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