Club Fantasy – 2017 Year-End Recap: Wide Receivers

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By Cole Hoopingarner

Next up in Club Fantasy’s 2017 recap: Wide Receivers!

General Highlights

  • Only two wide receivers broke the 300-point barrier in 2017: Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown (315.3) and Houston’s DeAndre Hopkins (314.8).
  • The next highest scoring WR, Kansas City’s speed demon Tyreek Hill, notched 261.2 points. That’s roughly 3.6 fewer points per week than Brown and Hopkins.
  • The eight players who finished 4th-11th were separated by just 25.4 points.
  • Just four of the top ten wide receivers were, on average, among the first ten wide receivers drafted in ESPN drafts.

Let’s dig a little deeper into a few players’ performances this year. We’re not going to cover everyone – just some of the players that stood out to us.

Player Highlights

1. Antonio Brown (315.3 points)

The consensus pre-season favorite at his position lived up to expectations once again as Antonio Brown averaged 22.52 points per game en route to a WR1 finish. Brown averaged 35.7 PPG from Weeks 11 – 14, including a 24.1 point performance in Week 13 while nursing an injured toe. Year after year Brown has overcome every obstacle thrown his way and has retained his elite status. Double coverage and losing potential targets and touches to RB2 Le’Veon Bell haven’t slowed him down and there’s no reason to believe that will happen anytime soon.

Antonio Brown showed Steelers fans and fantasy football managers love all season long. Photo credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

2. DeAndre Hopkins (314.8 points)

We told you at the beginning of the season that DeAndre Hopkins may represent the best overall value in this year’s draft. Major quarterback woes caused headaches for those of us/you who spent first and second round picks on Hopkins in 2016. After the Texans named Tom Savage the 2017 starting quarterback, fantasy owners shied away and Hopkins’ average draft position sunk to 34.5. The Texans benched Savage at halftime of their Week 1 game and installed rookie Deshaun Watson as the starter. *Insert choir of angels here* as this move sparked the entire Houston team and marked the beginning of Hopkins’ resurgence. In the 6.5 games with Watson as the QB, Hopkins averaged 23.4 points. When Watson suffered a season-ending injury the Texans turned back to Savage, striking fear in the hearts of fantasy managers everywhere. That fear proved to be unfounded as in the 8.5 games with other Houston QBs throughout the season, Hopkins averaged 21.2 points.

3. Tyreek Hill (261.2 points)

Our biggest concern about 2016’s breakout wide receiver Tyreek Hill was his ability to put up good numbers on a weekly basis at the WR position. Yes, Hill electrified in 2016, but he accomplished that with a lot of supplemental work in the running game and on special teams. We wanted to see Hill be the consistent threat at WR that the Chiefs and fantasy managers needed before fully endorsing him. Hill didn’t do much from Weeks 1-9 to change our minds, alternating scoring single and double digit points each week during that time period. However, Hill was much more consistent from Weeks 10-16, averaging 19.4 points per game and never scoring below 11.5 points during that stretch.

Keenan Allen is a sleeper no more after a 4th place finish in 2017. Photo credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

4. Keenan Allen (249.9 points)

Finally. FINALLY! San Diego WR Keenan Allen has long been one of Club Fantasy’s favorites to bust through the Tier 3 ceiling. Alas, injuries in 2015 and 2016 prevented Allen from proving us right or wrong. Third time’s a charm, though, and despite one underwhelming four-game stretch, Allen produced the best numbers of his career in 2017: 102 catches for 1,393 yards and 6 touchdowns.

6. Julio Jones (243.9 points)

Why are we underwhelmed by Julio Jones’ performance for a second consecutive year? Probably because our expectations are so high for arguably the best pound-for-pound receiver in the league. Jones has posted back-to-back sixth place finishes from 2016-2017 and has left fantasy owners feeling a bit empty. In 2017 Jones only produced three 20+ point games, and one of them was a 55 point monster performance that considerably boosted his season PPG average. He’s definitely a guy you want as your #1 WR, but he just didn’t produce enough in 2017 to justify a first round pick.

7. Michael Thomas (243.1 points)

The seventh wide receiver (on average) to come off the draft board finished 7th at his position. Second-year WR Michael Thomas improved on his 2016 reception and yardage totals, and despite scoring four fewer touchdowns in 2017 compared to his rookie season, Thomas provided a consistency that propelled many fantasy managers to the playoffs. Thomas only scored singled digits in two games. That’s mighty impressive considering the Saints also produced fantasy’s RB4 and RB5.

11. Davante Adams (224.5 points)

Ok, so Davante Adams is for real. A year after finishing as WR10, Adams overcame an injury to Aaron Rodgers to finish as fantasy’s 11th best wide receiver in 2017. Adams signed a four year, $58 million contact and is set to enter the prime of his career as one of Rodgers’ favorite targets – and depending on Jordy Nelson’s performance, Adams may quickly turn into 12’s number one option.

19. Mike Evans (190.6 points)

It’s safe to say that Mike Evans disappointed more fantasy owners in 2017 than any other player at his position, and perhaps throughout the entire league. Evans only broke the 20-point mark twice in 2017 and averaged just 13.6 points per game. It’s definitely not what managers expected or needed, especially after investing late-first and early-second round draft picks on unquestionably the best playmaker on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Below are how the wide receivers of 2017 finished. Scoring is from Weeks 1-16 and follows theĀ Club Fantasy format:

Rank Player Points Overall Avg Pts/Game
1 Antonio Brown (PIT) 315.30 22.52
2 DeAndre Hopkins (HOU) 314.80 20.99
3 Tyreek Hill (KC) 261.20 17.41
4 Keenan Allen (LAC) 249.90 16.66
5 Larry Fitzgerald (ARI) 247.94 16.53
6 Julio Jones (ATL) 243.90 16.26
7 Michael Thomas (NO) 243.10 16.21
8 Jarvis Landry (MIA) 235.80 15.72
9 Adam Thielen (MIN) 231.60 15.44
10 A.J. Green (CIN) 227.10 15.14
11 Davante Adams (GB) 224.50 16.04
12 Marvin Jones (DET) 207.00 13.80
13 Brandin Cooks (NE) 203.50 13.57
14 Robby Anderson (NYJ) 202.70 13.51
15 Golden Tate (DET) 199.10 13.27
16 Doug Baldwin (SEA) 198.30 13.22
17 Alshon Jeffery (PHI) 196.10 13.07
18 Nelson Agholor (PHI) 192.70 12.85
19 Mike Evans (TB) 190.60 13.61
20 Demaryius Thomas (DEN) 188.20 12.55
21 Dez Bryant (DAL) 183.00 12.20
22 Stefon Diggs (MIN) 182.50 14.04
23 Devin Funchess (CAR) 182.20 12.15
24 Cooper Kupp (LAR) 176.90 11.79
25 T.Y. Hilton (IND) 175.20 11.68
26 Kenny Stills (MIA) 170.30 11.35
27 Michael Crabtree (OAK) 168.10 12.93
28 Robert Woods (LAR) 167.30 13.94
29 Jermaine Kearse (NYJ) 165.10 11.01
30 JuJu Smith-Schuster (PIT) 164.40 12.65
31 Mohamed Sanu (ATL) 164.24 11.73
32 Marquise Goodwin (SF) 158.80 10.59
33 Rishard Matthews (TEN) 158.50 12.19
34 Ted Ginn Jr. (NO) 155.10 11.08
35 Jamison Crowder (WSH) 154.90 11.06
36 Paul Richardson (SEA) 152.30 10.15
37 Sterling Shepard (NYG) 148.50 13.50
38 Sammy Watkins (LAR) 148.30 9.89
39 Marqise Lee (JAX) 147.90 10.56
40 Amari Cooper (OAK) 142.90 10.99
41 Randall Cobb (GB) 142.10 10.15
42 DeSean Jackson (TB) 138.60 9.90
43 Jordy Nelson (GB) 137.20 9.15
44 Mike Wallace (BAL) 136.20 9.73
45 Danny Amendola (NE) 130.60 9.33
46 Kelvin Benjamin (CAR/BUF) 130.50 10.04
47 Keelan Cole (JAX) 129.50 8.63
48 Tyrell Williams (LAC) 126.10 8.41
49 Ryan Grant (WSH) 122.00 8.13
50 Martavis Bryant (PIT) 120.00 8.57
51 Brandon LaFell (CIN) 119.30 7.95
52 Kendall Wright (CHI) 118.50 7.90
53 DeVante Parker (MIA) 117.60 9.80
54 Travis Benjamin (LAC) 116.30 7.75
55 Tyler Lockett (SEA) 114.80 7.65
56 Emmanuel Sanders (DEN) 114.50 9.54
57 Josh Doctson (WSH) 114.10 7.61
58 Eric Decker (TEN) 111.50 7.43
59 Will Fuller V (HOU) 111.50 12.39
60 Adam Humphries (TB) 111.50 7.43
61 Chris Hogan (NE) 109.60 12.18
62 Terrance Williams (DAL) 107.90 7.19
63 Jeremy Maclin (BAL) 102.00 8.50
64 Deonte Thompson (BUF) 100.70 6.71
65 Jaron Brown (ARI) 95.20 6.35
