In 5 games without Jimmy Graham, Doug Baldwin had a spike in these categories:
- 14.53 to 22.9 PPR fantasy points/game
- 5.09 to 5.6 receptions/game
- 0.49 to 1.6 TD/game
- 7.09 to 7.8 targets/game
- 65.19 to 77 yards/game
Oh, and by the way, Paul Richardson is gone too. Jimmy Graham’s 96 targets are vacated; more importantly, his league-leading 27 red zone looks – 16 of those coming within the 10 yard line, and 14 of those coming within the 5, are up for grabs. And guess what? Richardson had another 10 red zone targets that need to go somewhere. With the offensive line still not improved to run the ball efficiently, Baldwin will compete with Marshall for those targets – obviously not the jump balls though. Baldwin was averaging 16.5 red zone targets per game in 2015 and 2016, but that came down to 8 last season. I expect a number back up to the mean. When Graham got hurt to end his 2015 season, Baldwin went HAM. Baldwin scored 3 TDs in the game in which Graham got hurt, but continued to be the focal point – scoring 2 TDs the next game, 3 TDs the following game, then a 2 TD game, then cooled off scoring 1 TD the game after that.
Richardson’s 80 targets are also up for grab. Baldwin runs deep routes, and stands out from the rest of slot WRs when you look at his aDOT (average depth of throw) – his is over 10 yards, when most slot guys like Landry (6.6), Crowder (7.1) , and Edelman (8.4) are under 10. Some of that work will go Baldwin’s way – he was tied for 8th for most catches of 20+ yards. Lockett obviously gets a bump as well, but the #1 guy should see the biggest benefit. And remember, he’s a #1that won’t see most top corners since he plays mostly from the slot – most top corners don’t travel to the slot.
With Seattle’s defense becoming a shell of itself, Russell Wilson is going to have to drop back even more than ever – more targets and opportunity for Doug Baldwin to put up points. His ADP of the beginning of the third round is definitely pricey, but I will be considering him for the first time ever in a fantasy draft. If Luck is looking right, I might rather have TY Hilton, but Baldwin is in strong consideration for my third round pick.
What do you guys think of Baldwin this year? Do you think he can have a career year? Let me know!