Fins Fantasy: Projecting Jordan Cameron’s Fantasy Value for 2015
It has been brought to my attention by the thousands of my adoring fans that fantasy football season is nearly upon us. These avid readers have been politely reminding me that their fantasy drafts are fast approaching, and they’re curious as to how many more articles I’ll be writing before fantasy season. To the thousands, if not millions of you lovely, and rather good looking readers: While I can’t confirm the amount I’ll be writing, I can write this article on Jordan Cameron’s fantasy prospects for 2015 to distract you. Okay, so I may have embellished a little this time. It was actually just one reader reminding me, and he said: “Hurry your worthless, lazy ass up and write more articles before my fantasy draft”. My dad sure is a nice guy.
Jordan Cameron totaled 424 yards and 2 TDs on 24 receptions in what was a very forgettable season for the former Pro Bowler. He only played in 10 games, and spent much of his time either banged up, or worse, playing with Johnny “My Nose is a Dorsal Fin” Manziel.
When healthy, Jordan Cameron is a Pro Bowl caliber tight end. Unfortunately, there’s no way of knowing which Jordan Cameron we’ll see once the regular season starts. If we see 2013 Jordan Cameron, who was able to remain healthy throughout the season, the Dolphins will have a top 5 talent at the tight end position. The man has exceptional hands, as evidenced by his just one drop in 10 games last year. The fact that he was able to accomplish that while suffering from a shoulder injury for much of the year is indicative of his receiving skill. Cameron is also a solid route runner, especially on intermediate and deep pass plays. In 2013 his red zone skill was great, but his injuries sapped much of his ability in 2014. In fact his only two touchdowns on the year came from 51 yards out and 81 yards out. He also averaged 17.7 yards per catch, but that can be partially attributed to his small sample size of 24 catches. In other words, his year was the opposite of Jarvis Landry’s.
While Jordan Cameron has great hands and a well-developed route tree, his best asset by far is his physical talent. First, he’s a big boy. At 6’5 249lbs he’s bigger than your league average tight end. Second, and more importantly, he’s extremely athletic. In addition to having blazing straight-line speed for a tight end (4.59 40 yard dash at the combine) he has advanced short area quickness, and an exceptional motor to boot. It’s this combination of speed and strength that makes Cameron dangerous no matter where he is on the field. He can easily overpower most defensive backs, and has no issue outrunning and outmaneuvering even the most skilled coverage linebackers…when he’s healthy. The only real weakness in Cameron’s game is as a blocker, which is hardly abnormal for receiving-specialized tight ends. Honestly, the only Pro Bowl tight end that has exceptional receiving AND blocking ability is Rob Gronkowski, and he’s just… well he’s just on another level. And that’s high praise coming from someone who thinks Tom Brady is an overrated game manager at best and should have been suspended for 4 years and not just 4 games. (Disclaimer: That was sarcasm, but I really do hate the Patriots…a lot. Literally more than anything else EVER.)
The spread offense that Lazor employs works best with an athletic receiving specialist at tight end. Charles Clay filled this role very nicely last season, but Cameron has the potential to be even better than Clay was. Remember, Jordan Cameron is a year removed from being a top 5 tight end in the league while playing with the Browns of all teams. As long as he returns to pre-injury form, especially in his red zone play, he’ll be a great fit in Bill Lazor’s offense.
One major concern for his fantasy production, however, is the loaded Miami receiver corps. With Kenny Stills and DeVante Parker taking most of the deep targets, and Jarvis Landry consuming all of the short pass targets like some sort of slow-moving black hole, it will be difficult for Cameron to find opportunities to be the primary playmaker like he was with the Browns. He really benefited (from a fantasy perspective) from the dearth of receiving talent in Cleveland, and it will be interesting to see if he can capitalize on the much more limited opportunities he’s going to get in Miami. Either way, he’ll likely end up as the primary red zone option for Tannehill, and you can be damn sure he’ll get some shots downfield, albeit not as many as he got in Cleveland.
Jordan Cameron was extremely inconsistent last year, but that can be attributed to his injuries, and poor QB play. For example: In week 6, Jordan Cameron had 102 yards, including a 51 yard TD. In week 7 he had one catch for 5 yards against a fairly weak Jacksonville defense. The way I see it, he only had great games and games where he wasn’t anywhere close to a starting tight end option. There was only one game when Cameron had more than 3 receptions, so his lack of opportunities to score really limited his fantasy value. His only two good games last year were when he managed to haul in 50+ yard touchdowns. I would wager that trend of inconsistency will end, as Cameron is now healthy, and Ryan Tannehill is leaps and bounds ahead of any quarterback that the Browns started last year.
Jordan Cameron’s biggest weakness by far is his extensive injury history. He hasn’t played a full 16 games since 2011, and has suffered a concussion in each of the last 3 seasons. In 2011, he missed half of the season with a hamstring injury. In 2012, he missed a game due to a broken rib and he missed two games with the first of his three concussions. In 2013, the year he made the Pro Bowl, he missed a game with his second concussion. In 2014, he missed a few games after aggravating a shoulder injury, he also missed 3 games after suffering a bad concussion in week 8. I’d consider Jordan Cameron a high-level injury risk, especially for concussions. I think it unlikely that he’ll play a full 16 game season, but he will almost certainly have a better year this year. His history makes Dion Sims a potential waiver wire pickup in case of injuries during the season.
If Jordan Cameron remains relatively healthy throughout this season, there’s no reason he can’t recapture his 2013 form. Even if he misses a few games he can put up big fantasy numbers in the games he does play, now that he has a vastly improved surrounding cast. If he plays 13 or 14 games like I think he will, he’s a safe bet for 750 yards and about 7 TDs. I think his massive upside warrants a late round pick as a team’s starting option. Owners that do draft him however, may consider carrying a second tight end as well at least for the first few weeks until an educated decision about his future production can be made. Owners that prefer safer tight end options like Greg Olson and Martellus Bennett would be advised to STAY AWAY from drafting him. All in all, I think Jordan Cameron’s upside is enough to warrant a late round flier in any format. Just don’t draft him too early, as the injury risk keeps his base value at a low-end starting TE.
You can check out our other Miami Dolphins’ Fantasy Projections here:
QB: Ryan Tannehill
RB: Lamar Miller