Demario Douglas 2024 Fantasy Outlook: Don’t Sleep on the Patriots True WR1

Demario Douglas 2024 fantasy outlook
The fantasy community is overlooking Pop Douglas.

As the 2024 fantasy football season approaches, Demario Douglas stands out as a sleeper wide receiver to put on the radar. Entering his second year with the Patriots, Douglas has the potential to become the team’s No. 1 wide receiver, making him a valuable target based on his current ADP in fantasy drafts.

As a late-round draft pick, Douglas defied expectations and became a pivotal part of the Patriots’ offense. Douglas led the Patriots’ lowly 2023 offense in targets (79) and receiving yards (561), trailing only running back Ezekiel Elliott in receptions (51-49).

Following the trade of Mac Jones and adding Jacoby Brissett and rookie Drake Maye, improved quarterback play further boosts Douglas’ fantasy outlook. Douglas has proven to be a bargain through early fantasy football drafts, making him a no-risk, high-reward pick.

Improvement After a Strong Rookie Season

Following Kendrick Bourne’s Week 8 ACL tear, Douglas emerged as the team’s top wide receiver. From that point on, he averaged 48 yards per game and finished with a team-leading 561 receiving yards. Notably, 26 of his 49 catches resulted in first downs, and he contributed 41 rushing yards on eight attempts. He also averaged over 10 fantasy points per game from that point on.

Although the Patriots added two receivers full of potential through the draft, Douglas proved himself throughout offseason workouts and OTAs that he is still the team’s WR1.

“Douglas was by far the Patriots’ best and most explosive playmaker in practice this spring. Every time he got the ball in his hands, good things seemed to happen for the offense,” wrote Chad Graff of The Athletic.

Graff wasn’t the only beat writer who noticed Pop’s improvement; Doug Kyed echoed the same sentiment.

“Douglas started off his second season on the right foot and impressed team evaluators with his route-running and get-open ability,” Kyed noted. “There’s little doubt that the Patriots view Douglas as their top slot receiver based on his position in team drills.”

Patriots Get an OC Boost, Add WR Competition

The new-look Patriots face a challenge with Douglas, who excels primarily as a slot receiver. The team already has several players who primarily play in the slot, including Kendrick Bourne, K.J. Osborn, and JuJu Smith-Schuster. However, it falls on new offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt to find ways to keep Douglas on the field, as he is undeniably the team’s most dynamic and consistent receiver.

Luckily, AVP’s scheme will keep Douglas on the field. Last season, the Browns ranked fourth in the NFL for snaps played out of 11 personnel, with 809. They also placed fourth in empty formations, utilized in 11.5% of their plays, and ninth in spread formation usage, at 32.4%.

As seen above, Douglas excelled in most advanced statistics as a rookie, gaining nearly two full yards of target separation, while beating both man and zone coverage at a high rate and earning the 22nd-highest target share in the league at 24.8%.

Although the team lacks a true alpha, it did improve its receiver room through the draft. The Patriots added Ja’Lynn Polk from Washington at no. 37 overall and Javon Baker from UCF at no. 110 overall in the 2024 NFL Draft. After passing on Calvin Ridley, they added KJ Osborn in free agency.

Still, at 5-foot-8 and 179 lbs in a crowded room, Douglas must continue to stand out during training camp to cement himself as a starter. But after popping as a rookie in last year’s disastrous offense, I like Douglas’ chance to continue his ascension in this offense alongside Drake Maye and Jacoby Brissett.

Demario Douglas 2024 Fantasy Outlook

Despite the buzz around flashy rookies, the fantasy community is overlooking Demario Douglas, the Patriots’ leading receiver from last season. With newcomers like Ja’Lynn Polk and Javon Baker capturing attention and fan-favorite Kendrick Bourne returning from injury, Douglas remains underappreciated. However, in AVP’s 11-personnel package, Polk, Bourne, and Douglas are projected to be the starters.

Early fantasy drafters are passing on Pop Douglas, reflected in his dynasty ADP at WR67, redraft ADP at WR76, and Underdog Best Ball ADP at WR75 (168 overall). Analysts like The Wolf rank Douglas even lower, positioning him at WR83 (-14 vs ECR) in his 2024 Fantasy Rankings and Big Board, while favoring rookies Polk (WR58, +18) and Baker (WR72, +10).

Douglas is poised to outperform his current ADP, potentially leading Patriots receivers in receptions and ranking among the top two or three in yards. His impressive rookie season, coupled with a full offseason of development and improved quarterback play, makes him a valuable sleeper pick in fantasy drafts.

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