Fantasy Stock: Dez Bryant, Jeremy Maclin, and Overcoming Injury Perception

Fantasy Football Rant (Sort of)

Fantasy Football StockThe fantasy football community is a fickle bunch. I say that with love, but if you’ve ever read anything I’ve written before, you know I call it as I see it. We hate the unknown and love dwelling on the past. We dislike quarterbacks that aren’t flashy or are conservative by nature, and any and all injuries are red flags to us.

Take Dez Bryant for example; he was the cream of the crop a season ago. Dynasty owners would demand your first born son in return for the elite Dallas Cowboy wide receiver. Dez, a mid-to-late first round pick, was a bragging right tweet, a demon amongst men that made league owners feel stupid for overlooking him. He was, and still is, a fantasy stud. Unfortunately, Dez’s 2015 season was ruined by a broken foot that could never quite heal. He had a bust year, but hey… it happens.

So what’s changed?

[the_ad id=”62257″]Now a year older with a rookie running back that should balance the team’s offense, Dez’s fantasy worth has slipped. Not by much, but Bryant is no longer demanding the same sort or respect. He’s gone from a “fantasy beast” to a good player with some concern.

This sort of fantasy football perception assumes me. I’m not saying I don’t fall victim to it; I’m just a little more aware of how much we change our minds so quickly. Injuries can do that in this sport, but what’s often forgotten is the fact that these million dollar athletes have the best medical support humanly possible. Their job is to workout and have access to the best professional trainers maximizing their recovery and conditioning at all times.

My point is, we shouldn’t dismiss things so quickly. Arian Foster, Dez Bryant, and J.J Watt aren’t sitting around eating BBQ and drinking beer. They’re preparing for their return, and it’s our job to cheer them on, not right them off so easily.

Dez Bryant’s Career Stats

Year Age Tm G Tgt Rec Yds Y/R TD Lng FantPt PosRk OvRk
2010 22
12 73 45 561 12.5 6 46 92 48
2011 23
15 103 63 928 14.7 9 50 147 19 45
2012 24
16 138 92 1382 15 12 85 208 3 13
2013* 25
16 159 93 1233 13.3 13 79 203 6 14
2014*+ 26
16 136 88 1320 15 16 68 228 4 10
2015 27
9 72 31 401 12.9 3 51 58 79
Career 84 681 412 5825 83.4 59 379 936
  • FantPt – Fantasy Points
  • PosRk – Players Fantasy Rank Within his position
  • OvRk- Players Overall Rank

Fantasy Breakdown: I have seen Dez Bryant fall as far as a late second round draft pick this season. I’ve seen Allen Robinson, Mike Evans and Brandin Cooks all go ahead of him purely based on their 2015 season stats or hyped potential. My fantasy advice to you is to stop overthinking and draft one of the more fierce, elite competitors in the game. Dez will return with a vengeance, and if you want to overlook him for an injury that happened ten months ago, you’re going to regret it.

Jeremy MaclinAnother player that also fits the criteria of my opening article rant (my apologies btw, I’m a work from home dad with toddlers) is Jeremy Maclin.

Maclin has demonstrated that he is one of the league’s most productive, yet underrated wide receivers in the game. Entering his 8th season in the NFL, Maclin hopes to improve the Chiefs 30th rank passing game from last season despite his above average efforts and impressive 2015 stat line. In his first season with the Chiefs, Maclin was targeted 124 times, hauling in 87 receptions for 1088 yards and scoring eight touchdowns in just 15 games. Maclin became just the fourth wide receiver in an Andy Reid-led offense to record 1,000-yard season. Considering the struggle the team had moving the chains through the air, the Chiefs number one wide-out was a trusted and reliable target for Alex Smith in 2015.

Maclins’ Fantasy Expectations 2016

Fantasy owners have never been very high on Alex Smith and most attribute Maclin’s success in 2015 to the loss of Jamaal Charles, who went down with a torn ACL in his right knee in week five. While I do agree that the Maclin and Smith did hit stride in the final six weeks of the season connecting on six touchdowns in six games, the passing game was more potent with Charles in the lineup.

There was a noticeable drop in passing yards per game without Charles as a focal point for an opposing defense to worry about. The team was 58.7 passing yards better with Charles active.

In other words, the passing game as a whole operates better when Maclin and tight end Travis Kelce aren’t the only targets for Smith to look to. If the Chiefs can gain even the smallest upgrade to their wide receiver two position this season and continue to splice in their running back group to help add targets to the passing game, Maclin should find breathing room and build on his 2015 campaign this year.

Maclin’s 2016 average draft position is 4.07, making him WR23 this season. That’s low for a guy who had 87 receptions in 2015 (ranking 10th in the league) and ending the season as the 14th best PPR fantasy wide receiver despite missing a game.

Alex Smith With Jamaal Charles
WK Comp Att % Yds TD Int
1 22 33 66.7 243 3 0
2 16 25 64 191 0 2
3 24 40 60 290 1 1
4 31 45 68.9 386 0 0
5 16 30 53.3 181 1 0
Total 109 173 313 1291 5 3
Avg: 21.8 34.6 62.6 258.2 1 0.6
Alex Smith Without Jamaal Charles
WK Comp Att % Yds TD Int
6 22 37 59.5 282 1 0
7 21 32 65.6 251 1 0
8 18 26 69.2 145 2 0
Bye Week
10 17 31 54.8 204 1 0
11 20 25 80 253 0 0
12 19 30 63.3 255 2 0
13 16 22 72.7 162 2 0
14 15 23 65.2 191 1 1
15 21 25 84 171 1 0
16 15 22 68.2 125 2 1
17 14 24 58.3 156 2 2
Total 198 297 741 2195 15 4
Avg: 18 27 67.3 199.5 1.3 0.3

These are two players I have targeted heavily this season, and the more they fall, the happier I am to pick them up.

Check out all our wide receiver rankings here

 

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