Yesterday, we looked at fantasy football bust quarterbacks and running backs, so it’s time to move down the list to fantasy football bust wide receivers. Thankfully, the top-end guys generally dont turn into bust wide receivers. Unfortunately for me, that means I have to dig a bit deeper. Still, staying true to my word, I am only listing guys going as starters in your standard 3WR league. There are definitely land mines to navigate when considering bust wide receivers. Three such bust wide receivers land mines are below. For this article, I chose half-PPR top-36 wide receivers per FantasyPros average draft position data.
Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers (WR20, #49 overall)
We have a three-year sample size for Tyrod Taylor as a starting quarterback, and it doesn’t paint a rosy picture for Keenan Allen in 2020. He averaged 201 passing yards per game in those three seasons. I mean, it makes sense, he had terrible weapons like uhm… Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin. Hoo boy. Those are some good receivers. Well, that was under a different regime, it’s not like h—we are getting reports that Anthony Lynn was his O.C. for one of those three seasons, and is his head coach in Los Angeles. Oh, well that’s not ideal. In those three years in Buffalo, Tyrod’s WR1 averaged 82 targets per year. And guess who that is this year?
It’s Keenan Allen, but you knew that. It was a rhetorical question… Anyway, Allen’s career’s been built on volume, volume, and volume. He has 444 targets over the last three seasons, making him the fifth-most targeted wide receiver. That’s wallpapered over some concerning under-the-hood numbers for Allen. Allen’s yards per reception has dipped in each of the last three seasons after hitting a peak of 13.7 in 2017 after wallowing in the 10.5 range for three seasons. He’s seen next-level efficiency with Philip Rivers on a massive number of targets. With his efficiency in decline and his targets about to fall off a cliff, I’m staying away from Keenan Allen in 2020. You’d be well-served to do the same.
Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals (WR33, #77 overall)
I’m not a huge fan of Tyler Boyd for two massive reasons: A.J. Green and Joe Burrow. Let’s start with A.J. Green. He’s back, and apparently healthy! That doesn’t mean great things for Tyler Boyd. While I can’t deny Boyd’s production over the last two seasons (both with and without A.J. Green!), I also can’t deny that this offense will likely struggle to sustain drives this year with a rookie quarterback. That’s par for the course for rookie quarterbacks, especially when you consider that only three rookie quarterbacks have ever thrown over 25 passing touchdowns, and only ten have had more than 20 passing touchdowns. Ever. Also, 9 quarterbacks have ever topped 3,500 passing yards. Feels like it’ll be hard to chop those up among two guys and also find targets for Tee Higgins, John Ross, and Joe Mixon. Let’s not forget C.J. Uzomah (can we please forget C.J. Uzomah).
There’s a trickle-down effect to this. Since 2014, 14 first-round QBs have thrown at least 450 passes. The top-ranked wide receiver for these quarterbacks ranked as WR37.5, and there were four top-24 seasons. This is assuming that Boyd is Burrow’s WR1. As you can infer, the numbers are worse for their #2 receivers. If A.J. Green is Burrow’s #2 WR, then Boyd’s in for a rough year.
Will Fuller, Houston Texans (WR35, #85 overall)
This is a call to sanity for everyone who drafts Will Fuller while Brandin Cooks (WR37, #91 overall) is still on the board. What leads you to do that, huh? Concerns over Cooks’ injuries last year? He played more games last season that Fuller has played in each of the last three years. Cooks missed two games last year and those are the only two games he’s missed since his rookie year. There’s no reason to take Cooks over Fuller, here. Sure, you fear Cooks’ concussions, but Will Fuller has five injuries in the same hamstring and is recovering from groin surgery.
That’s the problem: Will Fuller and Brandin Cooks have the same downside and Fuller has less of an upside. After Fuller’s rookie year (when Watson joined the Texans), Fuller plays on a 62-catch, 912-yards pace over a sixteen game season. After Cooks’ rookie year, he’s played on a 72-catch, 1,063-yard pace. Also, he’s missed two games. Sure, you can fear the concussions, but you can’t discount Cooks for the concussions then put Fuller over Cooks. If you get the urge to take Fuller, take Cooks in the next round, instead.