–AP Photo/Denis Poroy
Nothing is more exciting then heading into a new fantasy football season knowing that you’ve drafted a WR that puts up pretty size-able numbers.
Until they completely collapse.
Whether it’s injuries, new offensive coordinators, or just plain bad play, your season can literally go from energetic to Def-con 5 without consistent play from your wide receiver positions. And in 2014, these three players completely fell off the map from 2013.
But wait, there’s still hope.
While these three WR’s stats fell from 2013-2014, there is a glimmer of hope that they can rebound to self-proclaiming fantasy greatness.
And while we do not consider drafting them before the fourth round, they do sneakily whisper “VALUE” that will be passed on by most of your league.
1. Keenan Allen
2013 Stats: Games:15 Targets:104 Receptions:71 Receiving Yards:1,046 Touchdowns: 8
2014 Stats: Games: 14 Targets: 121 Receptions: 77 Receiving Yards: 783 Touchdowns: 4
There’s really no explanation to what the hell happened to Allen last year. He played one less game in 2014 then the previous season, but received more targets and receptions.
The problem was his receiving yards and touchdowns. Allen put up an abysmal 783 receiving yards, and half the number of touchdowns he produced in 2013.
When watching a few games, it appeared he was almost invisible on the field, which doesn’t add up seeing Phillip Rivers targeted him more in 2014. Maybe it was the double teams that mentally rattled Allen, or maybe it was the ability to generate yards after catch, but whatever was ailing Keenan Allen, it did not bode well for fantasy owners.
What to expect from Keenan Allen in 2015
So what has changed to make Allen worthy of drafting in 2015?
While there hasn’t been any notable upgrades to the Charges WR core (unless you consider Stevie Johnson and Jacoby Jones upgrades), the re-emergence of Antonio Gates along with drafting RB Melvin Gordon should take some of the focus off Allen, allowing him to potentially shed double teams and and potentially earn some YACs.
2015 Prediction: Games 16 Targets: 112 Receptions: 75 Receiving Yards: 1,025 Touchdowns: 7
Draft Advice: Because of the 2014 season flop, many won’t consider him valuable even in mid rounds. Don’t draft him before round 4, otherwise you’re reaching. Anytime after round 6, you’re getting respectable value.
2013 Stats: Games:14 Targets: 122 Receptions: 73 Receiving Yards: 998 Touchdowns: 4
2014 Stats: Games:6 Targets:41 Receptions:23 Receiving Yards:337 Touchdowns: 1
Well, duh, he was injured last year! We know.
But taking a look at Cruz’s 2013 season, he didn’t produce a heck of lot either.
Can Victor Cruz bounce back from a serious injury to his old playmaking self of 2012? We think so.
What to expect from Victor Cruz in 2015
With the absolute explosion of rookie WR Odell Beckham Jr. last year, the majority of double teams and coverage will flock to him.
Along with the stellar presence of TE Larry Donnell and a plethora of RBs (Shane Vereen, Rashad Jennings, and Andre Williams), Eli Manning should have no problem finding man-on-man coverage within Ben Macadoo’s pass-style offense.
As long as Cruz can stay healthy, he’s a great value add. While most shy away, we say draft, but in the right round.
2015 Prediction: Games 14 Targets: 115 Receptions: 80 Receiving Yards: 1,000 Touchdowns: 6
Draft Advice: Selecting Cruz within the first 3 rounds would be a reach, but we don’t anticipate him staying around past the fourth. If he’s available from the 5th on, jump on him.
3. Vincent Jackson
2013 Stats: Games: 16 Targets: 160 Receptions: 78 Receiving Yards: 1,224 Touchdowns: 7
2014 Stats: Games: 16 Targets:140 Receptions:70 Receiving Yards:1,002 Touchdowns: 2
Did Vincent Jackson purposely stay clear of the red zone last year?
While most of Jackson’s numbers look pretty consistent from the 2013 season, the difference in touchdowns he scored year over year is abysmal. What went wrong?
For starters, the QB situation was a mess for the Buccaneers in 2014. Josh McCown proved to be useless, and Mike Glennon, well, is Mike Glennon.
If you have a stellar run game, it sets up the pass play and vice versa. There was absolutely no run game for the Bucs in 2014. Doug Martin completely fell off the map, and their wasn’t much backup support.
What to expect from Vincent Jackson in 2015
Another emergence of a rookie WR in Mike Evans will draw double coverage, leaving Jackson more opportunity for one-on-one coverage. It still remains who will be the starting QB in 2015, but most signs point to Jameis Winston.
While Vincent Jackson has proven in previous seasons that he can be a WR1, will Winston prove he can be the franchise QB that everyone claims? If this can happen, watch out.
2015 Prediction: Games: 16 Targets: 150 Receptions: 75 Receiving Yards: 1,100 Touchdowns: 7
Draft Advice: Jackson’s ADP is hovering around the mid 20’s which we actually believe is a tad high.
While we do feel that VJax has a rebound year, he’s not yet worth the high ADP. Keep a close eye on Jackson, if he falls to you past the third, he’s worth the pickup.
So while our three WR candidates may not be WR1 material for your team, drafting them in the mid to mid-late rounds could garner some great draft value throughout the season.