Player Points - Darrius Heyward-Bey
By Chase Stuart
July 7th, 2010

As a rookie, Heyward-Bey was a huge bust. Jokes were made about his skills the day he was drafted, and DHB didn't silence any of the critics with his 9-catch, 124-yard performance in 2009. Is there any reason for optimism in 2010?

I looked at all first round wide receivers and noted which ones had fewer than 200 receiving yards as rookies. Including those who missed their entire rookie seasons, and including Heyward-Bey, there were 32 such receivers. They're listed in descending chronological order, below, along with how they produced in their second seasons:

Wide Receiver
Year
Team
Gm
Rec
Yds
TDs
N+1 Gm
N+1 Rec
N+1 Yds
N+1 TDs
Darrius Heyward-Bey
2009
OAK
11
9
124
1
--
--
--
--
Robert Meachem
2007
NOR
--
--
--
--
14
12
289
3
Craig Davis
2007
SDG
14
20
188
1
4
4
59
0
Rashaun Woods
2004
SFO
14
7
160
1
--
--
--
--
Michael Jenkins
2004
ATL
16
7
119
0
14
36
508
3
Santana Moss
2001
NYJ
5
2
40
0
15
30
433
4
R. Jay Soward
2000
JAX
13
14
154
1
--
--
--
--
Marcus Nash
1998
DEN
8
4
76
0
3
0
0
0
Yatil Green
1997
MIA
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
Ike Hilliard
1997
NYG
2
2
42
0
16
51
715
2
Thomas Lewis
1994
NYG
9
4
46
0
8
12
208
1
Johnnie Morton
1994
DET
14
3
39
1
16
44
590
8
O.J. McDuffie
1993
MIA
16
19
197
0
15
37
488
3
Desmond Howard
1992
WAS
16
3
20
0
16
23
286
0
Herman Moore
1991
DET
13
11
135
0
12
51
966
4
Haywood Jeffires
1987
HOU
9
7
89
0
2
2
49
1
Mark Ingram
1987
NYG
9
2
32
0
7
13
158
1
Irving Fryar
1984
NWE
14
11
164
1
16
39
670
7
Clyde Duncan
1984
STL
8
0
0
0
11
4
39
1
Mike Quick
1982
PHI
9
10
156
1
16
69
1409
13
Anthony Hancock
1982
KAN
9
7
116
1
16
37
584
1
Perry Tuttle
1982
BUF
7
7
107
0
9
17
261
3
David Verser
1981
CIN
16
6
161
2
9
4
98
1
Willis Adams
1979
CLE
16
1
6
0
16
8
165
0
Randy Burke
1977
BAL
--
--
--
--
15
0
0
0
Billy Brooks
1976
CIN
12
16
191
0
14
39
772
4
Johnny Rodgers
1973
SDG
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
Steve Holden
1973
CLE
11
3
27
0
10
30
452
3
Terry Beasley
1972
SFO
8
1
20
0
--
--
--
--
Frank Lewis
1971
PIT
9
3
44
0
13
27
391
5
Ken Burrough
1970
NOR
12
13
196
2
13
25
370
1
Walker Gillette
1970
SDG
13
2
21
0
12
10
147
2

If you're a DHB dynasty owner, you should have visions of Mike Quick dancing in your head. He had just 10 catches as a rookie in the strike-shortened 1982 season. Then, in 1983, he led the league with over 1400 receiving yards and caught 13 touchdown passes. Herman Moore (966 yards), Billy Brooks (772 yards in 1977), Ike Hilliard (51 receptions), Johnnie Morton (8 touchdowns) and Irving Fryar (7 touchdowns) also put up respectable fantasy numbers. On the other hand, 18 of those 31 other receivers finished with fewer than 300 receiving yards as sophomores.

As far as the future goes, only one of those 18 players -- Haywood Jeffires -- turned out to be a legitimate NFL wide receiver (although the jury is still out on players like Robert Meachem and Buster Davis). While it might be tempting to say that it's now or never for Heyward-Bey, Santana Moss (291 points and counting of career VBD), Frank Lewis (231) and Ken Burrough (455) didn't have great numbers as sophomores but still turned out to be very good receivers. Of course, it's not the early '70s anymore: if DHB doesn't make at least some strides this year, it's doubtful that the Raiders will be patient for very long. For dynasty owners, just hitting the 500-yard plateau might be enough to call it a good year for Heyward-Bey.

Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to stuart@footballguys.com.