Brian Quick – Fantasy Football Breakout Candidate in 2013
Finding breakout players in dynasty league is no easy task. With the coverage of the NFL at an all-time high on television, the internet and social media, the edge that many dynasty league owners once had is less effective. That is one of the reasons that advanced statistics has become more popular in recent years – using small sample sizes to find hidden gems before they make it big.
One player I identified early this offseason after reviewing our advanced data was wide receiver Brian Quick of the St. Louis Rams.
He was one of the players to watch for in my Lloyd Factor article earlier this year. The main premise behind that article series is to find wide receivers that have had success in a limited role and draw a higher market share of targets when they run a pass route.
While Quick was not the sole focus of that article, with some time to contemplate his current situation after free agency and the NFL Draft, I wanted to give more detail why he is a breakout player to watch in 2013 and beyond.
So how does a second-year player with 176 snaps in the professional ranks merit breakout consideration?
Before we dive into what he did last year, it is important to look back at what we knew about Quick prior to last season. That way we remove any recency bias.
There were some critics of Quick’s game as soon as he was taken with the 33rd overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. Most of it stemmed from his inexperience playing at a lower-level of competition at Appalachian State and his raw route running ability. Though, he did draw comparisons to Terrell Owens in some circles. Mike Mayock said it best on the NFL Network coverage as Quick was selected by the Rams: “He’s a height, weight, speed specimen. His production could be a little delayed, but he will be fast-tracked by the Rams’ coaching staff.”
One of the best talent evaluators in the business, Greg Cosell of NFL Films was a fan of Quick last year. Here is a quote from one of his blog entries last May:
Quick is a very fluid and smooth athlete with excellent lateral quickness and deceptive vertical speed due to stride length. It’s not a stretch at all, when you analyze Quick’s physical and athletic attributes, to understand why the Rams selected him early. With his size and overall skill set, he has a chance to be the best wide receiver in this draft class. – Greg Cosell, NFL Films
It was clear the Rams were going to be patient with him early in his career.
The Rams gave Quick time to develop in his rookie season, despite reports that they expected him to be their top receiver right away. Quick was on the field 18 percent of the time in the 15 games he appeared in. He was used almost exclusively in passing situations; he ran a pass route 67 percent of the time on his 176 snaps.
His final box score was not much to write home about either.
|TA||TA/G||TA/SN %||TA/PR %||Rec||Yds||TD||TD Rate %||Ct %||Yds/Rec||YAC||aDOT||RZ TA||RZ Rec||RZ TD|
Quick still experienced some success in his limited role. However, his raw route running ability was evident when reviewing all of his targets. Several times he rounded off routes early or did not always adjust his route to account for a blitz.
Most of his best plays occurred when he used his size and physicality, especially on his two touchdowns. With just two scoring plays to review, it was easy to pull the advanced data for both.
Quick’s first NFL touchdown catch came in Week 10 at San Francisco. He was lined up as the split end (or X receiver) on the right side of the formation at the 49ers 36 yard line. Chris Culliver was in press coverage pre-snap. Quick took Culliver down with a left stiff arm, and then Bradford found him on the right sideline 22 yards downfield. Quick ran the ball in the remaining 14 yards for the touchdown.
His second touchdown came in Week 15 against the Vikings at home. Again, Quick was the split end on the right side of the formation. This time Josh Robinson was in press coverage against him from the Vikings four-yard line. Quick beat Robinson, and Sam Bradford threw a jump ball to him three yards into the right end zone. With his body under control, Quick used his five-inch height advantage to high point the football over Robinson for the touchdown.
His rookie campaign ended with a whimper though. In his final two games of the season, he had a total of two targets with no catches and a drop. Quick dropped the 19 yard pass in Week 16 with Mark Barron in coverage.
Going back to my earlier point about recency bias, are we already going to consider Quick a bust after a subpar rookie season in the box score? He is still just as talented as when he entered the league, and has a year of experience under his belt.
In addition to the Owens comparisons, Quick was linked to Vincent Jackson pre-draft as well. General manager Les Snead had a similar thought process about whom Quick reminded him of. The front office knew that Quick would need time to develop. Even Jackson only had 59 yards receiving in seven games in his rookie season coming from a similar level of competition. Jackson did not “break out” until his fourth season in the NFL when he totaled 59 catches for 1,098 yards and 7 touchdowns.
