Receivers That Change Teams: 2012 Study
By Chris Smith
Jul 18th, 2012

Every new season, prominent receivers switch teams and the debate rages:

  • "Can this receiver change squads and perform well with the new team in year one?"
  • "Will a receiver who changes teams fail with his new club?"
  • "How does this receiver do in years two, three and four with the new team?"
  • There aren't simple answers to these questions. For every receiver that goes on to do great things in his first season with his new organization, there is another that struggles to put up numbers. The one thing that appears to stand out looking at each player over the several years is that situation and surrounding talent have as much to do with his success as does his own personal skills. This article will look at each prominent receiver that has changed teams over the past several seasons and what they did in year one and beyond.

    WRs data (2008 to 2011)

    27 current relevant receivers changed teams (at least 40 fantasy points in a season)

  • Only one player had a great fantasy improvement in first season (Deion Branch moving from Seattle to New England)
  • Only seven players put up 100+ fantasy points in the first year with new team
  • Most of the receivers that changed teams in this four year window were average football players
  • Only three receivers went on to improve 60+ points with new team in following seasons (Nate Washington, Deion Branch and Brandon Lloyd)
  • Of all these player's seasons over the four years of the study, the 150-fantasy point mark was only hit seven times. Four of those occasions happened before the player moved to the new team. Only the three mentioned in the blurb above managed to hit that production level with new team
  • Of the players included in this study, the 50-fantasy point level was not reached 20 times. 16 of those occasions was when the player was with the new team
  • The majority of the receivers in this study have been average fantasy footballers at best or peaked prior to moving to new teams
  • STAR RECEIVERS THAT CHANGED TEAMS

  • Brandon Marshall failed to reach the 176 fantasy point level with the Dolphins that he hit in the final season with the Denver Broncos (101 receptions, 1120 yards and 10 touchdowns). However he did manage to put up respectable fantasy stats in his two years with the Dolphins (120 and 159 fantasy points)
  • Anquan Boldin had some big seasons with the Arizona Cardinals in the desert. He has not been as explosive in Baltimore but still managed 121 receptions for 1724 yards and 10 touchdowns over the two seasons which is decent fantasy output
  • Brandon Lloyd was not a star receiver. He was barely a relevant fantasy receiver. That all changed in the 2010 season when he caught 77 passes for 1448 yards and 11 touchdowns with the Broncos. However the fact he has changed teams twice since then is a caveat
  • Deion Branch has been a fantasy weapon with the Patriots and an afterthought during the rest of his NFL career
  • Randy Moss moved from Minnesota to New England in 2007 and put up monster statistics and led this article in 2008. However in 2010, he moved to two different NFL franchises and struggled with both of them
  • THOUGHTS FROM 2008 ARTICLE THAT ADD TO THE CURRENT ARTICLE

  • Half of all receivers put up worse fantasy numbers (that is difficult to ignore)
  • A decent percentage significantly improved their fantasy status from the previous season.
  • Five players finished in the top-ten in year one with new team with three additional players just missing out
  • Randy Moss, 2007
  • Wes Welker, 2007
  • Terrell Owens, 2006
  • Javon Walker, 2006
  • Santana Moss, 2006
  • Plaxico Burress, 2005 (11th)
  • Randy Moss, 2005 (15th)
  • Kevin Curtis, 2007 (17th)
  • Receivers on new teams – 2011 season

    Fourteen relevant receivers changed teams last year

  • Of those players...
  • None posted significantly better fantasy numbers
  • 3 put up better fantasy numbers
  • 5 put up similar numbers to the year prior
  • 1 posted slightly worse numbers
  • 5 posted much worse numbers
  • Only three of these receivers posted 100+ points (Brandon Lloyd, Jabar Gaffney and Plaxico Burress (although compared to 2008 season)
  • FANTASY POINTS TABLE

    Great fantasy improvement (60+ FP improvement from previous team)
    Some fantasy improvement (20+ FP improvement from previous team)
    Similar fantasy production
    Drop in fantasy production (20+ FP drop from previous team)
    Huge drop in fantasy production (60+ FP drop from previous team)

    Statistics from 2011 (all receivers with fantasy value that changed teams 2008 to 2011)

