Fantasy Files: Year in Dynasty, WRs

No position was as disappointing for my 2013 dynasty squad than wideout. The position I started rebuilding in 2009 with dual first-round picks Michael Crabtree and Hakeem Nicks failed to impress. Now I have to decide whether to spend some rookie draft picks on the position.

Victor Cruz (30th WR, 150th overall)

Cruz signed a contract extension in the offseason, showing that the Giants valued him over impending free-agent knucklehead Hakeem Nicks. Week 1 was a triumph, leading the league with 29.8 points. That was about 1/5th of Cruz’s 2013 total. After scoring 22.4 points in Week 4, Cruz reached double digits in scoring once again all year. The guy who scored 19 TDs his first two season scored four times last year, so there’s that. I’m thinking of him as a WR2 this year instead of a WR1. I did get Victor Cruz in free agency after his abbreviated IR’d rookie year for nothing.

Kendall Wright (34th WR, 161st overall)

Wright was a PPR beast last year. Guess what this league is not. He’s less valuable in this format, especially in a year with just two trips to the end zone. He’s generally in the 7-8 point range per week and that’s a mid-range WR3. He should be a downfield threat. Wright was pick 1.08 in the 2012 rookie draft.

Denarius Moore (46th WR, 240th overall)

Moore went from absolute draft-day steal (5th round rookie pick) to inconsistent, injured dude this year. He’s never been completely healthy, and a three-week absence didn’t help much. Four double-digit games in the first six weeks showed promise but he didn’t have much of a role in the league’s most pathetic pass offense. I’m not confident of a 2014 comeback.

Hakeem Nicks (56th WR, 287th overall)

Oh Nicks, my Nicks. I picked Nicks up as the 8th overall pick in the 2009 rookie draft. In his first three seasons, he had 24 touchdowns. He scored three in the past two seasons, including zero last year. In five NFL seasons, he’s never played a full 16-game slate. It’s hard to tell if Nicks had injuries last year or if he played at less than 100% speed because of his impending free agency. I can only hope that the Panthers sign him to a cheap prove-it deal and he resumes awesomeness. Nicks is 26, pretty amazing for a guy five years into his career.

Kenbrell Thompkins (69th WR, 429th overall)

Feeling my pain yet? I picked up Thompkins after our rookie draft as a free agent solely based on the recommendation of Matt Waldman’s Rookie Scouting Portfolio. I always say buy it unless you’re in my league. In weeks 3 and 4 he had starter-caliber stats, but as the year progressed, he barely played. This is a critical offseason for Thompkins to prove himself with the team giving more attention to second-year draftees Aaron Dobson and Josh Boyce, and don’t forget Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola.

Michael Crabtree

Crabtree’s career went in the opposite direction as Nicks. He felt like a complete bust as the #2 overall rookie pick in 2009, what with 12 total touchdowns his first three seasons. He finally came into his own in 2012, although I was reluctant to believe in Crabby. The Achilles tear ended his 2013 season prematurely. He didn’t get into my lineup during my playoff push.

Other players:

Dwayne Harris I picked up Harris in free agency over the summer. He’s in a rotation for the Cowboys’ slot receiver job, and mainly plays in the return game. Upside is limited.

Rishard Matthews Matthews joined my roster after his 24-point outburst in Week 10. It’s not surprising that he failed to match that total in the final seven weeks of the season. Matthews might be the slot guy for the Dolphins next year. Optimism does not abound.

Justin Hunter I didn’t expect much of Hunter in his rookie year. His junior year in college was after an ACL tear and it’s clear that the franchise sees him as a do-over pick for the departing Kenny Britt. Four touchdowns in 18 catches is a nice ratio. Hell, I think Week 6 was the first time that he had a target outside of the end zone.

Vincent Brown Davis Mattek hates him. I had high hopes for the San Diego State Aztec (had to do that at least once), but it’s apparent that he’s not going to be a main guy for the Chargers. Keenan Allen stepped up and Brown had one double-digit performance and was outscored by guys like Rishard Matthews. Brown was part of my
giant 2011 draft class and it’s time to call him a bust.

Stedman Bailey The Rams are throwing a bunch of crap against the wall and hoping they get a WR or two out of the deal. Bailey was crazy productive in college and finally earned some playing time in the second half of the season. As a junior, Bailey had 114 catches and 25 touchdowns, so let’s see that production translate to the NFL.

Sidney Rice Rice hasn’t been fantasy-worthy since his one glorious season with Brett Favre. He’s never been bad enough to release either. He’s been ranked as the 67th or lower fantasy WR in five of his seven NFL seasons. He’s coming off an ACL tear. He’ll be 28 when the season starts, and the Seahawks know they can win without him.

Andrew Hawkins He had a couple of decent games in 2012 and contributed a bit last year. A part-time slot guy is not a position that screams championship.

Ryan Broyles What could have been, I say. Two years in the NFL and two season-ending injuries. That WR2 spot in Detroit has golden potential.

Bottom line: If I stayed pat with this group, there’s about a .00001% chance that my WR position is as putrid as it was last year. Cruz/Crabtree/Wright should be my starting trio in 2014 and there’s still hope for Moore and Nicks to right the ship, with Justin Hunter and Stedman Bailey coming on strong. I’ll probably add a guy or two from this year’s deep rookie class.

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