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What You Need to Know:
-Anderson returned value as a late-round pick in 2020 drafts. Across 16 games, he finished as the PPR WR20. He finished inside the top-20 7 times.
-A deep threat with the Jets, Anderson’s role changed under 1st year HC Matt Rhule/OC Joe Brady. His average depth of target was easily a career-low (9.8).
-New QB Teddy Bridgewater helped Anderson post another massive career-high — a 70.9% catch rate.
-Anderson — who played college ball under Rhule at Baylor — led the Panthers with a big 25.8% target share. DJ Moore ranked 2nd on the team with 22.5% (15 games).
-He endured some tough luck in the TD department, scoring only 3 times on 95 catches (3.1%). He led the Panthers with a 21.8% RZ target share.
-Anderson entered last year with a career TD rate of 7.6%. Expect a bounce there.
-Carolina lost 97 targets with the offseason departure of Curtis Samuel.
-Some will trickle down to Anderson and Moore. But Carolina used a Round 2 pick on do-it-all LSU WR Terrace Marshall. If his health cooperates, Marshall should see 50+ targets.
-Dan Arnold arrived in free agency to boost the TE group. Christian McCaffrey will look to stay healthy after playing a career-low 3 games in 2020. If he bounces back — as we expect — look for Anderson’s 8.5 targets per game to drop.
-Sam Darnold arrives to reunite with Anderson, a go-to target from their time in New York. Across a 163 target sample with Darnold, Anderson’s posted 88-1,353-11. Anderson’s average depth of target stood at 15.7 — quite a departure from his 2020 tally.
-Carolina ranked mid-pack in pass rate last year (57.5%). We don’t forecast much change in year 2 with Rhule/Brady.
Draft Sharks Bottom Line
Surprisingly, Anderson out-produced DJ Moore in 2020. He filled a short-range role in an up-and-coming offense led by HC Matt Rhule and OC Joe Brady. The result was a career-best fantasy finish (WR20).
2021 should find him in a similar role. And this time, he’ll catch passes from someone he’s familiar with: Sam Darnold. While Darnold’s accuracy remains a weakness, volume should propel Anderson to another low-end WR2/WR3 finish. He’s still a value selection with an ADP in Round 8.