With training camps underway, The Brew Crew Corner returns for 2012 refreshed and ready to get the new season started! I’m always fired up this time of year because you start seeing teams getting ready for the upcoming season, rookies begin to sign contracts and mock drafts become a daily part of your everyday routine.
The reason we love fantasy football is because every season is unique. We also love to search for that next up-and-coming star that you select late in a draft or pick up off the waiver wire. If you are like me, you love to look at the various strategies and types of preparations for live drafts.
In this article, I want you to look at wide receivers that are playing on new teams this year. In my research, I have found that players traded or signed to new teams do not become fantasy studs. There is often a dropoff in production as the wide receiver is now playing with a new quarterback and learning a new offense.
I’m asking you to pass on drafting wide receivers on new teams. Unless that player drops significantly in your draft or you can acquire that player at a low risk through a trade or waivers, you will be disappointed in the production of that receiver.
There are owners this year that will be jumping on Vincent Jackson, Brandon Marshall and Robert Meachem. I would let someone else draft these guys and select another player that has put up consistent numbers that you can feel safe drafting. Brandon Marshall will get an asterisk only because he will be playing with Jay Cutler again, but there is still caution. There have been exceptions in the past such as Randy Moss and Wes Welker, who performed better when they went to New England. But, remember Randy Moss when he went to Oakland and Tennessee.
Some of the big names a few years ago that signed or were traded to a new team that underperformed are Javon Walker and Peerless Price. Walker was traded to Denver from Green Bay. Now you can disregard the 2005 season as he was injured that year. Let’s compare his 2004 season to his 2006 season when he joined the Broncos. His production dropped from 89 catches, 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns from the previous full season in Green Bay to 69 catches, 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns in his first year with Denver. Then, the following season was an even bigger drop in production. When he was traded to Oakland his production was a disastrous 15 catches for 196 yards and one touchdown.
Price had a monster year in 2002, catching 94 passes for 1,252 yards and nine touchdowns for the Bills. Price was traded to Atlanta for a 2003 first-round pick and signed a big contract. In his first year with the Falcons, his numbers dropped to 64 catches for 838 yards and just three touchdowns. The Falcons cut him after two seasons.
Now, these are not fluke instances. I can go through just about every wide receiver over the past 4-5 years that has switched teams to show that their production decreased. Let’s look at a few more players before we analyze the players that have moved on to new teams this offseason.
Recent Underperforming Wide Receivers
Sidney Rice: In 2009, Rice was a sleeper candidate that had an explosive season. He posted 83 receptions for 1,312 yards and eight touchdowns with the Minnesota Vikings, ranking him as the eighth-best wide receiver in fantasy leagues. The following season, he played just six games. Then, in his first season with Seattle, he posted 32 receptions for 484 yards and just two touchdowns. He finished 67th among fantasy wideouts.
Santonio Holmes: Holmes followed up his Super Bowl winning catch with a season in which he posted 79 catches for 1,248 yards and five touchdowns for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He ranked 15th overall for fantasy wide receivers. The following season he was traded to the New York Jets due to offseason issues, and his numbers dropped to 52 receptions for 746 yards and six touchdowns. That ranked him 33rd overall among wide receivers.
Anquan Boldin: Boldin played in the same Super Bowl that Holmes scored the winning touchdown but was on the losing end of that game with the Arizona Cardinals. The next season he posted 85 receptions for 1,029 yards and five touchdowns. He finished as the 23rd wide receiver and posted back-to-back 1,000-plus yard seasons. The following year he went to the Baltimore Ravens and his numbers dropped slightly to 64 receptions for 837 yards and seven touchdowns. He posted similar numbers in 2011.
Nate Burleson: Burleson has always been up-and-down in his career and has always had trouble staying healthy. In 2009 he posted 63 receptions for 812 yards and three touchdowns in just 13 games with Seattle. In 2011 he played for the Detroit Lions, putting up 55 receptions for 625 yards and six touchdowns.
Nate Washington: Washington was also on the Steelers’ Super Bowl team with Santonio Holmes. That season he had 40 receptions for 631 yards and three touchdowns as the third receiver behind Holmes and Hines Ward. In 2009, he went to Tennessee where he played as the Titans’ No. 1 receiver but posted 47 receptions for 569 yards and six touchdowns. The reason this is viewed as underperforming, even though his receptions were higher and his touchdowns doubled, is that in 2008 Washington went undrafted in fantasy leagues whereas in 2009 he was drafted in the middle-to-late rounds.
Deion Branch: In 2005, Branch was Tom Brady‘s favorite target as he had 78 receptions for 998 yards and five touchdowns. In 2006, Branch held out for a new contract and was granted a trade to the Seattle Seahawks. The next season he posted 53 receptions for 725 yards and four touchdowns. Branch then had a decent season 2010 where posted 61 receptions for 818 yards and six touchdowns. In 2011 he went back to the Patriots but posted 51 receptions for 702 yards and five touchdowns.
Lee Evans: Evans’ numbers have declined since his 1,017-yard season in 2008. In his last season with Buffalo, he posted 37 receptions for 578 yards and four touchdowns. Last season he went to Baltimore where he played just nine games, putting up just four receptions for 74 yards and no touchdowns. He has a chance this season to play better than those numbers, but he’ll be going to Jacksonville, which will have a poor offense.
Braylon Edwards: Edwards was a fantasy stud in 2007 when he put up 1,289 yards with 16 touchdowns. The 2008 season saw his numbers in Cleveland dip to 55 receptions for 873 yards and three touchdowns. In 2009 he went to the New York Jets where his numbers were just 45 receptions for 680 yards and four touchdowns. He then picked up his production the following season as he had 53 receptions for 904 yards and seven touchdowns. Last season he played for the San Francisco 49ers, where he had just 15 receptions for 181 yards and no touchdowns. That’s two trades with negative results the following season.