Spotlight - WR Chris Chambers, Miami Dolphins
Posted 8/22 by Jason Wood and Cecil Lammey,
Exclusive to Footballguys.com
Jason Wood's Thoughts
Will this FINALLY be the year? Seemingly every year the fantasy football community gets excited about Chambers and points out all his strengths (speed, scoring ability, ability to beat press coverage) while brushing aside his faults (size, inconsistency). The argument is usually..."Look at what he did playing with [Insert QB] at the helm in [insert conservative playbook] offense, imagine what he could do if he had some help!"
Here's the thing...sometimes if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and smells like a duck, it's a duck. And in this case Chambers looks a lot more like a good, not great, NFL receiver and marginal fantasy contributor.
Yes, I know that he's been hamstrung by Dave Wannstedt and the passel of Miami QBs. And I readily admit that new HC Nick Saban and OC Scott Linehan (from Minnesota) represent material upgrades. BUT, Miami still doesn't appear to have a QB...Gus Frerotte is winning the battle against A.J. Feeley by default, but Frerotte looks barely equipped to suit up himself. The Dolphins line remains in flux, and is probably a season away from playing at the level Saban and OL Coach Hudson Houck expect.
Chambers supporters like to point out that the Dolphins were not a passing team the last few years. While this is absolutely true, Chambers has been targeted PLENTY. In fact, his 138 targets a season ago were tied for 7th in the AFC. He got enough looks to produce. To give you an idea...the other WRs targeted between 130 and 140 times last year were: Marvin Harrison, Andre Johnson, Jimmy Smith, Jerry Porter, Rod Smith, Torry Holt and Donald Driver. Take a look at what they achieved with the same number of targets and tell me again how Chambers hasn't been thrown to enough to make his mark.
In the same vein, Chambers finished outside the top 40 in "big catches" (i.e., 25+ yard receptions) AND YAC (yards after the catch). Simply put, the guy doesn't make many plays, and you can't blame it all on the quarterbacking.
- 28 TD catches in 62 games is excellent, particularly in the confines of the Dave Wannstedt-era Dolphins
- HC Nick Saban and OC Scott Linehan should have substantial long-term impact on the productivity of the offense
- Wasn't in the top 40 in YAC or 25+ yard receptions despite being targeted as many times as many of the game's elite receivers
- Although his coaching situation appears much improved, his QB situation remains dismal
- Has one top 20 fantasy season and ZERO 1,000 yard seasons in four years...it's time we started recognizing him for the average producer he is
I think Chris Chambers is talented enough to start for a handful of teams in the NFL. But I don't believe he's a Pro Bowler waiting for his big opportunity; looking a bit below the surface tells you otherwise. He hasn't had the most advantageous circumstances throughout his career, BUT, he's been thrown to enough times that he should have done more than what we've seen of him. When he does get the ball, he's not explosive...limited impact in terms of big catches, making people miss or making yards after the catch. He does seem better-than-average as a TD producer, and that can cure a lot of ills in fantasy circles. But with Gus Frerotte and A.J. Feeley struggling again in camp, I think it's going to be another long year for Chambers hopefuls. Don't fall into the same trap.
Cecil Lammey's Thoughts
Chris Chambers has long been the only Miami WR worth drafting. Coming to the Dolphins from the University of Wisconsin, Chambers has shown improvement throughout his career. The time is now for Chambers to make the move, and either show that he belongs in the Pro Bowl, or show that he will merely be a role player.
Chambers is all about the big play. He plays larger than his 5í11Ē frame. His long arms and great leaping ability enable him to go up and get passes other WRís couldnít catch. Heís got the speed to go deep, and the hands to make any catch. Chambers is a smooth athlete that is very good after the catch and has a good burst in and out of cuts.
If only he had a better QB throwing him the ball. Heís had average, or below average QBís throwing to him his entire career. This has led to him having inconsistent receiving numbers. New OC Scott Linehan (from the Vikings) has promised to make the deep pass a staple in the Dolphinís offense. Chambers is on the cusp of being a great receiver, but in order to take the next step a few more things must change in Miami.
The offensive line must protect the QB better. Chambers is a great deep receiver, but it takes time for those routes to develop. The Miami QBís must have enough time to see the play develop and get the ball downfield.
Whoever wins the QB job in Miami must trust in Chambers. A.J. Feeley has had a year experience throwing to Chambers, but Gus Frerotte comes from Linehanís offense from his time in Minnesota. Chambers will catch anything that is close to him and does a good job of setting up defenders and getting open to make the big catch. Frerotte is a more seasoned veteran and looks to have a slight edge over Feeley right now.
Chambers is an improving route runner, but he must become more consistent. Too often he is seen breaking late on his cuts, and that leads to making his catches more difficult than they need to be.
- Has shown the ability to be a big time receiver
- New OC will get the ball deep on a regular basis
- Gets plenty of targets per game as the teamís #1 WR
- Has great concentration
- Inconsistent, often disappearing from games
- Sometimes let his route running get poor
- Not overly tall or strong
Chambers is right on the brink of becoming a lower 1st tier receiver. He has yet to hit the 1,000 yard mark in a season, but seems ready for a breakout. The Miami offense will look to him to be a top receiver this year. Chambers has the opportunity and the skill set to take it to the next level. It remains to be seen if he will do that in 2005.
Quotations from the Message Board Thread
To view the entire Player Spotlight thread (there's a ton of fantastic commentary in there),
Chambers is one of my favorite players to watch. He's not tall, but he has great leaping ability, speed, and can turn a short pass into a huge gain in a hurry. He has top 5 WR skills, the only thing holding him back IMO is poor quarterback play and a conservative offense. This year the offense is supposed to be more wide open, which could lead to more opportunities for Chambers. I think this season he puts it all together, though the QBs will have a lot to say about that...
I think his numbers do improve this year due to getting the Vikings OC from last year but I still wouldn't think of putting Chambers in the top ten. I could argue top 15 and feel confident of saying top 20 but the thing that I've always not like about Chambers is his inconsistency. He'll go one game with one or 2 catches and 30 to 50 yards and then explode for 120 and 2.
Personally I'd be more excited about Chambers if his role were to catch underneath stuff and make plays as opposed to running the deeper routes that stretch the field. Deeper passes are tougher to complete, especially with marginal QBs, shoddy OL play, and a rookie RB in pass protection.
Chris Chambers Projections
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