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Fooled Me Once, Not Again - Sophomore Wide Receivers Set to Bust, Again

2014 was a banner year for rookie receivers. 2015 was a bummer year for rookie receivers. Only Oakland’s Amari Cooper had 1,000 receiving yards, and no other wideout topped the 900-yard mark.

So there is no shortage of candidates for the award of "Sophomore Receiver Ready to Bust for the Second Straight Year".  Here are three second-year receivers set to disappoint fantasy owners again in 2016.

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Dorial Green-Beckham, Philadelphia Eagles

Green-Beckham made headlines last week when he was surprisingly traded by his Tennessee Titans to Philadelphia for offensive lineman Dennis Kelly.  He had always been highly-touted and thought of as highly-gifted, but for whatever reason he just did not work out with receiver-starved Tennessee (549 yards, four TD in 2015).  If Green-Beckham was considered expendable by a team whose receiving group is highlighted by injury-prone Kendall Wright, inconsistent Rishard Matthews and ancient Andre Johnson, that is a red flag for fantasy owners.

Green-Beckham was unable to fully get the hang of Tennessee’s offense in a year-plus, so who knows how long it will be before he is ready to contribute with the Eagles.  The door is wide open for him to be a factor right away if he can.  Top target Jordan Matthews has never met a pass he couldn’t drop, and newly-acquired Rueben Randle is serviceable but does not put any fright into defenses.  But while some fantasy owners may assume this is the perfect opportunity for Green-Beckham to become a fantasy force, I beg to differ.

DGB goes from having Marcus Mariota throwing to him to having Sam Bradford throwing to him.  That is not an upgrade.  He also goes from an offense he had been learning for a year to an offense he is unfamiliar with.  Not good.  He has all the talent and tools in the world, but if Green-Beckham could not cut it in Tennessee it is hard to see him cutting it quickly in Philadelphia.  He could be a fantasy star in 2017 once he gets acclimated to the Eagles and gets some cheese steaks in him, but he is primed to break more fantasy owners’ hearts this year.


Nelson Agholor, Philadelphia Eagles

Speaking of Eagles receivers who fantasy owners were not fond of in 2015, Agholor was a poster boy for first-year failures.  He only mustered up 23 receptions for 283 yards and one lone touchdown even though he did not have much competition in Philly’s receiving corps and knew Chip Kelly’s run-a-play-every-15-seconds offense from his college days at Oregon.

Agholor did not help his stock by getting mixed up in an offseason issue involving an exotic dancer accusing him of sexual assault (no charges were filed by the district attorney).  Still, he was penciled in as a projected starter until Philadelphia acquired the aforementioned Green-Beckham during training camp.  Now Agholor has to fight to get on the field, but there have been no loud praise or even small whispers about Agholor doing anything special during training camp.

Jordan Matthews is going to be the top target in Philadelphia.  Tight end Zach Ertz could very well become the second-most popular passing option.  And once Green-Beckham learns the Eagles offense, he will be No. 3 in the pecking order.  That does not leave many targets for Agholor, especially since the Eagles will not run as many plays as they did last year since they are no longer using Kelly’s up-tempo offense.  Agholor is not a big receiver, a fast receiver or a good receiver at the moment.  Drafting him in a fantasy league is a stretch right now.


Jaelen Strong, Houston Texans

Many fantasy pundits and owners believed Strong would be able to step into Houston’s No. 2 or No. 3 receiver role during his rookie season because of the Texans’ lack of depth at wideout.  Instead he was as visible as Wonder Woman’s airplane.  Strong amassed 14 receptions for 161 yards and three touchdowns on the year.  Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown had more receiving yards in single games on four different occasions last season.

Houston selected two receivers in this past NFL draft, first-rounder Will Fuller and converted quarterback Braxton Miller, and both rookies could nudge past Strong on the depth chart before the end of the preseason.  The Texans using two high picks on receivers just proves how little faith they have in their 2015 third-round draftee, Mr. Strong.

I guess Strong could still surprise fantasy owners if everything breaks right for him, but quarterback Brock Osweiler will throw half of his passes to fantasy superstud DeAndre Hopkins, while the other half will be divided among Strong, Fuller, Miller, Cecil Shorts (remember him?), running backs and tight ends.  Do not waste a fantasy draft pick on Strong unless you are in an AFC South fantasy league. 


Check out RotoBaller's famous fantasy football draft sleepers and waiver wire pickups list, updated regularly!


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