Doug Baldwin “Will Never Be 100%” in 2018, Fantasy Risk Growing

Just as we predicted, Doug Baldwin's busted knee is going to linger throughout the 2018 season.

Just as Doug Baldwin began climbing the rankings with beat writers reporting he was “close to a full return,” this unfortunate news broke. In a post-practice interview, Baldwin said his injured knee “will never be 100 percent this season.” Moreover, he estimated he’s around 80-85 percent healthy and something he’ll be dealing with throughout the season. Though his upside remains monumental, his risk has certainly grown.

This injury lingering was our biggest fear when the injury news broke. Indeed, Baldwin’s upside remains sky-high because he’s a talented, gutsy player who’s fought through injuries before. More importantly, he’s staring at a massive target void. Fellow pass-catchers Jimmy Graham and Paul Richardson departed for Green Bay and Washington respectively, which opened up oodles of targets (175, 32% target share), especially in the Red Zone (37 of 73, over 50% tgts).

On this roster, Baldwin is the only weapon with established red zone chemistry with Wilson. Recall: Baldwin finished 2015 (his last without Graham) with 14 total TDs, including an NFL-record 12 over an eight week span to close out the season. Baldwin logged 15 of his 17 RZ Targets in this span, hauling in 9 looks that included 6 RZ TDs, trailed only Antonio Brown among WRs for scoring.

Thus, the ceiling is humongous… but the risk is now much higher too. Baldwin’s finished as the WR11, WR8, and WR10 despite never topping 125 targets in his last three campaigns, and if his knee can hold up, he’s set for the most volume of his career. But that’s now a major if, making him a major dice roll in Round 3.  


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