Betting on Himself - Josh Reynolds
In his debut article for TNFF (TrueNorthFFB) Jesse Patterson (@df_patterson) analyzes an under utilized wide receiver who may finally realize his potential in the upcoming 2021 NFL season with his new team.
From the time of his selection in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL draft, Josh Reynolds has been a fantasy tease. Constantly buried on the Rams receiver depth chart, dynasty league managers have been patiently waiting for Reynolds to be given the opportunity to show what he can do with a larger role.
HAS THE MEASURABLES
The former Texas A&M Aggie has the size to succeed, standing 6’3” and weighing in at 196lbs. As well, he has the speed to be a weapon on deep balls and, in the red zone, posting a 4.52 40-yard dash time in his draft year. His draft profile on nfl.com noted his strong ball skills and ability to elevate on 50/50 balls which made him dangerous in scoring situations. This was evident with his collegiate production where over a three year career, the former Aggie managed 164 receptions, 2,788 yards and a whopping 30 touchdowns.
Unfortunately for Reynolds, (and fantasy managers alike) coach Sean McVay never lacked for offensive weapons during his time with the Rams. Robert Woods is an underrated stud at the position while Cooper Kupp has proven to be a talent worthy of looks in the slot. Brandin Cooks had an 80 catch 1200+ yard season in 2018 and tight ends Tyler Higbee and Gerrald Everett have always been present and involved in the passing attack. Once Cooks was finally out of the picture, the Rams invested draft capital in Van Jefferson, selecting him in the 2nd round in the 2019 draft. Throughout his entire rookie contract, Reynolds was always ‘an injury away’ from getting his opportunity, while higher-touted players blocked his path.
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PRODUCED WITH LIMITED PLAYING TIME
When given the chance, Reynolds proved capable, though unspectacular in spot start duties. 2020 saw his best statistical season, drawing 81 targets and turning it into 52 catches, 618 yards and a pair of touchdowns over 13 starts. In 2018, he started 8 games due to injuries and hauled in 29 passes for 402 yards and 5 touchdowns. None of these are statistics that wow fantasy managers, but Reynolds was able to showcase an ability to play and compete at the NFL level if needed, and, continued to hint at untapped potential. The 2021 offseason was Reynolds’ first chance to get out of the Rams system as a free agent. With a limited resume to work with, he was reliant on his potential and spot start production to land a contract.
SIGNING WITH THE TENNESSEE TITANS
Reportedly offered a contract by the defending AFC Champion Kansas City Chiefs, Reynolds instead seemed to bet on himself, signing a one year $1.75 million fully guaranteed contract with the Tennessee Titans. Tennessee lost several key receiving members to free agency this offseason themselves, so the opportunity to be a clear-cut starting option must have been appealing to him. Entering this season at the age of 26, Reynolds is willing to bet on a breakout season before once again hitting unrestricted free agency in 2022.
The Titans have 207 vacated targets from their 2020 offense up for grabs after losing receivers Corey Davis (92 targets), Adam Humphries (35), Khalif Raymond (15) as well as tight end Jonnu Smith (65). Aside from signing Reynolds, the Titans chose not to address these departures via free agency and waited until the fourth round of the draft before selecting Louisville wide receiver Dez Fitzpatrick. The team also added 6th rounder Racey McMath and UDFA tight ends Miller Forristall and Briley Moore. The team also signed special team journeyman Fred Brown following the conclusion of the draft. This lack of urgency in addressing the receiving game shows a couple of things. Firstly, Tennessee will continue to be a run-based offence, and will live and die by the success of their stud running back Derrick Henry. The 2020 Titans ranked third-last in passing attempts with 485 while ranking second in the league in rushing attempts with 521. Based on the offseason moves, I expect that trend to continue, with quarterback Ryan Tannehill tasked with being more of a game manager, than a gunslinger. Having said that, this same passing attack was able to provide multiple fantasy-viable starters including stud sophomore AJ Brown, with the aforementioned Davis, and Smith.
Another factor working in Reynolds’ favor will be red-zone targets. The departing free agents combined for 34 looks inside the 20 yard line last season which will now be up for grabs. Reynold’s size and jump ball skills should make him an ideal weapon in this area of the field, yet he only saw 10 red zone targets over the past two seasons with the Rams. He did have a career high 15 targets in 2018, which coincided with his career best 5 touchdown grabs on the season.
Currently being selected as the WR85 and 199th overall (based on the latest ADP data at DLF) Reynolds could return some sneaky good value in dynasty leagues as an upside WR3. A career best season in targets, receptions and touchdowns is absolutely on the table in Tennessee, as he looks to establish some value heading into free agency. A stat line in the 80-90 target range, 58-63 receptions, 800+ yards and 5-7 touchdowns would easily land Josh Reynolds in the top 36 at the position in PPR leagues.
At a minimal cost to acquire he could certainly be a valuable depth piece with upside on a contending team in fantasy leagues this season.
Thank you for reading my debut article with TNFF. Agree or disagree with my take? Please leave a comment or message me on Twitter @df_patterson
Editor: Joe Simonetti (@joesimonetti77)
Graphic work: Dan Made Graphics (@DanMadeGraphics)