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Fantasy Football Busts: Wide Receiver (2021)

Aug 26, 2021

The bust is a fantasy term thrown around this time of year in fantasy circles. So, what makes a fantasy bust? Here at FantasyPros, we have an entire section dedicated to Booms and Busts. However, with that comes the disclaimer that each position has its own unique criteria for busting.

For wide receivers drafted in the Top 12, I would prefer they finish more than 50% of the weeks inside the Top 24, while WR13-24 should hopefully finish inside the Top 36 at least half the time as well. You do not want your top wideouts falling below the FLEX threshold (WR37-48 in 3 WR formats) often.

Below are three wide receivers in the Top 24 of 0.5 PPR ADP who could bust in 2021. Remember, keep those bust thresholds in mind while you are reading. Busts come in different sizes depending on where you draft them.

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Brandon Aiyuk (WR-SF) ADP 64 | WR 24
Aiyuk was excellent down the stretch for fantasy teams in 2021, becoming the 49ers’ top wide receiver threat by default. Thirty-eight targets between Weeks 13-15 resulted in 285 yards on 24 receptions and two touchdowns. However, Aiyuk did in best work in the absence of George Kittle and Deebo Samuel. When all three played together, the target share looked like this: Kittle 30.1%, Samuel 16.5%, and Aiyuk 15.8%. As a result, Aiyuk averaged fewer than 12 fantasy points per game in those contests. With Deebo and Kittle back in the fold, the upside for Aiyuk is limited. Additionally, since Kyle Shanahan took over as 49ers Head Coach, no San Francisco wide receiver has finished in the Top 30 fantasy WRs.

Mike Evans (WR-TB) ADP 38 | WR 13
Evans has been a fantasy WR stalwart for seven seasons, topping 1000 yards in all seven and eight touchdowns or more in five. Yet, recall our formula for busts; his production isn’t consistent enough to be the thirteenth wideout selected. Last year, Evans had ten games of 56 or fewer receiving yards. He finished with three or fewer catches on SEVEN occasions in 2020! His 13 TDs on 108 targets is not sustainable; there will be regression here. Couple all of that with the addition of Giovani Bernard and a full year of Antonio Brown, and Evans would have to be even more efficient in 2021. That is very unlikely.

Terry McLaurin (WR-WAS) ADP 30 | WR 10
McLaurin was a product of Washington’s lack of options, much like his teammate J.D. McKissic. The WFT revolving QB door targeted Terry on 128 throws, but no other WR more than 50 times. Stability arrived in the form of Ryan Fitzpatrick this offseason, but the team also put capable bodies in the WR room. Curtis Samuel reunites with his former coaching staff from Carolina, and Washington drafted Dyami Brown in the third round. McLaurin, a third-rounder himself, proved his detractors wrong in 2020, despite lingering ankle injuries. He made the most out of a poor situation in Washington. We know Fitzpatrick likes to sling the rock, but it’s still unlikely McLaurin can recapture Top 10 target numbers with the additions WFT has made. Fitzmagic will spread the ball around more than his predecessors did in 2020. Without that volume, McLaurin will struggle to meet his current opportunity cost.

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Aaron Pags is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Aaron, check out his archive and follow him @FantasyTriage.

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