    Sorted by fantasy points

    Rank
    Year
    Wide Receiver
    Team
    Age
    Exp
    Rsh
    Yds
    TDs
    Rec
    Yds
    TDs
    Fpts
    13
    2011
    Brandon Marshall
    Mia
    27
    6
    0
    0
    0
    82
    1227
    6
    159
    16
    2011
    Nate Washington
    Ten
    28
    7
    2
    5
    1
    74
    1023
    7
    151
    25
    2011
    Brandon Lloyd
    StL/Den
    30
    9
    0
    0
    0
    70
    966
    5
    127
    26
    2011
    Jabar Gaffney
    Was
    31
    10
    0
    0
    0
    68
    947
    5
    125
    30
    2011
    Santonio Holmes
    NYJ
    27
    6
    3
    27
    0
    51
    654
    8
    116
    36
    2011
    Plaxico Burress
    NYJ
    34
    12
    0
    0
    0
    45
    612
    8
    109
    37
    2011
    Anquan Boldin
    Bal
    31
    9
    0
    0
    0
    57
    887
    3
    107
    41
    2011
    Nate Burleson
    Det
    30
    9
    11
    85
    0
    73
    757
    3
    102
    43
    2011
    Deion Branch
    NE
    32
    10
    0
    0
    0
    51
    702
    5
    100
    50
    2011
    Steve Breaston
    KC
    28
    5
    1
    25
    0
    61
    785
    2
    93
    67
    2011
    Michael Jenkins
    Min
    29
    8
    0
    0
    0
    38
    466
    3
    65
    70
    2011
    Roy Williams
    Chi
    30
    8
    0
    0
    0
    37
    507
    2
    63
    68
    2011
    Sidney Rice
    Sea
    25
    5
    2
    3
    0
    32
    484
    2
    63
    80
    2011
    Legedu Naanee
    Car
    28
    5
    0
    0
    0
    44
    467
    1
    54
    94
    2011
    Donte Stallworth
    Was
    31
    10
    2
    1
    0
    22
    309
    2
    43
    103
    2011
    Jerricho Cotchery
    Pit
    29
    8
    1
    3
    0
    16
    237
    2
    36
    105
    2011
    Chad Ochocinco
    NE
    33
    11
    0
    0
    0
    15
    276
    1
    34
    111
    2011
    Patrick Crayton
    SD
    32
    8
    0
    0
    0
    23
    248
    1
    31
    114
    2011
    Ted Ginn
    SF
    26
    5
    8
    68
    0
    19
    220
    0
    29
    125
    2011
    Braylon Edwards
    SF
    28
    7
    0
    0
    0
    15
    181
    0
    18
    124
    2011
    Steve Smith
    Phi
    26
    5
    0
    0
    0
    11
    124
    1
    18
    132
    2011
    Mike Sims-Walker
    Jac/StL
    27
    5
    0
    0
    0
    12
    150
    0
    15
    135
    2011
    Greg Camarillo
    Min
    29
    6
    0
    0
    0
    9
    121
    0
    12
    149
    2011
    Lee Evans
    Bal
    30
    8
    0
    0
    0
    4
    74
    0
    7
    171
    2011
    Mark Clayton
    StL
    29
    7
    0
    0
    0
    3
    26
    0
    3

    Chart 2008-2011 (all relevant receivers)

