Terry McLaurin 2021 Fantasy Outlook: Highest Ceiling Yet with Ryan Fitzpatrick Under Center - Roto Street Journal
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Terry McLaurin 2021 Fantasy Outlook: Highest Ceiling Yet with Ryan Fitzpatrick Under Center

It’s pretty safe to say that since being selected with the 76th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, Terry McLaurin has not had anything close to a good quarterback. McLaurin has been dealt a hand of mediocracy, dealing with the likes of Case Keenum, Dwyane Haskins, and Alex Smith, along with a little dash of Taylor Heinicke, Kyle Allen, and Colt McCoy, as well. 

Even still, McLaurin has finished as the WR20 in back-to-back seasons in FPPG, confirming what anyone with eyeballs can see: he’s damn good and potentially elite.

Finally, in 2021, McLaurin will gain the “Surrounding Talent” injection to truly unlock his insane fantasy ceiling. After parting ways with the Dolphins, Ryan Fitzpatrick is taking his talents to Landover to join the Washington Football Team on a one-year deal worth $10 million. He joins his ninth different team in his rollercoaster of an NFL career, which will give the entire offense a fantasy booster shot in the arm, but none more than his WR1 in McLaurin.

WHAT WE’VE SEEN

A Borderline Elite WR Skillset

If you’re unsure just how elite Terry’s skillset is, definitely check out my writeup from a year ago. McLaurin’s 6’0, 208 pounds stature puts him at about average size for an NFL WR. But his impressive 4.35-second 40-yard dash puts him in the 98th percentile for the position per Player Profiler. McLaurin can flat out fly, and his 37.5-inch vertical jump made him one of the class’s most promising contested-catch players.

His lethal combination of leaping ability and body control made him one of the league’s best contested-catch players during his rookie season, finishing first in the NFL for contested catch rate (68.4 percent). We saw that number come down to 41.7 percent in 2020, but this is in large part to his pass accuracy when targeted, which ranked 51st in the NFL

Weighed Down by Horrendous QB Play

I mean, you can just look at that list of quarterbacks and understand that Terry’s superstar potential still remains untapped due to not only poor quarterbacks but also their play styles and talent levels. The aforementioned Alex Smith has long been scolded for his conservative style, boasting an aDOT of only 5.1 yards last season (35th) which was a full yard less than any other QB in the league. Over 60 percent of his passes traveled less than 5 yards… That’s just not going to cut it. 

Haskins was a slight upgrade in the aDOT department, recording an aDOT of 6.7 yards, which put him at 31st in the NFL. But again, he didn’t take many shots down the field. But when he did, the accuracy just wasn’t there. 

And despite all of that, Terry still finished the season as fantasy’s WR20 with over 1,000 receiving yards. 

It’s pretty easy to see why, despite two great seasons to start his career (2,000+ total yards receiving, 11 touchdowns, on 145 receptions), Terry hasn’t touched his ceiling yet.

WHY FITZY RAISES MCLAURIN’S 2021 FANTASY OUTLOOK TO THE MOON 

Enter Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick has been one of the league’s most fun players to follow and that’s despite his physical limitations. He’s never been one of the most talented guys in the league but what he does as well as any quarterback is he trusts his receivers. 

Before the arrival of Fitzpatrick in Miami, DeVante Parker was an underachieving receiver. Parker was selected with the 14th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft and had never recorded an 800-yard season. With Fitzpatrick, Parker showed his true potential and burst onto the scene, setting career highs in both yards (1,202) and touchdowns (9). After Fitzpatrick was named the full-time starter in 2019, he was the WR2 behind only Michael Thomas after Week 7.

Even the elite Mike Evans was, well, even more elite, with FItzmagic at the helm. There was also a similar story with Brandon Marshall, albeit to a lesser degree.

A video surfaced on Twitter of Fitzpatrick mentoring Tua, in which he essentially told the rookie that he’s not always going to get to his second or even third read, so sometimes you have to throw a bit of a contested ball and trust your guy to go make a play. While this style certainly is not conducive to great statistical seasons for the QB (potentially turnover prone), it does bode extremely well for his pass catchers in one major piece of the fantasy stock formula: Opportunity.

WHAT TO EXPECT

I think over 1,000 yards is McLaurin’s floor this year and the ceiling could crack 1,400 yards and 10 touchdowns. He’s entering his third season and while he’s still a young player, he has enough experience to take another leap.

Fitzpatrick is already the best QB that McLaurin will have played with, and he’s proven to squeeze the most fantasy juice out of his Alpha WR1s. Fitzpatrick’s YOLO play style fits right in with Terry’s elite jump ball skills. With a bump in the quality of targets deep down the field, more jump balls, and big-play opportunities, Terry will thrive in an offense that should take a significant leap forward in 2021.

McLaurin checks in at WR11 on The Wolf’s 2021 Fantasy Football Rankings & Big Board, right in the fringe WR1 tier. 

Author

  • Fantasy football enthusiast & writer for Roto Street Journal. Graduate of Saint Joseph's University Class of 2019.

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