Last night, I was flipping through the Fantasy Football preview edition of ESPN the magazine. In part of it, they identified 5 receivers that could be sleepers, looking for “guys with size and speed to burn”. Among the players they identified as a potential sleeper, primarily because of his ability to go downfield.
Is Gettis really poised for a break out season, or even a “sleeper” season? Gettis, as you may or may not know (Eric Wahlund definitely knows) plays for the Carolina Panthers, who are lucky enough to have the very talented Cam Newton leading the way at quarterback. That’s very good for Panthers fans, but is it good for potential fantasy owners of Gettis?
Most followers of the NFL are aware that Steve Smith is still the top target for any Panthers quarterback. Newton went there first last year, and went there frequently. The second option, probably, would be Brandon Lafell, and ESPN addresses this, saying that Gettis and Lafell could split the downfield passes.
The problem with that logic, however, is Cam Newton. It’s not that he can’t fire the ball down field, it’s that he rarely takes the time to throw the deep ball. It’s often the attitude of a quarterback who is as athletically gifted as Newton (see: Tim Tebow) to take the ball and run under less pressure than a more established pocket passer. Smith and Lafell each averaged 17 yards per catch, roughly, which sounds pretty good, until you take into account their runs after the catch. Neither Lafell nor Smith averaged receiving the ball beyond 12 yards. If both the possession receiver AND the deep threat are averaging the same yardage at time of reception, it doesn’t bode well for the downfield game, does it? Newton was successful last year because of his feet and his check down passing, not by bombing it downfield.
This as nothing to do with Cam Newton or David Gettis. Newton is going to help the Panthers win games, and Gettis might too, but it won’t be because he is going downfield to collect his receptions. I don’t think David Gettis is much of a fantasy steal.