    Sorted by alphabetical order and then year

    Rank
    Year
    Wide Receiver
    Team
    Age
    Exp
    Rsh
    Yds
    TDs
    Rec
    Yds
    TDs
    Fpts
    37
    2011
    Anquan Boldin
    Bal
    31
    9
    0
    0
    0
    57
    887
    3
    107
    25
    2010
    Anquan Boldin
    Bal
    30
    8
    2
    2
    0
    64
    837
    7
    126
    23
    2009
    Anquan Boldin
    Ari
    29
    7
    2
    7
    0
    85
    1029
    5
    134
    43
    2011
    Deion Branch
    NE
    32
    10
    0
    0
    0
    51
    702
    5
    100
    29
    2010
    Deion Branch
    NE/Sea
    31
    9
    0
    0
    0
    61
    818
    6
    118
    81
    2009
    Deion Branch
    Sea
    30
    8
    1
    -8
    0
    45
    437
    2
    55
    50
    2011
    Steve Breaston
    KC
    28
    5
    1
    25
    0
    61
    785
    2
    93
    54
    2010
    Steve Breaston
    Ari
    27
    4
    3
    35
    0
    47
    718
    1
    82
    41
    2011
    Nate Burleson
    Det
    30
    9
    11
    85
    0
    73
    757
    3
    102
    38
    2010
    Nate Burleson
    Det
    29
    8
    7
    81
    0
    55
    625
    6
    107
    39
    2009
    Nate Burleson
    Sea
    28
    7
    2
    4
    0
    63
    812
    3
    100
    36
    2011
    Plaxico Burress
    NYJ
    34
    12
    0
    0
    0
    45
    612
    8
    109
    59
    2008
    Plaxico Burress
    NYG
    31
    9
    0
    0
    0
    35
    454
    4
    69
    135
    2011
    Greg Camarillo
    Min
    29
    6
    0
    0
    0
    9
    121
    0
    12
    110
    2010
    Greg Camarillo
    Min
    28
    5
    0
    0
    0
    20
    240
    1
    30
    79
    2009
    Greg Camarillo
    Mia
    27
    4
    0
    0
    0
    50
    552
    0
    55
    171
    2011
    Mark Clayton
    StL
    29
    7
    0
    0
    0
    3
    26
    0
    3
    91
    2010
    Mark Clayton
    StL
    28
    6
    1
    6
    0
    23
    306
    2
    43
    71
    2009
    Mark Clayton
    Bal
    27
    5
    4
    28
    0
    34
    480
    2
    63
    103
    2011
    Jerricho Cotchery
    Pit
    29
    8
    1
    3
    0
    16
    237
    2
    36
    80
    2010
    Jerricho Cotchery
    NYJ
    28
    7
    4
    -3
    0
    41
    433
    2
    55
    111
    2011
    Patrick Crayton
    SD
    32
    8
    0
    0
    0
    23
    248
    1
    31
    78
    2010
    Patrick Crayton
    SD
    31
    7
    0
    0
    0
    28
    514
    1
    57
    41
    2009
    Patrick Crayton
    Dal
    30
    6
    4
    28
    0
    37
    622
    5
    95
    125
    2011
    Braylon Edwards
    SF
    28
    7
    0
    0
    0
    15
    181
    0
    18
    21
    2010
    Braylon Edwards
    NYJ
    27
    6
    1
    4
    0
    53
    904
    7
    133
    35
    2009
    Braylon Edwards
    Cle/NYJ
    26
    5
    0
    0
    0
    55
    819
    4
    106
    36
    2008
    Braylon Edwards
    Cle
    25
    4
    0
    0
    0
    55
    877
    3
    106
    149
    2011
    Lee Evans
    Bal
    30
    8
    0
    0
    0
    4
    74
    0
    7
    55
    2010
    Lee Evans
    Buf
    29
    7
    0
    0
    0
    37
    578
    4
    82
    26
    2011
    Jabar Gaffney
    Was
    31
    10
    0
    0
    0
    68
    947
    5
    125
    42
    2010
    Jabar Gaffney
    Den
    30
    9
    0
    0
    0
    65
    875
    2
    100
    51
    2009
    Jabar Gaffney
    Den
    29
    8
    0
    0
    0
    54
    732
    2
    85
    69
    2008
    Jabar Gaffney
    NE
    28
    7
    0
    0
    0
    38
    468
    2
    59
    114
    2011
    Ted Ginn
    SF
    26
    5
    8
    68
    0
    19
    220
    0
    29
    116
    2010
    Ted Ginn
    SF
    25
    4
    2
    11
    0
    12
    163
    1
    23
    78
    2009
    Ted Ginn
    Mia
    24
    3
    7
    48
    0
    38
    454
    1
    56
    30
    2011
    Santonio Holmes
    NYJ
    27
    6
    3
    27
    0
    51
    654
    8
    116
    33
    2010
    Santonio Holmes
    NYJ
    26
    5
    2
    17
    0
    52
    746
    6
    112
    15
    2009
    Santonio Holmes
    Pit
    25
    4
    3
    6
    0
    79
    1248
    5
    153
    67
    2011
    Michael Jenkins
    Min
    29
    8
    0
    0
    0
    38
    466
    3
    65
    75
    2010
    Michael Jenkins
    Atl
    28
    7
    0
    0
    0
    41
    505
    2
    63
    25
    2011
    Brandon Lloyd
    StL/Den
    30
    9
    0
    0
    0
    70
    966
    5
    127
    1
    2010
    Brandon Lloyd
    Den
    29
    8
    1
    -18
    0
    77
    1448
    11
    209
    127
    2009
    Brandon Lloyd
    Den
    28
    7
    0
    0
    0
    8
    117
    0
    12
    84
    2008
    Brandon Lloyd
    Chi
    27
    6
    0
    0
    0
    26
    364
    2
    48
    13
    2011
    Brandon Marshall
    Mia
    27
    6
    0
    0
    0
    82
    1227
    6
    159
    28
    2010
    Brandon Marshall
    Mia
    26
    5
    2
    3
    0
    86
    1014
    3
    120
    9
    2009
    Brandon Marshall
    Den
    25
    4
    7
    39
    0
    101
    1120
    10
    176
    67
    2010
    Randy Moss
    NE/Min/Ten
    33
    13
    0
    0
    0
    28
    393
    5
    69
    2
    2009
    Randy Moss
    NE
    32
    12
    0
    0
    0
    83
    1264
    13
    204
    10
    2008
    Randy Moss
    NE
    31
    11
    2
    0
    0
    69
    1008
    11
    167
    80
    2011
    Legedu Naanee
    Car
    28
    5
    0
    0
    0
    44
    467
    1
    54
    92
    2010
    Legedu Naanee
    SD
    27
    4
    3
    -2
    0
    23
    371
    1
    43
    105
    2011
    Chad Ochocinco
    NE
    33
    11
    0
    0
    0
    15
    276
    1
    34
    37
    2010
    Chad Ochocinco
    Cin
    32
    10
    0
    0
    0
    67
    831
    4
    107
    68
    2011
    Sidney Rice
    Sea
    25
    5
    2
    3
    0
    32
    484
    2
    63
    97
    2010
    Sidney Rice
    Min
    24
    4
    0
    0
    0
    17
    280
    2
    40
    132
    2011
    Mike Sims-Walker
    Jac/StL
    27
    5
    0
    0
    0
    12
    150
    0
    15
    43
    2010
    Mike Sims-Walker
    Jac
    26
    4
    0
    0
    0
    43
    562
    7
    98
    124
    2011
    Steve Smith
    Phi
    26
    5
    0
    0
    0
    11
    124
    1
    18
    64
    2010
    Steve Smith
    NYG
    25
    4
    0
    0
    0
    48
    529
    3
    71
    94
    2011
    Donte Stallworth
    Was
    31
    10
    2
    1
    0
    22
    309
    2
    43
    136
    2010
    Donte Stallworth
    Bal
    30
    9
    5
    45
    0
    2
    82
    0
    13
    115
    2008
    Donte Stallworth
    Cle
    28
    7
    1
    -4
    0
    17
    170
    1
    23
    16
    2011
    Nate Washington
    Ten
    28
    7
    2
    5
    1
    74
    1023
    7
    151
    41
    2010
    Nate Washington
    Ten
    27
    6
    1
    -8
    0
    42
    687
    6
    104
    43
    2009
    Nate Washington
    Ten
    26
    5
    2
    15
    0
    47
    569
    6
    94
    47
    2008
    Nate Washington
    Pit
    25
    4
    5
    18
    0
    40
    631
    3
    83
    70
    2011
    Roy Williams
    Chi
    30
    8
    0
    0
    0
    37
    507
    2
    63
    53
    2010
    Roy Williams
    Dal
    29
    7
    0
    0
    0
    37
    530
    5
    83
    37
    2009
    Roy Williams
    Dal
    28
    6
    0
    0
    0
    38
    596
    7
    102
    71
    2008
    Roy Williams
    Det/Dal
    27
    5
    1
    13
    0
    36
    430
    2
    56

