Can Pierre Garcon Have a Fantasy Football Revival in 2015?
Last year, Pierre Garcon let down a lot of fantasy football managers.
He had a pretty significant draft cost -- at the tail end of the fourth round in 12-team PPR leagues (according to FantasyFootballCalculator.com) -- but failed to notch 100 standard fantasy points.
As one of the 17 receivers who had an average draft position (ADP) between Round 3 and 5 and with a higher draft cost than teammate DeSean Jackson, drafting Garcon likely meant whiffing on some high upside at the receiver position (though, in fairness, Garcon was sandwiched between other receivers who failed to live up to their ceiling in Victor Cruz, Percy Harvin, Andre Johnson, Michael Floyd, and Michael Crabtree).
But is there any reason to trust that Garcon will live up to his 2013 fantasy output in 2015?
Garcon of Old
So, the main reason reason hopes were high in 2014 was Garcon's 2013 fantasy production, of course.
It feels like a decade ago that Garcon was in WR1 conversation, but he finished as a low-end WR1 in 2013 -- he was 11th in PPR scoring and 13th in standard scoring among wide receivers.
He was then thrust into the frenzy that is early-round receiver drafting because of the arrival of Jackson.
But Garcon had some red flags in his production, things that should have tipped off the fantasy football world to a potential disappointment in 2014.
According to our Net Expected Points (NEP) metric, Garcon's on-field impact was on par with his fantasy football output. His Reception NEP, which indicates how many points Garcon's receptions added to Washington's expected point scoring potential compared to league expectation level, was 109.62 in 2013, which ranked 14th among all receivers.
Garcon's 182 targets led the NFL, and on a per-target basis, he added 0.60 points, which ranked just 28th among the 37 receivers to see at least 100 targets in 2013.
His Reception Success Rate (81.42%), which indicates the percentage of his catches that added positively to Washington's NEP, ranked just 31st.
At just 0.167 fantasy points per snap, Garcon ranked just 22nd among receivers.
Such inefficiency carried over to 2014, and the volume shrunk, spelling disaster for Garcon and Garcon owners.
Inefficient and Low-Volume
So, before just noting Garcon's inefficiencies and calling him inefficient, it has to be said that he was the focal point of Washington's passing offense. His 18.6% market share of the team's targets was tops among all receivers in 2013, and no other Washington wideout secured more than 42 receptions or a Reception NEP greater than 34.37 in 2013.
Perhaps Jackson was going to make him more efficient with a smaller volume, but that didn't happen (which we should have seen coming), and that's scary for his 2015 potential.
Garcon dropped from the 14th-most prolific receiver via Reception NEP in 2013 to the 59th-most in 2014, netting Washington just 47.72 points with his 68 catches (on 105 targets).
His per-target Reception NEP of 0.45 ranked a lowly 38th among the 40 receivers who saw at least 100 targets last year. His Reception Success Rate of 77.94% ranked 36th.
Garcon's 0.106 fantasy points per snap ranked 70th among receivers last year, and his target share of 12.0% tied for 54th. By no indication was Garcon efficient, and he lacked the volume to make up for it.
What's the Deal?
That's a pretty good question.
Garcon has never topped six touchdowns in a season in his career, a mark he hit twice (2010 and 2011). He has had 12 in the three years since then.
And Garcon has never posted a Reception NEP per target greater than 0.69. That mark was the same as A.J. Green's Reception NEP per target this year, which ranked 20th among the 40 receivers with 100-plus targets. In fact, aside from 2013, Garcon has had some pretty cringe-inducing metrics. Here are his relevant marks and ranks among 90-plus target wideouts in the corresponding season (so that his 92-target season in 2009 can be included).
|Garcon||Rec NEP||Rank||Rec NEP/Tar||Rank||Success Rate||Rank|
|2009||63.26||32 of 44||0.69||22 of 44||89.36%||16 of 44|
|2010||74.95||27 of 42||0.63||30 of 42||92.65%||7 of 42|
|2011||59.28||36 of 47||0.44||46 of 47||75.71%||46 of 47|
|2013||109.62||13 of 43||0.60||33 of 43||81.42%||36 of 43|
|2014||47.72||52 of 54||0.45||52 of 54||77.94%||47 of 54|
Garcon has just never ranked in the top half of high-volume wide receivers in Reception NEP per target, and his Success Rate has been weak for his three most recent 100-target years.
We could try to say that Garcon is volume dependent, but even pretty consistent with his volume, he hasn't been very prolific in terms of Reception NEP.
Given the state of the Washington passing offense -- their schedule-adjusted Passing NEP per play of 0.00 ranked just 25th in the league last year -- it will take some special talent or some league-leading volume to have a season like he had in 2013. And much of that rank is thanks to DeSean Jackson, whose Reception NEP per target of 0.94 tied for first (with Dez Bryant and Randall Cobb) among 100-target receivers last year.
Garcon has never realized much touchdown potential in his career, he's never been an efficient receiver, and his volume declined quite significantly last year.
Washington has swapped Jackson and Garcon in the offense in attempt to get Garcon more looks, so he might plod his way to some respectable fantasy numbers, but without some serious volume, Garcon might be a fantasy letdown yet again regardless of his draft cost.