66 Albert Wilson (KC) 93.30 7.78
67 Torrey Smith (PHI) 92.70 6.18
68 Allen Hurns (JAX) 92.60 10.29
69 Cole Beasley (DAL) 91.40 6.09
70 Trent Taylor (SF) 91.10 6.51
71 J.J. Nelson (ARI) 90.70 6.05
72 Pierre Garcon (SF) 90.00 11.25
73 Roger Lewis (NYG) 89.60 5.97
74 Cordarrelle Patterson (OAK) 84.60 5.64
75 Taylor Gabriel (ATL) 81.70 5.45
76 Seth Roberts (OAK) 80.70 5.76
77 Donte Moncrief (IND) 79.10 6.59
78 Kenny Golladay (DET) 78.60 7.86
79 T.J. Jones (DET) 77.90 5.56
80 Bruce Ellington (HOU) 75.70 6.88
81 Odell Beckham Jr. (NYG) 74.00 18.50
82 Brandon Coleman (NO) 73.40 4.89
83 Bennie Fowler III (DEN) 72.40 4.83
84 John Brown (ARI) 69.90 7.77
85 Corey Davis (TEN) 69.50 6.95
86 Chris Godwin (TB) 68.40 4.56
87 Zay Jones (BUF) 66.10 4.72
88 Dede Westbrook (JAX) 65.00 10.83
89 Josh Bellamy (CHI) 63.60 4.54
90 Corey Coleman (CLE) 62.70 7.84
91 Ricardo Louis (CLE) 62.70 4.18
92 Tavarres King (NYG) 62.30 7.79
93 Cody Latimer (DEN) 61.70 5.61
94 Chris Moore (BAL) 58.30 4.86
95 Kenny Britt (CLE/NE) 57.60 5.24
96 Jordan Matthews (BUF) 57.20 5.72
97 Justin Hardy (ATL) 54.90 3.66
98 Chester Rogers (IND) 54.30 5.43
99 Michael Campanaro (BAL) 51.90 4.33
100 Brice Butler (DAL) 51.70 4.31
101 Dontrelle Inman (CHI) 50.90 4.63
102 Taywan Taylor (TEN) 50.90 3.39
103 Terrelle Pryor (WSH) 50.00 5.56
104 Jarius Wright (MIN) 49.80 3.32
105 Aldrick Robinson (SF) 48.80 3.25
106 Rashard Higgins (CLE) 46.80 3.34
107 Johnny Holton (OAK) 46.80 3.12
108 Damiere Byrd (CAR) 45.70 5.71
109 Jeremy Kerley (NYJ) 45.70 5.71
110 Russell Shepard (CAR) 45.10 3.22
111 Andre Holmes (BUF) 43.00 3.07
112 Geronimo Allison (GB) 42.80 3.06
113 De’Anthony Thomas (KC) 42.70 2.85
114 Josh Gordon (CLE) 42.00 10.50
115 Mack Hollins (PHI) 41.10 2.74
116 Jakeem Grant (MIA) 40.90 2.73
117 Braxton Miller (HOU) 38.40 3.84
118 Kendrick Bourne (SF) 36.90 3.69
119 Tyler Boyd (CIN) 36.40 4.04
120 Tavon Austin (LAR) 35.90 2.39
121 Eli Rogers (PIT) 35.80 2.75
122 Jaydon Mickens JAX 35.70 3.97
123 Alex Erickson (CIN) 35.60 2.37
124 Laquon Treadwell (MIN) 35.40 2.36
125 Demarcus Robinson (KC) 35.10 2.34
126 Brandon Marshall (NYG) 33.40 6.68
127 Curtis Samuel (CAR) 32.90 3.66
128 Tommylee Lewis (NO) 29.00 2.07
129 Chris Conley (KC) 28.50 5.70
130 Kamar Aiken (IND) 27.10 1.94
131 Phillip Dorsett (NE) 26.50 1.89
132 Pharoh Cooper (LAR) 25.00 1.67
133 Kaelin Clay (CAR) 24.90 2.08
134 Louis Murphy (SF) 24.50 4.08
135 Josh Reynolds (LAR) 23.80 1.59
136 Tre McBride (CHI) 22.40 2.80
137 Brandon Tate (BUF) 20.10 1.68
138 Mike Williams (LAC) 18.70 2.08
139 Josh Malone (CIN) 18.50 1.85
140 Michael Floyd (MIN) 17.80 1.98
141 Breshad Perriman (BAL) 17.70 1.61
142 Kasen Williams (CLE) 17.40 2.49
143 Maurice Harris (WSH) 16.20 3.24
144 Chad Hansen (NYJ) 15.90 1.14
145 Brenton Bersin (CAR) 15.20 2.17
146 Willie Snead (NO) 15.20 1.52
147 Jordan Taylor (DEN) 14.70 1.63
148 Travis Rudolph (NYG) 14.20 2.37
149 Marvin Hall (ATL) 14.00 1.75
150 Leonte Carroo (MIA) 13.90 1.07