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2013 Consistency Breakdown: Wide receivers

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Consistency Breakdowns: QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs

It might seem like receivers are becoming a bigger part of Fantasy Football, but it's not really happening.

Example: In 2012 there were 407 times where a wideout posted 10 or more Fantasy points in a standard league. That number dipped to 386 in 2013 -- and sure, that is a big number when you think about it, but also think about every team having (at least) four receivers and playing 16 games. Scores of opportunities for receivers to put up points and it's not happening often enough.

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Maybe that's unfair to say. It's happening enough -- just not in a consistent manner. Consistency is an issue at every position and it's what makes the studs so great. Of the 386 times a receiver had 10-plus Fantasy points, they repeated the feat in their very next game just 112 times, a 29 percent rate. That's ugly, but it comes with a silver lining: 54 of the 112 back-to-back 10-point performances were done by Top 12 receivers and 79 of the 112 two-fers -- a cool 70.5 percent -- were done by Top 24 receivers. Those percentages are on par with what players had, be it in the Top 12, Top 24 or overall in 2012.

Studs being studs. It just might be the evidence you need to take two receivers with your first four picks ... if not first three picks ... if not first two picks.

In Fantasy there's always the allure of the boom-or-bust player, a guy who can dominate a game and score 20-plus points or collapse with a two-catch, 24-yard game. Some believe a Fantasy team full of boom-or-busters can help propel them to victory week after week just on the strength of three of four players coming through. Others gravitate toward consistent receivers who can deliver a nice amount of Fantasy points from week to week.

However you want to slice it, we're taking a look back at the wideouts who were consistent and those who might have earned the stigma of boom-or-bust types.

Consistent: Larry Fitzgerald

Fantasy point average: 9.1 over 16 games / 10+ points: 9 of 16 games (56.3 pct.)
Week 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 TOTAL
FPTS 20 3 6 12 4 15 1 10 bye 2 12 17 13 15 4 1 11 146

Fitzgerald didn't quite match expectations in 2013 given where he was drafted (30th overall on average) but still was among the Top 10 receivers in terms of consistency (yes, really). That's pretty much the only positive Fitzgerald has -- even with nine games over 10-plus Fantasy points, he averaged less than 10 points over the season and really bombed out in the seven games he didn't get double digits in, gaining no more than six points in them. It's been a tough two years for Fitzgerald -- he didn't even have 100 points total in 2012 because of the Cardinals quarterback woes and got only a mild bump this year because of Carson Palmer, who played behind a mediocre offensive line all season. He has just 20 plays of 20-plus yards in his last two seasons and doesn't have 1,000 yards in each of his last two years. Time might be running out on him to return to elite form in Fantasy.

Consistent: Wes Welker

Fantasy point average: 13.0 over 13 games / 10+ points: 7 of 13 games (53.8 pct.)
Week 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 TOTAL
FPTS 16 9 14 19 10 12 9 14 bye 2 7 3 3 12 DNP DNP DNP 130

It was very much a tale of two halves for Welker in 2013 as he averaged 12.9 Fantasy points per game in his first eight, 5.4 in five games in his last five with three missed games. A pair of concussions really did in his season -- the first one in Week 11, the second in Week 14. And after scoring eight touchdowns in his first six games, Welker had two in his last 10. The combination of two concussions and his declining role following the Broncos bye week suggests he won't be as big a hero to Fantasy owners again in 2014. That's a tough pill to swallow since Welker has finished as a Top 24 receiver in each of the last six years.

Consistent: Julio Jones

Fantasy point average: 13.0 over 5 games / 10+ points: 4 of 5 games (80.0 pct.)
Week 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 TOTAL
FPTS 11 24 11 10 9 bye DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 65

Josh Gordon might have been the receiver Fantasy owners fell in love with in 2013 but one guy, and only one guy, was more consistent in the games he played. That would be Jones, who had at least nine Fantasy points in every game and 10-plus in four of five. Would Jones have kept it up if he played all 16 games? Probably not, but one could reason he would pick up double digits in the 71 percent of games Gordon had, particularly with his red-hot start. Jones is on track to rejoin the Falcons long before the start of training camp and should be considered a cinch Top 30 pick.

