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Thinking about drafting a WR early? Save the headache

Here’s the most common fantasy football draft advice I give to people.  Don’t waste a 1st or 2nd round draft pick on WRs.  That’s right I said it.

You might be thinking: “You’re telling me NOT to draft Andre Johnson in the 1st round?  Great advice, idiot.”  Keep in mind, I’m not saying he’s going to be a bust.  And I’m NOT saying he won’t be a good WR this year.  But I do have a crazy method for this madness.

My favorite thing to do when doing “research” before my draft is looking at the previous years draft results.  By doing so, I can see which player’s lived up to their value and which player’s underperformed.  And this year I came across a troubling trend…many of the WR’s drafted early last year did NOT perform up to expectations.

So I compiled some lists and stats to prove to you guys why you should reconsider drafting a WR in the first 2 rounds.

According to the 2010 ESPN Mock Draft 4.0, these were the first 7 WRs drafted (in order) last season.  Using a standard league scoring system (1 pt per 10 yards receiving, 6 pts per TD), the numbers next to the names were their ranks at the season’s end.

  1. Andre Johnson (8th best WR)
  2. Randy Moss (67th best WR)
  3. Miles Austin (13th best WR)
  4. Larry Fitzgerald (16th best WR)
  5. Reggie Wayne (9th best WR)
  6. Brandon Marshall (28th best WR)
  7. Roddy White (3rd best WR)

As you can see, aside from Roddy White finishing in the top 7 fantasy WR rankings, the WRs you drafted in the first 2 rounds didn’t finish in the same spots.

Now I’m not saying they didn’t help you win a fantasy championship (if you had Moss please lower your hand).  But you could have gotten better value from WRs later in your draft.  Finding those WRs are a whole different discussion for another day.

Let’s take a look at the WRs who finished the 2010 season as a top 7 fantasy football WR.  Again, these stats are using a standard league scoring system.  Next to each name is the round people (most likely) drafted that WR last year.

  1. Brandon Llyod (undrafted)
  2. Dwayne Bowe (5th round)
  3. Roddy White (2nd round)
  4. Greg Jennings (3rd round)
  5. Calvin Johnson (2nd round)
  6. Mike Wallace (6th round)
  7. Hakeem Nicks (5th round)

Brandon freaking Lloyd was the best fantasy WR last season.  And where did people draft him?  THEY DIDN’T!!!

It’s astonishing to look at this list and think some of the best fantasy football WRs last year were being drafted in the 5th/6th rounds.  Just a note on Calvin Johnson.  In this particular mock draft, he went at the end of the 2nd round BUT was the 9th WR selected overall.  So don’t let the round fool you.

So if you’re thinking of drafting of drafting one of the top 7 WRs in this year’s fantasy football rankings from ESPN, Yahoo, CBS Sportsline, etc, just consider this article.

Last season, only ONE top 7 WR actually finished in the top 7.  It’s true 5 of those 7 went on to have fairly decent seasons.  But 2 of them happened to finish with terrible seasons and you ended up with wasted picks.

Random Wide Receivers have breakout seasons every season.  In addition, there’s always WRs in your free agency every week that you can plug into your lineup based on matchups.

Save your 1st and 2nd round picks on positions like RB and QB where they are less prone to bust.  Owning a top RB and top QB should be bigger priorities than owning a top WR.

Take those WRs in the 3rd, 4th and even 5th rounds.  You never know, you could find yourself a WR like Dwayne Bowe in the 5th round and have the best fantasy WR!

3 Comments Say Something
  • Thanks for the guest post!

    Great topic.

    I must admit, I love drafting top WRs early… That being said, I am also the person who finds the late round and free-agent WR steals.

    I am then able to make trades, dealing away the perceived stud WR for top RBs or future draft picks in my keeper league.

  • Thanks for the opportunity. I’m a huge believer in spending a 3rd/4th round pick on a guy like Reggie Wayne who you know will produce the stats.

    Then having the ability to have depth at WR and play the matchups is a great luxury. Allows you to be deeper at other key positions like RB as well.

  • Just got pulled into a buddy’s league when a guy didn’t show… I took Calvin Johnson in the 2nd round.

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