Devin Funchess or Parris Campbell: Who's the Colts Number-Two Receiver for Fantasy Football?
In an effort to improve the weapons around Luck, Colts GM Chris Ballard made two significant moves this offseason, signing former Carolina Panthers receiver Devin Funchess to a one-year contract and landing Parris Campbell with a second-round draft pick.
Both receivers figure to immediately factor into the passing game behind Hilton, but who's the guy to own on your fantasy roster? By taking a look at where Hilton and Campbell have excelled in the past, we can make some educated guesses as to what their workload may look like this season and who is the safer fantasy pick.
Campbell Dominates Screen Game
Campbell's speed makes him an elite weapon in the screen game. In 2018 at Ohio State, Campbell led the nation in yards gained on screens (270 yards on 23 targets).
In Indy, Campbell will have an opportunity to take an already successful Colts' screen game to another level. Frank Reich's offense racked up an NFL-best 336 yards on screens designed for players lined up wide or in the slot in 2018, according to Sports Info Solutions.
So Campbell clearly possesses a skill set that fits what the Colts want to do. But this doesn't necessarily make him the guy to own in Indy.
For starters, will Campbell see enough targets to be relevant? Chester Rogers led the Colts with 19 targets on screens a season ago. It's possible those targets could go to Campbell this season, although Rogers is still on the roster. T.Y. Hilton also factors in, as he led the NFL with 141 yards on screen passes in 2018.
Obviously, Campbell will see other types of targets too, but if the Colts already have weapons who excel at what he does best, that could create an issue getting him a high volume of immediate targets.
The second issue is the reality that the screen game doesn't hold much value in fantasy football. While the targets are nice in PPR leagues, screens hold a low probability of producing touchdowns. According to Sports Info Solutions, screens accounted for just 5.8 percent of all passing touchdowns last season. The Colts did not score a single touchdown in the screen game.
So while Campbell will be an asset to the Colts offense in this area, he's unlikely to produce significant fantasy value in this way.
Funchess Excels Downfield
Campbell doesn't have to be limited to performing in the screen game, of course. Hilton is a great example of a receiver who has excelled on screens but also offers value in the downfield passing game.
Unfortunately, Campbell has yet to prove he has that skill set. Last season with the Buckeyes, 83 percent of his targets were within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage according to Sports Info Solutions. Here's the full breakdown:
|Distance Downfield||Targets||% of Total|
|At or Behind LOS||43||38.7%|
|> 10 Yards||19||17.1%|
Funchess, on the other hand, was regularly used as a downfield weapon during his days with the Panthers. Last year, 51 of his 79 targets (65 percent) were more than 10 yards downfield -- only Mike Evans was targeted at that distance at a higher rate.
Given the two extremes of Campbell and Funchess' prior experience, it's unlikely they'll be asked to do anything different with the Colts. We should expect Funchess to see a bigger workload downfield, which obviously correlates to more big plays, more touchdowns, and more fantasy points.
Red Zone Targets
Funchess had 12 targets in the red zone a season ago, second on the Panthers behind only Christian McCaffrey. Given his size at 6'4" and 225 pounds, he fits the mold of the traditional receiver who sees a high rate of targets in the red zone.
Campbell also had a high red-zone usage at Ohio State, with 14 targets. However, 10 of those 14 targets came on screens, jet sweep passes and drag routes, according to Sports Info Solutions. So he wasn't used in a way consistent with what we'd consider a typical red-zone weapon.
Despite Campbell's prior experience as a gadget-type receiver, it's worth noting that Reich has already praised his red zone presence in training camp:
Frank Reich on Parris Campbell’s best practice so far: “You see those? The two plays he made in the end zone today weren’t gadget, hybrid, slot-receiver type plays, they were legit, NFL, I’m gonna be a stud receiver plays.”
— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) July 28, 2019
So maybe Campbell will develop faster than expected in this area. It's certainly something to continue monitoring during the preseason.
Of course, this could be an irrelevant conversation for both. Hilton and Eric Ebron combined for 38 red zone targets a season ago in Indy, and there's no reason to expect a substantial drop in the workload for either.
The debate between Funchess and Campbell somewhat depends on your league's scoring system. In traditional non-PPR leagues, Funchess looks like the obvious choice due to his experience working downfield and in the red zone.
In PPR leagues, Campbell's skill set on screens and other short routes gives him the potential to rack up some points on a high volume of short receptions. That will close the gap between him and Funchess to an extent.
However, with Ebron and Hilton returning -- both of whom saw over 100 targets last year -- in addition to tight end Jack Doyle (33 targets in six games) and running back Nyheim Hines (81 targets), there likely won't be enough targets available for either Campbell or Funchess to be a reliable fantasy option week in and week out. As a result, if you put them in your lineup, you'll be hoping for a touchdown to boost their scoring output. In this case, the 6'4" Funchess looks like the safer bet for all scoring formats.