2016 Player Outlook: Torrey Smith

Dan Gorski
@TheDanGorski
When Opportunity Knocks

One of the biggest factors to look at in fantasy football when drafting players is opportunity. What kind of opportunity does a player have to accumulate significant fantasy points? Can you find these opportunities later in the draft rounds to help you succeed in 2016? This season, San Fransisco 49er’s wide receiver, Torrey Smith, is Mr. opportunity. Since Torrey Smith debuted in the NFL in 2011 with the Baltimore Ravens, he has had only one season with under 700 yards receiving. That season was last year, his first year with the 49ers, in what was San Fransisco’s worst season in a long time. Heading into his second year as the number one wide receiver with San Fransisco, Smith could be in line for a much improved NFL and fantasy season.

Smith’s 2013 & 2014 Production

Before 2015, Torrey Smith had 1,895 yards receiving and 15 touchdowns in his previous 2 seasons (2013 & 2014). He was targeted 232 in those two years which averages out to 116 targets a season. I can easily see Smith getting back to that production this season on a team that can expect to air it out more than they would like to. When Torrey Smith is the quarterback’s number one receiver, he truly handles the work load. In 2013, as Joe Flacco’s main man, he was targeted a whopping 139 times and made 65 receptions. Smith has also played in a very high percentage of games throughout his career and can truly handle the duties of a workhorse wide receiver.

What 2016 Could Bring

Heading into the 2016 season, Torrey Smith is in line to be the number one receiving option in Chip Kelly’s high-octane offensive scheme. Smith’s only competitor for receptions is Bruce Ellington, and former Bengals WR, Jerome Simpson. Chip Kelly is well known for his fast-paced offensive schemes, focusing around the run and quick passes. What most people don’t realize and tend to overlook is that Chip Kelly loves using his top receiver. San Fransisco will have to throw the ball a ton if they want to have a chance to stay competitive and the beneficiary is non-other than Torrey Smith.

Number One Wide Receivers Under Chip Kelly

Chip Kelly has been known to lean heavily on his number one wide receivers. Stat history (targets-receptions) will show that Desean Jackson (126-82), Jeremy Maclin (143-85) & Jordan Matthews (126-85), all posted career numbers in both targets and receptions when given the chance to be the number 1 wide receiver in Chip Kelly’s offense. With Torrey Smith showing that he can produce when given the targets and Chip Kelly’s history of favoring his number one receiver, I see big things for Smith in 2016. Currently, Smith is being drafted with an ADP of 108 overall in most leagues. This is a great price to pay for this caliber of player and the high ceiling he is sure to have this season. However, if you can wait it out, and snag him a couple rounds later, it will be a sure-fire steal and a win for your fantasy football team in 2016.

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