Inevitably, in fantasy and in reality, teams are required to adopt the “next man up” mentality at some point during the season. While some franchises have the depth to effectively fulfill this mantra, it’s almost always an easier said than done proposition. However, there are times that a slightly above average talent can quickly step up and easily fill the shoes of a coveted talent. With Dolphins wideout DaVante Parker suffering from an ankle injury that has held him out of the last two games, third-string wide receiver Kenny Stills has functioned more like a star pass-catcher rather than simply a replacement level weapon.
Team: Miami Dolphins
Position: Wide Receiver
Percent Owned On Fantasy Teams: (Yahoo Fantasy): 49%
Fantasy Points Total Thru Week 7 (Half PPR): Projected: 52.99 Actual: 58.80
Not only has Stills come into his own in the absence of Parker, he has actually made his respective quarterbacks look sensational whenever he has been targeted (QB rating when targeted: 123.5, 7th amongst receivers). This impressive production has been due largely in part to Stills being fearless when catching contested balls, something that has helped both Matt Moore an Jay Cutler be more proficient than they normally are (75% contested catch rate, third amongst receivers).
As a result of his playmaking ability, Stills has been one of the best in terms of production premium, meaning he is effective in league average situations (6th amongst receivers in this regard). Despite being targeted only five times while in the red zone (24th amongst receivers), he has converted four of those targets into touchdowns (8th amongst receivers). This type of big-play ability allows Stills to be relied upon as both a deep threat and as a sure-handed pass catcher in the end zone.
While Stills may not receive the same volume in terms of target shares once Parker returns, it’s hard to imagine the confident wideout being shelved considering what he has done in the limited time he has been on the field. Assuming Parker is out for this week, Stills is an intriguing wide receiver two play and should be a week-to-week flex play going forward.