Willie Snead is one of the most talked about breakout candidates heading into the 2017 season. There are a handful of third-year breakout candidates, Snead is surely one of them. The 24-year old is now the number two option on the team, only fighting behind Michael Thomas for the top spot.
The departure of Brandin Cooks helped boost the fantasy value of Snead. Last season Snead caught 72 passes for 895 yards and 4 touchdowns. With an even bigger role headed into the new season, expect all those numbers to increase. With an elite quarterback in Drew Brees, the 2017 season should be a fun one for the incoming third-year pro.
Draft Willie Snead in Fantasy Football 2017
Willie Snead is in a perfect position to strike gold in the fantasy community. Catching passes from one of the most consistent quarterbacks in the league just makes things that much better. Drew Brees led the league in passing yards for the second straight year in 2016.
Drew Brees is a quarterback who’s known to spread the ball around quite a bit. During his first two seasons, Snead has surpassed 100 targets as a slot receiver. Being the second weapon in New Orleans offensive attack will help make 2017 Snead’s best year of his career. Let’s take a look at what he truly offers to fantasy owners for this season.
The Saints as we all know are a very pass heavy team. They ranked second in the league in total passing plays from a year ago. Snead was on the field for 74.2% of those plays. That number is bound to increase as he becomes more of a focal point in the Saints offense.
Willie Snead hauled in around 17% of the targets in 2016 while Michael Thomas got around 20% of the targets from Brees. Not many teams WR3 in the NFL today can get the volume Snead got a season ago, that’s one of the many benefits of catching passes in New Orleans.
More targets are expected to come his way in 2017. Over the past three years, the Saints number one receiver has averaged 125 targets per year. While the number two receiver has averaged 109 targets. So the looks will be there for the 24-year old.
Wide Receiver Production under Brees
Drew Brees has been known to support successful receivers in the league every year. From 2011-2016 Brees’ number one receiver averaged 86 catches for 1,145 yards and 11 touchdowns. During that same time frame, his number two receiver has averaged 77 catches for 985 yards and seven touchdowns. Those numbers would’ve turned out to be a top 20 receiver in fantasy a year ago.
A second option on a team posting those kinds of numbers on average is certainly hard to pass up and that trend is bound to continue with Brees. Drew Brees has not thrown for under 4,870 yards since the 2010 season. So his consistency of producing top five passing yards almost every year in the league is a positive trend for his second and third options.
It’s safe to say that the sky is the limit for receivers in the Saints offense when Drew Brees is throwing you the ball. The 38-year old quarterback surely has no problem playing in games either. He has played in 174 of a possible 176 games since joining the team in 2006. Throwing for 5,000+ yards five times since 2006, Brees is set to have another successful season with his receiving core.
The 5’11 former Ball State Cardinal is obviously not going to win battles in the red zone. He only saw 12 total targets in the red zone a year ago, which ranked 90th amongst receivers. Burning defenders downfield and getting behind the defense is where Snead saw success. He posted 373 yards after the catch a season ago which ranked top 20. While also posting a 69.2% catch rate, which also ranked top 20 in the league.
All of this and the built in connection he’s got with Drew Brees makes him that much more of an intriguing pickup in fantasy. Michael Thomas and Coby Fleener haven’t been around long enough to build the lasting connection Snead has. This is Snead’s third year with the Saints, while it’s the second for Thomas and Fleener. The bond between the two will only grow more and more now with the increased role Snead has in this uptempo offense.
The current FantasyPros ADP of Willie Snead is 81 (ECR 70). That equates to the 32nd wide receiver taken off of draft boards. This is currently the highest his price has been all summer, but it definitely needs to keep going up. If you can grab Snead late in the sixth round, that would be a steal in fantasy drafts.
Some notable receivers taken ahead of him are Julian Edelman, Larry Fitzgerald and Golden Tate. A few receivers taken right after him are Jamison Crowder and Stefon Diggs. The ADP insists that he will be a low-end WR2 this season. I believe Snead belongs in the high-end WR2 range. Willie Snead has the opportunity to produce some serious numbers in 2017.
My prediction for Snead this season is 83 catches for 1,050 yards and 6 touchdowns. Those numbers will turn out to make him a borderline top 15 wideout in fantasy this season. Don’t underestimate Snead this year in a high powered New Orleans offense. He can ultimately be the guy that can win you some weeks in fantasy. Draft Snead with confidence in your drafts.
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Source: NFL News