Looks like the term sophomore slump from now on only refers to your sex life in the second year of college when freshman girls find you creepy and you realize that you need to get your shit together, stop drinking at 8 am, and become a real adult soon. Fantasy football players, analysts, and talking heads throw around the phrase sophomore slump like a hellacious curse that affects every player who balled out in year one, but from what I can see, and I have 20/20 vision with contacts in, the sophomore slump is, wait for it, fake news. Looking back through the last few statistical seasons of today’s young NFL stars, almost none of them shit the bed in their second season. In fact, many of them actually produced their best statistical season up to date during their second go around. Don’t worry, I know most of you fantasy football guys would rather sit in your home office with the lights out on a Friday night at 11pm looking up David Johnson’s home game yards per carry than go out drinkin’ and partyin’ with the boys, so here’s some of the stacked 2014 wide receiver draft class statistics to prove my claim.
Odell Beckham Jr.:
OBJ is a different monster when it comes to being an NFL player. I’d have to argue his rookie year is the best of his career so far, and maybe even the best rookie season of all time. His yards, TDs, and catches were consistent with his 2nd and 3rd years even though he only played in 12 games compared to and respectively. He also had a 70% catch percentage as a number 1 wide out which is crazy. However, injuries are a major role in fantasy football, so by the numbers, his 2nd season is actually the best of his career as he set career season highs in touchdowns and yards.
Yes, I know, the touchdowns were absolutely brutal in year two, and there’s no way around that. Want to know something though? He’s the only one on this list with an argument for having a sophomore slump. Crazy right? Even after saying that, I don’t really think this is a slump rather having a rookie quarter back and sophomore wide receiver trying to make it work in the pressure filled red zone in year 1 together. Mike Evan’s second season still produced a 1,200 yard receiver with a 16.3 ypc. Not much to complain about there.
Allen Robinson is the poster boy for the junior slump. You know, like right before you flunk out of college. He was an absolute stud in 2015, his sophomore season, thanks to Blake Bortles breakout season of 35 TDs and 4,400 yards, minus the multitude of picks. Robinson racked up 1,400 yards and 14 TDs that led the league in that season, his second one. Maybe the sophomore slump is moving up to the junior year ranks, or maybe Robinson’s a fluke. I, honestly, don’t know.
I don’t think it would’ve been possible for Cooks to have a bad season in the NFL yet in his young career. He’s still only ever known what it’s like to catch balls from Super Bowl winning, Hall of Fame caliber quarterbacks in Drew Brees and now Tom Brady. When you have speed that kills, good hands, and All-Pro QBs throwing you the ball your probably having strong sophomore seasons like 84 catches for 1,138 yards and 9TDs.
Jordan Matthews meet Allen Robinson. Together they’re the junior slump duo, waiting to destroy your emotional state and your WR 1 and 2 spots. Matthews’ slump in his third year pro was definitely not do to negative regression in the same way as Allen Robinson. Jordan’s catches and yards were a little bit lower, but close to the same as his first two seasons, which points to rookie Carson Wentz as the main factor for the big decline in touchdowns. Personally, I don’t think Carson Wentz is a good NFL quarterback, and as long as he starts for the Eagles, I’m staying away from Matthews. There’s no doubt though that 3 yards shy of 1,000 and 8 touchdowns is a solid sophomore season as well as a fantasy season in general.
I’m guessing if you’re tied for the most receptions in your first 3 years in NFL history with Odell Beckham Jr, you’re probably doing something right. I’m also guessing you probably didn’t have a sophomore slump if you had 110 receptions for 1,157 yards in your 2nd season, while establishing yourself as a premier slot wide receiver a top the ranks next to vets like Julian Edelman. Landry may not be quite the beast Edelman is in the bedroom, but he is an absolute stud in any PPR format.
Watkins is the tease of all cock teases. He’s injured every year, but when he’s somehow on the field, he absolutely rakes. In his sophomore season he caught 60 passes for 1,047 yards and 9 TDs in just 13 games. Multiply that, get the brain twerkin’, do some adds and minuses, and over a 16 game season that’s 73 catches for 1,288 yards and 11 TDs, good for 195 standard points, good for 7th that season.
All but one of these wide receivers arguably had their best season of their short careers in their sophomore season. Mike Evans, the one who didn’t, still managed 1,200 plus yards. The sophomore slump is looking more and more like a myth as the NFL progresses year after year. Take David Johnson for instance, he was the best player in fantasy football in his second year…by 28 points in PPR. I gave you the stats, showed you the proof, now take it to the bank and don’t worry about second year players declining. It has nothing to do with their age, and all to do with their offense and situation if they happen to decline in their second year. Forget the sophomore slump, it’s bulsh.
Devante Adams, Martavis Bryant, and Kelvin Benjamin, the only other notable wide receivers of the class, were left off the list because one hadn’t become a focal point of the offense yet, one couldn’t lay off the drugs, and one tore his ACL and missed an entire year.