Consistent: Randall Cobb

Fantasy point average: 11.8 over 6 games / 10+ points: 4 of 6 games (66.7 pct.)
Week 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 TOTAL
FPTS 16 18 5 bye 10 5 DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 17 71

Like Jones, an injury cut down Cobb's chances to be a dominant Fantasy contributor in 2013. But also like Jones, he was very helpful when he was healthy. Cobb ranked in the Top 5 in consistency with 10-plus points in four of the six games he played in. He had 49 targets on the year, including the postseason. It actually branches out to an average of 1.9 targets per quarter played (he played nearly one half in the game he got hurt in Week 6 vs. Baltimore). That's up there with the elite target receivers in football. Now is not a bad time to remind you he led the Packers in targets last year with 112, catching 76.8 percent of them (he caught 67.4 pct. in 2013). Cobb should be on your wish lists next year and might even come at a bargain price in drafts and auctions.

Inconsistent: Eric Decker

Fantasy point average: 11.7 over 16 games / 10+ points: 6 of 16 games (37.5 pct.)
Week 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 TOTAL
FPTS 3 8 19 8 12 5 21 4 bye 5 7 0 41 17 4 25 8 187

Decker posted career highs in catches (87) and yards (1,288) while landing double-digit touchdowns for the second year in a row. Not bad for a guy headed for a pay day. But you'd think a guy who averaged 11.7 Fantasy points per game would be more reliable in standard leagues. But he had just six games with double-digit Fantasy points in 2013, down from eight in 2012. Games like the ones he had in Weeks 7 and 13 when he combined for five touchdowns and 324 yards along like the ones he had in Weeks 1 and 12 (three grabs for 37 yards total) basically cemented him as a boom-or-bust type rather than a steady choice. Decker's an easy pick to make as a second receiver, even with the inconsistency, if he stays in Denver. But if he moves on and doesn't have the brainac quarterback and multiple teammates to draw coverage away from him, I don't see Decker as even a Top 20 option.

Inconsistent: T.Y. Hilton

Fantasy point average: 8.3 over 16 games / 10+ points: 5 of 16 games (31.3 pct.)
Week 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 TOTAL
FPTS 2 12 1 4 26 4 2 bye 30 13 4 3 4 0 7 5 15 132

Man, we really missed the boat on this guy. A preseason favorite for just about everyone, Hilton had just five games with 10-plus Fantasy points and only one instance of back-to-back double-digit games. He especially seemed lost when the Colts lost Reggie Wayne to a torn ACL -- once Wayne was out of it Hilton had just two starts with 10-plus Fantasy points. It took until the end of the year and into the postseason for Hilton to really break out as a fantastic stand-alone threat. Getting at least 100 yards in each of his last three including two playoff games, Hilton totaled 28 catches on 39 targets for 482 yards and two touchdowns. So which guy will we get in 2014: The one who struggled for much of 2013 or the one who was a post-Christmas miracle for the Colts? You'll hear plenty about how Hilton looks great in camp and how the Colts offense will branch out this offseason, but if we really see it in practices and the preseason then Hilton's draft status will come close to mirroring what we saw in 2013, when he was taken 79th overall on average.

Inconsistent: Torrey Smith

Fantasy point average: 8.3 over 16 games / 10+ points: 4 of 16 games (25.0 pct.)
Week 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 TOTAL
FPTS 9 8 9 22 12 1 6 0 7 10 9 7 15 3 6 6 2 132

Smith had his opportunity to grab the spotlight in Baltimore and even had the targets to shine, but he didn't deliver. Finishing with a 16th-best 138 targets, Smith continued a disappointing trend in catching less than half of them -- only he and Vincent Jackson were among the Top 30 receivers who caught 50 percent or fewer of their targets in 2013. That lack of production meant only four games with double digits in Fantasy points. But he still had a career-high 1,128 yards even with two games over 100 yards and five games under 60 yards. Maybe there's some optimism here since Smith had three games with nine Fantasy points (almost 10), but even if you gave him credit for those he still had only 13 occurrences over his last 32 games. For a receiver in his second and third seasons, that's not so good. Smith might not be the stud receiver we hoped he'd become.

Inconsistent: Marques Colston

Fantasy point average: 7.9 over 15 games / 10+ points: 4 of 15 games (26.7 pct.)
Week 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 TOTAL
FPTS 12 6 7 9 1 1 bye 1 DNP 16 8 4 2 24 15 6 6 118

Before this year, Colston was considered one of the most consistent receivers in Fantasy. He had posted 1,000 yards in each of the six seasons where he played at least 12 games and had eight or more scores in five of those years. But in 2013 he took a step back statistically, posting some of his worst numbers. Catching 75 of 110 targets (68.2 pct., second-best among receivers), Colston had just five touchdowns and 943 yards. He had only 13 plays of 20-plus yards and none for 40-plus yards, the first time in his career he didn't record at least one 40-yard catch. If you watched Colston play you could tell he was slower than in the past and really couldn't separate from defenders much. Worst of all, he proved to be among the least consistent big-name receivers, posting 10-plus points four times and doing so in back-to-back games only once. He had six Fantasy points or less eight times. Disappointing stuff for a guy you might have targeted in past drafts.

