Stefon Diggs caught 84 passes last year, but with just 3 TDs. What are we supposed to make of this? Are we to assume the low touchdown number is an aberration? When a player is catching a bunch of balls, is the correct course to project that will even out, with the touchdown coming the following year?
The same question applies to Julian Edelman, who caught 98 passes but only 3 TDs last year.
Are these guys scorers? Or are they primarily good options only in PPR formats?
With Diggs, he might have gone over 100 catches, but he missed three games with injuries.
In each case, I like to look first at the player himself and his team. With the Vikings, I don’t have a lot of confidence they can get above 21-22 TD passes, and players in that kind of offense don’t tend to catch a lot of touchdowns. Diggs is a smaller receiver, and they haven’t used him much around the goal line. They prefer Kyle Rudolph in that part of the field. Inside the 10 last year, Diggs was the intended target on only 3 of the team’s 33 pass attempts.
So while Diggs looks like a great, emerging receiver at times, I don’t expect he’ll catch more than 5 TDs.
With Edelman, the offense is certainly good enough. Tom Brady might throw 40 touchdowns. And Edelman has shown he can be a scorer in the past. Most notably, he caught 7 TDs in only 9 games two years ago.
But I fear that Edelman also will be underused in the red zone at times. Including the playoffs, James White caught 7 TDs last year. Rob Gronkowski catches lots of touchdowns when he’s healthy. And they’ve got three other big-time receivers – Chris Hogan, Brandin Cooks and Malcolm Mitchell. So I’m guessing it will be tough for Edelman to score more than 5-6 TDs.
The Patriots might have traded for Cooks with Edelman in mind. Edelman will be 31 in May and has had some injuries. Cooks can do a lot of the same things and is younger and a lot more explosive.
Ultimately, I don’t see Diggs or Edelman as likely to be a big-time touchdown scorer.
Checking the historical numbers, I see that in the last 20 years there have been 16 other wide receivers who caught 80-plus passes with no more than 3 TDs. Those previous receivers didn’t tend to be big scorers the next year. Laveranues Coles made it up to 7 TDs. Only two others caught 6 TDs.
|LIGHT SCORING WIDE RECEIVERS|
|1996||Keenan McCardell, Jac.||85||1164||13.7||5|
|1996||Wayne Chrebet, NYJ||58||799||13.8||3|
|1998||Frank Sanders, Ariz.||79||954||12.1||1|
|2001||Keyshawn Johnson, T.B.||76||1088||14.3||5|
|2002||Troy Brown, N.E.||40||472||11.8||4|
|2002||Tim Brown, Oak.||52||567||10.9||2|
|2004||Laveranues Coles, NYJ||60||684||11.4||7|
|2005||Derrick Mason, Balt.||68||750||11.0||2|
|2007||Jerricho Cotchery, NYJ||71||858||12.1||5|
|2007||Donald Driver, G.B.||74||1012||13.7||5|
|2008||Wes Welker, N.E.||123||1348||11.0||4|
|2010||Brandon Marshall, Mia.||81||1214||15.0||6|
|2010||Danny Amendola, St.L.||5||45||9.0||0|
|2013||Kendall Wright, Tenn.||57||715||12.5||6|
|2013||Harry Douglas, Atl.||51||556||10.9||2|
|2014||Andre Johnson, Ind.||41||503||12.3||4|
|2016||Julian Edelman, N.E.||?||?||?||?|
|2016||Stefon Diggs, Minn.||?||?||?||?|