With the 2014 NFL Draft complete, we can finally get a better idea of what the fantasy football drafts later this year are going to look like.
One of my favorite resources is the website “Fantasy Football Calculator.” There, you are able to see who is being drafted where in recent fantasy mock drafts. You can sort by league size, position and and PPR/Flex scoring. It’s a great site for any fantasy GM to have bookmarked.
While looking at some of the most recent data available on the site, a few names at the wide receiver position and where exactly people were drafting them stuck out to me as odd.
The most notable of these names was Larry Fitzgerald. In traditional ten team leagues, Larry Fitzgerald’s ADP (average draft position) among all wide receivers was 16. I thought this was a little high, considering he is coming off the third consecutive season where he didn’t exceed 90 catches. He did find the end zone ten times, but failed to break the 1000-yard barrier for a second consecutive season. It was also the first time since 2006 that he wasn’t the leading receiver on his own team.
Despite this, his average draft position seems to indicate that he is still viewed as a starting receiver in an eight-team traditional league.
One spot below Fitzgerald, just outside the top 16 at wide receiver, sits Andre Johnson. Despite being in arguably the worst situation from an X’s, O’s and quarterback standpoint in his career, Johnson still managed to turn in one of the top four seasons of his 11-year tenure in the league in 2013. He only scored five touchdowns (he’s never scored double-digit touchdowns) but managed 109 catches for 1407 yards — good enough for 7th in the NFL. Regardless of whether or not he plays in Houston in 2014 , he is going to be the No. 1 option in the passing game wherever he ends up (unless it’s Detroit). Don’t tell the mocking masses that. According to his ADP, he’d be riding the bench in a traditional eight-team league with no flex position.
Another receiver who is going a little later than I would have thought is Buffalo rookie Sammy Watkins. His current ADP among all receivers is 31, meaning he wouldn’t crack the starting lineup in 10-team leagues who also had a flex option. That’s seems highly unlikely, considering he will no doubt be the No. 1 receiver in the Buffalo offense and should be targeted as such.
The average No. 1 receiver in the NFL in 2013 went for 1086 yards and 5.5 touchdowns — similar to what T.Y. Hilton did in 2013. If Watkins can step into Steve Johnson‘s former role, catch two more passes a game for one half yard more each time, he’ll exceed 1,200 yards. Factor in his game-breaking speed and ability to score from anywhere and it’s not crazy to project Watkins to score anywhere from eight to ten touchdowns. Those numbers for yards and touchdowns would be comparable to what Vincent Jackson did in 2013. His current ADP among receivers is 11. T.Y. Hilton’s is 24.
Look, I get it. It’s still early, but these are the things you need to be keying in on as your draft approaches. Guys are going to go higher or lower for reasons that have little to do with their actual production and everything to do with perception. You don’t win in fantasy football with perception and names. You win by scoring points with numbers. In fantasy football, numbers never lie.