2018 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Busts: Receiver Bust Quartet

by Dennis Sosic
2018 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Busts: Receiver Bust Quartet

Welcome back to the continuous fantasy football coverage by the Fantasy Six Pack staff.

I continue my look at the wide receivers. Let's take a moment to get the full fantasy picture of the wide receiver position. Discover which rookie receivers will stand out; who are the wide receiver reaches and steals in my 2018 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Preview: Catch This. Also, find out who are the wide receiver sleepers for the 2018 season, as I dive into them here, 2018 Fantasy Football Wide Receivers Sleepers: Lucky Seven.

Now I will turn our attention to take a look at a quartet of receivers that I believe will be busts in the 2018 season. Receivers who will not produce up to expectations or draft position. It is just as important to avoid busts as it is to discover sleepers in fantasy football.

Find out who the Receiver Bust Quartet is in the 2018 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Busts.

2018 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Busts

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Brandin Cooks, WR, Los Angeles Rams

The Rams expect the acquisition of Brandin Cooks from the Patriots will provide the explosive deep threat they thought they were getting a year ago with Sammy Watkins. Watkins had just 39 receptions for 593 yards and eight touchdowns in 2017. First-year head coach Sean McVay orchestrated quite a turnaround as the Rams went from dead-last in scoring in 2016 all the way up to first with 29.9 points per game.

Cooks led the Patriots in targets (114), receptions (65), yards (1,082), and touchdowns (seven) last season. He had easy access to an explosive season with Julian Edelman and Malcolm Mitchell out for the season. Chris Hogan also battled injuries of his own. However, he had a worse season in 2017 for the Patriots than he had in 2015 and 2016 for the Saints; while surrounded by talented receivers.

With Drew Brees and Tom Brady throwing to him, Cooks had the luxury of two of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. Obviously, Cooks will see a huge downgrade at the quarterback position. He’ll have to establish some chemistry with Jared Goff in their first season together, but there are some warning signs that Goff will limit Cook's fantasy value. Goff’s 3.8 air yards per attempt was 19th in the league, and he only attempted 58 deep balls, 20th in the league.

He ranks as the WR21 in PPR. I believe that this is near his ceiling in this offense. His average over the past three years (76-1,131-8) is what fantasy owners want their No.2 receivers to produce. However, in this new offense, with a new QB, with both Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp pulling targets, I think Cooks is more of a strong No.3 at best with 850 yards and 5-7 touchdowns.

Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Mike Evans had his fourth-straight 1,000-yard season in 2017. However, he only scored five times last season compared to his 12 touchdowns in 2016. He continued to dominate the overall target share in Tampa, but it was lower than in years past - thanks to the additions of DeSean Jackson, Chris Godwin, and O.J. Howard.

Evans still managed to finish as a Top-12 receiver in seven weeks of the season last year and as the 11th at his position in targets. However, he ended the season as the WR17 in PPR points. His 52.2 percent catch rate was 182nd among pass-catchers! He had only one 100-yard game last season!

Evans didn’t come close to paying off his 8th overall price tag. He averaged only 4.7 targets per game; finishing with his lowest YPG total in his career (66.7). Evans is unreliable inside of the 10-yard line too, where he only caught one TD out of nine total targets.

The biggest obstacle for the Bucs this upcoming season is the absence of quarterback Jameis Winston for the first three weeks. This suspension means that veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick opens the 2018 season as the starter. However, it’s tough to replace Winston and the rapport he’s built with the offense.

He is being drafted as the ninth-best wideout and his overall ADP is 18.8.  In 12-team leagues, those rankings mean the last five picks of the second round. That is too rich for me.

Evans saw 37 fewer targets than his breakout 2016 season. With the other pass catchers on the Bucs taking away targets and factoring in Winston's suspension, I don't see Evans finishing in the fantasy receiver top ten.

Josh Gordon, WR, Cleveland Browns

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Since entering the league in 2012, Josh Gordon has played just 40 games. While active, he's averaging 77 yards-per-game with 15 total touchdowns. In 2013, Gordon won a bunch of fantasy titles for owners when he broke out with 87 receptions and a league-leading 1,646 yards. After returning from suspension last season, Gordon played in five games and caught 18 passes for 335 yards and one touchdown.

There is no argument about his talent, but the risks are obvious. He is one relapse away from a permanent ban by the NFL! It will be compelling to gauge the dynamic between Gordon and new quarterback Tyrod Taylor.

Taylor is known for his low-risk decision making and is not a heavy volume passer. The most passes Taylor has thrown in a year is 436. In addition, the Browns also added Jarvis Landry, who led the NFL with a career-high 112 receptions last season. Furthermore, the Browns have second-year TE David Njoku, who emerged as a threat last season and led the team with four touchdowns.

No receiver creates as much hype and disappointment as Josh Gordon. He represents a high-risk, high reward pick that could very well leave fantasy owners regretting they took the calculated risk. He has the same chance of being a top-five receiver as he does being out of the league.

Gordon's ADP of 3.01 and 16 overall at the position places him as a third-round pick. His draft capital is a fantasy gamble for a player who has missed so much time. With Landry and Njoku taking away touches, Gordon will basically be a touchdown-dependent WR1. Those elite numbers will be hard to repeat with the multiple passing options available in the Browns offense.

Jordy Nelson, WR, Oakland Raiders

The Green Bay Packers let Jordy Nelson go and the Raiders scooped him immediately. The Raiders signed him to a two-year deal and released Michael Crabtree, who is two years younger than Nelson.

Nelson is coming off a horrible season in which he averaged just 32 receiving yards per game. He picked up a grand total of 252 yards with zero touchdowns in 10 games after Aaron Rodgers went down with a broken collarbone. Nelson finished with 53 receptions on 88 targets for 482 yards and six touchdowns in his worst statistical season since 2009. Without Rodgers, Nelson's owners were in serious trouble. The Rodgers-Nelson combination had excellent chemistry that created fantasy gold.

It's obvious that Nelson looked to have a lost a couple steps and has struggled to gain any sort of separation. He will suffer in a secondary role in a worse offense. New head coach Jon Gruden has never had more than one fantasy-relevant receiver in his seven years in Tampa. Take a look at the numbers of Gruden’s top two receivers from 2002 to 2008. Gruden emphatically stated that the passing offense will flow through Amari Cooper. Draft-day acquisition Martavis Bryant will also command plenty of targets playing opposite from Cooper.

Nelson will be totally TD dependent. It's hard to be optimistic that Nelson and his new quarterback Derek Carr will be able to develop any type of real chemistry overnight. Currently, he has an average ADP of 37 among receivers and 96 Overall ADP. I would be staying away from Nelson at that price but his name recognition and past history will push his ADP higher than his value should allow. Nelson is a hard sell for having much fantasy significance in 2018.

Visit the F6P Fantasy Football Draft Kit Page for more advice to prepare for the 2018 season.

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RankingsPosition PreviewsTeam PreviewsSleepersBusts

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1 comment

Wednesday, July 18, 2018 - Fantasy Football Links - FantasyRundown.com July 30, 2018 - 9:09 am

[…] identifies four wide receivers who will definitely disappoint fantasy owners in […]


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