Kenny Stills likely to regress in 2017 after re-upping in Miami
The Miami Dolphins have re-signed their vertical threat in wideout Kenny Stills, as first reported by Benjamin Albright. According to Adam Schefter, it’s a four-year, $32 million deal with $20 million guaranteed.
Stills enjoyed the best season of his four-year career last year, as he caught 47 passes for 808 yards and nine scores. The nine touchdowns were tied for sixth-most among all receivers.
Stills was one of the league’s best deep threats in 2016. Eight of his nine scores came on passes 20-plus yards down the field in 2016 — tied with Antonio Brown for most deep scores among wideouts. To make those eight deep-target touchdowns even more impressive: Stills only saw 10 “catchable” deep targets.
The downside of such an impressive conversion rate is that Stills is due for some negative regression in 2017. Stills caught a touchdown on a ridiculous 21.4 percent of his receptions in 2016. That’s nearly triple the league average of 7.7 percent.
And it’s not like he has been a touchdown machine through his career. From 2013 to 2015, Stills scored a touchdown on a much more realistic 8.8 percent of his receptions. His 2016 campaign was clearly the outlier. This doesn’t make Stills a bad player — it just means he’ll be much less consistent from a fantasy perspective in 2017.
Overall, the Miami Dolphins offense will look mostly the same in 2017 as it did in 2016. Tight end Julius Thomas is the only significant addition, but he won’t see many — if any — more targets than Miami’s tight ends saw (as a group) last year. So in terms of target distribution, we can expect more of the same.
This is probably a good thing from a real football perspective — it enables Miami’s offense to continue to build around a young nucleus of talent in Stills, Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker and Jay Ajayi — but it also prevents someone like Parker, who was a first-round draft pick in 2015, from seeing the heavy increase in volume us fantasy players are clamoring for.
As such, we can expect Landry to continue to put up tail-end WR1 numbers in PPR leagues and WR2 numbers in standard leagues, while Parker will be an intriguing flex option with WR2 upside. Thomas will have streaming appeal at the tight end position, but he’s unlikely to be an every-week starter. And Leonte Carroo, a third-round pick from 2016, likely saw his opportunity slip through the cracks when Stills re-signed.
For his part, Stills will remain a boom-or-bust flex option, but with a lot less “boom” in 2017 than we saw from him in 2016. Stills will also remain an intriguing DFS tournament play, depending on his week-to-week matchups.