His social-media ineptitude aside, Mike Wallace has taken many shots from critics for his play on the field last year. "Why only a 13.1 yards-per-catch average?" "Maybe if you didn't hold out, you'd be more effective." "Antonio Brown is better."
Runnin' up that Tannehill
"Where the *bleep* is Wallace!?"
OK, my quote of "The Wire" references has been filled.
Maybe that is more PG than what his fantasy owners were saying most of last year, but I digress.
Those detractors should be willing to embrace him ... and his new quarterback.
A Wallace-Ryan Tannehill pairing stands to make waves. Hey ... stop laughing ... that's not a joke.
Tannehill endured the typical rookie drawbacks last year but improved as the year went along. In fact, despite a 58.9 completion percentage, he threw for six touchdowns and just one INT from Week 12 to 16, the typical fantasy championship week. He at least cut down on his mistakes if not took a significant forward step.
Would you blame him for those numbers when you consider to whom he had to throw in his rookie year in the system, at least at the pro level? His comfort with Mike Sherman's West Coast machine from their time at Texas A&M should expand, especially now that Brian Hartline is only his No. 2 wideout.
Wallace's deep prowess (17.2 yards per catch over his career) should blend nicely with Tannehill's arm strength. Though he didn't attempt vertical tosses often last year, note the QB's statistic in downfield passing accuracy, via Pro Football Focus. The snare hopefully will focus more now that he's in a fresh start. Remember that he still found paydirt eight times last year, and Miami will be eager to get the ball in his hands as often as possible, even if they give him more short routes to let him take it upfield -- not a bad gadget for WCOs. It's not as if his route tree is limited, either, as CBS Sports' Pete Prisco notes.
He needs to focus, and maybe in his age-27 season after a down campaign, he's humbled a tad more and ready to do that in his fresh start. His new supporting cast of Hartline, Brandon Gibson and Dustin Keller might be immediately serviceable. Even if not, Wallace can make things happen on his own, and his new division has some beatable cornerbacks.
With his elite top-end speed, a clearer mental approach and an upside fantasy QB2, Wallace could produce a whopper of a season but also fall victim to his threads during drafts. In many rooms, he'll carry outstanding value if you can snag him in something like the fifth round.
In non-PPR setups, where big-play ability stands out more than a Wes Welkerian output, you shouldn't hesitate to give a small stretch to land Wallace, especially if the wide receiver pool is thinning. He could easily match the bigger names this year.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won several industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, hear him every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. On Thursdays, he visits 106.1 FM WMTI in New Orleans and Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
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