Today's crazy fantasy stat: Keep an eye on Arizona WR J.J. Nelson
Everyone knows about the big-name wide receivers on the Arizona Cardinals. Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd and John Brown all finished in the top 33 at their position in fantasy scoring in 2015. There’s also Jaron Brown, who has had flashes in both of his seasons as well.
But today’s Fantasy Stat of the Day looks at yet another option: Arizona WR J.J. Nelson put up 42 fantasy points in 2015 on only 24 targets. That was 1.75 fantasy points per target, tied for third in the league (behind Seattle’s Doug Baldwin and the Rams’ Tavon Austin) among receivers with at least 14 targets. By fantasy points per opportunity (points per carry plus route run), Nelson was the league leader of anyone with 14-plus targets.
If Nelson continues his development (the team spoke glowingly of him at OTAs), he could force his way into some extra playing time, even with the team’s trio of star receivers solidly in place. The Cardinals are a candidate for natural regression as far as team fantasy performance is concerned, but even if the overall numbers remain consistent, there is no team with as deep a receiving corps as Arizona. That’s a mixed bag. If you land on the right guy in the right week, his numbers could be as good as anyone in the league. But across the season, with so many mouths to feed, it’s hard to imagine any single receiver being a fantasy superstar.
Obviously, Fitzgerald, Floyd and John Brown will be the ones to draw the most focus. They are all ranked well in our staff rankings (Floyd is ranked 21st, Brown 29th, Fitzgerald 32nd), while Nelson is barely inside our top 100 receivers. But here’s betting the second-year receiver leads the team’s position group in fantasy scoring in at least one game this season. He’ll make some noise.