Consistency Rankings
Rank Player GP FPTS/gm 10+ Consistency Rank Player GP FPTS/gm 10+ Consistency
1 Julio Jones 5 13.0 4 80.0% 11 DeSean Jackson 16 11.4 8 50.0%
2 Josh Gordon 14 15.8 10 71.4% 11 Jordy Nelson 16 10.8 8 50.0%
3 Demaryius Thomas 16 13.8 11 68.8% 11 Justin Blackmon 4 11.5 2 50.0%
3 A.J. Green 16 12.7 11 68.8% 16 Andre Johnson 16 10.1 7 43.8%
5 Randall Cobb 6 11.8 4 66.7% 17 Keenan Allen 14 10.1 6 42.9%
6 Calvin Johnson 14 15.1 9 64.3% 18 Marvin Jones 15 8.5 6 40.0%
7 Brandon Marshall 16 12.4 9 56.3% 18 Michael Crabtree 5 6.4 2 40.0%
7 Dez Bryant 16 12.1 9 56.3% 20 Eric Decker 16 11.7 6 37.5%
7 Larry Fitzgerald 16 9.1 9 56.3% 20 Vincent Jackson 16 9.8 6 37.5%
10 Wes Welker 13 10.0 7 53.8% 20 Pierre Garcon 16 9.6 6 37.5%
11 Antonio Brown 16 11.9 8 50.0% 20 Anquan Boldin 16 9.6 6 37.5%
11 Alshon Jeffery 16 11.6 8 50.0% 20 Julian Edelman 16 8.6 6 37.5%

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Dave at @daverichard .

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Player News
Report: LB Desmond Bishop will visit 49ers
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Linebacker Desmond Bishop will visit the 49ers on Monday, according to csnbayarea.com.

Bishop played in two games for the 49ers last season after beginning the year with the Cardinals. After losing both Patrick Willis and Chris Borland to retirement, the team is looking for linebackers.

Over his eight-year NFL career, the 30-year-old has 299 total tackles, nine sacks, nine passes defensed, one interception and eight forced fumbles.


Packers want to keep RB Eddie Lacy fresh this season
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Packers head coach Mike McCarthy is working on ways to keep running back Eddie Lacy fresh this season, reports the Journal Sentinel.

McCarthy had talks with Lacy at the end of the last two seasons talking about his number of snaps and what he expected of the running back.

"I really felt that last year's conversation was more important than this year's, the ability to make a huge jump from Year One to Two, being a three-down player, that was something we stressed from Day One, and I thought he delivered," McCarthy said at the NFL owners meetings this week.

The head coach liked the way that the team used Lacy last season, limiting his snaps early in the year before increasing them as the season wore on.

"Maybe not run attempts," McCarthy said of hitting the target he set. "But I thought we were really smart the way we used him....I thought his pass protection he made a huge jump, and his ability to play out of the backfield.

"Eddie has excellent hands, and just his understand and his feel with Aaron, he definitely made a step."

In his first two seasons in the NFL, the 24-year-old has 2,317 yards rushing and 20 touchdowns. He has also added 77 receptions for 684 yards and four touchdown catches. 


Vikings CB Captain Munnerlyn working to earn starting spot
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Although Vikings cornerback Captain Munnerlyn likes the addition of Terence Newman to the team, he believes that he will beat him out for a starting job, reports twincities.com.

“I’m ready for the competition,’’ Munnerlyn told the Pioneer Press on Saturday. “I’m an athlete, so I never feel like anyone can beat me out. I feel I can hold onto the job. I’m betting on myself.’’

Munnerlyn, a six-year veteran, seems to embrace the competition that will be had at the cornerback spot.

“I think it’s great,’’ said Munnerlyn, a six-year veteran. “He’s a veteran. It’s great for competition. It will bring out the best in me. I’m excited about the competition. I just know that I’ve got to play a lot better than I did last year.’’

There have been a lot of questions this offseason as to whether or not he will settle in as the team's nickel back. He wants to shed the label of being relegated to the nickel spot.

