Drafting a running back who goes bust is understandable; there are only so many strong running backs in a given season, and you have to take a chance on someone. Injuries or ineffectiveness are endemic to the position. At wide receiver, though, there's less excuse. The position is the deepest one in fantasy, so picking the wrong one can be even more frustrating; there was another guy right there who did come through.
So below, we're looking at some guys who are ranked higher than perhaps their 2015 projections might deserve. And when I saw "we," I mean "I," as bust candidates are inherently subjective. Still, these are the guys who have me wary entering drafts this season:
Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions
The top tier of wide receivers includes Dez Bryant, Antonio Brown, Demaryius Thomas, Julio Jones, Odell Beckham Jr., Jordy Nelson, A.J. Green and Johnson, in some order. Well, of that group of eight, four — Bryant, Brown, Thomas and Nelson — have played every game the last two seasons. Odell Beckham Jr. dealt with one injury, then looked fine afterward. So the injured guys are Jones, Green and Johnson. Johnson is the oldest of that group, and has seen his numbers decline the last two seasons in a row. He's still elite, still belongs in that top group, but he simply isn't all-caps CALVIN JOHNSON anymore.
Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Take out a five-game season in 2010, and Vincent Jackson hadn't dipped below seven touchdowns in a season since 2007 before his two-score year last year. The rookie Evans caught 12. If you are taking your pick of a Tampa Bay wide receiver, I think the obvious bet is Evans over Jackson (who is already one of our favorite sleeper candidates), but it seems unlikely to 12-to-two touchdown imbalance will maintain. On top of that, you'd have to think the team's running backs will score more than the paltry four rushing touchdowns they did over the course of last season. Other than Evans' 12, the only other Buccaneer who scored more than two touchdowns last season was Josh McCown, who ran for three scores. If Evans doesn't score the vast majority of the team's touchdowns again, he won't make as much sense as a WR1.
, Indianapolis Colts
It's true that Johnson will be playing 2015 with far and away the best quarterback he's ever been paired with, asmakes the coalition look sad by comparison. It's also true, however, that Johnson is 34 and has never reached double-digit touchdowns in a season. He hasn't had more than five scores in a year since 2010. On top of that, he's going to be playing this season in what looks like a tremendous offense, with , and also at wide receiver, and at tight end, and and others at running back. An aging wide receiver who isn't guaranteed the lion's share of the targets isn't a great guy to rely on in your fantasy lineup.
As of now, it looks likewill start the season as the Bills' quarterback. But there has been some question on that subject over the course of training camp, and that's just incredible. We've seen throw passes; if the Bills weren't sure Cassel could outperform him, then Cassel must have really been struggling. And if these are the best options the Bills have, then that doesn't bode well for Watkins, who deserves better. He has all the talent in the world, but if he's not paired with a quarterback who can get the ball to him, that talent will exist in a vacuum.
With eight touchdowns, Bryant scored on 30.8 percent of his catches last year, 16.7 percent of his targets. Literally the only receivers who scored on a higher rate of catches were(two catches on six catches) and (one on three). , with two scores in 11 targets, is the only one who bettered Bryant's percentage in that regard. No one with any significant number of targets, catches or scores last year came even close to Bryant's success rate. One of two things will, with almost 100 percent certainty, happen this season: Either Bryant will see a lot more targets, and his percentage will fall, or he will score a lot fewer touchdowns, and his percentage will fall. With Markus Wheaton and also in the fold, I tend toward the latter of those options, and think Bryant will be only a flex play or helper in random, unpredictable weeks.