    Wide Receivers on New Teams in 2012 (19 prominent players)

    TOP 12: Sorted most relevant to least relevant

    1. Vincent Jackson (from San Diego to Tampa Bay)
      Vincent Jackson has been a very good fantasy producer for a number of years. In his last three full NFL seasons, Jackson has eclipsed the 1000–yard mark and finished as a top-12 fantasy receiver. The worry here is that he is moving to a team with a less effective quarterback under center in Josh Freeman but he has potential to improve and Jackson will make the entire offense better around him. Expect 1000+ yards and 8+ touchdowns.

    2. Brandon Marshall (from Miami to Chicago)
      If Brandon Marshall could shed the heavy baggage he carries with him wherever he goes, he could be an elite NFL receiver. He has averaged 95 receptions a year and has teamed up once again with Jay Cutler whom he had lots of success with in the Denver years. He is a virtual lock for 90+ receptions even with the mental and emotional instability he brings to the team. Locks him in for 1100+ yards and 7+ touchdowns.

    3. Brandon Lloyd (from St. Louis to New England)
      Brandon Lloyd was a very late bloomer who caught lightning in a bottle with the Broncos in 2010. This is his 6th team and he only had the one top-20 fantasy season but he is going to a Patriots team with an unstoppable passing attack led by the great Tom Brady. However Lloyd is not guaranteed to put up big stats thanks to Wes Welker, two dominant tight ends and some decent veteran receiving options already on the roster. However Lloyd has had great early camps and is familiar with the Josh McDaniels offensive scheme. It is really hard to see him catching more than 50 passes in this offense with the tight end position often the first target and Wes Welker capable of 100+ receptions every season.

