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2014 Fantasy Football Sleeper: TE Jordan Reed

Jordan Reed

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

I’m not sure “sleeper” is the right word for Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed, as analysts and fans alike are expecting substantial output from him. He’s currently the ninth TE taken off the boards in drafts, taken in the ninth round in most 10-team leagues.

For this reason, I think people are still “sleeping” on him. He’s in store for a season worthy of Vernon Davis‘ draft position, somewhere in rounds four and five.

As a rookie last season, Reed placed in the top 20 in his position. Not impressive, you say? Well, take in account that he only played in nine games (starting a mere four games), and your impression should change. Had he played throughout the season, he likely would have increased his output from 70 fantasy points to around 135 points.

If that were true, he would have been a top-five player — as a rookie, mind you. GMs would be flooding over him. Alas, he didn’t start seeing snaps until Fred Davis was out of the equation, and now people aren’t reading into this basic stats. But averages can only impress to an extent — there’s plenty more for you to get excited for Reed’s sophomore campaign.

Last season with the Cincinnati Bengals as the offensive coordinator, new Redskins head coach Jay Gruden found success in his tight end game. Between Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert, they saw over 120 targets. If that figure were from a single tight end, it would rank second in the league among tight ends in targets (only behind Jimmy Graham).

Gruden has shown he likes to play with sets of TEs, so we can’t just lump all the projected targets to Reed. But with his competition being a less productive yet more seasoned Logan Paulsen, I’m not concerned that Reed will see too much of a split in targets.

A rough estimate of Reed’s targets would fall around 110 targets, but it’s not the targets that get the points — that’s just opportunity knocking. Luckily, Reed has proven he can convert a target into a reception 72 percent of the time. That rate will decline as he sees more balls thrown his way, of course. Even an elite player like Graham only has a 60 percent catch rate.  It’s likely he’ll drop to about 65 percent, taking in 72 receptions over the season.

With that range of targets and receptions, a season with around 800 yards is not out of the question as he averages over 11 yards per reception. His increased targets will also increase his touchdown rate to probably about seven over the season. Overall, his output would be around 120 points.

However, if there’s one thing you should be concerned about, it’s his consistency. Game-to-game last season, Reed’s performance would fluctuate an average of five points. He deviates too much week to week to be a consistent part of your team.  As much as he can win your matchup for you, he could also lose one for you when he doesn’t meet his projections.

Overall, Reed is a special talent who has a great opportunity in front of him. Expect him to take full advantage of it. He’s this season’s Jordan Cameron.