Anthony Firkser production projection
Firkser isn’t going to be the third receiver on every single package with three receivers, but neither was Adam Humphries. Between Kalif Raymond, Cameron Batson and Humphries, the third wide receiver on the field looked a little bit different from game to game.
This is an imperfect projection, but let’s assume that trend continues. If the Titans give Firkser the same number of targets that Jonnu Smith had as the TE1 and give him the same targets that Humphries got in almost half a season as the slot receiver, his 2021 statline would look like this:
2021 projection: 100 targets, 74 receptions, 550 receiving yards, 3 TDs
So, is that realistic? Well…yes, in fact, it is probably too conservative.
The volume will absolutely be there because the Titans still have to replace nearly 250 targets from the passing game last year, 100 of which went to Jonnu Smith and Adam Humphries.
Keep in mind that Firkser actually had 53 targets last year, so this isn’t even doubling his target volume despite all indications being that he is going to be much more involved in the passing game this season.
His career catch percentage is 74.2% and I actually used his 2020 yards per target number which was 7.3. If I had used his career yards per target number, his receiving yards would have been 620 yards.
The fact is, blocking from tight ends is a little overrated and all you really need to be able to do is create a lane for a running back, not bulldoze your assignment. On top of that, running efficiency has nothing to do with how successful play action passes are, so even if he isn’t a great run blocker, the play action offense should still put the skill players in situations where they can continue to be extremely efficient.
Combine that with personnel usage making it easy for Firkser to pull double duty as the slot receiver and the TE1, and you can see why adding receivers might not be as much of an immediate concern for the Titans front office as it is for Titans fans.
They know they have a secret weapon up their sleeve and his floor for production in a healthy season would make him the most productive tight end not named Delanie Walker since 2012 (Jared Cook), easily replacing receiving yards left by Adam Humphries and Jonnu Smith.