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Stud Wide Receivers You Should Worry About in 2020

The words sleeper and busts get thrown around by the fantasy community more than anything. You will often hear though that sleepers do not exist anymore. Well, there is no one at all arguing that there are no busts anymore. There are plenty of busts each and every season. And drafting a player that busts in the early rounds is a great way to put you behind the rest of the league. Some players never recover from drafting that early round bust.

We all try our best to identify and avoid potential busts, but it is something I work on each and every season. I think it is something you especially have to be cognitive of in 2020, given all the unknowns that will surround the season. If I am considering a player in the early rounds, I have to consider the downside just as much as the upside. If a player has a larger chance of busting than others going in the same range, especially if we are talking in the early rounds, I will avoid that player. Why take on unnecessary risks? Especially early when you are supposed to be building the base of your team.

The bust potential to me is something that should be weighted even heavier in 2020, when so much will be up in the air each week. Below I am going to talk about three superbly talented wideouts who due to one reason or another, I am fearful of busting this season. The earlier they go in drafts, the less likely I am to have them at all this season.

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Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

This is my biggest fade of the season so far. I did a deep dive on the entire Bucs offense already but I'll repeat that the change from Jameis Winston to Tom Brady has me petrified for Evans’ fantasy value. Brady is not going to turn the ball over 35 times, which likely leads to playing from behind less. Last season, the Bucs threw the ball 70 percent of the time when losing and just 52 percent when winning.

Brady also throws the ball down the field and out wide less than Winston. Winston averaged 10.4 air yards per pass attempts, while Brady was down at 7.6. Winston threw out wide 42 percent of the time, while Brady was 36 percent. That means Evans will now have a QB that throws out wide and down the field less, two strengths of his game. Evans averaged a (by far) league-leading 137 air yards per game in 2019. That is a lock to decrease this season.

Evans was already a rollercoaster as a fantasy asset, scoring 53 percent of his season-long fantasy points in just three weeks. I fear that he will once again be up-and-down this season, as he has to split work with Chris Godwin, Rob Gronkowski, and others, in an offense that will likely throw less and with a QB less suitable for his abilities. Evans is going off the board as the WR7 in the late second or early third round of FFPC drafts. That is simply way too rich for a player with so many concerns.


Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills

Diggs is a player I definitely have concerns about. And before you come for me, Bills Mafia, you should know that I am one of you! Also, you should know that I think Diggs is a better fit for Buffalo than he is for fantasy.

First, the Bills suddenly have a lot of mouths to feed with Diggs, John Brown, Cole Beasley, Dawson Knox and then Devin Singletary and Zack Moss out of the backfield. You are already talking about a team that didn’t throw the ball a bunch at all last season. The Bills passed the ball on 54.3 percent of their plays last year, which ranked 24th in the NFL. This is a team that wants to run the ball, control the clock and rely on their defense, much like the Vikings did last season.

In 2019, Diggs was very up and down in fantasy, scoring 15+ in six games and being held to single-digit fantasy points in seven games. In the last two years, the Bills have had a WR top-20 fantasy points just seven times. It happened three times last year, with Brown doing so twice. In the three seasons, McDermott has been the Bills head coach, a player has topped 100 targets just three times. Two of those instances came last year with Brown and Beasley, while Zay Jones in 2018 was the other. Diggs should easily see over the 94 targets he had last year, but I would more expect him to sit around 110-120.

Now, if we are being totally honest, he has a lesser passer now slinging him the rock. Diggs was brought in to help Allen on the deep ball and I am sure he will, but there will also be some missed opportunities. It’s just part of the package that is Josh Allen. Last season, he finished as the WR24 in total fantasy points and WR26 in fantasy PPG. That is around what I am expecting again this season. That is right around where Diggs is being drafted, so you could make the case that he is going for a fair price. But my issue is there is more concern with Diggs busting, due to the run-first offense and Allen’s inconsistencies potentially making Diggs hard to trust each week. I am more interested in Allen this season than I am his weapons.


A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals

Green is going off the board as the WR28 in the sixth round. That may seem late for Green, who was consistently going in the early rounds for years. But if we are talking players who could potentially bust, I mean how can we not talk about Green?

First, he did not play a single snap last season. Since 2016, Green has missed 29 of a possible 64 games (45 percent). He’s played more than 10 games just once in that four-year span. Green is going to be entering the season as a 32-year-old receiver who has been plagued by lower-body injuries in recent seasons. I also worry because Green is on a one-year deal and we saw last season that he was not going to play through an injury and jeopardize his ability to land a multi-year deal. Another year older, this is something that is very much so in the back of my head, especially when you consider everything going on in 2020.

If Green suffers any sort of injury, I will be fearful of his absence being a lot longer than anticipated. This is not a knock on Green because I get that long-term health comes first, but as fantasy players, we need to be considering all these options.

Lastly, Green has more competition for targets than ever before. The Bengals now have Tyler Boyd, John Ross, Tee Higgins, Auden Tate, with Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard being used out of the backfield. That could help Green, as it will be harder for defenses to keen in on him, and a single covered Green is a scary idea.

It also could help Green that he has Joe Burrow slinging him the rock in an offense that was very pass-happy last season. I do think that Green is a boom-or-bust WR3, which is what he is being drafted as. But, if we are talking receivers who have the potential to bust, and bust hard this season, there is no way we can leave Green off the list.

And you don’t have to just take my word on it. I reached out to RotoBaller’s own physical therapist Aaron Burger (make sure to follow him on Twitter, @aaronburgerPT). Aaron knows way more than I will ever pretend to know about injuries, so I wanted to get his thoughts on Green heading into the season:

“His injury history is quite concerning to me considering he has a history of two things that commonly reoccur: hamstring strains and foot/ankle injuries. He has a significant history of R big toe sprains which given how small the ligaments are and lack of great blood flow, make them candidates for reinjury. In 2016, he had a complete tear of the hamstring and as we've seen with receivers like Will Fuller V, these soft tissue injuries can be bothersome for quite some time. Last year, he obviously missed the whole season with the torn ligaments in his ankle from a subpar practice field. That seems like a one-time thing and he's had a whole year to heal. I'm personally more concerned about his age, hamstring history, and toe injuries.”

These are three receivers that I have concerns about busting, especially at their ADP, this season. Who are some receivers you worry about busting? Let me know on Twitter, @MichaelFFlorio

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