased out of the offense from a pass catching standpoint with the following few illustrations:
Colston ran into the middle of the field to attract the linebackers and one of the safeties and this resulted in Lance Moore being in single coverage. Although this is viewed as a positive play for the Saints, it is not a good sign for Colston owners. Moore ends up in single coverage heading towards the end zone while Colston is surrounded by three Bills – a decoy.
It also seems as if Colston is no longer Brees’ first read on many plays. Despite his 7 targets in the first half, it looked like Brees was looking at someone else before coming back to Colston on many of these targets.
For example, this is Colston’s first catch of the day:
You can easily tell that Colston is not Brees’ first read and he looks back at him when he realizes his outside receiver isn’t open. He ends up finding him for a 6 yard gain but it is certainly worrisome that Colston is losing favor in the offense. With the way he is being utilized in the offense, a resurgence doesn’t look likely – at least not this season.
Glimmer of hope:
I have been very negative on Colston thus far so I will show one play that left me with a slight optimism that he can still be a viable WR3 the rest of the way.
On the following play, Colston lines up in the slot at the 38 yard line and runs a wheel route across the 25 yard line. Brees is looking at him the whole way and he is open when the ball is thrown to him. Colston trips and is not able to make the reception but a play like this shows that he’s still able to get open 15-20 yards downfield in this offense.
Plays like these are very frustrating for Colston owners, especially when it is the one of the rare occasions in the game where he gets open on a route that is deeper than 10 yards down the field. Needless to say, I am not very high on Colston the rest of the season. Based on his sheer amount of targets, I think he can still be a solid WR3 in PPR leagues but I’m not sure if he’s even a weekly starter in standard leagues anymore. As mentioned before, Lance Moore returning certainly does not help his cause and Kenny Stills is becoming more and more involved in the offense. It seems as if the Saints are starting to understand that Colston is losing his ability to separate which leads them to look elsewhere. I would recommend Colston owners to try and seek out a trade by using his “big name” and number of targets as selling points. Sell him before it’s too late!