There used to be a day where tight ends just blocked and wide receivers lined up in a three-point stance. In those days, there was limited passing. But over time, the tight end and wide receiver positions have evolved. This past season, we had 23 total wide receiver gain over 1,000 yards receiving. The game has evolved and wide receivers have been the biggest beneficiaries of it. Of course, there are some that have done it for a while like Larry Fitzgerald and others that are still pretty new to the party like Tampa Bay's Mike Evans. And within that mixture of vets and young players, fantasy football players have to pick the best fit for their teams. It seems like a tough task with all the talent out there, but let me give you a few things to help pick wide receivers that will help your team produce.
Wide receivers have to be able to set up their routes to get open for their wide receivers. But even with all that great route-running, receivers have to be able to catch the football. So if you are to select a receiver, you may want to check the percentage of passes that they drop. One guy that definitely shows you how important passes dropped are is Carolina's Ted Ginn Jr. Ginn may have had a breakout season with ten touchdowns, but he only caught 45.8% of passes thrown his way. I understand that some of those passes were uncatchable, but this is still an unacceptable number for an NFL wide receiver. The more dependable a wide receiver is, the more he will see passes thrown his way. And for fantasy football owners, that could mean hopefully 100 yards receiving and if it is a pay per reception league, that means more points because of a wide receiver with surer hands.
Sure hands is something that is a prerequisite for a receiver that can get you consistent points in fantasy football. But what also can make sure to get some consistent points is the style of offense that a receiver plays in. Receivers like Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown, Houston's DeAndre Hopkins and Atlanta's Julio Jones all had over 100 receptions last season. But along with those 100+ receptions, they all three got more than 190 targets last season. Not all wide receivers get that type of opportunity and those type of targets. But in a style of offense where the ball is spread around, then it would be possible. Just ask Arizona, where little known wide receiver John Brown became a 1,000 yard receiver last season. But in the same token a style of offense can help a wide receiver, it can hurt one as well. Torrey Smith was brought to the 49ers last season to expand the passing game. He expanded the passing game but he also had less opportunities than he did the previous years in Baltimore. He also got 30 less targets than he did the previous year, which was not good for all that owned him in fantasy football. The style of offense was built more to the run game and that was not something that was good for Smith's numbers or guys that had him on his fantasy football team.
Receivers can make you pull your hair out or make you scream in jubilation. But in the fantasy world, they play a part in whether you win or lose. In a more pass-oriented league, having a wide receiver with sure hands and with plenty of opportunities is paramount to the success of a wide receiver. And the more success they have, the more they can help your fantasy team. So make sure that you are aware of the abilities and offense of the guy that you select to boost your receiving numbers. That could be the different in you winning your league or losing your league.