Biggest Busts and Disappointments of 2016 - Wide Receivers

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Wide receivers played a bigger factor than ever in fantasy football this season. Many fantasy owners went with the "Zero RB" strategy and waited until the middle rounds before even considering a quarterback. Therefore, the number of wide receivers with a first or second round ADP increased from previous years. Unfortunately, not all of these players panned out as safe bets. For every Antonio Brown, there was an Allen Robinson.

Let's take a look back at some of this season's most disappointing fantasy wide receivers in hopes of not repeating history next season. I'm purposely not including players who missed significant time due to injury and/or suspension. If you drafted Sammy Watkins or Keenan Allen, you were at least able to find a replacement very early in the season (hopefully a good one). The players listed below were a proverbial albatross to their owners' teams, as you couldn't bench them in the chance they would somehow return to form. When you're done here, check out 2016's biggest busts at the quarterback position as well.

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Wide Receiver Busts for 2016 Fantasy Football

Note: 2016 average draft positions are taken from Fantasy Football Calculator.

 

DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans (1.09) - Hopkins wound up with 78 receptions, 954 yards, and four TD in 2016. Not a bad haul for most receivers, but anyone who burned a first-round pick on Hopkins was banging their head repeatedly on Sundays. Consider as well that the sum of his yardage was greater than his weekly value in fantasy. He started out strong in the first two games, but after Week 2 he was of little help. Hopkins tallied more than 70 receiving yards three times the rest of the year and only had two 100-yard games all season. In 2015, he had six games of 100 yards or more and only failed to reach 70 yards five times. Worst of all, his touchdown total plummeted from 11 to four. Blame Brock Osweiler for this one, but expectations must be tempered for Hopkins entering next year unless a permanent change is made at QB.

Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars (1.12) - A-Rob didn't have a new quarterback throwing to him, but maybe that was the problem. Jacksonville's offense as a whole was largely the same, but performed much worse than the previous season. Robinson went from 1,400 yards in 2015 to 883 yards this year - a whopping decrease of 517 yards. He also went from a league-leading 14 TD to six, killing his WR1 status in standard leagues. Robinson had his moments where it appeared he would regain his old form, but those moments were few and far in between. If a new coaching regime can fix Bortles or find a suitable replacement, there is hope for Robinson to at least break the 1,000 yard plateau again.

Brandon Marshall, New York Jets (2.06) - You can blame the quarterback situation, the lack of offensive ingenuity, the coach or just about anything else that contributed to the Jets' horrible season. The fact is that Marshall, for the first time in his prolific career, was benchable for the second half of the season. From Week 6 on, Marshall reached the end zone just once and didn't surpass 70 yards in a game. If you stuck with him throughout fantasy playoff season, you were treated with a grand total of six catches, 77 yards and no scores between Weeks 14-16. There's a growing chance Marshall, like his quarterback Fitzpatrick, won't return to New York next season. Depending on where he winds up, Marshall could emerge as a low-end WR1, but may not ever see a second-round ADP again.

Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers (3.10) - Aaron Rodgers had one of his finest seasons, Jordy Nelson was arguably the best receiver in fantasy football and the Packers reached the NFC championship game. You would think Randall Cobb would fit into that picture as a high-end WR2. Instead, Cobb had his worst year statistically since he was a rookie. 60 reecptions, 610 yards, and four touchdowns are the type of numbers you can get off the waiver wire, not what you would expect from a third-round pick. Most notably, he caught three passes for 33 yards in Week 14, then put up a goose egg in Week 15 before getting hurt and missing the last two games. As a final insult, Cobb returned for the Wild Card weekend and nearly matched his season TD total in one playoff game alone. He put up 116 yards and three TD against the Giants after he had already worn out his welcome with fantasy owners.

Michael Floyd, New England Patriots (5.07) - It's uncertain what the future holds for Floyd, but his past isn't a positive indicator. The only question surrounding Floyd in 2016 drafts was his health. As it turned out, he was good to play in 15 games and the one he missed was due to legal reason, not injury. Floyd disappeared from Arizona's offense and wasn't very good when he was targeted. A career low 47.1% Catch%, 2.5 receptions per game and 32.5 yards per game made Floyd a drop candidate by the midpoint of the season. He found his way onto the Patriots at the tail end of the season, but it didn't do much for his fantasy stock. It's hard to believe that he and fellow bust John Brown were drafted ahead of Larry Fitzgerald in many leagues. Youth can be overrated, it seems.

 

Honorable Mentions

Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears (3.02) - Jeffery was on his way to All-Bust honors, but a four-game suspension late in the season clouds his placement on this list. He could have thrived with Matt Barkley at QB, as he put up 11 receptions, 181 yards and a touchdowns in Weeks 15-16. This production also proved very useful to owners in the fantasy playoffs, partially redeeming his value.

Jeremy Maclin, Kansas City Chiefs (4.09) - Maclin probably produced the worst season of all the receivers listed above, but he wasn't drafted as a WR1 in most leagues so his performance wasn't quite as disappointing. He was also MIA between Weeks 9-13 due to a groin injury, diminishing his potential numbers. In all, he finished with a career-low 536 yards and two touchdowns. His draft stock will be lower than ever in 2017, making him a potential bargain.

 


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