Odell Beckham and Antonio Brown look like two of the biggest dominos of the offense. Both are capable of being elite playmakers, but both are also capable of turning into major off-field distractions. If they’re moved, will their new teams regret it?
Every year, big-name wide receivers switch teams (most often through free agency). And every year a couple of those players are selected early in fantasy drafts. But there are plenty of misses to go along with the hits when these kind of players are transplanted.
There were three big receiver moves last year. Brandin Cooks, Sammy Watkins and Allen Robinson. Cooks had a solid year, but his stats were a little lower than what those who selected him were hoping for. Both Watkins and Robinson finished well short of expectations.
Beckham and Brown, if moved, are a notch better than all three of those receivers. With their talent, you’re looking for top-5 numbers when you select them. If either were to post simply top-20 numbers, that would be a disappointment. But history shows us it’s not a layup when trying to transplant wide receivers into new offenses with new teams.
By my subjective count, there have been 22 “elite” receivers that have switched teams in this century. And by “elite”, I’m using the estimation that said receivers were among the first dozen receivers selected in the vast majority of fantasy drafts that year.
Of that group of 22, I see seven who went out and did what they were supposed to do – and I’ve got those guys in bold. I see eight that definitely fell way short of expectations (tagged with black dots). The other seven didn’t put up eye-popping numbers but weren’t busts either. About equal thirds for all three groups.
With Cooks, he played just well enough that I put him in the top group. With 80 catches, 1,204 yards and 6 TDs, he didn’t knock it out of the park, but he played well enough to merit where he was selected. He was a player who was selected not to be a Beckham-Brown top-5 receiver, after all, but more of just a No. 1 receiver.
With this group of wide receivers, 9 finished with better numbers than they did the previous year with their old team. But 13 finished with lesser numbers.
|ELITE RECEIVERS SWITCHING TEAMS|
|Year||Player||Old Team||New Team|
|2000||• Carl Pickens||Cin 57-737-6||Ten 10-242-0|
|2000||• Joey Galloway||Sea 22-335-1||Dal 4-62-1|
|2000||Keyshawn Johnson||NYJ 89-1170-8||TB 71-874-8|
|2001||• Terry Glenn||NE 14-204-1||GB 56-817-2|
|2003||• Peerless Price||Buf 94-1252-9||Atl 64-838-3|
|2003||David Boston||Ari 32-512-1||SD 70-880-7|
|2004||Terrell Owens||SF 80-1102-9||Phil 77-1200-14|
|2005||Randy Moss||Min 49-767-13||Oak 60-1005-8|
|2006||Terrell Owens||Phil 47-763-6||Dall 85-1180-13|
|2007||Randy Moss||Oak 42-553-3||NE 98-1493-23|
|2009||• T.J. Houshmandzadeh||Cin 92-904-4||Sea 79-911-3|
|2009||• Terrell Owens||Dall 69-1052-10||Buf 55-829-6|
|2010||Brandon Marshall||Den 101-1120-10||Mia 86-1014-3|
|2012||Brandon Marshall||Mia. 81-1214-6||Chi. 118-1508-11|
|2012||Vincent Jackson||SD 60-1106-9||T.B. 72-1384-8|
|2013||• Danny Amendola||StL 63-666-3||NE 54-633-2|
|2013||• Percy Harvin||Min 62-677-5||Sea 1-17-0|
|2013||Wes Welker||NE 118-1354-6||Den 73-778-10|
|2014||DeSean Jackson||Phil 82-1332-9||Was 56-1169-6|
|2015||Brandon Marshall||Chi. 61-721-8||NYJ 109-1502-14|
|2017||Brandin Cooks||N.O. 78-1173-8||N.E. 65-1082-7|
|2018||Brandin Cooks||N.E. 65-1082-7||LAR 80-1204-6|
While I’ve got these numbers out, I will also share the figures for the next group of receivers. Second-tier guys, if you will. These are players who aren’t No. 1, franchise-type receivers, but are good enough that in most fantasy leagues, somebody selected them with the intention of them being an every-week starter. These are guys who many thought would be top-25 wide receivers.
