by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
It was an interesting decision to see the Detroit Lions jettison Golden Tate at the deadline, as he had been the team leader in targets (69) and yards (517). That said the development of Kenny Golladay and the recent surge from Marvin Jones (7 receptions for 117 yards and 2 TD) likely helped make the decision easier. While they will obviously hold down the top two spots in Detroit moving forward, let’s take a look at the impact that Tate’s move has on himself and others:
His best role is playing out of the slot, where he can work the middle of the field and help to move the chains. That’s going to have an impact on Zack Ertz, at least slightly, though is anyone really worried about his usage moving forward?
In terms of Tate, there’s little question that he offers the most upside of the options Philadelphia has for the role. With Alshon Jeffery and Ertz getting the bulk of the attention from opposing defenses, that should open up the opportunities for Tate (especially as the running game is full of questions). Of course it’s going to be hard to expect Tate getting roughly 10 targets per game given the alternatives the team has, and if he continues to be used as he has been just how much upside is there? Just look at his yards/reception over the past few seasons:
- 2015 – 9.0
- 2016 – 11.8
- 2017 – 10.9
- 2018 – 11.8
He also has never proven to be much of a red zone threat, never scoring more than 7 TD in a season (and that came in 2012). So you are going to get limited TD chances, limited yardage and a likely decline in his opportunities (at least slightly, though he could get more in any given week). There’s value, but it seems like more of a WR3 than a WR2.
Outlook – Viable WR3 with WR2 upside
He’s been the primary slot receiver for the Eagles this season, though that obviously is about to change. As it is he’s managed just 372 yards and 1 TD on 61 targets, so any reduction in his usage (and he hasn’t seen more than 7 targets in his past four games) is going to render him useless for fantasy owners.
Outlook – Droppable
Jones may get the initial look to assume the slot role, with Theo Riddick (when healthy) also getting some looks. That said it’s hard to get excited by a player who in four seasons has amassed just 48 receptions and 660 yards.
Outlook – Potential short-term streamer due to bye weeks
Looking for a sleeper “winner”? Look no further than Powell, who is an undrafted rookie who has appeared in just one game this season. That said Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (click here for the article) said that Powell “has been pegged as Tate’s heir apparent since the Lions signed him an undrafted rookie out of Florida this May.” He also provides the following quote from Tate:
“I’ve gone through nine training camps and I haven’t seen someone come in, an undrafted (rookie) like Brandon Powell,” Tate said in September. “The last guy I saw was Doug Baldwin. I’m going to teach Brandon Powell everything I know that I can possibly teach him to succeed in this league because I think he’s a great talent. He excites me when I watch. He actually, he reminds me of a young me, but even better.”
Powell may not have an immediate impact, but the potential is there. He’s well worth stashing in all dynasty formats to see how it plays out.
Outlook – Must stash in deeper formats, potential WR3
Sources – ESPN, NFL.com
Make sure to check out all of our Week 9 rankings: