The dynasty fantasy football landscape has changed. What was once an oasis of wide receiver talent has been stampeded by a new wave of running backs. What has happened to our beloved position?
Since the miracle rookie class of 2014 that gave us Odell Beckham, Mike Evans, Devante Adams, Jarvis Landry, Allen Robinson, Brandin Cooks, Sammy Watkins, and others, we have had a significant dry spell at the wide receiver position. Lets take a look at the three most recent draft classes, and how they have turned out fantasy wise thus far:
35 wide receivers were drafted in 2015. Here’s the round by round breakdown:
In 3 seasons, this draft class has produced exactly 0 WR1 (top 12) seasons. ZERO! Lets take a look at some of the highest drafted players:
Amari Cooper - 1.04 - Easily the best producing WR from this class. Although he hasn’t performed to his lofty expectations, Cooper has succeeded at a young age. Expect him to be fantasy relevant for a very long time.
Kevin White - 1.07 - Complete injury bust. He might have one last shot at relevance this season.
DeVante Parker - 1.14 - Massive disappointment. I’m curious how he’d be succeeding if he wasn’t on the Miami Dolphins.
Nelson Agholor - 1.20 - He was left for dead by many in the fantasy world. The high-flying Eagles led by Carson Wentz have put some juice back in this tank, finishing as the WR22 this year.
Breshad Perriman - 1.26 - Complete bust. You got to love a great pro day, huh Baltimore?
Phillip Dorsett - 1.29 - Complete bust. Common theme that most of these general managers don’t have jobs anymore.
Devin Smith - 2.05 - Complete bust. Fell out of the league quickly after injuries.
Dorial Green-Beckham - 2.08 - Complete bust. Can’t teach 6’5, nor a playbook apparently.
Devin Funchess - 2.09 - Resurgent year in 2017, finishing as the WR21.
Some notable late round steals:
Jamison Crowder - 4.06 - One of the best draft picks Washington has made in recent years.
Stefon Diggs - 5.10 - Easily the best WR besides Cooper in this class. Should have been a top draft pick if not for off-field issues.
2015 in review:
0 WR1 seasons
2 dynasty studs (Cooper, Diggs)
3 decent values (Crowder, Funchess, Agholor)
34 wide receivers were drafted in 2016. Here’s the round by round breakdown:
In 2 seasons, this draft class has produced 3 WR1 seasons, courtesy of Michael Thomas (2) and Tyreek Hill. Lets take a look at some of the highest drafted players:
Corey Coleman - 1.15 - Injury bust thus far. It’s too soon to call Coleman a complete bust, but he needs to stay on the field. Maybe he’ll get a shot if Cleveland trades him somewhere.
Will Fuller - 1.21 - Sparks flew when him and Watson were on the field together. Another guy who has a tiny frame and needs to stay healthy. I believe he’s the best of the four first round WR’s in this class.
Josh Doctson - 1.22 - Combination of injuries and focus issues. Doctson showed a little promise in 2017, let’s see if he can build on that with Alex Smith.
Laquon Treadwell - 1.23 - Ultimate bust. They won’t admit it, but many people drafted this guy over some other guy named Ezekiel Elliot.
Sterling Shepard - 2.09 - Shepard has actually been pretty decent when he’s gotten opportunities. He’s turned into a good stash.
Michael Thomas - 2.16 - The bell of the ball. MT has single handedly saved this class.
Tyler Boyd - 2.24 - Only a few Boyd sightings the first couple years. Andy Dalton is an anemic passer, so don’t expect a turnaround until that situation changes.
A notable late round steal:
Tyreek Hill - 5.26 - Another top end talent with off-field issues. Wow, what a steal he turned out to be for the Chiefs. 2nd most valuable WR in this class.
2016 in review:
3 WR1 seasons
2 dynasty studs (MT, Tyreek)
3 decent values (Fuller, Coleman, Shepard)
32 wide receivers were drafted in 2017. Here’s the round by round breakdown:
In 1 season, this draft class has produced 0 WR1 seasons, and 1 WR2 season. Lets take a look at some of the highest drafted players:
Corey Davis - 1.05 - Injuries will be the theme of this class. Davis showed his talents in the playoffs, but was mostly a scratch for fantasy year 1. A stud locked into a limited passing offense.
Mike Williams - 1.07 - Another injury scratch. We need to see some forward progress on the field this season. Big Mike will benefit from actually getting to participate in an offseason this year.
John Ross - 1.09 - The Bengals being the Bengals. Ross played 2 snaps all season. Apparently he was hiding an injury, so maybe we shouldn’t write him off just yet.
Zay Jones - 2.05 - The Bills just love drafting our favorite wideouts, don’t they?. For Zay to gain relevance, it has to be due to a new quarterback coming to town.
Curtis Samuel - 2.08 - Samuel got hurt, but he also didn’t contribute anything fantasy wise before that. Hard to envision him having any type of steady starter role for fantasy lineups.
JuJu Smith-Schuster - 2.30 - Everyones’ love child from 2017. Juju was the biggest producer from this class, benefitting from defenses worrying about Bell and Brown. I expect him to put together another nice WR2 season.
Cooper Kupp - 3.05 - A great value for the Rams. Kupp was a high end WR3. Should be a nice matchup plug-and-play this season again.
Some notable late round steals:
Chris Godwin - 3.20 - A guy getting a lot of dynasty love, Godwin is a solid all-around player. He won’t crack the starting lineup this season, but I like his prospects starting in 2019.
Dede Westbrook - 4.03 - Dede showing well made the decision for the Jags to cut Arob easier. An excellent stash or trade piece this offseason.
Some guys to keep your eye on:
Mack Hollins - Eagles just traded Torrey Smith and they are really high on this kid.
Ryan Switzer - Look for him to be the starting slot guy for Dak if Cole Beasley isn’t retained.
2017 in review:
0 WR1 seasons
2 dynasty studs (Davis, Juju)
4 decent values (Williams, Kupp, Dede, Godwin)
With the 2018 class looking subpar at the position as well, we are desperately in need of another 2014 like class to refill the ranks of the wide receiver position. The 2019 class of rookies is looking like it could have several absolute stud receivers. Could that be the next year of the wideout? Our well known studs like Dez, Jordy, Brown, AJ, Julio, Dez are all above or approaching 30 years old quickly. While many of the wide receivers from the last three classes may seem to be busts at the moment, I believe a couple of them will surprise us and return to relevance. Prior to 2014 it was common belief that wide receivers needed three seasons before they would break out, here’s to hoping a few more of them do.