Can Marvin Mims Make an Earlier Fantasy Football Impact Than Expected?

Jun 06, 2023
Can Marvin Mims Make an Earlier Impact Than Expected?

Marvin Mims is one of the more intriguing wide receivers from the 2023 draft class. The second-round selection boasts incredible college production and possesses the skillset to rival many of the more highly regarded rookies at the position. We investigate whether the Oklahoma Sooner product could make an earlier impact than anticipated.

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Mims is Buried on the Denver Broncos Depth Chart

Mims is only the 10th-ranked rookie in 4for4's rookie wide receiver redraft rankings. He joins a crowded Denver Broncos receiving room comprising established players such as Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, Tim Patrick, and K.J. Hamler. The odds are stacked against the rookie earning significant opportunity in his first season.

However, despite having many needs elsewhere on the roster, the Broncos invested second-round draft capital in the 21-year-old during the 2023 NFL Draft, begging the question, why? Sutton is under contract through 2024, Jeudy's fifth-round option was picked up less than a month later, and the team holds the rights to Patrick for two more years.

Denver Broncos Wide Receiver Issues

It is no secret that the Broncos' passing offense fell woefully short of expectations in 2023. Russell Wilson's struggles were well documented after posting career lows in touchdowns and yards per attempt, while playing behind a porous offensive line that tied the league lead with 55 sacks.

What those numbers don't tell you is that the Broncos receivers were also sub-par at times, and Sutton was perhaps the worst culprit. Per Next Gen Stats, Sutton averaged only 2.7 yards of separation in 2022, ranking 63rd among all wide receivers with a minimum of 45 targets.

The more we investigate, the worse it gets for Sutton. Per PFF, when compared with the 92 receivers who had at least 45 targets, the veteran ranked dead last with 2.1 yards after the catch per reception, and he had the 17th highest drop rate with 8.6% of catchable passes dropped.

It's not difficult to understand why trade rumors were circulating regarding Sutton when we consider his 2022 performance and $17m cap number.

Mims Analytical Profile

Enter the explosive speedster Mims. The Broncos' newest receiver boasts an incredible analytical and athletic profile.

Mims had his most productive season in 2022, posting 54 catches, 1,083 yards, and six touchdowns despite playing with his third quarterback and third wide receiver coach. And he achieved this while playing against the best competition in the Power 5 Conference.

The raw stats only tell us so much, but the deeper we look, the better the results. Per PFF, among the 295 college receivers with at least 50 targets in 2022, Mims ranked 11th with 8.1 yards after the catch per reception, 18th with an average depth of target of 17 yards, and 30th with 2.77 yards ran per route.

When we compare those figures with other rookie wide receivers ranked higher in the 4for4 redraft rookie rankings, the only players who can claim better are Jordan Addison, Quentin Johnston, and Rashee Rice. That said, it's worth noting that none of those three players excels in all three categories.

Temper Expectations for an Early Breakout

At 5 feet 11 inches and 183 lbs, concerns that Mims may never become a true WR1 in fantasy may be justified. He spent 69.7% of his time as an outside receiver in 2022 but may struggle in a similar role against physical NFL cornerbacks.

Furthermore, Mims needs to expand his route tree at the NFL level, and has room for improvement when working across the middle of the field, as demonstrated by Matt Harmon's Reception Perception:

However, Mims had great success on corner, post, and nine routes, and his ability to stretch the field means he offers something that few other receivers on the Broncos roster possess. This provides a degree of optimism that he could be used as a situational downfield threat early in his career.

Despite Mims' mouth-watering profile, the rookie faces an uphill battle to earn significant playing time in 2022 while more established veterans are ahead of him on the depth chart. However, as a dart-throw toward the end of deep redraft leagues and as a potential best-ball asset with big play ability, you could do much worse than taking a late flier on the talented youngster.

Bottom Line

  • Mims has demonstrated that he can be an effective downfield threat. This should make him a higher priority in leagues that reward big plays and less of a priority in PPR leagues.
  • Arguably, Mims possesses more potential than many of the similarly ranked rookie wide receivers. Once the top-tier options are off the board, few other, more highly-ranked rookie wide receivers offer the same upside, and he's currently WR73 in Underdog drafts with an ADP of 161.3
  • He is currently buried on the Broncos' depth chart, but the Broncos have allegedly courted trades for their other, more established receivers. Neither Sutton, Jeudy, Patrick, nor Hamler is under contract beyond 2024, making Mims an attractive target in dynasty formats. Furthermore, all four players ahead of him on the hypothetical depth chart have missed significant time in recent years.
  • Russell Wilson has played at an elite level in the past and could do so again if his offensive line can keep him upright. The Broncos have made several key additions to their offensive line this off-season.
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