Darren Waller Prop Pick: Betting on More Touchdowns for the Raiders TE In 2020

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Dustin Bradford/Getty Images. Pictured: Darren Waller

Darren Waller Prop Pick for 2020


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Raiders tight end Darren Waller broke out in a huge way in 2019 with 90 receptions for 1,146 yards and three touchdowns.

Any fantasy football manager who picked him up in-season was rewarded with the No. 2-scoring TE. His massive yardage totals fueled that production, but his lack of touchdowns was a weakness. Heading into 2020, though, we should expect his yardage totals to regress significantly downward and his TD production to regress upward.

Before I dive into the math behind his touchdown projection, let’s take a look at how the Raiders roster is currently set up: They brought in Nelson Agholor to complete their wide receiver depth chart, which features Tyrell Williams, Hunter Renfrow and Zay Jones. They also brought in Jason Witten to provide depth at TE. All of these players are capable of stealing targets from Waller between the 20s and will impact what is likely be a dip in targets, receptions and yards for Waller. As of now, I’m projecting him for 77 receptions and 872 receiving yards.

However, I’m projecting his TD production to shoot up from 3 to 5.5.

Of the pass-catchers highlighted above, the only one I consider a consistent red-zone threat is Williams. Still, there is no reason to think that Waller and his 6-foot-6, 255-pound frame won’t be an asset in the red zone for the 2020 Raiders — his 3.3% TD rate (TD/reception) last season should be considered the result of bad luck rather than a reflection of Waller.

The TD rate for all TEs last season was 8.2%. If we were to apply that league-average rate to Waller last season, he would have averaged 7.4 TDs, therefore we can conclude he finished about 4.4 TDs below expectation.

Now I’m not saying we should project all TEs to have an 8.2% TD rate — many other factors influence a metric like that, such as the way a player is used in the red zone, the scoring capability of a given offense (especially in the passing game), etc. But I have factored all of that into Waller’s projection for 2020, resulting in a 7.2% rate that would give him 5.5 touchdowns.

Take advantage of the expected positive regression from Waller in this metric.

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