The Miami Dolphins’ second-best receiver returned to action on Sunday, with DeVante Parker returning to action after a four-game absence. He hit the ground running, turning in a five-catch, 62-yard effort. But, with the Miami Dolphins hitting their bye week, should you hang onto DeVante Parker? Is he a must-start wide receiver for the fantasy football playoffs? Let’s explore DeVante Parker’s 2021 and figure that out.
First, DeVante Parker has been insanely injured this year. He’s lucky that Will “shattered hand” Fuller is on the team, or he would win the award for Most Frustrating Dolphin (though that’s actually Myles Gaskin, I digress). Parker has two different stints missing games due to a hamstring injury this year, missing weeks 5 – 7 and 9 – 12. While the one-game return and reinjury is certainly a cause for concern, you have to figure that they wouldn’t have rushed him back twice in one year. So far, he’s played just six games this season, meaning you won’t find him near the top of any leaderboards this far into the year, and his roster rate is just about 40%.
But check out his per-game statistics and you get a better idea of what we are dealing with when it comes to DeVante Parker. All told, Parker is top-24 in targets, receptions, and yards, averaging eight targets, five catches, and 64.8 yards per game this year. That puts him just 1.5 catches and a half-yard behind fantasy must-start teammate Jaylen Waddle in all these categories (9 targets, 6.5 catches, and 65.3 yards per game). Waddle currently sits as PPR WR17 on the season. But, given that Parker has just six games under his belt this season, it would be easy to say that one or two blowup games drove his value. This just isn’t true.
First, his five catches for 62 yards that he totaled in week thirteen are his relative floor, as his true worst fantasy game this year was four catches for 42 yards. He also did it on a season-low in targets… five. In every other game this year, he averaged between 7 and 11 targets, notching 4+ catches in every game this year, and with yardage totals between 42 and 81 all season long. There is no “blow up” game that is driving Parker’s value and hiding otherwise terrible games.
So, Parker has been extremely consistent this season. His only problem is that he has just one touchdown, but that could change. He carries just two ten-zone targets this season, but one of them turned into his touchdown. At 6’3” and 219 pounds, and carrying a top-ten contested catch rate, it’s hard to see QB Tua Tagovailoa having a better wide receiver option in the end zone than Parker. So, the touchdowns should come.
But, here’s the rub: DeVante Parker has a bye week next week, so you’re eating a goose egg there, and then he returns for weeks fifteen through seventeen, the fantasy football playoffs. Can you trust him in those games? I would say yes, as he takes on the Jets, the Saints, and the Titans in that timeframe. Over the last five weeks, the Jets rank second in fantasy points per game allowed to wide receivers, the Saints rank fourth, and the Titans rank seventh. I mean, that’s it, as the kids say… that’s the tweet.
DeVante Parker will get you zero fantasy points in week fourteen, as he has a stupidly late bye. But to answer the question that brought you here: absolutely, you should be rostering DeVante Parker in the playoffs. When healthy, he is among the most targeted wide receivers in the league, barely behind teammate Jaylen Waddle in both categories. You should hang onto DeVante Parker through the bye, and you should snap him up should your DeVante Parker manager drop him through his bye.