Club Fantasy – 2016 Year-End Recap: Wide Receivers

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By The Hudsonian, Joshua Hudson

Going into this season, I advocated repeatedly that ignoring the running back position for the first few rounds of your draft was the way to go. Only one running back in 2015 crossed the 300 point threshold while six wide receivers crossed the same threshold. This year? The opposite occurred. Five running backs topped 300 points – one even crossed 400 points – while only one wide receiver hit that mark this season.

Of course, if you listened to my advice, you could have found decent value at the running back position while grabbing a solid number one, a number two who turned into a one, and maybe a bounce back candidate or rookie who surprised everyone, including yourself. But we can’t all draft Antonio Brown number one, nab Jordy Nelson in the second, take a flier on Mike Evans or Brandin Cooks in the third, and still manage to find DeMarco Murray in the fourth and Melvin Gordon in the eighth. Or can you?

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Antonio Brown, the consensus number one pick in 2016 Fantasy Football drafts, finished number one amongst all wide receivers.

Maybe that was a fantasy, pun intended. Or maybe the flip in scoring takes us back to a simpler time, when we all just load up on running backs again. Are you ready to return to the old? I’m not.

Let’s look at this from a different angle. Of my preseason top 10, Julio Jones (2nd) missed two games; DeAndre Hopkins (4th) dealt with the enigma that is Brock Osweiler; A.J. Green (5th) missed six games, seven if you count week 17; Keenan Allen (6th) missed the season after tearing his ACL in week 1; Allen Robinson (7th) dealt with the regression of Blake Bortles and teams scheming to stop him; Brandon Marshall (8th) dealt with the quarterback carousel that was New York Jets signal-callers; and Dez Bryant (9th) missed three games and struggled to find chemistry with rookie quarterback Dak Prescott.

 

A plague of inconsistency. It happens every year. The best get beaten up, the breakout candidates miss by a year, and injuries around those players affect their overall performance. We call that life. But there were some surprises this year though. A return to stardom by Nelson and Evans; T.Y. Hilton stepped up with the return of Andrew Luck; Doug Baldwin showed last year wasn’t a fluke; and Larry Fitzgerald showed he isn’t done yet.

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Doug Baldwin, who finished sixth amongst wide receivers in 2016, showed this year his 2015 season was not a fluke.

But while everyone wants to crown running backs as king again and say the position is making a comeback, let’s take a closer look. Sure, five running backs topped 300 points. If you include those five, only 13 running backs total topped 200 points. Guess how many wide receivers did that in 2016? 19. All this year proved is the disparity in the tiers of running backs. Maybe the best of the best at running back are more valuable than the best at wide receiver. But you’re likely going to win a league with quality and quantity at wide receiver, which is far easier to come by.

Below are how the WRs of 2016 finished. Point totals cover weeks 1-16 and scoring is in Club Fantasy format:

WR Team Points
1 Antonio Brown PIT 307.3
2 Odell Beckham Jr. NYG 296.2
3 Jordy Nelson GB 292.1
4 Mike Evans TB 286.6
5 T.Y. Hilton IND 260.3
6 Doug Baldwin SEA 249.2
7 Brandin Cooks NO 247.4
8 Julio Jones ATL 242.3
9 Michael Crabtree OAK 229.6
10 Larry Fitzgerald ARI 228.5
11 Davante Adams GB 225.6
12 Michael Thomas NO 224.1
13 Demaryius Thomas DEN 219.6
14 Amari Cooper OAK 219.0
15 Emmanuel Sanders DEN 212.6
16 Jarvis Landry MIA 210.7
17 Tyrell Williams SD 205.9
18 Golden Tate DET 204.7
19 Tyreek Hill KC 203.9
20 Mike Wallace BAL 199.5
21 Julian Edelman NE 198.6
22 Adam Thielen MIN 198.5
23 Terrelle Pryor Sr. CLE 197.0
24 Kenny Britt LA 196.2
25 Jamison Crowder WSH 195.9
26 Stefon Diggs MIN 193.3
27 Pierre Garcon WSH 189.5
28 A.J. Green CIN 188.4
29 Allen Robinson JAX 186.1
30 Rishard Matthews TEN 185.1
31 Willie Snead NO 184.3
32 Dez Bryant DAL 184.0
33 Cole Beasley DAL 181.1
34 Steve Smith Sr. BAL 179.5
35 DeSean Jackson WSH 179.1
36 DeAndre Hopkins HOU 178.1
37 Sterling Shepard BYG 177.7
38 Kelvin Benjamin CAR 175.8
39 Brandon LaFell CIN 174.3
40 Jordan Matthews PHI 171.4
41 Cameron Meredith CHI 167.3
42 Marqise Lee JAX 165.8
43 Marvin Jones DET 164.7
44 Kenny Stills MIA 160.5
45 Dontrelle inman SD 157.9
46 Quincy Enunwa NYJ 157.8
47 Anquan Boldin DET 157.7
48 Brandon Marshall NYJ 155.8
49 Ted Ginn Jr. CAR 149.7
50 Randall Cobb GB 148.3
51 DeVante Parker MIA 146.9
52 Tavon Austin LA 144.8
53 Alshon Jeffrey CHI 144.1
54 Taylor Gabriel ATL 144.0
55 Mohamed Sanu ATL 135.6
56 Jeremy Kerley SF 134.6
57 Ty Montgomery GB 133.4
58 Travis Benjamin SD 132.4
59 J.J. Nelson ARI 131.6
60 Tyler Lockett SEA 128.1
61 Chris Hogan NE 126.2
62 Will Fuller V Hou 122.8
63 Tyler Boyd CIN 116.7
64 Cordarrelle Patterson MIN 114.7
65 Brian Quick LA 113.9
65 Eli Rogers PIT 113.9
67 Adam Humphries TB 113.6
68 Terrance Williams DAL 113.1
69 Robert Woods BUF 110.6
70 Robby Anderson NYJ 106.6
71 Seth Roberts OAK 106.1
72 Tajae Sharpe TEN 105.3
73 Michael Floyd NE 103.2
74 Donte Moncrief IND 102.6
75 Allen Hurns JAX 100.7
76 Jeremy Maclin KC 100.2
77 John Brown ARI 99.2
78 Victor Cruz NYG 98.9
79 Malcolm Mitchell NE 98.1
80 Phillip Dorsett IND 93.2
81 Breshad Perriman BAL 92.9
82 Marquise Goodwin BUF 92.3
83 Jermaine Kearse SEA 91.6
84 Kendall Wright TEN 90.1
85 Nelson Agholor PHI 88.0
86 Eddie Royal CHI 87.9
87 Chris Conley KC 87.5
88 Devin Funchess CAR 86.1
89 Dorial Green-Beckham PHI 84.7
90 Corey Coleman CLE 83.4
91 Sammie Coates PIT 79.9
92 Albert Wilson KC 78.7
93 Quinton Patton SF 77.8
94 Andrew Hawkins CLE 77.5
95 Sammy Watkins BUF 75.9
96 Brandon Coleman NO 70.3
97 Danny Amendola NE 69.3
98 Torrey Smith SF 66.7
99 Russell Shepard TB 65.1
100 Kamar Aiken BAL 63.6