I Do… Or I Don’t: The Dez Bryant Edition

dez

Since the end of the 2015 season I have read countless 2016 mock drafts, projections, top 10 lists, and rankings. One thing I keep seeing is Dez Bryant being drafted in the late 1st to the early 2nd and being included in the elite wide receiver class. Which on actual NFL talent he is but this got me to thinking, should Dez still be thought of as a top notch fantasy wideout? Where would I draft Dez next year? Would I keep him in a keeper or dynasty league? What the hell should we do with Dez Bryant? DON’T worry I have the answers. But 1st I want to explain this little column. Twice a month I am going to choose a player or concept, (feel free to recommend players or concepts via the twitter machine) and write a Do or Don’t column. Do I draft him, Do I keep him, Do I draft Zero RB, Do I take a qb in the 1st round, Don’t I? Whatever it is, that answer will end up in this Bi-Weekly column. So without further ado here is the 1st rendition and it is all about America’s Wide receiver.

In all honesty, SPOILER ALERT… I DON’T! My gut reaction is always Dez is a freak, a top talent, one of the best receivers in the game. Physically this is all true, but in fantasy is he really that good? After weighing the numbers and thinking about all other aspects of his game and the Cowboys game plan I came to my conclusion… Dez is a better actual wide receiver than he is a fantasy wide receiver. In my personal rankings he will struggle to make my top 20. The risk is too high and there are just flat out better options. Here are 5 reasons you should think and do the same.

  1. Dez Bryant has played 86 career games including the playoffs. He only has 15 career 100 Yard games in those contests. By comparison Julio Jones has 28 in 65 career games and O’Dell Beckham Jr. has 15 in 27 games. Yes in 59 less games OBJ has produced exactly the same number of 100 yard performances. Dez is continuously put in the same category as these type of players but has in no way put up their type of production. Dez basically averages three 100 yards games for every 16 games he plays. That is not the production I want from a very early pick.
  2. Reason 2 shows for just as much as Dez doesn’t deliver big yardage games, he also delivers far too many terrible games. He has 21 career games of 40 or less yards in those same 86 games. He has 6 more games of 40 or less yards than he has of triple digit game changing performances. In almost a quarter of his games he is giving you absolutely nothing. The stats show this and if you’ve ever watched a Cowboy’s game you would notice getting the ball in Dez’s hands is not always a priority. This is a run 1st offense that allows far too much bust in its star receivers game. The thought of his Boom is mostly bark and little actual bite. Attaining more consistent players in the yardage department is something I value over the possible TD upside. As we witnessed this year, TDs can go away. S. his two career playoff games: 38 and 48 yards
  3. He is not a PPR difference maker. Yes in his best seasons he has caught 92 & 93 passes. Those are respectable numbers don’t get me wrong. But those are his 2 best seasons, this past year he had 31 catches in 9 games and as I stated before, getting the ball to Dez Bryant is not always a focus. Projecting him for more than 85 catches per 16 games is flat out irresponsible. The guy had 1 game this past year of double digit targets and only 5 in all of 2014 although he was “healthy”. You can draft guys like Brandon Marshall (109 catches) or Demaryius Thomas (105 catches in a down year) 1 or 2 rounds later and be guaranteed a much higher floor in the reception, target, and yardage categories.
  4. He is injury prone and when he is hurt he is not the same player. The guy always seems to be battling something. He is a physical player which puts his body in harms way more often than other wideouts. He is coming off a Jones Fracture in his foot that he returned too early from and required additional foot and ankle surgeries in January. These are surgeries that are happening late in the game. Guys like Jordy Nelson and Kelvin Benjamin had surgeries months before and had the chance at an extended recovery process. Plus the ACL injury has proven to be something athletes can comeback strong from, just look at Todd Gurley this past year or Adrian Peterson’s 2000 yard season. I would much rather invest in a Jordy Nelson than risk taking Dez coming off his foot issues. The “Jones” fracture has seen Julio Jones come back strong but he actually shut it down for the whole season and did not try coming back too early. Another talented wide receiver has never been the same since the injury. Hakeem Nicks… his 2012 injury has left him a shell of his former self, struggling to get a job let alone get on the field and make a difference.
  5. His quarterback’s (safe to say Tony Romo is no longer T.O.’s quarter back) collarbone is made of balsa wood. True story, I think… Either ways it’s definitely not made of adamantium. We can not trust Romo’s health, therefore we should not trust Dez Bryant’s production. With the 1st 4 issues listed above, then add on the ever important person who needs to get him the ball having health issues as well. Stay away. Dez Bryant although not 100% flat out struggled with others given the chore of throwing him the football. If you want to think Tony Romo is completely healthy and that Dez Bryant is completely healthy and they will automatically resume their 2014 ways, fine with me but there are too many Ifs in that idea for me.

