I’m sure all you have already read this season’s Curse of 325, which has gained a bit of a reputation for being a leading indicator of running back busts. The other day I was thinking if I could think of a similar leading indicator for wide receivers … and it occurred to me that while I’ve read the seemingly useless “Third Year Wide Receiver” columns, I really hadn’t seen anything that accurately predicted which receivers were primed for a down season.
The Theory (aka “Educated Guesswork”)
Last season, I presented my analysis of wide receivers I felt would under-perform in 2018. I looked at wide receivers (since 2007) who had amassed at least 170 targets in a season and had a reception percentage of at least 55 percent — then I examined how they fared the following season. The results were good, if not outstanding: two of the three players dipped (Keenan Allen, Larry Fitzgerald) while the third (Antonio Brown) increased slightly:
Still a pretty good leading indicator! Roughly 84 percent of wide receivers who logged 170-plus targets and a 55 percent or better reception rate the previous year ended up posting an average 23 percent decline the following season.