Curtis Samuel: Diving Into Mediocrity

Curtis Samuel: Diving Into Mediocrity

The Ascension

Curtis Samuel is coming off of a career year in Joe Brady’s offense and used in a role that he was previously not. Under that role, Samuel was able to attain the WR23 position. He averaged fantasy points per game (AFPG) 15.52  and had a median fantasy points per game (MFPG) of 13.25. Now before I go on, I want you to read this article, “Could Median Points Per Game be The Future of Fantasy Football Analysis.” To summarize this article, his philosophy is that to understand a holistic view better; you need to weigh AFPG versus MFPG. This quote from the article sums it up “Any time a player’s median is greater than their average, they are scoring more points on a more consistent basis.” This means for Samuel that he thrived on more boom games instead of being a consistent contributor.

New Destination … New Opportunity?

Curtis Samuel opted to leave Carolina to find his new home as a part of the Washington Football Team. Samuel left a 19.3-percent target share that year, moving into a team with no vacated targets while adding a 3rd round wide receiver Dyami Brown and veteran Adam Humphries. Last year the Washington Football Team had 573 pass attempts; 52-percent of those attempts went to wide receivers, 28.09-percent of those attempts to running backs, and 19.89-percent of those attempts to the tight end. Terry McLaurin took just over half of that target share for wide receivers with 25.5-percent. Samuel has two things that are starting to get managers excited for him. First, he went to a team with an innovative play-caller and a head coach familiar with him. The second is that the new quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick, is going to take a much different approach than he has seen in his entire career, as he is someone who is not afraid to take chances.

Into The Numbers

Projections will be brought up later, but first, let’s take a look into his efficiency numbers to see if a low opportunity is a disaster for him. I will use one year of efficiency data simply because that was the year he had his breakout. Thanks to, we can take an in-depth look into how he performed in 2020.

Curtis Samuel Opportunity Ratings

  • 70.9-percent Snap Share (No.71)

  • 19.3-percent Target Share (No. 43)

  • 7.2 Average Depth of Target (No.98)

  • 694 Air Yards (No.65)

  • 12 Red Zone Targets (No.31)

Samuel Productivity Ratings

  • 77 receptions (No.21)

  • 844 Receiving Yards (No.31)

  • 507 Completed Air Yards (No.42)

  • 337 Yards After the Catch (No.22)

  • 5 Total Touchdowns (No.35)

  • 14.1 Fantasy Points Per Game (No.27)

Samuel Efficiency Ratings

  • 8.7 Yards per Target (No.42)

  • 1.98 Yards per Route Run (No.28)

  • 92.8-percent True Catch Rate (No.12)

  • 1.61 Target Separation (No.60)

  • 2.18 Fantasy Point Per Target (No.12)

  • 0.49 Fantasy Points Per Route Run (No.19)

Okay, so a lot of numbers right here; let me break down what I am seeing. From an NFL standpoint, Curtis Samuel’s opportunity was anything but impressive, which makes sense given how the 2020 season turned out for the Panthers. Samuel’s efficiency is impressive given how low his opportunity was, which given his 2020 season, is not a surprise. As far as Samuel’s efficiency rating, it raises some concern for me. He rated highly in sections that I see as very volatile given Sameul’s MFPG/AFPG. More specifically, his fantasy efficiency numbers are what I consider unlikely to be replicated. Last season, Samuel crested eight targets six times. In those games, he averaged 73.5 yards per game. In the other games, he averaged 45.55 yards per game. His efficiency will not be the death knell it could be, but it is not giving him an easy path to fantasy success. If Samuel wants to be successful with the Washington Football Team, he is going to need to find a way to create more fantasy success with fewer targets.

Projecting The 2021 Season

Here are my projections at this point for Curtis Samuels next season; you can see a breakdown below.

I bumped the Washington Football team (WFT) up half a play per game to get to 63 plays a 

game. I also anticipate WFT to be in positive game scripts, leading to a 3-percent passing decrease, finishing at 57% of a passing ratio. I am projecting the WFT to throw for 612 attempts, good for 36 attempts per game. I slightly struggled with Samuels target share, but I think that a 19-percent target share would project Samuel to finish the season with 116 targets. Last year Samuel Catch rate of 78%. I project the same thing this year simply because this point is rather sticky, and if anything, it could potentially increase. This means Samuel will finish the season at projected 90 catches. Factoring in an average depth of target at 6.5 yards and around 3 yards after the catch. I am projecting Samuel to average 8.5 yards per reception. Which projects Samuel to have 801 total yards, which averages at 47.11 yards per game, which is similar to his last year average. As a rusher, I don’t foresee Samuel getting a lot of work since they’ve got such a good duo with Antonio Gibson and JD McKissic. I am projecting Samuel to have 30 rushes this season at around 4.5 yards per carry. Which projects Samuel to finish the season with 135 rushing yards. I am also projecting Samuel to finish with six touchdowns. With such a balanced offense, I don’t see him getting a positive touchdown regression.

Curtis Samuel is currently projecting with 217.9 fantasy points, which is an average of 12.5 fantasy points a game. Which projects Samuels to WR 28 region.

What Do We Do?

Factoring in the projections currently outlined what we saw last year is what I think Curtis Samuels ceiling is. I want to bring up the median v average scoring again. Last year Samuel had a lower median scoring than average scoring. Which if you read that article meant, he is less likely to score his weekly average or above his weekly average. This then creates an unstable weekly player for me. In best ball he’s a great addition, but he won’t be delivering a safe floor on your teams. Samuels value to me is that he is a moderate upside below average floor player. The advantage here is that people are interpreting Samuels new situation as a net positive when I have outlined why it is not. What you do with Samuels is up to your discretion, but hoping for him to take an additional step from last year is a fool’s errand. In fact, holding out he will have another finish better than wide receiver 25 is not a bet I’d make.

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