Fantasy Football: Take Advantage of Pierre Garcon's Falling Stock

Garcon is being overlooked in season-long fantasy drafts despite several promising trends in his favor.

In season-long fantasy football leagues, finding undervalued picks is an important part of drafting a successful team.

Whether it is public bias towards a player due to injury or an inaccurate depiction of their production, fantasy stocks of many players drop for unjust reasons every year, leaving plenty of opportunity for savvy owners to capitalize.

A noticeable fall in average draft position in 12-team, standard-scoring leagues this upcoming year can best be seen in Pierre Garcon's current fantasy stock. According to Fantasy Football Calculator, Garcon's average draft position has dropped from the sixth to ninth round in the past month.

When looking over Garcon's most recent fantasy production at first glance, it is easy to dismiss his potential, but after digging deeper into the numbers, fantasy owners should realize why this San Francisco 49ers wide receiver should not be overlooked.

Track Record of Volume

Even though Garcon's 2017 is seen as a down year, his volume was not in question. In half a season -- 8 games -- Garcon saw 67 targets, an outstanding statistic if sustained over a season-long span. Those 134 hypothetical targets would have ranked 12th among wide receivers.

Since starting full time in 2009, Garcon has averaged 110 targets per season and has seen 110 or more targets in five out of the seven years during which he played in 13 or more games in a season.

Volume will not be a problem for this veteran receiver.

The Positive Impact of Kyle Shanahan

Playing under current head coach Kyle Shanahan has provided helpful aid towards Garcon's fantasy production.

In 34 games together -- including 2012 ad 2013 when Shanahan was the Washington Redskins' offensive coordinator -- Garcon has produced a total of 302.70 fantasy points and an average of 8.90 fantasy points per game using standard scoring.

In 92 games under different coaching, Garcon's average drops to 7.35 fantasy points per game. Over 16 games, that amounts to a potential 24.8-point difference.

The chart below breaks down each year since Garcon has moved into a starting role and his fantasy production using standard scoring.

His best year by far -- with 164.50 fantasy points -- came with an offense run by Shanahan's play calling. If Garcon can stay healthy enough, we should see Shanahan's impact again.

Year Played Team Fantasy Points Starts
2009 Colts 100.5 14
2010 Colts 115.0 14
2011 Colts 131.5 16
2012 (With Shanahan) Redskins 88.2 10
2013 (With Shanahan) Redskins 164.5 16
2014 Redskins 93.2 16
2015 Redskins 113.7 16
2016 Redskins 122.1 16
2017 (With Shanahan) 49ers 50.0 8

And Shanahan isn't the only reason to expect better numbers from Garcon in 2018.

Improved Quarterback Play

The play of Jimmy Garoppolo is another big factor for optimism towards Garcon's 2018 season.

In Garoppolo's five games as a 49er, the San Francisco offense improved from 221 passing yards per game (2,440 passing yards in 11 games) to 297 (1,485 passing yards in 5 games). Garoppolo also graded out as our most efficient passer in 2017, in terms of our Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) metric.

Garoppolo's production created an impact among his teammates, especially seen in the increase in fantasy production per game for the Niners' wide receivers.

During this stretch, Marquise Goodwin's fantasy production per game jumped from 6.00 to 9.28, and Trent Taylor's production increased from 2.50 to 5.00.

These trends present promising potential for Garcon's 6.25 fantasy points per game last season to improve in 2018.

Projections for 2018

If Garcon's inability to score touchdowns in 2017 are a concern, let's take a look at his career touchdown production.

Garcon has produced 37 touchdowns and 604 receptions in 123 starts, so his career touchdown rates are 0.30 touchdowns per start and 0.06 touchdowns per reception.

We project Garcon for 77.35 catches this year. His career touchdown rate at that reception projection would put him at 4.74 scores. His per-start rate would put him at 4.81 for a 16-game season. Our algorithms project him for 4.02, paired with 944 receiving yards.

That projected production indicates how undervalued Garcon could be in the ninth round. Among projected wide receivers drafted in the ninth round in 12-team leagues on Fantasy Football Calculator, these projections would rank first in receptions and receiving yards.

Despite a recent two-round drop in average draft position, data shows fantasy owners should take advantage of Garcon's falling stock.

With the help of Shanahan's offensive schemes and an improved quarterback situation with Garoppolo, the 2018 season should present a great opportunity for Garcon to be a productive asset in season-long leagues.