Fast fantasy facts on the wide receivers of 2016

Brandon Marianne Lee looks back on some of the biggest takeaways of the fantasy season for wide receivers.

| 4 months ago
(Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

(Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

Fast fantasy facts on the wide receivers of 2016

Wide receivers will win or lose you your fantasy championship. In season-long leagues, DFS, dynasty or in any combination of the above, you start a lot of wide receivers in every lineup and if they bomb, you won’t win — or at the least your job becomes immeasurably tougher. Finding value at this position is what puts your box score above the rest.

But too often we ignore the top-tier talent when we evaluate the position. There are false narratives that become “facts.” We have plenty of time before the 2017 season to place our sights on value picks. Rather than throw darts and look for deep sleepers, let’s take a closer look at some of the elite performances of 2016 and put some debates to rest.

Rookie Michael Thomas was the only wide receiver to catch at least four passes for at least 40 yards in every single game this season.

Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott put up amazing stats and led their team to the best regular season record in the league. Their combined rookie seasons are incredibly impressive, but if those two Cowboys didn’t exist, Thomas would be at the tip of everyone’s tongue. What Thomas did this season was historic. Literally no other rookie wide receiver has ever put up at least four catches and 40 yards in every game of their rookie season. Does it help that Drew Brees was his quarterback? Absolutely. Did his modest 8.2-yard average depth of target help mitigate risk? Sure. But his consistency was backed up with a lot of impressive stats. He caught 77 percent of his targets, the second-highest catch rate in the league among wide receivers with at least 100 targets — only Doug Baldwin had a better rate at 80 percent. And when it comes to yards per route run, Thomas’ 2.04 average was eighth-best among wide receivers with at least 100 targets. The elite nature of his rookie season cannot be overstated. Any way you slice it, Thomas is a legitimate fantasy must-have for the 2017 season and beyond.

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Brandon Marianne Lee is a PFF Fantasy contributor, a SiriusXM host, co-founder of Her Fantasy Football and was a finalist for FSWA's Newcomer of the Year in 2014.

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