Rookie Watch: Philly's Maclin could be a gem for fantasy owners
Michael Crabtree's injury was supposed to send University of Missouri underclassman Jeremy Maclin into the top 10 on draft weekend, but it didn't happen. Instead, Maclin watched as Oakland snagged Darrius Heyward-Bey and San Francisco snapped up Crabtree. By the time Philadelphia was on the clock at pick No. 19, no one could believe Maclin was still available. The upside? A better team, a more friendly passing offense, and a better quarterback to work with.
Dissecting the depth chart: What will Donovan McNabb do with all of these weapons? The Eagles' receiving corps has gone from thin to thick in a blink, and Maclin will enter camp having to compete against Kevin Curtis, Reggie Brown, Jason Avant, Hank Baskett and 2008 rookie stud DeSean Jackson. Many fantasy owners expect Maclin will rise up the depth chart quickly. Jackson led the team last year with 62 receptions, but he is not a possession receiver, nor is he as disciplined of a football player as Maclin. The bottom line, though, is that there are plenty of balls to go around in Philadelphia. The Eagles were one of just four NFL teams to register 600-plus passing attempts in 2008, and that will probably be the case again this year.
Just the stats: In a thick group of Tigers receivers Maclin stood out. Last season he caught 102 passes for 1,260 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also was Missouri's second leading rusher with 293 yards on 40 carries (two touchdowns). Maclin's elusiveness in the open field makes him a threat to score each time he touches the football, and the fact that he posted 10 games with 100 or more yards during his final 20 appearance as a Tiger should suggest to fantasy owners that he has plenty of big-game potential. His best game? Take your pick. Was it his performance against Nevada last September when he raced for 172 yards on just six catches and found the end zone three times? Or could it have been the October meeting with Kansas State (eight catches for 118 yards and two touchdowns, four carries for 84 yards and a score)?
2008 rookie comparison: DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles. Jackson's numbers as a rookie were solid (62 catches, 912 yards, two touchdowns) even if he didn't always make sound decisions on the field. The Eagles have another dynamic playmaker in Maclin, who is a more polished receiver. Fantasy owners may not get the same number of yards seeing the Eagles are now stocked at receiver, but one area where he'll out-perform Jackson is in touchdowns. Maclin should be expected to post at least a handful -- the total registered by Denver's Eddie Royal last year.
Interesting fact that won't help you: Maclin was an honorable mention all-state basketball player as a junior at Missouri's Kirkwood High School. Playing guard, he averaged 13 points, five assists and four steals a game.
What he's worth: Maclin is a midlevel fantasy receiver, ideal as a No. 4 with good upside. His Average Rapid Draft Position (ARDP), however, suggests fantasy owners have not yet taken a liking to him. Through mid-June Maclin has been the 58th fantasy wide receiver selected on average, and 148th overall. By comparison, fantasy owners have preferred his teammates. DeSean Jackson has been the 26th wide receiver selected on average, 72nd overall; Kevin Curtis has been the 51st wide receiver selected on average, 138th overall.
Give him time. Maclin couldn't have landed on a better team, and of all of the 2009 rookie fantasy wide receivers, he may offer fantasy owners the most production right out of the gate.
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