“I don’t want that to happen,’’ Munnerlyn said. “I’ve been labeled my whole career as just a nickel back but I’ve been able to show people I’m more than that. But I know that I’ve got to work hard this offseason."
The 26-year-old has registered 343 total tackles, 5.5 sacks, 44 passes defensed, nine interceptions -- five of which were returned for touchdowns -- and three forced fumbles.

Packers still interested in signing FB John Kuhn
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) The Packers are still interested in signing fullback John Kuhn to the roster, reports the Journal Sentinel.

When head coach Mike McCarthy was asked if Kuhn still has value, he replied, "Absolutely."

"I've always looked at the fullback and tight end position as one. I feel you have to have flexibility and versatility within those two positions. It keeps you in and out of a number of different personnel groups."

Kuhn, 32, has spent eight of his nine seasons with the Packers, rushing for 591 yards and 18 touchdowns. As a receiving option, the fullback has 76 receptions for 516 yards and eight touchdowns.


CB Lardarius Webb wants to finish career with Ravens
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) After restructuring his contract with the Ravens, cornerback Lardarius Webb wants to finish his career with the team, according to the Baltimore Sun.

Webb recently agreed to a contract restructure that dropped his cap number from $12 million to $9.25 million.

"My goal is to retire a Raven and, while it wasn’t an easy decision, I wanted to put the team first," Webb told The Baltimore Sun. "I wanted to prove myself this year that the Ravens sticking with me was the right decision. The Ravens reached out to my agent, Marc Lillibridge, a few weeks before the scouting combine and they were talking and working hard together to get something done. I'm glad it's done."

Webb, 29, has spent his entire six-year career with the Ravens, posting 301 total tackles, two sacks, 71 passes defensed, 11 interceptions and two forced fumbles.


Patriots DT Sealver Siliga still in walking boot
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(3/28/2015) Patriots defensive tackle Sealver Siliga is still in a walking boot after undergoing surgery last season, per ESPN.

Siliga is considered to be one of the top-two options at defensive tackle for the team after the departure of Vince Wilfork. The 24-year-old started five of the seven games he played in 2014. He recorded 32 total tackles and 2.5 sacks last season.


LB Lance Briggs to visit with 49ers on Monday
(3/28/2015) Free-agent linebacker Lance Briggs said he will meet with the 49ers on Monday, reports ESPN.com.

Briggs, a seven-time Pro Bowler, has played all 12 of his NFL seasons with the Bears.

Briggs appeared in just 17 games during the last two seasons due to various injuries.

The 49ers are looking to replace linebacker Chris Borland, who recently announced his retirement.

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by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Texans linebacker Jadeveon Clowney said his rehab from microfracture surgery in his knee is going well, according to the Houston Chronicle. Clowney, who is four months removed from the procedure, was spotted walking without a limp during a promotional event on Saturday.

"It's going good. I'm taking it one day at a time, having some fun hanging out with fans," said Clowney, who made his first public comments since Thanksgiving.

Clowney wouldn't comment on his status for training camp.

"I'm not going to speak on that, but I'm making progress, and I'm very encouraged," Clowney said. "I'm working hard, but we're not going to rush it."


Report: Vikings LB Chad Greenway agres to take paycut
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(3/28/2015) Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway has agreed to restructure his contract, reducing his $7 million base salary to $3.4 million, according to Field Yates of ESPN. The move created $3.2 million in cap room for the Vikings.

Greenway, 32, has spent all nine years of his career with the Vikings, recording 992 total tackles, 15.5 sacks, 30 passes defensed, nine interceptions and eight forced fumbles.


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by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/27/2015) Cardinals coach Bruce Arians still believes in young quarterback Logan Thomas. Arians didn't want to ruin his confidence last season after being forced into action with multiple injuries to Arizona quarterbacks, reports the team's website.

"He's going to get a ton of work and those reps are invaluable," Arians said. "Just in decision-making, how fast you're getting it out of your hand, where you're going with it, where you're going when 'one' and 'two' are still covered. Are you still scrambling around or are you going to find your outlets? That growth process comes strictly from reps."

Arians still has a plan for the second-year pro.

"We drafted him for two years from now, not November," Arians said. "It just so happened his number got called (earlier.) I was not going to let him fail (in San Francisco) because once you fail those scars never go away.

"It's very hard to get the guys back in the locker room if you cost them the playoffs. I just wasn't going to put him in that situation. Right or wrong, it just was my decision."


 
 
 
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