Like Jackson, Quick’s rookie campaign left much to be desired. However, with the benefit of our advanced data, we see that Quick was still in impressive company – albeit in a smaller sample size.
Here are the rookie receivers in the last three years with Quick’s size (at least 6-foot-3, 220 lbs.), at least two touchdowns and over 12 yards per reception:
|Player||Year||TA/SN %||TA/PR %||TA/G||TA||Rec||Yds||TD||TD %||Ct %||Yds/Rec||aDOT||RZ TA||RZ TD|
It is interesting to note that each player was taken in either the first or the second round of the NFL Draft.
Based on current dynasty average draft position (ADP), Quick (WR59) has the lowest price tag of that group. Jones (WR3) and Thomas (5) are elite options that match their lofty rankings. Gordon (27), Jeffery (44) and Floyd (46) are all going at least four rounds before Quick. Sometimes to be successful in dynasty, you have to be ahead of the curve. Any risk associated with Quick is negated by his low price tag.
We know that the coaching staff is excited about Quick’s development as he enters his second year in the NFL. Prior to the draft, head coach Jeff Fisher had this to say about Quick:
“Brian’s second year in the system, we expect him to develop. The guy’s gonna make a lot of plays for us.” – Jeff Fisher, head coach
Unfortunately, dynasty owners haven’t shared Fisher’s optimism this offseason. Here is a look at his (and the other Rams receivers) dynasty ADP each month beginning with March:
We see the impact that 2013 draftees Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey had on Chris Givens’ value, although Quick’s value remained unchanged.
At this early juncture in the offseason, it appears that Quick and Givens are penciled in as starters. Austin will inherit the slot receiver duties from the departed Danny Amendola and Bailey will likely learn to back up both the split end and flanker positions. If the Rams do go to a fast-paced spread attack as has been rumored, all four players could be on the field often. Quick would be the biggest beneficiary though. None of the other receivers have his size, and he has shown in a limited role that he can beat press coverage as the X receiver.
Add in new move tight end Jared Cook, and the Rams offense is looking dynamic on paper.
It is tough to tell which player will lead the team in targets, but Quick is in the running. And he has an edge in the red zone with his size – though Cook could also be a threat there.
Brian Quick is 40th among wide receivers in my dynasty rankings. That is at least 15 spots higher than fellow dynasty ranker Scott Spratt has him, and 17 spots higher than the consensus at Fantasy Pros.
Obligatory tweet: Get #Rams WR Brian Quick on your roster this year, redraft and dynasty. Now
— Bryan Fontaine (@Bryan_Fontaine) February 25, 2013
I’ve also taken my own advice this offseason, making several trades to acquire Quick (if I didn’t already have him rostered):
|Bryan Fontaine gave up James, LaMichael SFO RB||Hyper Active 1|
|The Knights gave up Quick, Brian STL WR; Year 2013 Draft Pick 4.01||Sun Feb 10 4:28:23 p.m. ET 2013|
|Bryan Fontaine gave up Year 2014 Round 2 Draft Pick from Bryan Fontaine||PFF Fantasy Staff Dynasty League|
|Ross Miles gave up Quick, Brian STL WR||Tue May 7 6:22:56 a.m. ET 2013|
|Las Vegas Aces (Bryan Fontaine) gave up Year 2013 Draft Pick 1.13||Elite Dynasty Football Federation|
|Dallas Longhorns gave up Quick, Brian STL WR||Tue Apr 16 9:27:31 a.m. ET 2013|
I may have a contrarian viewpoint of Quick, but remain confident in my assessment that he is a breakout player to watch this year.
Related Brian Quick links:
Are We Overlooking Brian Quick’s Star Potential? By Jon Moore – RotoViz
6 Rams Players Primed for a Break Out Season in 2013 by Tyson Langland – Bleacher Report
Bryan Fontaine is the Dynasty Senior Editor for PFF Fantasy. You can follow him on Twitter at @Bryan_Fontaine.