Each season, fantasy owners and experts like to make generalizations about players that make little logical sense. They’ll compare two completely separate instances in order to come up with ill-informed conclusions. They’ll say things like, “this quarterback is bad, and so this wide receiver can’t be good.”
The same is happening this year. We’ve got people wildly posting claims on the Internet, pushing false ideas about NFL players. And once it catches on with a few people, it seems as though these facts just go viral.
This year, I’ve seen five things about wide receivers that have continuously popped up on social media sites and blogs. They’re just not true, and I’ve set out to disprove them.
1. Brandon Lloyd isn’t worth a draft choice because Ochocinco and Deion Branch recently flopped in New England.
There are a lot of things wrong with this statement. First off, Brandon Lloyd is a much different receiver than these two guys. He spreads the field better than nearly every receiver in the game, and has some unbelievable athletic skill.
Second, Brandon Lloyd isn’t at the tail end of his career. Yes, he’s 31. But he’s only been playing at a top wide receiver level for two years. The thing that a lot of people fail to realize is that Brandon Lloyd had always been one of those players that had immense talent, but could never bring it all together on a pass first team. He showed he could in Denver, and then went to St. Louis and still put up favorable numbers.
Also, do you remember who the head coach in Denver was when Lloyd posted a league-high 1,448 yards in 2010? Josh McDaniels. Do you know who the offensive coordinator is in New England now? Josh McDaniels.
Ochocinco didn’t succeed because he’s past his prime playing years. He’s had one 1,000-plus yard season over the last 4 seasons. Deion Branch didn’t become a stud because he’s never been a stud. He had 51 receptions for 702 yards last year, which is essentially what he’s done every year of his career.
Comparing Lloyd to these two players is inaccurate. Brandon Lloyd has a lot of value this year, and you can’t overlook that because of mediocre wide receiver play by others.
2. Robert Meachem hasn’t shown me that he can be a number one receiver.
And Malcom Floyd has?
Why are people so down on Meachem for being a third or fourth option in New Orleans? The team is deep and they spread the ball around on offense. That’s Meachem’s fault?
What’s funny is that, over their careers, Meachem’s put up similar numbers to Malcom Floyd as a non-starter in New Orleans. You can blame that on the fact that “New Orleans throws more”, or you can blame it on something with more substance – like the fact that Malcom Floyd can’t stay on the field.
Robert Meachem is a value pick in the 8th round this year. It’s not as though people are ranking him to be a top-20 receiver. But don’t you think there’s at least an interesting upside to a player that was a first round pick, has proven to be a pretty good receiver in a deep system and now has an opportunity to be the guy on a team with a pretty good quarterback?
Don’t look at Meachem as overvalued because he’s never been a number one receiver. Everyone has to start somewhere.
3. Larry Fitzgerald is overrated because he doesn’t have a good quarterback throwing to him.
This one blows me away. People are against drafting the Cardinals wide receiver because John Skelton and/or Kevin Kolb will be tossing him the rock this season.
Really, people? They were the same quarterbacks that threw the ball to him last year, and he finished with over 1,400 yards receiving.
Larry Fitzgerald is one of the most reliable receivers in the NFL. Over the last 5 seasons, 3 of them have yielded 1,400 or more yards. That’s insane.
Don’t let quarterback play deter you from Fitzgerald. I’m not saying that he should be the second best receiver in fantasy, but don’t say he’s “overrated” when all the guy does is get yards and score.
4. Jordy Nelson and Victor Cruz were anomalies.
What makes you think that?
Every player needs to break out at some point. Last season, we had Jordy Nelson finish second at wide receiver, and Victor Cruz surprise us all with a fourth place finish.
That doesn’t just happen by chance. I actually looked at breakout top-5 wide receivers over the last 10 years to see how they did the rest of their careers. In other words, if a player broke out during a season and finished in the top-5 of that season, how did the rest of their career go? Here’s a list of the players who didn’t do much after an initial top-5 finish:
2007: Braylon Edwards
Yup, that’s it. Just one guy. You might consider Brandon Lloyd if he just completely flops for the rest of his career, but that’s it. David Boston was almost there too, but he had his breakout season in 2000. He followed it up with an even bigger (and more steroid-driven) season in 2001.
Braylon Edwards has been the only breakout top-5 wide receiver over the last 10 years that has since become fantasy football irrelevant.
Why should we think the same is true for Jordy Nelson and Victor Cruz?
5. Peyton Manning will make both Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker into fantasy starters.
This one is a little more controversial, but there’s reason and data to show why I feel it’s not a valid statement.
Marvin Harrison was “done” in 2006. Although he continued to play until 2008, he wasn’t the same player. And since 2007, when Harrison was no longer consistently lined up across from Wayne, Manning has had two receivers finish in the top 20 a total of zero times in fantasy. It’s clear that he favors his top receiver, considering Reggie Wayne was a regular top-20 finisher, but aside from that, his second receiver hasn’t historically ranked as high.
You can blame a lot of that on the health of Austin Collie or the fact that Manning likes his tight ends, but facts are facts. It’s why I like Demaryius Thomas much more than Decker this year.