Best WR: We’ve covered every position and the award, but the Best WR. Over the years, experts are beginning to more heavily lean on wideouts. With the league trending more towards pass friendly offenses, we saw an unprecedented number of wideouts going early last year. However, of our top three nominees, only one was a no brainer first round pick. Lets review.
Antonio Brown (PIT): The Pittsburgh Steelers wideout was pretty much the uncontested top pick in 2016. The logic was simple. Brown is putting up Hall of Fame numbers and he plays a more reliable position than feature back. And this year Brown didn’t disappoint. Sure Brown didn’t set the league on record-setting pace, but he also was a top option week-in and week-out despite playing with an often-injured quarterback. Brown averaged over 13 points per game which is pretty impressive and worth the high pick.
Mike Evans (TB): Evans had a case of the drops in 2015, so wise owners got him at a small discount in 2016. The Tampa Bay primary option has seen over 170 targets in two consecutive seasons and he came down with 96 this year. Evans was arguably the most consistent WR this year in the league and he was worth way more than his early second round value. Moving forward, Mike Evans and Jameis Winston should continue to establish themselves as a top tandem in the league.
Jordy Nelson (GB): If we gave out an award for Comeback Fantasy Player of the year then Jordy Nelson would be on the shortlist. The Packers star was certainly a difference maker for the Green Bay offense in 2016 and he was especially clutch in the red zone with the most TDs of any wideout (14). Similar to Evans, Nelson was a great value pick at the high end of the second round, so fantasy owners with late first round picks likely benefited from that position in 2016.
The Winner: All three of these nominees were within 0.4 points of each other for their weekly average output, but I have to choose Mike Evans because he was arguably the best wideout all year and certainly by season’s end. Evans is the best jumpball wideout in the league by outmuscling many of the league’s best corners for that 50/50 opportunity. Moving forward, he should be considered a solid first round pick and an elite receiving option in the league considering his age, target total per year, and athletic ability. With more weapons joining the Bucs, Evans targets could go down but he should see an increase in catch % considering he’ll likely have more one-on-one opportunities.