Entering his third NFL season, Terry McLaurin has already established himself as an elite wide receiver. He broke out last season with an 87-1,114-4 (rec, yds, tds) line despite his poor offense. This season, there is optimism in the fantasy community that McLaurin can be a WR1 on fantasy teams, as his ranking on ESPN is currently WR10. Now with a new quarterback, can Terry McLaurin justify his fantasy football ADP?
2021 Fantasy Football Outlook: Terry McLaurin
One reason why fantasy owners should be looking to draft McLaurin this season is the talent upgrade surrounding him. The wide receiver position is so dependent on the quarterback and other receivers that it’s good to know who else is on the team of the player you are drafting. In the case of the Washington Football Team, Ryan Fitzpatrick is the new starting quarterback this year. His aggressive downfield approach means McLaurin will get more opportunities for big plays. Last season, conservative quarterbacks Alex Smith and Kyle Allen put a limit on McLaurin’s upside. In fact, Washington ranked 25th in passing yards per game during the 2020 season.
The addition of Curtis Samuel at the wide receiver position should also help McLaurin. Last season, the second-best receiver on the team in terms of yards was Logan Thomas, a tight end. The third-best receiver on the team was a running back, J.D. McKissic. If you look at the actual second-best wide receiver on the team in terms of production, it was Steven Sims, who had 27 receptions for 267 yards on the season. That’s not great. With Samuel now locked in as a solid second option at receiver, McLaurin should have some more single coverage against him this year.
*never* forget when rookie Terry McLaurin did whatever he wanted to 2019 DPOY Stephon Gilmore. pic.twitter.com/l298nWiuTa
— BloodySunday (@Gavin_FF_) July 9, 2021
Strength of Schedule
One of the underrated aspects of a fantasy profile is the strength of schedule. The goods for McLaurin is that he gets to play the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, and Philadelphia Eagles every year. None of those teams ranked within the top 10 in pass defense last season. The entire NFC East Division will also face the NFC South Division and the AFC West Division. Notable matchups there include the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, and New Orleans Saints. Because the Football Team made the playoffs last year, they also get rewarded with games against the Green Bay Packers and Buffalo Bills.
Despite some tough matchups, the schedule should not deter managers from drafting McLaurin. The most important part of the fantasy season is the final few weeks, where the fantasy playoffs occur. During the final five weeks of the regular season, the Football Team only plays games against division opponents, meaning McLaurin should have some mouth-watering matchups in the most important part of the season.
Terry McLaurin’s outlook heading into this season is promising. Coming off of a breakout year with a below-average supporting cast, expectations should be high now that the offense around him is better. Compared to his numbers last year, he should get more than the four touchdowns he had last season due to more red zone opportunities. He is also a lock for another 1,000-yard campaign. McLaurin has so far played 14 and 15 games in his first two NFL seasons, so durability is not an issue. He is somebody that you should be comfortable with taking as your first wide receiver, as he has a steady floor with a high ceiling. While his ranking as WR10 is justifiable, it would not be shocking to see him be a top-six or seven wide receiver in fantasy this season.
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