Frank Ammirante | Aug 21st, 2019
Robby Anderson is the clear-cut number-one option for the New York Jets. He’s a great deep threat who started to develop chemistry with quarterback Sam Darnold towards the end of last season. He finished as the WR36 in PPR leagues last year. Anderson is currently being drafted as WR29 at 6.09 (Fantasy Football Calculator). Dante Pettis is expected to be the number-one target for the San Francisco 49ers. He started to really turn it on at the end of his rookie year. The sophomore out of Washington finished as the WR73 in PPR formats. Pettis is being selected as WR34 at 7.12 (Fantasy Football Calculator). Let’s determine the better option for 12-team PPR leagues.
Robby Anderson, WR, New York Jets
2018 Stats: 14 games, 94 targets, 50 receptions, 752 yards, 15.0 yards/reception, 6 touchdowns
Anderson really established himself as the best option in this offense in the last five games of the 2018 season, where he posted 46 targets, 27 receptions, 384 yards, 14.2 yards/reception, and three touchdowns. Anderson also has a proven track record – in 2017, he finished with 114 targets, 63 receptions, 941 yards, 14.9 yards/reception, and seven touchdowns. The Jets signed wide receiver Jamison Crowder in free agency, but he’s a slot receiver who will mostly be targeted underneath. Anderson is one of the more underrated receivers in the league – his 6’3 height helps set him apart from other deep threats. Quarterback Sam Darnold has looked fantastic in training camp and preseason action, which bodes well for Anderson’s 2019 fantasy outlook. The addition of star running back Le’Veon Bell will also help out the offense as a whole. Anderson could be in line for a career year in 2019.
Anderson has struggled with efficiency so far in his career – in 2017, he caught 63 of 114 targets (55% catch rate), while last year he was able to grab 50 of 94 balls (53% catch rate). A lower catch rate is to be expected since he’s often targeted downfield, but he still needs to improve in this aspect. Anderson is also prone to some duds – he failed to eclipse 30 yards in 6 out of his 14 games last season. Furthermore, he could be at risk of a suspension – Anderson has had run-ins with the law in the past – back in 2018, he was arrested on nine charges, including reckless driving and resisting an officer. It seems that Anderson has matured, but there is always this risk given his prior history. Lastly, we also saw Anderson get passed in the depth chart early last year by fellow wideout Quincy Enunwa. There is always the risk that new addition Jamison Crowder becomes Darnold’s preferred target.
Dante Pettis, WR, San Francisco 49ers
2018 Stats: 12 games, 45 targets, 27 receptions, 467 yards, 17.3 yards/reception, 5 touchdowns
Pettis had a strong finish to his rookie year, posting 31 targets, 20 receptions, 359 yards, 18.0 yards/reception, and 4 touchdowns. The Niners invested a second-round pick in him in the 2018 draft, so they clearly have always believed in his talent. Pettis gets to play with Jimmy Garoppolo once again, who is obviously a significant upgrade over the likes of Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard. He also has the benefit of playing for one of the brightest offensive minds in the NFL in Kyle Shanahan. Pettis enters his sophomore, age-24 season as the likely top option in Shanahan’s offense. The team selected wide receivers Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd in the second and third rounds in this year’s draft, but it’s likely going to take time for these two rookies to make an impact. Pettis combines 4.48 speed with decent height at 6’1 to make a strong deep threat – he had five catches of 30+ yards in his rookie season. He should easily surpass his rookie totals this upcoming season.
Reports out of 49ers’ camp have been negative, prompting Kyle Shanahan to state that Pettis is battling for a starting role right now. This is concerning because coming into this off-season, he was viewed as the clear-cut number-one on this team. Jimmy Garoppolo has also struggled mightily as he shakes off the rust as he comes back from a torn ACL. San Fran also gets back WR Marquise Goodwin, to go along with slot receiver Trent Taylor and this year’s duo of rookie wideouts. They also have one of the best tight ends in football in George Kittle, who will command the majority of targets in this offense. Pettis will need to continue to make splash plays in the passing game because he’s not going to receive as many targets as you would like your WR2 to have in fantasy football. While he still should be the number one receiver, there is always the risk that he is supplanted by one of the rookies, both of which have been impressive in training camp and preseason action.
Robby Anderson is being drafted a full round before Dante Pettis for good reason – Anderson is the safer option with just as much upside. The Jets’ wide receiver is clearly the number one option, while Pettis is still fighting for that role. The Jets do not have a tight end nearly as good as Kittle, so Anderson should be able to get more targets than Pettis. There is also more stability at quarterback, as Sam Darnold is fully healthy, while Jimmy Garoppolo will need some time to shake off the injury rust. Lastly, we have seen Anderson put up a productive full season in the past, while Pettis still needs to prove himself over the course of 16 games. Anderson is the superior choice at wide receiver here.
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