Michael Crabtree, Oakland Raiders — For the first half of the 2015 season, Michael Crabtree was a total stud. In the Raiders first eight games, he had 47 receptions, 591 yards, and five touchdowns. But over the next eight games, those numbers dropped to 38 receptions, 331 yards, and four touchdowns. Going into 2016, it’s not like Crabtree is a highly coveted fantasy commodity; he’s somewhere towards the bottom end of the top 40 receivers, putting him firmly as a WR3. The problem is, I wouldn’t even take him that high. Amari Cooper — a superstar in the making — is going to take the mantle of Derek Carr’s most targeted receiver, away from Crabtree. The team is also really high on second year tight end Clive Walford (who could be a breakout star in his own right in 2016), and young-but-raw receiver Seth Roberts. For my money, i’d much rather take a chance on guys like Marvin Jones, Tyler Lockett, Torrey Smith, or Dorial Green-Beckham (all of whom are being drafted after Crabtree in most leagues). They all present much higher upside potential than Crabtree.
Allen Hurns, Jacksonville Jaguars — The “glass is half full” way of looking at Allen Hurns would likely be based on the fact that he broke 1,000 yards receiving in just his second season, and caught 10 touchdown passes (more than guys like Julio Jones and Calvin Johnson). The “glass is half empty” approach would be based on the fact that he was tied for 31st in the NFL in targets last season, and that his seven game streak of touchdown receptions is probably closer to a statistical outlier, versus something we can expect him to realistically replicate (especially considering he scored only three touchdowns over the last eight games of the Jaguars season). With a healthy Julius Thomas and an improved Marqise Lee being integrated into this offense, those guys’ targets could very well come at the expense of Hurns’ targets; wide receiver Allen Robinson is a superstar force that will continue to get looks, so everyone else will be figthing for targets behind him. I think Hurns will be a passable WR next year than that, but I wouldn’t quite expect the same fantasy numbers that he put up last season.
Ted Ginn, Carolina Panthers — Some dope in your league is going to be seduced by Ginn’s 10 touchdown receptions and four games with 80 or more receiving yards from last season. Don’t be that dope. Over the first 11 games of last season, Ted Ginn’s stat line was 30 receptions, 445 yards, and four touchdowns. Project that out over the course of a full season, and that’s less than 44 receptions for less than 650 yards; in other words, those are more realistic numbers to expect from Ginn. Let’s not forget the fact that Ginn was fourth in the NFL in dropped passes last season; if you watched the Super Bowl, you should remember how Ginn dropped passes as if his hands were lathered in lubricant. With wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin returning from injury, and second year receiver Devin Funchess drawing rave reviews in Panthers’ training camp, Ginn’s value is greatly marginalized for this season. Remember: just say no to Ginn, even if he’s laying around in the later rounds; there’s a reason he’s available.