Stash or Pass: Drew Sample
Drew Sample was the fantasy darling following CJ Uzomah's season-ending injury during Thursday Night Football this week. Fantasy Twitter is buzzing about the fantasy ceiling of Sample. So I must ask the question: should we stash or pass on Drew Sample?
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We, as a community, become more and more infatuated each day with the athletically-gifted tier of promising tight ends. Noah Fant, Jonnu Smith, Evan Engram, etc. are all guys that constantly get brought up in "favorite tight end" discussions.
So let's see if Sample would align with that infatuation.
As you can see, Sample is an above-average athlete, but his metrics won't jump off the page. His Speed Score of 104.4 coming in at the 78th-percentile is the best athletic mark he hit coming out of Washington.
Furthering that, his College Dominator of 6.6% had him land in the 10th-percentile. That is not great. And it's not even the worst metric on his player profile. His College YPR of 9.0 landed in the 4th-percentile. Product of the less-than-stellar offense or is Sample a less-than-stellar player?
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Drew Sample is a product of a fairly poor Washington Huskies offense. The team, led by Jake Browning, featured Myles Gaskin, Salvon Ahmed, Aaron Fuller, and Hunter Bryant. Of those players, Drew Sample is far and away the one whose team invested most in him. Picked in the second round, he was primarily acquired to be a blocking tight end. Sure, he flashed a bit in that final season, but over the course of his career, he had just 46 receptions for 487 yards and 5 touchdowns. His senior season - by far his best of the bunch - saw him catch 25 of his 36 targets for 252 yards and 3 touchdowns. According to RotoWire, in his senior season, Sample averaged just 3 targets/game, 7 yards/target, and owned less than 10% of the team's target share.
That doesn't sound very fantasy-friendly, now does it?
Rookie Year Production
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I'm sad to report that there's also nothing good to report here. His 5 catches on 6 targets for 30 yards before a Week 9 injury were less than ideal. The silver lining is that he did look good, but was simply buried behind Tyler Eifert and CJ Uzomah on the depth chart. If he were to have gotten extended opportunity, I have faith that he could have been a productive rookie tight end (remember that rookie tight ends traditionally struggle to acclimate to the size and speed of defenses).
I know that a ton of what I just stated would indicate that I'm out on the prospects of stashing Drew Sample, but that simply isn't the case. Sample has a lot of things working in his favor. High draft capital, unopposed opportunity, and a rookie quarterback that needs a solid dump down option because of a trash offensive line all impact how I feel about Sample's fantasy production this year.
If you're in a 2TE league and Sample isn't rostered, you need to spend some FAAB on him. If you're in a TE-premium league, you need to place a bid. I wouldn't recommend spending anything more than 7-9% of your budget, but Sample has the opportunity to be a high-end TE2 this season.
CJ Uzomah is only under contract for the 2021 season before hitting unrestricted free agency, and this young team should give Sample every opportunity to shine (especially knowing how difficult it is to recover from Achilles injuries).
Is there a chance that Sample doesn't make the most of his opportunity? Absolutely. Joe Burrow loves to spread the ball around and it's difficult to trust any pass catcher, including Tyler Boyd. But I, personally, would be willing to take the shot on Drew.
Verdict: Stash Drew Sample