Atlanta Falcons’ wide receiver Harry Douglas only played 55 percent of his team’s offensive snaps this season. Matt Ryan targeted him 59 times. The guy had 26 receptions all year.
So naturally, I’m recommending him as a Divisional Round FanDuel value.
There are reasons to plug in Douglas this weekend against the vaunted, terrifying, trash talking, cheap shot taking Seattle Seahawks’ secondary, which ranked as the toughest against fantasy wideouts in 2012 (giving up a microscopic 15.2 fantasy points per game, including six games with receivers combining for single digit points).
Seattle’s cover guys are downright evil against outside receivers, shutting down the likes of Steve Smith, Dez Bryant, Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Crabtree, and Green Bay’s bevy of pass catchers this year. Their physical play combined with defensive scheming make it exceedingly tough for even the best outside receivers to create space and get open down the field. Bryant, who racked up more than 1,300 yards in 2012, posted just 17 of those yards against Seattle cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner.
Has any receiver had even a modicum of success against these pass defenders from the ninth circle of hell? Why yes, and thanks for asking.
Here are a few: Andre Roberts (five catches for 54 yards and a touchdown), Miles Austin (five catches for 63 yards and a touchdown), Ryan Broyles (three catches for 37 yards and a touchdown), Titus Young (nine catches for 100 yards and two touchdowns), and Danny Amendola (10 catches for 82 yards and a touchdown in two games against Seattle) all posted fine lines.
All of these pass catchers, as you may or may not know, run the vast majority of their routes from the slot. The Seabeagles’ shutdown corners rarely play the slot receiver; Sherman, in fact, only played 2 percent of his snaps in the slot, according to Pro Football Focus. Teams have continually run shallow crossing routes against Seattle, using slot receivers, because those pass catchers draw inferior cover guys and the middle of the field – near the line of scrimmage, anyway – is often open.
Julio Jones and Roddy White only run their routes from the slot on occasion. White only mans the slot on 16 percent of his offensive snaps, according to PFF. Perhaps Atlanta offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter will move his stud receivers to the slot to help them avoid the suffocating coverage of Sherman and Browner.
Barring a drastic shift in the way the Falcons use their wide receivers, Douglas stands to benefit from Seattle’s inability to shut down slot receivers like they have the outside guys.
Douglas is only $5,000 in this week’s FanDuel contest – low enough to let you invest in a couple elite running backs, for example. I think any slot receiver against this Seattle defense is worth a gamble.