Fantasy Football 2014 Review: Wide Receivers
It wasn’t as deep as the quarterback position, but fantasy wide receivers also made history in 2013.
As Tristan H. Cockroft (the H stands for happy) points out, wideouts accumulated a total of 10,531 fantasy points this past season, which is good enough for the most in the history of fantasy football. The position was already pretty deep during drafts this summer, but with breakouts of certain sophomores, the wide receiver position became even more stacked for fantasy purposes. So, let’s take a look at the good, the bad and the ugly among wide receivers during the 2013-14 campaign.
What can Brown do for you?
There was Josh Gordon and then there was everyone else…
One of the most impressive seasons from a receiver in recent memory, Gordon finished as the number one wideout in all of fantasy football. He was one of only four receivers to finish with at least 200 fantasy points, leading the way with an impressive 221. In fact, Cockroft points out that those 221 points were the most from a wideout at age 23 or younger since the 1960 season. He finished first in the NFL in receiving yards (1,646) and yards per game (117.6). Gordon also became the first player in NFL history to post consecutive 200-yard receiving performances (237, 261). And oh, by the way…
He missed the first two games of the season.
Despite sitting the first two games and catching passes from a trio of banged up, below average quarterbacks, Gordon still managed to serve as the best receiver in fantasy, averaging a league-leading 15.8 fantasy points per contest on the year. He also finished as a top-12 option 62.5 percent of the time, which was the fourth-highest percentage among wide receivers. He had seven games this year with 100 receiving yards or more, posting high upside as well as consistency all season long. Gordon also posted double-digit fantasy points in 10 of his 14 games played this year.
An almost Brandon Marshall clone, Gordon will be a top-three receiver drafted in 2014, likely in the second round.
Gordon was awesome last year, but Demaryius Thomas is my second-ranked wideout for next season.
The most consistent wideout in all of fantasy this year (75 percent), Thomas exploded for 220 fantasy points, just one shy of Gordon’s league-leading 221. In 16 games this year, Thomas posted double-digit numbers 11 times, including four 20-point performances. Of course, playing alongside the god that is Peyton Manning certainly helps, but we’ve seen Thomas put up strong fantasy numbers with the likes of Tim Tebow under center. Thomas is arguably the most talented wideout in football, displaying the ability to burn people deep, serve as a red zone threat, and in my eyes, is easily the best screen wide receiver in football. His 14 touchdown receptions were first in the NFL and his 92 catches were among the top-10.
Perhaps my favorite receiver all season long was Antonio Brown, who emerged into an elite fantasy wide receiver. His 197 fantasy points ranked 6th-most in all of basketball, while his 68.8 consistency rating was tied for the third-highest in the league. Brown was PPR gold, posting at least five receptions in every game this year, serving as one of the only players to ever do that. His 110 receptions ranked second-most in the NBA and his PPR consistency rating tied for the highest in football with 75 percent. He also enjoyed a career-high in catches, yards (1,499) and touchdowns (8). The Steelers line him absolutely everywhere, as he serves as their top weapon. Brown finished as a top-12 fantasy option in 11 of 16 games this year, holding accountable for 29 percent of the Steelers receptions, which was the 7th-most in football.
Perhaps the fantasy rookie of the year, Keenan Allen was incredible. He didn’t play in Week 1, wasn’t in the starting lineup until Week 3, yet still finished inside the top-20 among fantasy wide receivers, scoring an impressive 141 standard fantasy points. It was incredible that he still managed over 1,000 receiving yards and eight scores. What looked like a lost position for the Chargers at the start of the year when Danario Alexander and Malcom Floyd went down transformed into the jackpot with Allen. New head coach Mike McCoy really rejuvenated this offense, especially the passing game. Allen was targeted heavily all season long, averaging a healthy seven per game. He has established himself as the clear-cut number one option in San Diego’s passing game, and he’ll continue to mature in year two.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.