Three Wide Receivers You Can Trust in 2016
Which WRs can you trust to give you solid production on the season while minimizing the chance of a week ruining stinker? I have pulled the numbers on the top 20 WRs from 2015 and looked into what their final scores truly represent using Point Per Reception Scoring.
On a week in week out basis, you would expect a stud WR to perform well, at least in the top 30 at his position each week, therefore earning his spot in your starting lineup. The trust issues come when you have a locked and loaded top 20 WR who has a dud week and finishes outside the top 30, or even fails to score double-digit fantasy points. For example, AJ Green finished the season as a top 10 WR. However, he finished outside the weekly top 30 at his position on six different occasions. Worse still was Emmanuel Sanders who finished with just single-digit fantasy points in 33% of his games in 2015.
Now that we’ve flagged some scoundrels, let’s take a look at some pass catchers deserving of a spot inside your circle of trust.
In 2015, Eric Decker finished the season with 80 receptions for 1,027 yards and 12 touchdowns. Those numbers become more impressive when you consider how they played out on a weekly basis. Decker finished with double-digit points in every game in which he was active and finished inside the top 30 at his position 86.7% of the time, the highest rate in the league.
Looking forward to 2016, it is easy to be concerned with the QB drama in New York. Ryan Fitzpatrick is still an unrestricted free agent, leaving the team with Geno Smith and projects Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg to fill the void at QB. The Jets, however, seem comfortable with this situation. If they feel that Geno Smith is not capable of being an NFL QB Mike Maccagnan, the Jets’ GM, will bring Ryan Fitzpatrick back into the fold. Adding to my confidence in Decker is that the Jets will carry forward their offensive philosophy from 2015, a QB friendly system championed by Offensive Coordinator Chan Gailey. Also, this is a team that will again be lacking a legitimate receiving threat at TE or a third WR to challenge Brandon Marshall or Decker for targets. Eric Decker will continue to get his looks and remain in contention for double digit touchdowns given his large frame.
Breaking out in his sophomore season in Miami, Landry developed a rapport with Ryan Tannehill to the tune of 110 catches for 1,157 yards on a healthy 165 targets. Those receptions along with a handful of rushing attempts and return yards propelled Landry to a 2015 top 10 finish in PPR formats. Week to week Landry was very steady, he even sprinkled in a few boom games to the delight of his owners. But perhaps the best part of Landry’s season was that he finished inside the weekly top 30 at his position 81.25% of the time and only finished with single-digit points once. The steady production dates back to 2014. Over the final 8 weeks in his rookie year, Landry posted at least 5 catches and double-digit fantasy points each time out.
Some people view Landry as a WR who’s due for some target regression, but I believe Landry should not only remain trustworthy in 2016, but he may even improve on these numbers. Though the name Ryan Tannehill may not inspire confidence, keep in mind that Tannehill is coming off of three straight seasons with at least 3,900 passing yards. More than enough to feed Landry, and now the Miami Dolphins have brought in offensive-minded Head Coach Adam Gase. Gase’s pass happy system, paired with the emergence of rookie wideout DeVante Parker drawing coverage away from Landry, should spell great things for Landry and his owners in 2016.
This one should come as no surprise. Julio Jones is a stud at WR and should be a top 5 overall pick in all drafts this season and for good reason. In 2015, Jones posted video game numbers: 136 catches for 1,871 yards and 8 touchdowns on 204 targets. Two hundred and four! Jones’ consistency compares to that of Jarvis Landry, finishing in single digits just once while posting 7 additional weeks of over 20 fantasy points.
The privilege of trusting Jones in 2016 is costly, but he is more than capable of rewarding your trust. Expect Matt Ryan to bounce back and throw for more touchdowns than he did in 2015, while Mohamed Sanu should garner more attention from defenses than the aging Roddy White did last season. It doesn’t hurt that Josh Norman, shutdown corner, no longer plays in the NFC South. Julio Jones could be in for a record-setting season and truly deserves to be locked into your weekly starting lineup.
For the purposes of this article, I have presumed the health of the players in question. If you are looking for up to date injury news and notes check out the Ultimate Draft Kit.