Washington’s offense has become the latest victim of what I’m calling “NFL 2017: The Injured Season”. Recently, Washington lost their receiving back Chris Thompson to a fractured fibula (out for the season) and wide receiver Terrelle Pryor to an ankle injury (likely out for the season). Now, will the team from Washington miss Pryor and his staggering 20 catches for 240 yards? Probably not. But they’ll certainly miss Thompson who was second on the team in rushing—64 carries for 294 yards and two touchdowns—and tied for first in receptions with Jamison Crowder—39 catches on 54 targets for 510 yards and four touchdowns. I think they’ll be missing him.
Between the two of them, Thompson and Pryor accounted for 26% of Kirk Cousins’ targets so far this season. So, natural question that everyone is thinking: where will all those looks go?
Enter Josh Doctson.
Yes, the second year wide receiver who spent his rookie year injured and the first part of this year underwhelming is the man who’ll ultimately save this Washington offense. Well, maybe not save. He’ll contribute in a big way. What he’ll save is your fantasy playoff hopes and dreams.
Over the last three games, Doctson has been targeted 19 times for 11 catches and 170 yards. Now compare that to the first seven games of the season when he was only targeted a total of 17 times for eight catches and 130 yards. His role on the team has drastically increased because of injuries but also just due his improved performance.
Doctson came into the league heralded as a big body receiver who can catch highly contested, 50-50 balls. We’ve seen flashes of this ability so far this season, with Sunday’s game against the Saints as a prime example. Per NFL’s Next-Gen stats, Doctson only created 1.6 yards of separation per catch Sunday, but still managed to catch 57 percent of his targets, meaning he was pulling in highly contested balls. Look no further than this catch he made against P.J. Williams down the sideline. Williams is all over him, yet he’s able to out muscle the smaller corner for the ball and go up and get it.
He’s not only making amazing catches, he’s also making amazing catches at the most important moments. Against the Seahawks back in Week 9, Doctson laid out to catch this ball to get Washington knocking on the goal-line down four with a minute left in the 4th quarter IN SEATTLE.
This is how you gain a quarterback’s trust. And Doctson certainly has Cousins’ trust.
After the Saints game, Cousins praised Doctson for his ability to catch contested balls.
“Josh did a phenomenal job and we have talked about it,” Cousins said. “We have said that is something he does really well. We need to continue to give him opportunities.”
Do you hear that? That’s the sound of Doctson’s targets and fantasy stock skyrocketing. Climb aboard the bandwagon before there’s no more space!
For those who are receiver needy, Doctson is clearly a guy to get on your team. He’s owned in only 28 percent of Yahoo! leagues and 29 percent of ESPN leagues. But that’s not all! If you act now, you’ll be able to get Doctson in time for Washington to take on the Giants who have one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL, despite what Sunday’s game against the Chiefs showed us.
With Chris Thompson out, Kirk Cousins will be looking for a new favorite target. Don’t be surprised if Doctson out muscles everyone for that title.