    4. Pierre Garcon (From Indianapolis to Washington)
      Along with rookie phenom quarterback Robert Griffin III, the Redskins added a couple of reception options to get the ball to. Garcon is the best of the current Redskins receivers and should get the most targets in 2012. He is not a star receiver but did manage to put up 1731 receiving yards and 12 total touchdowns over the past two seasons and will do a good job for the team. Look for 800+ yards and 6+ touchdowns for him in 2012.

    5. Randy Moss (from Minnesota 2010 to San Francisco)
      Moss was a disaster in 2010, well playing for three different teams but by all accounts so far in 2012, he has been focused and a team player through the first 49ers camps and rumors have him at the top of the depth charts. If anybody has the talent to return at his age and put up 1000+ yards and 10+ touchdowns, it is Moss.

    6. Robert Meachem (from New Orleans to San Diego)
      With the loss of veteran receiver Vincent Jackson to Tampa Bay, the Chargers were desperate to bring in a proven veteran to offset that loss. Thankfully for the organization, Robert Meachem, formerly of the New Orleans Saints fell into their laps. Meachem had some good moments in New Orleans but never really put it all together on the field and has a career high of just 45 receptions. However he has averaged a touchdown every 11 receptions over the past three years and is in the prime of his career. 900 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns are not out of his reach.

    7. Mario Manningham (from NY Giants to San Francisco)
      If Moss doesn't emerge as the 49ers go-to receiver, it may be the former Giants receiver Mario Manningham. The 26-year old receiver had an excellent 2010 season with 944 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns and is capable of leading a team in receiving.

    8. Laurent Robinson (from Dallas to Jacksonville)
      Robinson was a fantasy nobody until last season when he emerged to put up huge statistics (54 receptions for 858 yards and 11 touchdowns). However he is going to a team with a young quarterback learning his craft, a rookie receiver expected to get the most targets in Justin Blackmon and a running back in Maurice Jones-Drew who is a skilled pass receiver. Robinson has the makings of a one-year wonder and while he is capable of a season like last year, 600 yards and 4 touchdowns is a more likely scenario.

    9. Chad Ochocinco (from New England to Miami)
      Chad Ochocinco (Johnson) is an interesting story. By all accounts it appeared his career was finished after he fell off the map with the New England Patriots last year. However the Miami Dolphins, desperate for a veteran receiver with talent picked him up and have been very pleased with his focus and work ethic so far. It is still early but there is a huge hole at WR1 in Miami and he is capable of stepping into the role if he focuses on football instead of the circus he usually is the master of.

    10. Legedu Naanee (from Carolina to Miami)
      If Ochocinco doesn't emerge as a starting receiver in Miami, the Dolphins will likely turn to the 6'3 Legedu Naanee to step into the role. He has never really reached his potential but sometimes a door needs to open before a player really begins to take off and there is a chance he can surprise in Miami. He is worth a late round flyer because his upside is pretty strong.

    11. Jabar Gaffney (from Washington to New England)
      Gaffney is one of those quiet veterans that doesn't excite fans but works hard, does his job on the field and puts up decent statistics each season. There is a lot of competition for touches however in New England so impossible to see more than 40 receptions as a best case scenario unless injury strikes. He is capable though so if an injury to Wes Welker or Brandon Lloyd occurs, scoop him up on FA wire if available.

    12. Andre Caldwell (from Cincinnati to Denver)
      Caldwell is a decent talent and has moved to Denver where Peyton Manning will be throwing the ball, likely resulting in a 4000 yards passing season if history is any indication. If Caldwell works hard, he may find himself with a percentage of that passing pie but at this time he is in a battle with a number of receivers for playing time. Worth watching in training camp to see how he is doing.

    BEST OF THE REST

  • Jacoby Jones (from Houston to Baltimore)
  • Jason Hill (from Jacksonville to Denver)
  • Donnie Avery (from Tennessee to Indianapolis)
  • Lee Evans (From Baltimore to Jacksonville)
  • Jerome Simpson (from Cincinnati to Minnesota)
  • Chaz Schilens (from Oakland to New York Jets)
  • Josh Morgan (From San Francisco to Washington)
  • Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to smith@footballguys.com.

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