Steven Sims is the Perfect Late-Round Fantasy Wide Receiver

Jul 20, 2020
Steven Sims is the Perfect Late-Round Fantasy Wide Receiver

Terry McLaurin is a highly sought after fantasy football commodity in 2020 for good reason, as his rookie season ended with WR28 numbers in half-PPR formats, despite dreadful quarterback play. Overshadowed by McLaurin’s rookie success was one of another first-timer in Washington, Steven Sims.

Sims came in hot down the stretch last season, posting 230 yards and four touchdowns on 20 receptions in the final four games of 2019. His sophomore season could produce some fantasy goodness for a really low price tag, and here’s why.

New Staff, New Opportunities

Jay Gruden didn’t give Sims much of a chance for success after making the call to keep him on the roster coming out of the preseason. In Gruden’s five games at the helm, Sims saw just 52 snaps and 31 of them were in a Week 5 tilt with New England where he flashed his athleticism and scored his first NFL touchdown.

Sims eventually cracked his way on the field aside from special teams from Week 12 on, and showed us what he’s made of. Enter new OC Scott Turner, who has already stated that his best weapons will see work no matter their age or experience level. Turner is coming from a Carolina offense designed to get the ball out quickly to their pass catchers, letting them do the work in space. His scheme highlights shifty backs and slot receivers who can fly down the field—a la Curtis Samuel—which will only benefit Sims this season.

There’s also the Ron Rivera-Steve Smith Sr. connection which shows us that Washington’s new head coach knows how to utilize a smaller receiver. Sims is modest in stature at 5’10 while Smith Sr. is 5’9, and while Rivera was in charge in Carolina during Smith Sr.’s career from 2011-2016, the wideout posted three seasons with 1,000+ yards receiving and 6-of-7 seasons with over 100 targets.

Steven Sims’s Skillset is Undeniable

We know that Sims came seemingly out of nowhere to produce in the last quarter of 2019, but it was how he produced that makes him an intriguing late-round draft pick this year. The former undrafted Kansas wideout did not receive an invite to the Combine so we can’t rattle off his 40-yard dash time or the like, but we don’t need to. Sims could make John Travolta jealous with his greased lightning shown here in this compilation from last season.

Per PFF, Sims was targeted on just under 25% of his routes last year, which was the seventh-most at the wideout position. To put it in more digestible terms, that means that Sims was getting open on the regular and was rewarded by getting the ball thrown his way.

He is one of the smaller guys out on the field, so in order to make that leap in the NFL, Sims will have to continue to find creative ways to find space. He also needs his quarterback, Dwayne Haskins, to progress in his second year as a professional for both to be truly fantasy relevant in 2020.

The Path to Volume is a Highway

Here’s a look at the target distribution for Washington last year from Weeks 11–17 after their team’s bye week.

Target Distribution Weeks 11-17, 2019
Player Games Targets Targets/Game
Steven Sims 7 46 6.6
Terry McLaurin 6 41 6.8
Kelvin Harmon 7 35 5.0
Jeremy Sprinkle 7 20 2.9
Chris Thompson 5 20 4.0

Sims was actually the target leader in that time-frame, with McLaurin just barely edging him out in targets per game. Washington’s only notable free-agent acquisition was Cody Latimer, who was arrested in May on assault and weapons charges, which could impact his playing status in 2020.

PPR vulture Chris Thompson is now in Jacksonville, so the only threats to usage for Sims are rookie wideout Antonio Gandy-Golden, and RB/WR hybrid Antonio Gibson. Gandy-Golden figures to assume outside duty across from McLaurin with Kelvin Harmon out for 2020 with a torn ACL, while Gibson does have the potential to compete for reps in the slot. He split time between the backfield and slot while in Memphis, however, Gibson didn’t see significant playing time until his final year which could have an impact on his readiness for the NFL right away.

There were only seven wide receivers with a target share of at least 30% over the final month of the 2019 season including big names like Michael Thomas, Julio Jones and Davante Adams, along with undrafted rookie Sims. With 144 targets vacated by Thompson, Harmon and Paul Richardson, there is nowhere to go but up in volume and usage for Sims in 2020.

Bottom Line

  • They don’t even have a team name at the moment, but Washington has a star in the making in their receiver room.
  • Steven Sims has a glaring path to targets in 2020 and obvious chemistry with fellow sophomore Dwayne Haskins.
  • Projected as WR59 in 4for4’s rankings, Sims is estimated to put up 146 half-PPR points, ahead of N’Keal Harry, James Washington and Robby Anderson
  • According to My Fantasy League in their redraft formats, Sims is being drafted as WR75 in the 18th round, so grab him late and reap those sweet fantasy points.
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