Fantasy Draft Redux: The Top 3 NFL WR Teammate Battles
So it's draft time again and the same question comes up every year: who should I draft and when should I draft them? While there are some obvious answers, there are even more less obvious answers. Hopefully this column will help answer some of those questions for you.
Fantasy Value of Players on Same Team
First off, you should always look for "value", especially in the later rounds of the draft. Sure, you'd love to get Rob Gronkowski as your Tight End, but to do so, you're going to have to grab him early. By grabbing your tight end early, you may be leaving value in the draft for another manager. Maybe you should take a look at the other tight end in New England, Aaron Hernandez. You can get him a bit later and the "value" may not be as different as you think. Last year, Gronk had an otherwordly season; he set records for tight ends. He was so good, in fact, numberFire.com has him ranked the #1 overall tight end and #24 overall regardless of position. But don't forget, Hernandez missed a few games due to injury. His position ranking according to numberFire.com is ten. His overall ranking, regardless of position, is 72. In 2011, Gronk had 90 receptions for 1,327 yards and 17 touchdowns. Conventional wisdom would tell you those numbers will not be repeated. To get Gronk, you'll have to take him in the early second round at the latest. You might be better off spending that pick elsewhere and waiting for a later round to grab his counterpart, Aaron Hernandez. The numbers for Hernandez were very comparable to where he is being drafted this year compared to Gronk. Last season, Hernandez posted 79 receptions for 910 yards and seven scores while still missing a few games. Based on that production, it may be wise to wait on Hernandez instead of using an early pick on Gronk.
Another example would be the situation in New York: Hakeem Nicks or Victor Cruz. While you can't go wrong with either one, who will be the better value in drafts? If you check Numberfire.com, Cruz is ranked #65 overall regardless of position and #23 for WRs. Nicks is #31 overall and 8th among WRs. Nicks' 2011 numbers were 76 receptions-1,192 yards-7 TDs while Cruz line was 82-1,536-9. With numbers like these in a PPR league, Cruz would be the better "value" pick simply because he gets more targets (82 to 76) being a slot WR.
The situation in Atlanta could be a question also: Roddy White or Julio Jones? Numberfire.com has both WR in the top 20 (White 2nd and Jones 18th). The overall ranking for White is 12, where the overall ranking for Jones is 59. Both offer similar "value" at the WR position. White posted a line of 100 receptions-1,296 yards-8 TDs while Jones finished the season with a line of 54-959-8. While Jones may provide more upside, he is going much earlier in drafts than his teammate. Maybe it would be worth passing up on Jones and getting White a bit later considering WR is a deep position for the top 20.
The last example would be the WRs in Pittsburgh. Should you draft Mike Wallace, who Numberfire.com has ranked the 7th best WR in fantasy (30th overall regardless of position), or Antonio Brown, who Numberfire.com has ranked the 37th best WR in fantasy football and 103rd overall regardless of position? Look at 2011 numbers for both WR. Wallace finished 2011 with a line of 72 receptions-1,193 yards-8 TDs while Brown's line looked like 69-1,108-2. Brown was also mostly a return guy. His targets figure to increase this year. Brown seems to be going earlier in drafts, but that's probably because of the Wallace holdout. Now that Wallace is back in camp, the average draft position for both will probably change a bit. So if you miss on one of the Steelers receivers, you can always grab the other.
Remember, it's not always about drafting the best players at each positon. Sometimes it's about which players present the best "value" later in drafts if numbers are comparable. Good luck drafting to all fantasy football players here before the start of the season!
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