DJ Chark is lined up to be ignored in fantasy football drafts this year
DJ Chark is so far off the radar in fantasy football this year there may need to be a new term to describe it.
The Detroit Lions made a move to reinforce their wide receiver corps in free agency, signing DJ Chark to a one-year deal. Coming off missing all but four games last season for the Jacksonville Jaguars due to a broken ankle, it is a “prove-it” deal and a potential steal for the Lions.
Chark was a Pro Bowler for the Jaguars in 2019, when he had 73 catches for 1,008 yards and eight touchdowns. But after a deterioration in Jacksonville’s quarterback play and injuries that cost him time each of the last two seasons (13 games played in 2020), a change of scenery was needed.
Even before the draft, there was fantasy upside to see with Chark. And now…
There may not be an adequate term to describe DJ Chark in fantasy drafts this year
Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report recently listed eight potential fantasy steals to follow as we head toward training camps. Chark made the list, as Knox used Fantasy Pros PPR rankings.
"Detroit Lions wide receiver DJ Chark is the 60th-ranked receiver in points-per-reception leagues. A couple of factors likely play into this.For one, Chark is likely to be a complementary receiver when rookie first-round pick Jameson Williams is ready to roll. Second-year player Amon-Ra St. Brown is the team’s No. 1 perimeter target and should remain a starter.Secondly, Chark is coming off a broken ankle that ended his 2021 season after just four games.If Chark is back to 100 percent by Week 1, he could be a steal late in drafts. He was a Pro Bowler and a 1,000-yard receiver with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2019 and has notched 15 touchdown receptions over his last three seasons."
First, there have been no indications anywhere that Chark is not 100 percent healthy now. But his fantasy stock has dropped, even with Williams not expected to be ready for the start of training camp and hardly a guarantee to play at all the first month of the season.
Via Fantasy Football Calculator (as of July 2), Chark does not make the top-64 wide receivers by ADP in standard scoring and 0.5-point PPR or the top-74 in full PPR. For some context, Williams currently lands at WR67 (pick 14.07) in PPR and WR58 in 0.5-point PPR.
Steal is a term that could be used to describe Chark in fantasy drafts this year, even as a draft and sell-high if he starts the season well. But that would usually mean being regarded above WR5 range in a 12-team, as Knox cited he is at Fantasy Pros. And in the case of a set of Fantasy Football Calculator raw rankings (based on ADP data) not having teammates Devin Funchess (!), Josh Reynolds and Kalif Raymond ranked while he’s not ranked at all.
Deep sleeper might be an apt label for Chark in 12-team leagues, but even that feels inadequate somehow. He’s off the radar, even though he’s lined up to start the season as the second-most targeted wide receiver in an offense that is improved.
He’s a better asset in best ball, to be sure. But there’s a path to Chark registering solid fantasy production fairly consistently all season this year. Judging by data that’s out there, that 1,000-yard season in 2019 and tallying over 50 catches in 2020 when Mike Glennon and Jake Luton combined to start half the season for the Jaguars never happened.
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