5 Receivers Who Will Stop the WR1 Apocalypse in 2018

In The Decline of the Star Wide Receiver, I looked at some league-wide trends that caused the worst season for the top-12 WRs in nearly a decade. In this unofficial Part 2, I’ll look at a few other footnotes that played into the great wide receiver recession and identify potential bounce-back candidates for 2018.

Mounting Injuries at Quarterback

Every year has its injuries, but 2017 saw those injuries plague the high-end touchdown producers more than usual. Of the top 10 active quarterbacks in TD passes per game,1 three ended the season on IR.2 This includes No. 1 Aaron Rodgers, No. 4 Andrew Luck, and No. 7 Carson Palmer – passers who fueled a combined four top-12 PPR receivers in 2016. Only Larry Fitzgerald returned that value in 2017. The 2018 season is unlikely to take as many prolific TD producers from us.

Lackluster Receiver Drafts

The infusion of young talent at the running back position was one of the arguments in Part 1. At the same time, receivers have been going in the opposite direction. There have been 13 first-round WRs taken over the last three drafts, accounting for 29 player-seasons (though many have been lost to injury). Those receivers have combined for zero top-12 seasons and three top-24 seasons, two by Amari Cooper and one via Nelson Agholor. There have been three top-12 seasons posted by WRs drafted since the 2014 receiver class, two by Michael Thomas and one from Tyreek Hill.3. Expecting big things from these recent classes may be wishful thinking. They’ve shown little to no production so far, a major red flag for future production. The 2018 receiver class also appears to be lacking top-end talent, so we could be in for another year of little to no rookie production. Despite all this, there are some potential bounceback candidates worth tallking about.

2018 Bounceback Candidates

  1. Carson Palmer was active at the time. Also, “Active” also has a minimum attempts associated with it so someone like Deshaun Watson doesn’t get counted yet.  (back)
  2. Speaking of IR, when are the Packers going to cut Aaron Rodgers? I’m not letting this go.  (back)
  3. Even the vaunted 2014 class only placed Jarvis Landry in the top 12 because of the Odell Beckham injury, Mike Evans’ bust season, and the Bills turning every receiver they touch into fantasy nothingness. They acquired Kelvin Benjamin and Jordan Matthews, both of whom have been productive in the past, and traded Sammy Watkins to a place where he would receive fewer targets. Yeah that one’s on the Bills too.  (back)

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By Kyle Dvorchak | @ffkylethekid | Archive