Way Too Early 2019 WR Busts
The Super Bowl is over, and Tom Brady won his sixth Super Bowl. God is dead, and the 2018 NFL season is officially over. With that in mind, we turn our attention to 2019, starting with Way Too Early editions of sleepers and busts at each position. We continue our series with pass catchers and the WR busts candidates for 2019. These three guys are going inside the top-25 in fantasy football drafts, and ignoring them could be the key to your draft… in six months. May this article be the light that guides your way through the long, dark offseason.
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh (ECR: WR5)
Has Antonio Brown played his last game in a Pittsburgh Steelers uniform? Most definitely. Is he a shoo-in to finish inside the top ten? Indubitably. Therein lies the problem with Brown’s WR5 rank so far into the off-season. Nobody knows where he will end up, but we all know that he will end up with fewer targets than he’s had in Pittsburgh. Why? He has 128 more targets than literally any other player in the NFL in the last six seasons. He’s one of the best wide receivers in the NFL, but he’s also an absolute target monster with the Steelers. I don’t want to make it seem as though this is hottakery, calling Antonio Brown one of the WR busts. It’s merely stating that there’s almost no way he recreates his Steelers usefulness in another uniform, a usefulness that mostly came from 15 touchdowns last season.
Corey Davis, Tennessee (ECR: WR21)
There’s no question that Corey Davis is an immense talent, but the Titans offensive situation has been a mess in Tennessee, and it trickles down to everyone (except, apparently, late-season Derrick Henry). The Titans, through two offensive playcalling environments, have run a hyper-conservative game plan, letting their defense rule the roost while hoping the offense doesn’t blow anything up. They currently don’t have an offensive coordinator, but this appears to be a top-down issue with the Titans offensive weaponry. Davis’s WR21 rank is still coasting on his draft stock and college pedigree. He’s a great player, mired in a terrible situation. He’s only averaged 47 yards per game and has just four touchdowns in 25 games. His step forward in 2017 came on only seven targets per game, and the Tennessee passing game, as currently constituted, does not have the firepower to support a nearly top-twenty WR. He’s on the WR busts list not because he sucks, but because the team around him sucks out loud.
Calvin Ridley, Atlanta (ECR: WR25)
It seems as though people are still giving Calvin Ridley the benefit of the doubt after he burst onto the scene with six touchdowns in three games… in September. After that three-game outburst, Ridley played on a paltry 743 yard, five touchdown pace and his ECR has him as one of the easy WR busts for 2019. Granted, the whole offense suffered last season to the point that Atlanta’s offensive coordinator, Steve Sarkisian, is no longer their OC. In comes Dirk Koetter, who spent the last few seasons helming the HMS Buccaneers, and that doesn’t inspire confidence. First, there’s the Matt Ryan new offense curse. Granted, Koetter was there before, but Ryan will be on his third offense in four years, and will likely have those first-year blues again. Second, Koetter’s offense does not produce quality WR2 production. 2018 was the best year for the WR2 in Tampa Bay under Koetter, and it only produced the WR29 (DeSean Jackson). Koetter has just two WR2s land in the top-25 under his watch, in over a decade as OC or HC. The Calvin Ridley ECR feels a lot like wish casting, His 8.49 fantasy points per game he averaged after September ended was outside the top-fifty. There’s a lot of hope in Ridley’s ECR, and I don’t believe that he will return on that investment.