Fantasy Football

2016 Fantasy Football WR Review: Mighty Rise and Fall

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Wide Receivers may be viewed as the most important position when drafting before the season. A lot of factors contribute to the success of wide receivers throughout the season and their careers. Every year there are some wide receivers that under-perform and than there are some that exceed expectations and become a breakout star.

This Fantasy season had many surprises throughout the year. That is why it is always good to have depth at this position. Whether it’s a ppr league or standard, the value of Wide Receivers are very high in fantasy football leagues. The main factor involving a Wide Receivers success or disappointment within the NFL season is the performance of their QB play.

One season doesn’t define the career as a Wide Receiver in the NFL. In that one season you can learn a lot about that certain player which can help you prepare to draft or to pass on him for the next season of fantasy football. The 2016 NFL season displayed many busts as well as surprises at the WR position. Some may come as a shock to people but if there is one lessoned learned about Fantasy Football, it’s that anything can happen.

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2016 Fantasy Football WR Review

Busts

DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans

Last Season was a special season for the Texans star. He finished the 2015 season with 111 catches for 1,521 yards and 11 touchdowns. He finished third in the league in targets, receptions and receiving yards. Hopkins also scored the third most points in fantasy last year as a Wide Receiver.

The career year in 2015 was a big boost for fantasy owners as he was one of the top WRs taken off draft boards this past season. His 2016 season is one to forget as it was his worst season since his rookie year. His stat line finished with 78 catches for 954 yards while catching four TDs.  Hopkins also averaged a career low 12.2 YPC this season. The QB play was the biggest change from last year to this year and it surely showed. All season he was out of sync with Osweiller as frustration grew throughout the season for Hopkins.

This season Hopkins finished as the 30th best WR in fantasy. A significant drop from third the previous year. The ADP for DeAndre Hopkins this year was five. The receivers picked before him respectively were guys like Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, Odell Beckham, and AJ Green. DeAndre Hopkins was at the top of elite receivers but this may change going into next year as QB concerns may be a lingering issue as to take Hopkins later in fantasy drafts. He is a special talent but he is stuck behind a below average QB throwing him the ball. Keep in mind that Hopkins can make the big play at anytime, but having Osweiller as his QB should be something to keep in mind when thinking about drafting him on your fantasy team next season.

QB Performance

The 2016 season was a season to forget for the newly signed QB. Brock Osweiller completed 59% of his passes this season while throwing 16 interceptions. He threw for less than 3,000 yards in 14 games starting while throwing for 15 touchdowns. Throwing more interceptions than touchdowns is never a good thing and this was one of the many reasons for his benching late in the season. All of this led to a QBR of 50 for Brock Osweiller on the season.

Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

Allen Robinson was another top receiver taken off of draft boards this past fantasy season. It was a fairly disappointing season for Robinson to say the least. The whole Jaguars team was a disappointment from week 1 and this is a season to forget for Allen Robinson.

Last season Robinson finished the year as the sixth best WR in fantasy leagues. He had a career high 80 catches for 1400 yards and 14 TDs. The 14 TDs were a league high and he was a breakout star in his sophomore season in the NFL. He was a red zone machine catching a league high 11 TDs inside the 20. Allen Robinson was the sixth receiver taken off of draft boards this season but his performance on the field did not follow through.

Allen Robinson finished the year with 73 catches for 883 yards and six TDs. Coming off the best season of his brief career followed up by this performance is underwhelming, especially for Robinson owners in fantasy this season. He finished the season as the 26th best WR in ppt leagues. That is a major blow to his ADP before the season. The TD production was not there for him this year as he scored only six TDs all season.

QB Performance

The poor play from Blake Bortles all year seemed to be a major factor to Robinson’s forgettable season. He was held to just eight games all year in which he had more than three catches in a game. Two games all year in which he had more than 100 yards receiving after putting up six games with 100 or more receiving yards the year before.

