Sleeping with the Staff returns with our wide receiver bust picks for 2013. There isn’t one receiver who stands out among the crowd here. There are several that receive two votes, but most significant here are the number of Denver receivers on the list for one reason or another. Many of our experts believe that someone has to be the “odd man out” in Denver and that someone is going to be ignored by Peyton Manning. However, there doesn’t seem to be a consensus on who that might be, though Eric Decker seems to be a favorite.
Jennifer Millman – Eric Decker – Decker will only be a bust in as much as Fantasy owners draft him expecting numbers similar to last year, when he put up 13 TDs and nearly 1,100 yards. If you can get him as a WR3 great, but you probably can’t, and Wes Welker’s going to eat into a healthy number of his targets. Welker is the short route specialist, Demaryius Thomas is the long-ball specialist, and while Decker can do well at both, having those guys means he’s not going to get the chance to establish himself as the go-to receiver.
Adam Zdroik – Demaryius Thomas – Thomas is getting drafted pretty high considering the Broncos picked up another WR and RB. Wes Welker will surely steal looks and Montee Ball might be the missing piece they needed all along. DT’s numbers were great last year, but 2013 is another story.
Dr. Roto – Pierre Garcon – Bad shoulder + Bad Foot = Bad Vibes for Dr. Roto.
Jayson Braddock – Victor Cruz – He’s too Hollywood for us now. He was a great story, now I think we see a decline in play and likability. Cruz just got his big payday that he worked so hard to get. He was a longshot to stick in the NFL, but he made his mark and got the big contract…and rightfully so. Shortly after signing his contract, he’s already voiced discontent in the financials. He believes that he’s still underpaid and I believe he’ll under perform.
Adam Ronis – Wes Welker – Welker was a major force in PPR leagues during his time with New England. He has at least 111 receptions in five of the last six seasons and there’s a strong chance he doesn’t reach 100 in Denver. Welker has received 188 targets the last two seasons and that will decline. Welker averages 11.2 yards per catch in his career, and if the volume decreases the yards will also. He doesn’t score many TDs and with strong red zone threats in Demaryius Thomas andEric Decker that will continue.
George Kurtz – Percy Harvin – Has all the talent in the world, but just can’t stay healthy. Plus, we all love Russell Wilson, but this is still a running team that will not be looking to air the ball out. I can’t take him Top 10, which means no matter how many leagues I play in, he probably won’t be on any of my teams.
Sarah Bojarski – Greg Jennings – Those drafting Jennings expecting the 2008-2011 version are in for a huge disappointment. He faces a huge downgrade at quarterback and will end up seeing double teams, as there is a lack of receiving weapons in Minnesota. He’s had his share of injuries and odds are he won’t get through a full season again.
Scott Engel – Greg Jennings – There is no more Aaron Rodgers to help boost his production. He lacks outstanding complements and health can be an issue, too. He will really miss Green Bay.
Tom McFeeley – Reggie Wayne – All good things must come to an end; Wayne has been a great thing for Fantasy owners for so long. But the truth is that his second half production slipped enough to put his 2013 in some doubt. The emergence of TY Hilton had something to do with that (Hilton had more Fantasy points in 26 catches in the second half than Wayne did in 45), but this year, add two healthy TEs and Darrius Heyward-Bey to the mix and you should let someone else draft Wayne.
Jake Ciely – Stevie Johnson – Johnson doesn’t even crack my Top 30. Johnson had to come on strong at the end of 2012 to finish with his third straight 1,000-yard campaign. I don’t see how he makes it four with Kevin Kolb and/or E.J. Manuel at QB. On top of that, Robert Woods is pushing Johnson to the slot more, which is another reason to expect lower yardage.
Evan Tarracciano – Eric Decker – The good news for Decker is that he quickly became Peyton Manning’s favorite red zone target last season, and managed to catch 13 TDs and break 1000 yards for the first time in his career. The bad news is that with Wes Welker joining the receiving corps he will see a decrease in total targets, and I feel that the Denver Broncos will be more run-heavy this season. His Fantasy numbers last year were inflated by nearly 16 percent of all his catches resulting in scores, so I’d expect him to be more in the 75-850-8 range instead.
Bobby McMann – Torrey Smith – Smith has a big chance to prove he is more than a deep threat this season with the trade of Anquan Boldin. The major question is whether or not he can become more than a deep threat. He is being drafted as a WR2 because of his upside but it remains to be seen if he will take the next step forward. Unless he can rack up short and intermediate catches on a weekly basis, his uneven performances could frustrate Fantasy owners, especially in PPR leagues.
Pat Mayo – Torrey Smith – Not a conventional bust, but I don’t buy him jumping to the next level just because Anquan Boldin is on the West coast now. He’s primarily a vertical threat, and those players tend to be pretty flighty from week-to-week; not something I’m looking for out of a WR2.
Ian Riley – James Jones – Throughout my years of playing Fantasy football, I have learned that overemphasizing touchdown receptions from wide receivers is a big mistake. Because of this, one guy I have found myself completely avoiding this year has been Jones. Even with the loss of Greg Jennings, a return to health by Jordy Nelson and an improving Randall Cobb make him the third best option on his own team.
Next up in the Sleeping with the Staff series – Wide Receiver Sleepers!
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