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Cordarrelle Patterson, Oasis or Mirage?

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Cordarrelle Patterson has been making an impact anywhere he lines up. This has fantasy managers asking, “Is he a mirage or an oasis?”


The start to Cordarrelle Patterson’s season has created a ton of buzz not just in the NFL, but the fantasy community. We all know that Patterson is one of the best kick returners in NFL history, but it’s what he’s doing offensively this season that everyone is talking about.

Patterson, the Swiss Army Knife of the NFL, can do it all, whether is returning kicks, catching passes, or running the rock, he is a dangerous weapon. The big question in the fantasy world is he an oasis or a mirage?

Past

How Patterson is being used is nothing new as he’s been used like this going all the way back to his college days at the Unversity of Tennessee. So why all the fuss you ask? Well, it started this year when on some fantasy sites he earned dual eligibility as a running back. Not sure why that caused such a stir, but it did, however, get me thinking and taking a closer look.

The first thing I noticed is the lack of full commitment by the offenses he previously played in. The Atlanta Falcons have shown so far, that they are willing to stay committed to giving Patterson this type of workload. 

Patterson’s per-game averages in target carries, and overall touches are career-best to this point, especially in the rushing department. This increase in touches has resulted in an increase in his production, which has caught the attention of fantasy managers everywhere.

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We all know that Patterson is one of the elite kick returners of all time and we have seen his former teams, such as New England and Chicago use him more as an offensive weapon. However, even they didn’t stay committed to it all season and in the games they did, it wasn’t at the current pace the Falcons are using him.

In his four years with the Vikings, Patterson was primarily a receiver/returner. His one season with the Raiders is hardly worth mentioning. New England was the first to truly see his total value and use him more in the running game. That season he would receive 42 rushes for 228 rushing yards.

Last year, Chicago gave him 64 carries that he would turn into 232 yards rushing, which is his personal best headed into this season. They’re not eye-popping numbers but I wanted to show them as a reference. 

Present

Now, we take a look at this year and the pace is on with Atlanta. Through four games, Patterson is averaging 6.2 targets and 8.2 carries per game in the Falcon offense. Multiply that out over a full season (don’t forget it’s 17 games now) and here is what we get 105.4 targets and 139.4 carries. Both of those would easily be career highs.

As you can see, the Falcons are feeding him the ball way more than other teams did in the past. So with the increased touches has come the increased production. Patterson is running the ball more, but he’s also increased his yards per catch average (11.8). His catch percentage (80.6) has been 80 plus for the last two seasons.

Now, you start factoring in these numbers for the season at this pace and which project to shatter his personal best. Patterson is tracking to finish the season with 85 catches, 1,003 receiving yards, 139 carries, and 588 rushing yards. 

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That’s potentially an amazing season for a player who’s never been really featured as an offensive. Now you add in his value as a kick returner and you can see why he’s a legit fantasy weapon. What about touchdowns you ask?

Coming into this season Patterson had 18 total (10 receiving and eight rushing) offensive touchdowns, but already has five (four receiving and one rushing) this year. He had a two-touchdown game versus Tampa Bay and a three-touchdown game versus Washington. 

I purposely kept the touchdown output separate show I could show you his basic fantasy value. Patterson will unlikely be able to keep up his one touchdowns per game pace, but he’s already tied his personal best in receiving TDs and is on pace to break his mark for rushing TDs (3).

Even if you dial back Patterson’s scoring output, I can see him having a double-digit scoring year. Patterson is already halfway there and still has 12 more games to play.

Fantasy Outlook

The Falcons don’t have much at the RB position, other than Mike Davis, who isn’t anything special, so expect the carries to continue. Then when you look at the pace he’s on stat-wise, the way Atlanta has committed to him offensively, and his eligibility as RB, he is absolutely a great flex option for your fantasy teams.

Is Patterson the next Christian McCaffrey? No. Is he the next Davante Adams? No. But he is a triple-threat weapon that if he can give me the 1000/500/10 season, then I’ll take it without question. So is he a mirage or an oasis? The answer is an oasis! I put out a Twitter poll asking what everyone’s thoughts were on Patterson and here are the results.


Thanks for reading my article. I am a member of the FSWA (Fantasy Sports Writers of America). You can read more of my articles on my IDP Guys author page. Follow me on Twitter at @HollywoodTitan, on Facebook on my IDPNation page, on Reddit in the fantasy football IDP sub — I’m user KingTitan1 — and tune in each week and listen to IDP Nation and Devy IDP Grind, the podcasts that I co-host, on several different platforms. Feel free to hit me up with any questions that you have, as I’m always glad to help fellow IDPers. #IDPNation #IDP #IDPDevy.

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