Fantasy Football: Don't Draft Allen Hurns at His Current Cost

After a breakout season, Allen Hurns has become overrated in 2016 drafts. Here's why.

Allen Hurns finished 2015 with more receiving touchdowns than Julio Jones, Larry Fitzgerald, and Calvin Johnson, and he was 18th in PPR scoring among all receivers.

Not bad.

Even though he had a terrific 2015 season, though, Hurns is currently being drafted as the 26th receiver off the board -- according to Fantasy Football Calculator -- in the past month.

Why is Hurns being drafted so late? Well, history tells us that he and his quarterback are likely heading for some regression. That's why.

A History Lesson

In 2015, Hurns scored 10 touchdowns while catching only 64 passes. Catching 10 touchdowns with so little receptions is a bit fluky. For reference, nine players caught 10 or more touchdowns last season, and they averaged about 91 receptions for the year.

Player Receptions Receiving Yards Receiving Touchdowns
Antonio Brown 136 1,834 10
DeAndre Hopkins 111 1,521 11
Brandon Marshall 109 1,502 14
Odell Beckham 96 1,450 13
Jordan Reed 87 952 11
A.J. Green 86 1,297 10
Allen Robinson 80 1,400 14
Eric Decker 80 1,027 12
Doug Baldwin 78 1,069 14
Rob Gronkowski 72 1,176 11
Allen Hurns 64 1,031 10
Tyler Eifert 52 615 13
Ted Ginn 44 739 10

Only Ted Ginn Jr. and Tyler Eifert had fewer receptions to go along with double-digit touchdowns. Among wide receivers, Hurns also finds himself in rare company.

Since 2000, only 16 wide receivers have scored 10 or more touchdowns in a season where they caught 65 or fewer receptions according to Pro Football Reference.

Player Year Fantasy Points That Season Fantasy Points Next Season Difference
Mike Wallace 2010 249.6 243 -6.6
Chris Chambers 2003 227.3 208.4 -18.9
James Jones 2012 226.4 156.7 -69.7
Allen Hurns 2015 225.1 N/A N/A
Mike Williams 2010 221.5 156.4 -65.1
Plaxico Burress 2006 219.8 244.5 24.7
Darrell Jackson 2006 218.6 113.7 -104.9
Greg Jennings 2007 217 265.2 48.2
Laurent Robinson 2011 205.8 47.2 -158.6
Randy Moss 2004 201.18 208.5 7.32
Torrey Smith 2014 191.7 125.3 -66.4
Marvin Jones 2013 188.7 Injury Injury
Joe Jurevicius 2005 184.4 107.5 -76.9
Ted Ginn 2015 183.9 N/A N/A
Jerricho Cotchery 2013 165.7 114 -51.7
Reggie Williams 2007 160.9 91.4 -69.5

Those receivers averaged 205.47 PPR points during those big campaigns, but dropped 46 points to only 170.58 in the following year. That total would have been good for WR39 in 2015, finishing just between Julian Edelman and Martavis Bryant, who both missed significant time.

Only 3 of those 16 actually scored more the following season -- Plaxico Burress, Greg Jennings, and Randy Moss.

The historical data shows that repeating success after such a season has been difficult to do, but there are other factors that could lead to Hurns's regression, too.

His Teammates

The Jaguars signed workhorse running back Chris Ivory to share the running duties with T.J. Yeldon this offseason. Their roles are still unclear at this point, but it would make sense for the Jaguars to try and run more in 2016 -- in 2015, the Jags rushed the ball only 354 times, ranking second to last in the league.

Tight end Julius Thomas only started in 11 games in 2015, but he did take away some targets from Hurns. According to the Rotoviz Game Splits App, Hurns averaged close to two PPR points fewer per game when Thomas started. Hurns also averaged 0.7 fewer targets and 13 fewer receiving yards. And when healthy, Thomas has been phenomenal at scoring, tallying 12 touchdowns two seasons in a row with the Broncos. He even managed to score five in an injury-riddled 2015 season.

Hurns' teammate, Allen Robinson, skyrocketed to success with 14 touchdowns last season, tied for the league lead with Brandon Marshall and Doug Baldwin. Robinson has the skills to produce at a WR1 level, but his touchdown numbers are also likely due to regress because of his quarterback.

Speaking of which, Blake Bortles threw 11 touchdowns in 2014 on 475 pass attempts. Since 2000, only Chris Weinke and Bortles have thrown 475 or more passes for 11 touchdowns or fewer in a season, which shows that Bortles either had some bad luck or just played very poorly. He played much better in 2015, but his touchdown total of 35 seemed a bit fluky.

And it was. Rather than digging into the numbers here, our own JJ Zachariason already showed why Bortles is bound to throw fewer touchdown next season. And that's not a good thing for Hurns.

Other Options

Another reason to pass on Hurns is the amount of wide receiver talent being drafted just before or after him at his current average draft position. Players like Eric Decker, Larry Fitzgerald, Emmanuel Sanders, and Michael Floyd are being drafted after Hurns when they present very similar -- if not better -- value.

Realistically, Hurns has a legitimate chance of finishing in the WR 30-40 range this year given history. He's a very talented young receiver in an offense that likes to pass, but with the addition of a workhorse running back, the presence of elite teammates like Robinson and Thomas, and the likely regression of Bortles, Hurns just isn't worth his current draft cost.