With all that said, I will not deny Dez Bryant’s talent. Dez plays much bigger than his 6’2” listing. He is strong, runs very well after the catch, and flat out scores touchdowns. That is the 1 statline that he has been “ELITE” at. He has scored 59 TDs in his 84 games. He had seasons of 12, 13, and 16 touchdowns. That is a great stat, but touchdowns can be flukey. Calvin Johnson scored 16 td’s in 2011. He followed that up with only 5 the next year despite catching 122 passes for 1,964 yards. Last year Dez only scored 3 in the 9 games he played.  Even if Dez bounces back to his 2014 production in yards, catches, and health but his touchdowns dip to 7 or 8 you are basically looking at Jeremy Maclin production. Nobody is talking about drafting Jeremy Maclin in the second round. Dez is the Lamar Miller of wideouts, tons of talent but in an offense that will not make him a priority. When drafting wide receivers I want guys who are targeted often and catch a lot of passes. They give you a much higher floor week to week. I also want guys who will be on the field and whose qb will actually be on the field too. I don’t want the Lamar Miller of receivers as a 1st or 2nd round pick, I want the Leveon Bell’s or Todd Gurley’s at that point.

Don’t trust the hype, look to others to fill your top 2 wide receiver spots. I am fine with drafting him after the 1st 15 receivers are gone but before that, its not for me. He could always bounce back but the odds of another season like 2015 are too high for me. In his 6 seasons, Dez has given us 3 top 10 performances and 3 stinkers. He’s a coin flip at best. You be the judge. …One last thing, it was not a catch.

Comment to argue or just abuse me on twitter @BigTimeSethyBob

all stats courtesy of pro-footballrefrence.com

2 Comments

  1. Alphonso

    February 21, 2016 at 7:27 am

    Disagree with a lot of what you are saying. Going to address a few of the things you said…

    1-3. Dez Bryant averaged 91 catches, 1312 yards, and 14 TD’s from 2012 to 2014. How is that not consistent? How is that not matching the top end production? I dont think its fair to factor in last year considering he was injured and his QB was injured. Including playoffs is also irrelevant since fantasy season is over by then.

    4. Julio isnt injury prone? 2013 he played 5 games cause he had a foot injury. Sound familiar? I dont think its fair to label Dez as injury prone when he hasnt missed a game due to injury since 2011 before this last year.

    5. Romo’s injuries are overstated. This last year was a lost year, but he doesnt miss games due to injuries often. Before this year he had missed 2 games since Dez has been drafted.

    Lastly, Dez’s TD’s ARE NOT flukey. 12 TD’s in 2012, 13 in 2013, 16 in 2014….that is NOT flukey TD production that is consistent TD production. Your argument again relies on taking into account the past year to say his TD’s are flukey. He was injured, wasnt healthy when he came back, and didnt have his QB.

    • Seth Short

      March 2, 2016 at 1:03 pm

      It is fair to look at 2012-2014 and yes he had very good production in those years. He still wasn’t targeted as much as other top receivers and his touchdowns really put his fantasy value over the top and yes TOUCHDOWNs for WR are flukey. He only scored 3 last year in 9 games. That is a pace of 5.3333 for a 16 game schedule.

      The point of the article is to point out Dez’s usage rate is less than other top notch wideouts and you will not be getting a discount coming off a very down year. His lack of production in years 1, 2, & 6 are very alarming to me. Plus the fact he has only produced 15 100 yard games in his 6 year career screams overrated.

      Julio Jones? I never wrote about Julio being the man of steel. I talked about his high percentage of 100 yard games and his very high usage rate. He averages for his career 96 yards per game. He has also played 31 of the 32 games the past 2 years. He is over his Jones Fracture, Dez has not proved that yet. He could, but you will not know that when you are drafting next year.

      Lastly, you can not overstate Tony Romo’s health. He has broke the same collarbone 3 times now. It is a very skinny bone that can not be protected with a brace or padding. His chances of breaking it again are very high. The magic of the offseason will not change that. Is there a chance Romo plays all 16 games next year? Of course, but his chances are much less than most quarterbacks.

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