Berry sees Wentz as ‘massive’ for McLaurin’s fantasy value originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
To understand what a baseline for Terry McLaurin’s fantasy production in 2022 might be, look no further than the season Michael Pittman Jr. had last year.
Carson Wentz is the starting quarterback in Washington after putting together an up-and-down season with the Indianapolis Colts. The Commanders acquired him with hopes of putting a stop to the QB carousel that has seen Taylor Heinicke, Alex Smith, Dwayne Haskins, Kyle Allen and Case Keenum start multiple games since McLaurin broke into the league in 2019.
The talented wideout is entering his age-27 season with the bag secured after negotiating a three-year extension worth up to $71 million this summer. McLaurin has finished as the WR24, WR23 and WR24 in PPR scoring in each of his three seasons to date, but he’s ranked WR17 by FantasyPros heading into 2022.
NBC Sports fantasy analyst Matthew Berry sat down with NBC Sports Washington’s Wes Hall and discussed the rise in McLaurin’s draft value this season.
“I think he’s a top-15 fantasy wide receiver,” Berry said. “Whatever you think of Carson Wentz, and I know thoughts are out there on all aspects, Carson Wentz is the best quarterback Terry will have ever played with and it’s not close.”
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“Think about Carson Wentz, who supported Michael Pittman last year and helped elevate his game in a significant way last year. I think McLaurin, there’s a reason he got paid the money he did, over 1,000 yards, he’s a fantastic wide receiver that has managed to survive despite, shall we say, inconsistent quarterback play. I’ll be kind there. I think the addition of Carson Wentz is just massive for the fantasy value of Terry McLaurin.”
So, back to Pittman. The Colts’ second-year wide receiver had a breakout season in 2021 as Wentz’s primary option in the passing game. He finished the year with 88 catches for 1,082 yards and six touchdowns on a 25.7% target share, good enough for WR17 in PPR with an even 14 fantasy points per game.
McLaurin is a more established player than Pittman and there’s an argument to be made that the Commanders WR is the more talented of the two. His target share of 24.3% in 2021 with Heinicke at the helm bodes well for McLaurin getting the volume in Scott Turner’s offense that’s necessary for putting up high-end WR2 numbers.
While the Commanders are still going to be a run-heavy team — just like the Colts were last season — the biggest competition for targets in their offense will be rookie WR Jahan Dotson, a pair of pass catchers coming off injury in WR Curtis Samuel and TE Logan Thomas as well as RBs Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic. McLaurin’s target share should be secure.
If Wentz can produce at a similar clip to what he did in Indianapolis, McLaurin will be in a position to build on his numbers from last season, when he finished with 1,053 yards and five touchdowns on 77 receptions.