There’s nothing better in fantasy then winning a matchup—or even your entire league—thanks to a sneaky late sleeper you added who blew up and took the NFL over by storm. Last year I was able to enjoy Deshaun Watson while he lasted and it made those wins all the sweeter because I snagged him off waivers right under everyone’s noses.
On the flip side, there’s nothing worse in fantasy then spending a high draft pick on a player only to watch as that player massively underperforms, leaving you in the weekly moral quandary of “Do I start him or do I not?” It’s not a pretty place to be, trust me.
To help prevent you from making that mistake, here are four wide receiver busts, or PLAPs as I call them, who you should avoid this year in fantasy football.
Julio Jones (ADP: 2.03, WR4)
I have to stay on #brand here. I’ve mention my reservations surrounding Julio Jones this year before but I can’t write a wide receiver PLAP article and not include my number one PLAP. I mean he’s the definition of a PLAP—a guy who I don’t think is a bust by any means but I don’t think will live up to his ADP this season.
Julio got on my radar last year as I had him on my fantasy team but was constantly grappling with the question to start or sit him, something you should never have to do with your first or second pick in my opinion.
For the past two years, Jones’ numbers have looked good thanks to one massive game he puts on each year. Last year it was 253 receiving yards, two touchdowns and 38 fantasy points against the Buccaneers while two years ago it was 300 yards, a touchdown and scoring 36 fantasy points against the Panthers. If you replace those games with the average points per game Jones was averaging in each of those years, he drops down from a WR6 to WR19 last year and WR6 to WR13 in 2016. Not exactly WR4 material if you ask me.
Tyreek Hill (ADP: 3.07, WR12)
I’m sure after watching Pat Mahomes rocket a 70 yard bomb to Hill in their preseason game against the Falcons, it’ll be hard for you to take this pick seriously. After all, how many other QB/WR duos can do that and could do that all season long consistently? (Zero, the correct answer is zero.)
However, Hill scares me because while he’s an explosive player, he’s not a redzone threat by any means. Last year, Hill was targeted only four times in the redzone and only once inside the 10 yard line. Compare that to new Chiefs receiver Sammy Watkins who was targeted 11 times in the redzone, six of those inside the 10 yard line last year in Los Angeles. Obviously different team, different offense but the point remains that Hill is going to have to fight to get any form of redzone shares and that will ultimately cap his ceiling this year.
Adam Thielen (ADP: 4.01, WR14)
People seem certain that Thielen will build upon his 2017 campaign and is a surefire WR1 this year. I’m not saying Thielen isn’t a very good receiver or that the Vikings’ offense won’t be a powerhouse this year, but I have a hard time believing that Thielen is going to see anywhere near the 142 targets he saw last year.
The Vikings offense has plenty of weapons to cut into Thielen’s target share but more than that, while Case Keenum is one to hone in on a particular receiver and force feed him the football, Kirk Cousins is one to spread the ball around and cause the defense to focus on multiple targets. You can see that throughout Cousins’ career as only three receivers passed 100 targets in his time in Washington and none of them surpassed 114. With Stefon Diggs, Kyle Rudolph and a healthy Dalvin Cook, along with plenty of other pass catching options, I don’t think Thielen will be able to replicate the workload he needs to put up top 15 receiver numbers.
Josh Gordon (ADP: 4.11, WR18)
I would love to be wrong here, for Josh Gordon to get his life together, take the field this year and remind us all that he once put up 1,600 yards in a single season. But I don’t think that’s going to happen.
He hasn’t played football yet this season and hasn’t played a full season since that 2013 season when he lit the world on fire. Since then, he’s only played in 10 NFL games, five in 2014 and five in 2017. That’s a lot of time to be away from football. Again, I hope the best for him and really would love to see that dominate receiver return but unless you know something I don’t, I don’t see how you can spend a fourth round pick on a guy who his own team has no idea if he’ll play this season.
Which wide receiver are you staying away from?
This poll is closed