January 18, 2021

Is it safe to start Devante Parker in fantasy on Thursday Night?

4 min read
Thursday Night Football and its place in both NFL and fantasy football circles remain a...

Thursday Night Football and its place in both NFL and fantasy football circles remain a hotly debated topic. While the league preaches player safety, it forces both teams to suit up on short notice, which can exacerbate any previous existing injury’s potential impact. On Thursday night, Miami Dolphins wide receiver Devante Parker will hope to suit up, barring any setbacks to his ailing hamstring against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Knowing the condensed recovery window from his last outing, is it safe to trust Devante Parker for fantasy in Week 3?

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Devante Parker avoided a setback in Week 2 but has been limited in practice

Parker was a hot topic in the offseason after finally breaking out in his fifth year in the NFL. The question was if it was a fluke or it was repeatable in 2020. While getting off to a hot start, catching all four of his targets for 47 yards against Stephon Gilmore, his return ended early due to a hamstring injury.

Parker was touch and go if he would play in Week 2, where he would match up against one of the NFL’s better cornerbacks, Tre’Davious White. While labeled as a game-time decision, Parker surprised fantasy football managers by suiting up and not just participating but also regularly winning his matchup.

Related | Miami Dolphins vs. Buffalo Bills: Key Takeaways from Week 2

He had his best game of the young season versus the Buffalo Bills, catching five of his eight targets for 53 yards and a touchdown. The best news coming from this game was that Parker avoided suffering a setback.

Coming into a short week against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Parker was a limited participant in practice due as the team was using caution on his recovery. On Wednesday, the Dolphins released their final injury report and Devante Parker was listed as a full participant for practice. Parker is good to go and should be started in your fantasy lineups this week in a favorable matchup.

The Miami WR faces a much easier matchup this week against Jacksonville

Parker had one of the most rigid schedules to start the season. Matching up against Gilmore and then followed by White is no easy task, even when at full health. On Thursday night, he gets a much more favorable matchup against C.J. Henderson. While the rookie has shown the skills that led the Jaguars to select him with the ninth overall selection in 2020, he is not playing at Parker’s level.

Miami, even by their own standards, has been a disappointment. Currently, the Dolphins sit at 29th in rushing yards allowed and 26th in passing yards allowed in 2020. Even though Gardner Minshew and the Jaguars are not an offensive powerhouse, they still have a solid chance to get ahead early in this game, putting Miami into a negative game script. I expect to see Parker peppered with targets and be a player who you need to start this week, even on short notice.

Devante Parker is a top-24 fantasy wide receiver for Week 3

Even if he retains the limited designation, I am not worried about Parker’s fantasy value this week. I expect Ryan Fitzpatrick to pepper Parker with double-digit targets. Eight receptions on 11 targets for close to 100 yards and a touchdown is entirely within the realm of possibility. I have Parker firmly inside my WR2 range, even on a short week.

Even Mike Gesicki and Preston Williams should see ample opportunity, but Parker presents the highest PPR upside. Playing Parker on Thursday Night should get your fantasy football team off to an early lead against your opponent and make them play from behind. At times, this will make them go for more boom or bust plays, which can backfire as they chase points.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter @PFN365 to stay up to date with all things around the NFL and the 2020 fantasy football season. Also, continue to visit Pro Football Network for NFL news and in-depth analysis while also visiting our fantasy football section for more coverage and up-to-date rankings.

Tommy Garrett is a writer for PFN covering Fantasy Football. You can read more of his work here and follow him at @TommygarrettPFN on Twitter.

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