2016 Wide Receiver Busts (Fantasy Football)
Preseason is just around the corner for the 2016 NFL season, and if you’re like me, you’re already putting together ideas for your fantasy football roster. Here are a handful of players that you might want to stay away from at the wide receiver position. These players could carry a WR1 price tag as we get into fantasy draft season, and they are very unlikely to give you the results that you should expect from this position. That’s not to say that they won’t have good seasons; they just probably won’t give you good value and will end up hurting you more than helping.
Allen Robinson (JAX) – ECR: WR7, ADP: WR8
Robinson had a spectacular season last year, but it was mainly because he was targeted such a large number of times. He had 80 receptions, but he was targeted a whopping 153 times. That’s a catch rate of just 52.3%, which is one of the weakest among the top WRs in the league. Really, we’d like to see that up about 8% or so before we’d feel comfortable seeing success carry over into the next season. Robinson had 14 touchdowns, though, which is a good sign, but also very unpredictable year-to-year. Robinson has potential, but he doesn’t have the same kind of stability that you’d like to see out of your WR1. He’s probably not going to be a huge bust, but it’s not realistic to expect him to have the same results as last year based upon his poor mechanics. 87.5 yards per game and 1,400 yards total are monster numbers, and a flawed WR won’t likely be able to replicate that with any sort of consistency. Of the top 10 wide receivers when it came to total yards last year, 50% of them had more yards after the catch than Robinson, too. That’s just another sign that he may not return value in 2016.
Demaryius Thomas (DEN) – ECR: WR14, ADP: WR16
Thomas had a great 2015 season, culminating in a Super Bowl Championship. He averaged 81.5 yards per game, had 1,304 yards, and six touchdowns. Statistically speaking, his touchdown number should have been a bit higher, but he had the framework for a monster season all there. He’s a big X-Factor this season, though, because his quarterback is gone. With Peyton Manning retiring and Brock Osweiler in Houston, it’s unclear just how great of a target Thomas will be this season. Now, if you look at some of his other numbers, like his catch rate (59.3%), his yards per reception (12.4), and his yards after catch per reception average (4.6), you will see that these were all at or very near career lows. Thomas had a great season, but much of it was thanks to his QB, and not his own skills. We should expect to see these numbers decline in 2016.
Sammy Watkins (BUF) – ECR: WR17, ADP: WR13
With his impressive 80.5 yards per game, Watkins should have been ranked in the top 10 wide receivers when it came to total yards last season, but he played in just 13 games. Currently, he is battling an injury and hasn’t really been able to work out on his own yet this summer. It’s unclear where he will be when it comes for training camp. But from 2014 to 2015, we can see some changes in Watkins’ game. Yes, his yards per game went up dramatically, but his yards after catch dropped from 5.4 to 2.8. This could be a symptom of him being recognized as a popular target, which also explains his increase in yards per game, but it is also indicative of trouble. Add this to the fact that he might not be at full strength by the time preseason rolls around, and there’s cause for concern here.
Check out our other WR bust candidates