After doing this exercise for quarterbacks and running backs previously, I knew I couldn’t wait to roll up my sleeves and start crunching some numbers for the wide receivers.

From an outsider looking in, it seemed like receptions and yards were low across the board in 2017, and when the season ended, the numbers validated it.

Let’s just take a look at the past five years:

  • 2017 WRs with 80+ Receptions: 10
  • 2016 WRs with 80+ Receptions: 16
  • 2015 WRs with 80+ Receptions: 17
  • 2014 WRs with 80+ Receptions: 17
  • 2013 WRs with 80+ Receptions: 19


  • 2017 WRs with 1,000+ Receiving Yards: 13
  • 2016 WRs with 1,000+ Receiving Yards: 23
  • 2015 WRs with 1,000+ Receiving Yards: 22
  • 2014 WRs with 1,000+ Receiving Yards: 21
  • 2013 WRs with 1,000+ Receiving Yards: 23


  • 2017 WRs with 10+ Touchdowns: 2
  • 2016 WRs with 10+ Touchdowns: 5
  • 2015 WRs with 10+ Touchdowns: 10
  • 2014 WRs with 10+ Touchdowns: 11
  • 2013 WRs with 10+ Touchdowns: 10

So yeah. Down year to say the least.

Even more surprising are some of the brand names this year that produced similar numbers to some unexpected counterparts. And again, I want to emphasize the fact that this is not to say one WR is a better option than another WR.

It’s simply an exercise to show how some guys over-performed and some guys under-achieved at the end of the day.

Let’s dive in.


Wide Receiver A:

  • 67 Receptions
  • 703 Receiving Yards
  • 46.9 Receiving Yards/Game
  • 10 Receptions of 20+ yards
  • 5 Touchdowns


Wide Receiver B:

  • 66 Receptions
  • 653 Receiving Yards
  • 43.5 Receiving Yards/Game
  • 7 Receptions of 20+ Yards
  • 4 Touchdowns

Wide receiver A was a high-floor, low-ceiling WR2 type of guy, and wide receiver B was a dude that in a decrepit offense that many deemed droppable in redraft leagues around week 10.

We’re talking about Mohammed Sanu was wide receiver A and Randall Cobb as wide receiver B in this example.

I was kind of surprised about how the numbers shook out at the end of the year because there were matchups where I went up against Sanu thinking “Man, this could be a week where he blows up and does me in” whereas Cobb didn’t even sniff starting lineups unless it was in a pinch due to injury.


Wide Receiver A:

  • 65 Receptions
  • 1,082 Receiving Yards
  • 67.6 Receiving Yards/Game
  • 18 Receptions of 20+ yards
  • 7 Touchdowns

Wide Receiver B:

  • 65 Receptions
  • 810 Receiving Yards
  • 50.6 Receiving Yards/Game
  • 9 Receptions of 20+ Yards
  • 5 Touchdowns

As you can tell by the yards/game and the higher number of receptions with 20+ yards, wide receiver A was a deep threat option this year that relied on the long ball to get a lot of his yardage, which is true because anyone who watched a Patriots game this year knows that Brandin Cooks was Tom Brady’s favorite deep ball option.

Wide receiver B played for an AFC East counterpart and probably took some people by surprise because nobody really expected much out of the New York Jets offense, and Jermaine Kearse definitely surprised some people.

The key difference here was Cooks was an instant start every week, regardless of matchup. Kearse on the other hand could have been left on the bench most of the time.


Wide Receiver A:

  • 57 Receptions
  • 789 Receiving Yards
  • 49.3 Receiving Yards/Game
  • 8 Receptions of 20+ yards
  • 9 Touchdowns

Wide Receiver B:

  • 58 Receptions
  • 847 Receiving Yards
  • 52.9 Receiving Yards/Game
  • 14 Receptions of 20+ Yards
  • 6 Touchdowns

I saved the best for last on this one because this breakdown was the most surprising (to me, at least).

A was part of a high octane offense that many argued was the best in the biz until their QB went down to a torn ACL, and B was lining up with a QB that just came out of retirement and was widely ineffective until he was replaced by a jobber who was, well, also widely ineffective.

You’re looking at Alshon Jeffery vs Kenny Stills here.

Let that sink in for a moment.

More times than not, you’re starting Alshon all day everyday, but at the end of the season, he mirrored Kenny Stills in production.


There you have it! As a reminder, I don’t want word going around saying that @TheEricMally said Kenny Stills is a better WR than Alshon or that I said you should draft Jermaine Kearse over Brandin Cooks.

Not a chance.

It’s all about looking at the numbers from an objective point of view.