It was not only a down year for Robinson, as Blake Bortles had an off year a well. While only completing 58.9% of all passes while throwing for 23 touchdowns and 16 interceptions in 16 games. This was a major downfall for Bortles from last season as he threw for 35 touchdowns and 18 interceptions while throwing for 4,428 yards in 16 games. With a new head coach entering the 2017 season, these two are poised for a bounce back year on the field.

Brandon Marshall, WR, New York Jets

The 2015 season was arguably the best season of Brandon Marshall’s career. Last season he posted a receiving line of 109 catches for 1,502 yards while catching 14 TDs. He also caught 63% of the catches thrown his way as he was a big time threat to the passing game.  His first season with the Jets proved that age may be just a number because he showed no signs of slowing down at all. The connection him and Ryan Fitzpatrick had were one of the best in the league.

Heading into the 2016 season, Marshall was the eight WR taken off draft boards with his ADP. The 32 year old reciever had some promise this season with Ryan Fitzpatrick returning to the team as well. He did everything but help out fantasy teams this season. Posting some of the worst numbers in his 11 year career.

Brandon Marshall caught 59 passes for 788 yards and three TDs. His 59 catches were the lowest he has caught since his rookie season with the Broncos. The 788 receiving yards are the third lowest of his career. Catching 3 TD passes were his second lowest of his career in front of his rookie season. Marshall caught 59 passes on 128 targets in the 2016 season. His catch rate this season was a career low at 46.1%.

Brandon Marshall finished as the WR50 in ppr leagues this year. Only in two games he had over 100 yards receiving, his last coming in week five against the Steelers. After week five he never had more than 70 yards receiving and hauled in one TD catch in the 11 game span. Fantasy owners were expecting a much better season from the veteran.

QB Performance

The whole 2016 season for the Jets was a disaster. It all started with the play from the QBs. Ryan Fitzpatrick had one of the worst seasons of his career in 2016. Throwing for 12 TDs and 17 interceptions while only completing 56.6% of his passes resulted in him getting benched for Geno Smith.

Geno Smith’s time didn’t last long as he tore his ACL in week 7 against the Ravens. The third QB to play for this depleted Jets team was Bryce Petty. The 25 year old appeared in six games throwing three TDs and seven interceptions on the year. He completed 56.4% of his passes on the year.

The poor QB play all year played a major factor in the result of Brandon Marshall’s 2016 season. Marshall will be 33 years old and entering his 12th season in the NFL next season.

Surprises

Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints

Michael Thomas exploded to the scenes of the NFL in a big way. This past season he was drafted 47th overall by the Saints. To start the year he was buried on the depth chart behind guys like Coby Fleener, Willie Snead and Brandon Cooks. He let not only the Saints know, but the whole NFL know that he is a special talent at the WR position. It seemed like he was fighting for targets early from QB Drew Brees, but throughout the season he soon became Brees’ favorite WR.

Michael Thomas finished the season leading the team in targets, catches, and TDs. He caught 92 passes for 1,137 yards and 9 TDs in his rookie campaign. Thomas ended up finishing as a top 10 receiver in fantasy leagues this season. Most fantasy owners were not expecting the type of production he produced this season when drafting him before the season. Michael Thomas was the 55th WR taken off fantasy boards with his ADP and boy did he exceed expectations in his rookie year.

The year Thomas had this year was one of the best rookie seasons as a WR in NFL history. He led all rookies in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving TDs. As a favorite of Drew Brees, the future looks bright for Michael Thomas. The value of Thomas is extremely high and heading into next season he will be one of the top WRs taken off of draft boards. As long as Drew Brees is under center for the Saints, the future surely looks bright for the young, rising star in the NFL.

Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers

Heading into the 2016 season, Adams was a young WR who was fighting for targets in the crowded Packers WR core after a disappointing sophomore season in 2105. In 2015 Adams had 50 catches for 383 yards and one TD. He was fighting for targets behind Randall Cobb, Richard Rodgers and James Jones. He finished fourth on the team with receiving yards, tied for third in catches and tied for sixth in TD catches. His role seemed unclear heading into 2016 with Jordy Nelson coming back but that did not stop him from having a career year.

