Denzel Mims is going to be good. Averaging 18.2 yards per catch over the past three weeks, Mims has been on the verge of delivering fantasy starter value during each of these games. With four weeks left in the fantasy season, Mims has three matchups where his production could take the next step, but even if it doesn't happen, his time is coming.
At the same time, the Jets are bad, and there aren't signs this situation is getting better. Do you write off a talented player in this situation?
Terry McClaurin, Robby Anderson, and Darius Slayton are recent examples of receivers thriving on an individual level despite playing for struggling organizations and tied to subpar quarterback play. All three share traits in common with Mims:
- They're all vertical threats who can win one-on-one against single coverage.
- All three win contested plays.
- They are bad-ball catchers with a dynamic catch radius.
- They're threats in the open field.
On the surface, this sounds like a description of 90 percent of starting NFL receivers in the NFL. While true that 90 percent of NFL receivers in starting lineups share at least 2-3 of these traits, fewer possess 4-5. And even fewer are well-rounded route runners with a wide range of skills to defeat the jam at the line of scrimmage.
Mims has work to do as a route runner, but he's a player that has already demonstrated a student of the game's approach to route development while at Baylor. This is a much longer video than most of you will have time to watch, but it documents Mims' improvement over the course of three years in college, and it sets a baseline of optimism that Mims will continue developing his craft during his pro career.
What about this year? What about Mims' game has translated well to the NFL?
After studying his past four games, there are three qualities that consistently stand out as positives:
- Wide Catch Radius: Whether the target is high, low, wide, or placed at an awkward spot into his frame, Mims displays the technique and coordination to win the football.
- Owning the Boundary: This is a vital skill for a vertical receiver with Mims' speed. He doesn't hug the sideline early in his routes, which gives his quarterback more room to deliver the football. It also allows Mims to earn late separation on the horizontal plane and not just the vertical plane.
- Defeating the Jam: While this skill can always get better, Mims has a growing toolbox of release techniques that are efficient and effective.
These three qualities are what you'll see in this short video on Mims' recent performances as an NFL rookie.
Video and Graphics Editing by Peter Gumas
Inquiries: Alex Hanowitz (email@example.com)
With Mims' track record of continuous development, speed, skill in contested situations, he's the type of prospect who has a chance to be relatively bulletproof to the disappointing performance of his organization. During the past four games, there have been opportunities for where Mims was within the realm of elevating his production to the starter tier with a slightly better throw from his quarterback or withstanding a last-second swipe to the ball from the coverage in a difficult target scenario.
The Jets face the Raiders, Seahawks, Rams, and Browns during the stretch run for fantasy leagues. The Rams have a top defense in terms of fantasy points allowed to wide receivers. The Raiders are near the league average in this category while the Browns in Week 16 and Seahawks in Week 14 are among the most generous in the league.
Mims may not experience an end-of-year breakout this year, but he's playing well even if the box score totals are just 1-2 targets shy of fantasy value. Even so, his potential for building on his early showings is worth consideration for teams that need an extra receiver due to injury, Tampa's late bye week, or the possibility of an integral starter earning a rest in Week 16 due to a first-round bye in the NFL playoffs.
Whether it's this year or next, Mims' is time is coming. Take advantage now while lesser fantasy GMs are still assessing his talent based on the helmet logo.