Terrace Marshall 2021 Fantasy & Dynasty Outlook with Panthers

Terrace Marshall 2021 Fantasy & Dynasty Outlook with Panthers article feature image
Credit:

Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images. Pictured: Terrace Marshall

Terrace Marshall Fantasy Profile

Position
WR
School
LSU
Height
6’3″
Weight
205
40-Yard Dash
4.40
2021 Age
21
Class
JR
Recruit. Stars
5

Terrace Marshall Fantasy Fit with Panthers

I love the fit for Marshall in Carolina.

As a rookie, he will likely play behind wide receivers D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson, and veteran free agent signee David Moore could relegate him to the No. 4 receiver role — but Marshall has the talent and draft capital to break into three-wide sets sooner rather than later, and the Panthers have no established tight end in the offense, so opportunities for receivers abound.

In 2021, Marshall should benefit from scant defensive attention as opposing teams focus on running back Christian McCaffrey, Moore and Anderson, so he could have some week-winning peak performance, and eventually — perhaps in 2022 — he could overtake Anderson for the No. 2 receiver role.

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With his size and speed and collegiate experience out wide and in the slot, Marshall is versatile enough to line up all over the formation, which should enable him to become a regular contributor quickly.

In redraft and best ball, Marshall will be an upside bench receiver in 2021, and in dynasty leagues he will likely settle in somewhere on the borderline of Rounds 1-2 in rookie drafts.


Dynasty Fantasy Analysis

I should say now that it’s hard for me to be objective about Marshall: He has so many characteristics I crave in wide receivers.

Example: My pre-draft model prefers Bateman to Marshall — but I am very tempted to rank Marshall ahead of Bateman, especially after their respective pro days.

In my way-too-early rookie dynasty rankings, I had Marshall ranked No. 7 — sandwiched between Smith and Waddle — and I have a feeling that when I update my rankings, I will still be similarly high on him.

As we saw at his pro day, he is big and fast — bigger than his teammate Chase and almost as fast.

Here’s what’s especially impressive to me: Not only did Marshall blaze his 40-yard dash, looking like a small D.K. Metcalf in the process …

… but he did it on just one attempt because he entered his pro day with a hamstring tweak and wanted to avoid an aggravation.

Think about that: A guy of his size with a 40 time that fast … on a hamstring that isn’t 100%.

But it’s not a surprise that Marshall is a true athletic marvel: He was a five-star recruit entering college. In fact, he was widely considered the No. 1 receiver prospect in the nation even though he suffered significant ankle and leg injuries his senior year of high school.

On top of that, he’s an early declarant who will be 21 years old as a rookie.

The one big analytical knock on him is production: He did not break out in his first collegiate year, and at no point did he outproduce now-Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson or fellow 2021 prospect Ja’Marr Chase.

It’s true: Marshall did nothing as a true freshman with just 12-192-0 receiving in 13 games as a rotational receiver behind Jefferson and Chase.

But Marshall did break out as a 19-year-old true sophomore in 2019 with 46-671-13 receiving in 12 games for the national championship-winning Tigers, and then in 2020 he emerged as the No. 1 receiver for LSU with 48-731-10 receiving in seven games (he missed the final three games of the season because he opted out).

Granted, Marshall dominated within the LSU offense only once Jefferson (NFL) and Chase (COVID-19 opt-out) were no longer on the team, but I don’t hold that against Marshall. Jefferson just had the greatest rookie wide receiver season of all time, and Chase won the Biletnikoff Award in 2019 as the best receiver in college football — and even so, Marshall was able to carve out a significant role for himself within the offense as a sophomore. That’s still impressive.

On top of that, Marshall was better in 2019 than his final numbers suggest. In the first four games of the season, he had production that was comparable to Chase and Jefferson’s.

In his fourth game, however, he suffered a fractured toe, and he missed the next three games.

  1. There is a massive statistical difference between what he did before and after the injury. It’s possible that he wasn’t truly healthy when he returned to action and that he played the remainder of the season at far less than full capacity.
  2. At the time of his injury, Marshall led the nation with six touchdowns receiving.

If not for his injury, Marshall might have joined Chase and Jefferson as a 1,000-10 receiver in 2019.

And now Marshall is highly likely to go no later than Round 2.

Even if we don’t take his strong athletic profile into account, all of this puts him in an elite historical cohort of receiver prospects: Early declarants who are 21 years old as rookies and selected in Rounds 1-2 and who have 100-plus scrimmage yards in a college season.

With his expected draft capital, junior-year production, age and abbreviated college tenure, Marshall looks like a prospect with a real chance to be a star.

From an on-field perspective, what I like about Marshall is that he can play on the perimeter and in the interior. As a freshman, he played almost exclusively on the outside. As a sophomore, he still saw the majority of his snaps on the perimeter, but he also rotated into the slot on 41% of his reps. And then as a junior he took over the full-time “Justin Jefferson slot role,” seeing 72% of his snaps in the middle (per2021 Sports Info Solutions Football Rookie Handbook, SIS).

So he has the flexibility to line up all over the field, and he can do so with comparable efficacy.

As a junior, his average depth of target massively dropped because of his move to the slot.

  • 2019: 14.2 yards
  • 2020: 8.9 yards
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Even so, Marshall’s efficiency was about the same — on significantly more target volume (per SIS).

Targets Per Game

  • 2019: 5.6
  • 2020: 10.3

Yards per Target

  • 2019: 10.0
  • 2020: 10.2

Receiver Rating

  • 2019: 140.6
  • 2020: 133.7

Positive Play Rate vs. Man

  • 2019: 69%
  • 2020: 64%

Yards per Route Run

  • 2019: 1.6
  • 2020: 1.9

With his size, Marshall is one of the few big-bodied receivers in the class. And with his ability to line up all across the formation, he can be an every-down contributor early in his NFL career.

Per Pro Football Focus, Marshall was a top-quintile receiver in 2020 with his 81.1 receiving grade, 82% contested catch rate and 81.8 grade vs. man coverage. The numbers suggest Marshall can produce in the NFL.

Aesthetically, however, Marshall has problems. To many film-grinding aficionados, he is an incredibly raw receiver who reeks of incompleteness.

In 2020, he had seven drops on 55 catchable targets (per PFF). Much of his production and volume was schemed. He’s a stiff and awkward route runner with a limited tree. He lacks explosion off the line of scrimmage and can be pushed off his routes by physical press corners.

Essentially, the eye test indicates that he’s more of an athlete than a football player.

The tape watchers are probably right: When I look at Marshall’s film, I don’t see a guy who is incredibly smooth … and that’s part of what intrigues me. Even with mediocre football skills, Marshall found a way to dominate in 2020.

What happens if he actually learns to play football in the NFL?

And, besides, many dominant NFL receivers have success more through their physicality than their football nuance. When was the last time people praised Julio Jones for his routes?

I don’t want to discount what the film watchers are saying, but I’m also not going to put much weight into it. It’s hard to quantify “limited route runner,” and I’m not even sure if that matters anyway.

What matters — at least to me — is that I might be significantly higher on Marshall than the dynasty market is, and I’m 100% alright with that.

NFL Prospect Comp: DeVante Parker with more youth and less time in college but also less draft capital


Matthew Freedman is 1,018-828-37 (55.1%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.

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