Devante Adams had a breakout season this year. He posted career highs in every major category and was one of the top receivers in the NFL. Finishing with 75 catches for 997 yards and 12 TDs in 2016. He was second on the team in all three of these categories behind star receiver Jordy Nelson. Adams looked in sync with Rodgers all season. The 24 year old was the 80th receiver taken in drafts in 2016 and he finished as a top 8 WR this season.

Going forward it appears like Adams will maintain a big role in the Packers offense. Although Jordy nelson posted eye popping numbers this season, he will be 32 years old at the start of the 2017 season. He missed all of 2015 due to an injury and injuries may be a lagging issue going forward. Adams proved that he can be a young star in the making with Aaron Rodgers throwing him the ball and if he continues to build chemistry with his QB, the future looks bright for Devante Adams.

Tyrell Williams, WR, San Diego Chargers

The role of Tyrell Williams was unclear heading into this season. The second year pro from Western Oregon caught two passes for 90 yards in four games in 2015. He was buried behind the depth chart all year last year. This season was much different after the Keenan Allen injury and many players from the previous year being traded or retiring.

Williams was a star in 2016 posting up 69 catches for 1,059 yards and catching seven TDs. With Keenan Allen and Danny Woodhead out all year, it was time for Tyrell WIllaims to show what he has to offer. He led the Chargers in every major category receiving this season. From being buried on the depth chart, to the team number one target in one year is a major jump. Williams had the potential to shine and he did all of that this season. The ADP of Williams was the 92nd WR taken in drafts. He exceeded this spot by a mile finishing as a top 20 WR.

The role remains for Tyrell Williams next year is yet to be determined with possibly Kennan Allen back and Danny Woodhead. With the way he proved himself this year, Williams should still have a major role in the offense with the Chargers. There are a lot of uncertainties heading into next year for the team, but with the production Tyrell shown in 2016, he is poised to have success in the near future with the team.

Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

Little was known about the speedy receiver from West Alabama heading into the season. Tyreek Hill quickly made his presence known as he has shown off his electric speed and athletic ability every week. He finished his rookie season this year with 61 catches for 593 yards and six TDs. While rushing the ball 24 times for 267 yards and three TDs. He has a total of 12 TDs this season while three more have come on kickoff and punt returns for touchdowns.

He has shown that he is dangerous lined up anywhere on the field as he is one of the fastest players in the NFL. The Chiefs have a thin receiving core as Travis Kelce led the Chiefs in Catches, targets, and yards. Tyreek Hill finished second on the team in targets, catches, yards and first in TDs.The ADP of Tyreek Hill was WR133. He ended up finishing the year as a top 15 wide receiver. With a banged up Jeremy Maclin, Tyreek Hill has shown that he can fill in as one of the Chiefs top passing threats at the receiver position.

The 2015 season was the worst season of Jeremy Maclin’s pro career. Posting career low numbers in targets, catches, yards and TDs. He missed some time with an injury this season but he looked lost out on the field this whole season. The  emergence of Tyreek Hill puts Jeremy Maclin’s future up in the air. Anytime you put the ball in the hands of Tyreek Hill, he can take it for a touchdown. The speed and athletic ability that he has is like no other in the league. Hill will be a lock to remain a big part of the offense going forward and the big play threat will continue to be there for him.

Recap of WR Production

A lot of different factors impact the performance of the WR production every year. This year has shown that any receiver can shine or be a big disappointment throughout the season. The value of wide receivers are still very high but just know the poor play of a QB or just one injury can impact a wide receiver in many different ways.

About Michael Trivisonno

Michael is a big time NFL and sports fan who has been competing in fantasy football for years now. He goes in depth with stats and numbers to make his audience understand more not just about fantasy football, but about overall teams and players in the game. You can learn more about him by following him on twitter @Mike_Triv

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