Cordarrelle Patterson’s fantasy football stock has never been higher.
In the last month alone, the second-year Vikings receiver has jumped to the top of the fourth round, based on his average draft position. Expect that to increase with the news that fellow wide receiver Jerome Simpson will be suspended for three games, which could further increase Patteron’s opportunities.
On a recent podcast with Bill Simmons, Matthew Berry joked that he was thinking of changing his daughter’s name to Cordarrelle, such is the hype surrounding Patterson. You also can’t discount the I-drafted-him-before-he-was-a-star factor either.
Patteron’s perception can be attributed to two individuals— Norv Turner and Josh Gordon. Turner is Minnesota’s new offensive coordinator and the person credited with doubling Gordon’s receiving yards (from 805 to 1,646).
The similarities between the two are obvious. Gordon’s jump came in his second year, Patterson is entering his second year. Gordon is 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, Patterson is 6-foot-2, 22o pounds. Both notched 4.4 times in the 40-yard dash. And so on.
But are we overvaluing Turner’s effect and being too optimistic with Patterson’s projections?
For context, I looked at how the top wide receivers fared at Norv Turner’s previous stops — San Diego (’01), Miami, San Francisco and Cleveland. I limited the comparison to the years Turner worked as an offensive coordinator, as that will be his position with the Vikings, and to receivers that played both years.
In comparison to the other receivers, Gordon’s massive jump stands out as an outlier. In fact, the only other receivers to increase their production under Turner were Curtis Conway and Arnaz Battle.
Fortunately for Patterson and his fantasy owners, many wide receivers peak in year two. However, it would be a stretch to expect Patterson to be the second-coming of Gordon next year. Since 2000, only five receivers besides Gordon have posted 1,600 receiving yards and at least nine touchdowns in their second seasons— Marvin Harrison, Torry Holt, Calvin Johnson, Randy Moss and Rod Smith.
The other key difference between Gordon and Patterson is their rookie seasons— Gordon had nearly twice as many receiving yards as Patterson. He will have to improve considerably over his rookie numbers — 469 yards, 4 TDs — to justify his current draft position ahead of receivers like Desean Jackson, Michael Floyd, Torrey Smith and Emmanuel Sanders.
He may be capable of such an improvement, just don’t assume that it’s a given based on Turner.