I’ve got 38 wide receivers in this group. By my count, 17 put up numbers that met expectations (those receivers are in bold). I’ve flagging 15 as disappointments (including Robinson and Watkins). The remaining receivers I’ll stick in the middle.
This is a subjective exercise, of course. 2005 Derrick Mason, for example, might more appropriately belong in the middle tier. he scored only 3 TDs. But he at least came through with 86 catches for 1,073 yards. Had you selected Mason that year, it wouldn’t have killed your team to have him in that No. 2 receiving spot.
With the second-tier receivers, 16 finished with numbers better than what they posted the previous year. The other 22 were worse statistically.
|SECOND-TIER RECEIVERS SWITCHING TEAMS|
|Year||Player||Old Team||New Team|
|2000||Joe Horn||KC 35-586-6||NO 94-1340-8|
|2001||Jerry Rice||SF 75-805-7||Oak 83-1139-9|
|2002||Keenan McCardell||Jac 93-1110-6||TB 61-670-6|
|2002||• Qadry Ismail||Bal 74-1059-7||Ind 44-462-3|
|2003||Laveranues Coles||NYJ 89-1264-5||Was 82-1204-6|
|2004||Keyshawn Johnson||TB 45-600-3||Dall 70-981-6|
|2004||• Joey Galloway||Dall 34-672-2||TB 33-416-6|
|2005||Plaxico Burress||Pit 35-698-5||NYG 76-1214-7|
|2005||Derrick Mason||Ten 96-1168-7||Bal 86-1073-3|
|2005||Santana Moss||NYJ 45-838-5||Was 84-1483-9|
|2005||Laveranues Coles||Was 90-950-1||NYJ 73-845-5|
|2006||Javon Walker||GB 4-27-0||Den 69-1084-9|
|2006||Keyshawn Johnson||Dall 71-839-6||Car 70-815-5|
|2006||• Donte Stallworth||NO 70-945-7||Phi 38-725-5|
|2006||• Deion Branch||NE 78-998-5||Sea 53-725-4|
|2006||• Antwaan Randle El||Pit 35-558-3||Was 32-351-4|
|2006||• Nate Burleson||Min 30-328-1||Sea 18-192-3|
|2008||Bernard Berrian||Chi 71-951-5||Min 48-964-8|
|2009||• Laveranues Coles||NYJ 70-850-7||Cin 43-514-5|
|2010||Anquan Boldin||Ariz 84-1024-5||Balt 64-837-7|
|2010||Santonio Holmes||Pitt 79-1248-5||NYJ 52-746-6|
|2011||• Sidney Rice||Min 17-280-2||Sea 32-484-2|
|2011||• Chad Ochocinco||Cin 67-831-4||NE 15-276-1|
|2012||Brandon Lloyd||StL 70-966-5||N.E. 74-911-5|
|2013||Anquan Boldin||Balt 65-921-4||SF 85-1179-7|
|2013||Mike Wallace||Pitt 64-836-8||Mia 73-930-5|
|2013||Greg Jennings||GB 36-366-4||Min 68-804-4|
|2014||Emmanuel Sanders||Pitt 67-740-6||Den 101-1404-9|
|2014||Eric Decker||Den 87-1288-11||NYJ 74-962-5|
|2015||Jeremy Maclin||Phil. 85-1318-10||K.C. 87-1088-8|
|2016||Marvin Jones||Cin. 65-816-4||Det. 55-930-4|
|2016||• Travis Benjamin||Clev. 68-966-6||S.D. 47-677-4|
|2017||Alshon Jeffery||Chi. 52-821-2||Phil. 57-789-9|
|2017||• DeSean Jackson||Wash. 56-1005-4||T.B. 50-668-3|
|2017||• Pierre Garcon||Wash. 79-1041-3||S.F. 40-500-0|
|2017||• Terrelle Pryor||Clev. 77-1007-4||Wash. 20-240-1|
|2018||• Allen Robinson||Jac. 1-17-0||Chi. 55-754-4|
|2018||• Sammy Watkins||LAR 39-593-8||K.C. 40-519-3|